Pearachute, a business for kids, now counts their parents as investors


For inexperienced investors looking to back private companies, a business they already patronize as customers can be an attractive target.

Pearachute, the Chicago-based kids’ activity booking platform launched last year by GiveForward founder Desiree Vargas Wrigley ⇒, found parents who use the service raising their hands to invest after the company used a Portal called Republic to launch an equity crowdfunding campaign.

Equity crowdfunding allows startups to raise cash from nonprofessional investors who get a stake in the company. It’s a step beyond earlier crowdfunding models, popularized by Kickstarter and Indiegogo, that let businesses offer perks and products in exchange for funds.

Investors with an annual income or net worth of at least $100,000 can invest up to 10 percent of the lesser of those, up to $100,000, in a 12-month period, according to Securities and Exchange Commission rules. Those who fall below that mark can invest the greater of $2,000 or 5 percent of their annual income or net worth in a 12-month period.

With a little more than two weeks left in Pearachute’s campaign, 195 investors have put in about $153,000, and the company has raised the limit on how much it will raise to $250,000.