exploded in 204, with $6Bin funds raised across hundreds of platforms. But according to Richard Swart,one of the top thought leaders in crowdfunding and alternative finance, 204 was merely the tip of a massive crowdfunding iceberg that’s forecasted to swell to $300B in funds raised by 2020.

While crowdfunding picks up momentum in general, equity crowdfunding, which allows private companies to raise funds in exchange for equity, is the fastest growing category in particular. Until recently, only public companies with extensive operating histories and millions of dollars in revenue could raise capital from the public. Private investing was an opaque, exclusive club that included only institutional investors or ultra-high net-worth individuals.

Today, equity crowdfunding is redefining the possibilities of investing and fundraising worldwide, as it opens up private markets to an ocean of new investors for the first time. In light of this trend, hundreds of equity crowdfunding platforms are popping up left, right and center, vying for a piece of the $300B pie. But how does an investor determine which platform is best?

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