Late last year, Forever Yogurt Franchise Co. launched a platform called CrowdFranchise.com, where franchises can fund new outlets by letting multiple people buy ownership stakes and thereby pay a lot less than they would for a whole store.
Forever Yogurt, which operates more than 20 locations in the U.S. and China, has secured $650,000 for a new store in Chicago. The 25 investors will get a proportional share in the profit and have a say in who acts as the location’s operating manager. They can also advise on day-to-day decisions if they choose.
The company is seeking funds for 12 more outlets, while other businesses have signed on to raise funds through the platform.
The effort comes during a tough time for would-be franchisees. The demand from potential buyers has steadily increased since 2010, and outpaced what banks have been willing to lend.