Below is an article by Free Enterprise entitled “Founded 5 Years Before Kickstarter, Arkansas-Based EquityNet Remains a Crowdfunding Powerhouse”
Founded 5 Years Before Kickstarter, Arkansas-Based EquityNet Remains a Crowdfunding Powerhouse
By: Free Enterprise, Free Enterprise
Jul 30, 2014
If you think that all chemical engineers work in nondescript laboratories where they toil away on experiment after experiment, then you have obviously never met Judd Hollas.
Hollas, who earned a bachelor of science in chemical engineering from the University of Tulsa, is an entrepreneur who started the web-based crowdfunding platform EquityNet. Making the leap away from science and toward business wasn’t exactly something Hollas ever planned. Indeed, the Arkansas-based innovator says it largely resulted from circumstances far beyond his control.
“I got caught up in the dot-com boom in the late 1990s, which is what drew me into finance,” says Hollas, whose work experience includes a stint at Phillips Petroleum. “What really propelled me into crowdfunding was that I got involved with this startup that was going to provide insurance on venture capital investments. It was a crazy idea—I mean who can calculate risk reliably for that?”
After the company he was working for at the time failed, Hollas was left without a job in a shrinking economy. Reluctant to return to his former role in supply chain automation, Hollas channeled his mental and creative faculties into starting his own business. It was during this extended brainstorming session, Hollas says, that he recognized there was value in the research he had conducted at his firm.
“I was sitting there with some tools that I had been building and that’s when I had an epiphany,” Hollas recalls. “I realized that if you combined an e-marketplace with the kind of technology I’d been working on, you could have a super scalable and efficient platform with hundreds of thousands of members that would work so well that it wouldn’t be crushed under its own weight.”