Today we’d like to introduce you to Sherwood Neiss.
Sherwood, we appreciate you taking the time to share your story with us today. Where does your story begin?
Embarking on a journey that transitioned from earning my MBA and navigating the intricate world of Wall Street, to contributing to a high-growth Silicon Valley company, and co-founding FLAVORx, Inc., my career has been a vibrant tapestry of exploration and innovation. FLAVORx, which made medicinal consumption for children more palatable, expanded from a single pharmacy to a network of over 40,000, before being successfully sold after various financing rounds. This venture was a significant milestone in my career, but it was just the beginning.
The sale of FLAVORx and the subsequent frustrations of fundraising limitations propelled me into the realm of Investment Crowdfunding. Alongside two entrepreneurial friends from business school, we devised the Startup Exemption, an 8-point framework that blended early-stage venture financing principles with emerging community capital platforms like Kickstarter and Kiva. Our grassroots efforts and strategic alliances in Washington transformed our framework into an 8-page bill, which, after gathering bipartisan support, was signed into law – a moment we were privileged to witness at the White House.
Post-legislation, my journey took another pivotal turn during a Bloomberg Television interview, which spotlighted the potential of Investment Crowdfunding for pre-IPO startups and our economy.
Leveraging my experiences from Silicon Valley and Wall Street, I developed a data aggregator, launched on May 16, 2016, which meticulously tracks around 125 data points on every company initiating a RegCF offering. The industry has since funneled over $2.1B from nearly 2M average Americans, acting as mini VCs, into what we anticipate will be future unicorns.
This extensive dataset, now available through CCLEAR.ai (www.cclear.ai) to various sectors, revealed an opportunity to build wealth for investors intrigued by RegCF deals but lacking the time for in-depth exploration. Partnering with a team of data science PhDs, we spent 18 months developing a machine learning algorithm that identifies patterns and signals from companies that have secured venture capital financing, predicting potential success stories among new entrants. This algorithm is the foundation of our venture fund, D3VC.ai (www.d3vc.ai), where we invest in companies post-typical VC diligence.
Recognizing that many companies are staying private longer, and understanding the investor’s reluctance to wait indefinitely for returns, I co-founded GUARDD (www.guardd.com). This startup facilitates investors in private companies to sell their shares on private exchanges, ensuring regulatory compliance.
Today, my journey continues as I steer the helm of three companies out of Crowdfund Capital Advisors (www.theccagroup.com), each a byproduct of the crowdfunding law we helped shape, firmly believing in a future where Investment Crowdfunding transcends capital raising. It’s about forging an ecosystem where data, liquidity, and venture capital converge, unlocking unprecedented opportunities for investors and startups alike.
Can you talk to us about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way? Looking back, would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
Smooth? Far from it! The entrepreneurial journey is anything but a straight path – it’s a rollercoaster of highs and lows, where forging ahead often means cutting through a dense forest of challenges and naysayers. It demands an unwavering determination, a readiness to stumble, stand back up, dust oneself off, and persistently march forward. Throughout my journey, there have been critical junctures where the support of spouses, close friends, and family became my backbone.
I’ve navigated through a myriad of challenges, from making the tough decision to return $1 million to investors after realizing our visions misaligned, to navigating the intricate dynamics of running a family business, and even embroiling in legal battles. And oh, the adventures of trying to steer through the complex maze of Capitol Hill – that’s a story in itself!
Now, as a husband and father of two young children, the balancing act has evolved. Juggling the demands of work, and family, and ensuring my mental well-being is intact, has become the new challenge. That’s precisely why you’ll find me at the gym at 6 am, five times a week – it’s my sanctuary, ensuring I’m fortified to face whatever the entrepreneurial journey throws next!
Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know?
At Crowdfund Capital Advisors, we stand at the forefront of investment crowdfunding, a dynamic sector that we’ve not only pioneered but continue to innovate within. Our organization is a symbiotic ecosystem comprising three integral components that collectively define our operations and our vision.
Our specialization is rooted in data, analysis, and advocacy for the crowdfunding industry. I have had the unique honor of being a foundational influence in this space, sometimes referred to as one of the ‘godfathers’ of investment crowdfunding. This term, while I use it with a degree of humility, signifies my deep involvement in the creation and lobbying of the legislative framework that has enabled investment crowdfunding to thrive. I had the privilege to witness the culmination of our efforts in person during the bill-signing ceremony at the White House.
What truly distinguishes us is our commitment and sustained presence in the industry. Unlike many early pioneers who have since departed, we continue to drive the sector forward, bringing more attention, resources, and clarity to what President Obama envisaged as a fundamental shift in the private capital markets.
Perhaps our proudest accomplishment is the legislative success that we achieved in a remarkably short period. To have crafted and passed a law in 460 days, with a deeply divided Congress coming together in agreement, is something few can claim. This historic achievement exemplifies our ability to unite differing perspectives toward a common goal.
We see ourselves as the definitive source of investment crowdfunding intelligence. Our repositories of data position us as the PitchBook or Crunchbase of our industry, yet with the analytical depth akin to Bloomberg. We offer stakeholders comprehensive insights into capital flow, investor earnings, and strategic capital deployment within the crowdfunding space.
Looking ahead, Crowdfund Capital Advisors is committed to shaping the future of investment crowdfunding. We are the nexus where three transformative themes meet:
CCLEAR, which represents the analytics and transparency driving investment crowdfunding. Here, we transform raw data into actionable insights that highlight the sector’s growth and potential.
GUARDD, our answer to the complexities of liquidity in private securities trading. This initiative is about creating seamless transitions from investment to exit.
D3VC is a reimagining of venture capital that bridges traditional methods with the latest in AI, offering a diversified and inclusive approach to early-stage investments.
The convergence of these themes under the banner of Crowdfund Capital Advisors illustrates our holistic vision. We are not mere spectators but active architects of a future where investment crowdfunding is a complete ecosystem — one where data, liquidity, and venture capital converge to empower both investors and startups.
Or as I like to say, “The future of investment crowdfunding goes beyond capital raising. It’s about crafting an ecosystem where data, liquidity, and innovative venture strategies coalesce to unlock new opportunities.”
We love surprises, fun facts, and unexpected stories. Is there something you can share that might surprise us?
Something that may come as a surprise to those familiar with my professional persona or my brand is my profound passion for the culinary arts and my zeal for cleanliness. While I am wholly dedicated to my craft and career, finding solace and a unique form of expression through cooking has become an integral part of my daily unwinding ritual.
Cooking is not just a means to an end for me; it’s a cathartic experience, allowing me to momentarily step away from my work and indulge in the creation of a different flavor—literally. As I meld ingredients and spices, I’m crafting a masterpiece that’s meant to be savored and enjoyed, much like the work I produce professionally. It’s not uncommon to hear me appreciatively murmur “yum” over the dishes I’ve prepared as I take pride in the excellence and deliciousness of each meal.
And then there’s cleaning—a task many might shun, but for me, it’s another expression of my meticulous nature. Post-cooking, I enjoy the process of restoring order and preparing for what’s next. Systematically loading the dishwasher, scrubbing pots and pans, and ensuring the kitchen is spotless for the next day isn’t just about tidiness; it’s about readiness and the pleasure of knowing everything is set to begin anew.
- Website: https://crowdfundcapitaladvisors.com/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/woodien
- Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/sherwoodneiss/
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/woodien