Following Up with Mandy Calara, CEO of CrowdFranchise

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Last week, I talked to CrowdFranchise CEO and Founder Mandy Calara about his company’s recent closing on a deal to bring a crowdfunded frozen yogurt chain to Chicago.

In the eyes of Calara, franchising was a natural candidate for crowdfunding because of the large unmet need he saw for a model that could accommodate smaller-scale investors.

“As a franchisor, we can’t do anything with 90 percent of the leads that we get because they can’t qualify financially,” he said. “This is now our pitch for the franchisor: don’t throw away that lead, let’s put them into a CrowdFranchise program.”

Calara sees potential for the equity crowdfunding model to expand into other new arenas, just as he has expanded it into franchising. “There are probably 25-plus valid equity-based crowdfunding website so far, and those are all catered to just two or three areas.” As for his own company, Calara foresees taking a more holistic approach to crowdfunding in the franchise sector.

“We’ve been trying to put together an incubator program for people to not only get the finances, but also make the connections after the finances are raised,” he said, “and to encourage people to turn their businesses into franchises as well.”

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