The Problem with Equity Crowdfunding

As the founder of an early stage startup (WingsuitGP), early stage startup funding is of great interest to myself. Isn’t that every aspiring internet entrepreneurs dream? To obtain that very first investment of outside capital, enough to quit your day-job and start working on your passion project full time.
With that in mind, I recently reached out to one of the big players in equity crowdfunding– AngelList backed Specifically, my question for the team at Republic was, “how much does it actually cost to raise money on Republic?” While it looks like many of the costs of raising money through equity crowdfunding portals can be deferred until after the fund raise is over, unfortunately the upfront costs (AKA onboarding costs) are substantial, somewhere between $3,000 to $10,000. And these upfront “onboarding costs” cannot be deferred until after a fund raise is complete.
So maybe this is why equity crowdfunding hasn’t really taken off yet. Raising $100,000 on the internet for your early stage startup sounds amazing. But once you throw in the $3,000 to $10,000 in costs required to run such a funding campaign, the idea seems significantly less appealing. Essentially, you need an outside investor first if you want to raise money on one of these crowdfunding portals. And more likely, you need fairly big first check in of initial seed investing. Because if an angel were to take a chance on you and write you a $20,000 check, why would you gamble half of that on a running an equity crowdfunding campaign that might fail?
And unfortunately, I think what these portals are actually ending up with are companies that have received a fair amount of initial funding, and are coming to the portals with their last $10,000 running hail-mary campaigns to try and cash in one last round of funding before their company implodes. I mean seriously, are there any hot startups raising money on these platforms? I could be wrong, but I think the problem is simple: The upfront “onboarding” fees that these portals charge are too high to make them competitive with raising money from traditional angel investors and startup accelerators like Y Combinator. Think about it, how many people would go through YC’s program if instead of receiving funding from YC and also getting the chance to pitch investors at demo day, the startups had to pay YC $3,000 to $10,000 for the chance to go and pitch at demo day? Startups don’t need expenses; they need investments. I honestly hope that the crowdfunding platforms get things figured out, but at the moment these fees are going to continue ensuring that they miss out on the up and coming startups and end up with all of the previously funded but now failing startups.