So, is Matt Milner a scam or is he the real deal?
You might have come across his name already. Compared with most, he seems to appear credible. At times, he also seems like an academician of sorts, constantly talking about education, data, and research.
He and his company are often associated with the JOBS Act. After all, Crowdability exists to help investors interested in startups. In response to the new investing space, Milner said he wanted to educate more people.
This is well and good, of course.
But does he actually provide the service he promises to give? This is where most investors, editors, and experts become problematic. They say one thing, and do something else. Often, they overpromise and underdeliver.
In fact, some go to the extent of actually scamming people. In some cases we've seen, subscribers often find out when it's already too late.
When we see such feedback, it's heartbreaking for us. The majority of those scammed are elderly people. They've saved a few for retirement, only to fall prey to unscrupulous "experts."
As a website, this is where we come in. Aside from reviewing newsletters, we also write profiles. This way, readers can have a better view of the kind of editors that write their advisories.
Interested in knowing more about a "cannabis investing expert"? Read our article on Jimmy Mengel. In it, we talked about his claims on lots of things. This includes his fool-proof" wisdom on personal finance.
Want to meet an expert who has a "financial pedigree unlike any other"? Should you immediately trust his 40-year track record? You can check out our extensive research on Shah Gilani from Money Map Press.
As well, you can check out our profile on Whitney Tilson. What is this guy all about? Is the Harvard alum really "The Prophet" of investments? Learn more about the controversies around him in our write-up.
Our website has also written an extensive bio on Nomi Prins. In it, you will read all the details you need to know if you want to know if you can trust her.
Here are some other profiles you may want to read:
- Is Jeff Siegel a Fraud? – The Truth Revealed
- Dave Ramsey — Fraud or Legit Financial Genius?
- Roger Scott – Scam Alert or A Legit Expert?
- Is Bill Bonner A Scam Artist or An Investing Expert?
Going back to Milner, we also give you all the details here. If you want to check his background and services, continue reading.
On the surface, Matt Milner appears to be the perfect go-to guy for raising money. His profile says that he is a "media and technology executive with a Wall Street background."
It seems like he knows the ins and outs of investing, startups, and finance. After all, that's the thrust of Crowdability. The company he co-founded with Wayne Mulligan.
Apparently, it is the "world's first independent research and education company for the equity crowdfunding market."
According to its website, Crowdability aims to protect individual investors. Since citizens can now invest in private equity transactions like startups, there are lots of risks involved.
Those who do not have much experience have the potential to lose vast sums of money in bad deals. Thus, Milner's firm:
aims to protect these individual investors by providing them with education, software, and independent research.
The impetus for Milner's Crowdability is the JOBS Act.
His website states clearly that the legislation was a game-changer. Now, "all U.S. citizens have the right to invest in the private companies they believe in." Apparently, this has not been done since 1933.
What makes him qualified to lead these efforts?
Milner's educational achievements include earning an MBA / MA from Northwestern University - Kellogg School of Management. His focus was on finance and marketing.
The guy also has a BA degree in literature from Cornell University.
Early in his career, he was doing sales and trading. Among the outfits he worked for are Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers.
According to his profile, Milner served as an advisor to technology incubators for years. In that capacity, he guided them on various topics relevant to startups.
Such include finding the right market for their products and attracting customers. The adviser also gave inputs on hiring employees. Milner was also involved in facilitating mergers and acquisitions.
Moreover, he played an active role in collaborating with the Social Media Committee of the Internet Advertising Bureau. Here, Milner helped develop and expand the effectiveness of social media as an advertising platform.
Additionally, he acted as an Entrepreneur-In-Residence at Hearst Digital and as a Venture Partner at Collective Spark.
As well, the co-founder held the position of President at Net Element International. Based on his profile, it's a technology company listed on Nasdaq.
Later, the company merged with Mullen Technologies, an Electric Vehicle manufacturer known as MULN.
During his tenure at Net Element International, Milner was brought on board for specific reasons.
He was to provide a strategic vision and implement effective management practices. The company needed his expertise since it had a stake in a range of technology businesses.
Furthermore, he established and served as the CEO of Answerology, a company specializing in Q&A services. It was subsequently acquired by Hearst in 2008.
What do you think about these so far? Are these convincing?
Honestly, these seem like perfect textbook credentials for someone leading a supposed trailblazing company. Milner has the educational background. As well, he has the "right" corporate and startup experiences.
The ones we included here are those we believe would be useful for you as you assess him. Based on these, the man seems like a legit resource for equity crowdsourcing.
He was a Wall Street guy. Milner had roles in technology firms and startups. He also knows a lot about social media and education.
However, this is not the first time we have seen people with outstanding credentials. There have been a lot of investors, advisers, and experts. All of them had a great record of accomplishments.
Have all of them provided honest, worthwhile, and useful services? No. In fact, some who think they're already such a big deal often seem like they don't make an effort anymore.
We are not saying it's the same thing with Milner. What we want to emphasize is we also need to look at their actual services. What is the feedback he received for them?
When we are more discerning of "accomplished" people, we will not be easily scammed. So with Milner, let's look at the nitty-gritty of what he actually offers.
In a past article, Milner's Crowdability had all these services:
- Early Stage Playbook -
A step-by-step guide to strategies for investing in potentially profitable companies in their early stages
Software that shows you ratings and rankings of private equity investment opportunities
- Private Market Profits
Provides individual investors with actionable investment ideas in the private markets
- Income Unlimited
Identifies high-yielding investments that can provide you with significant income
- Micro-Cap Advantage
Provides individual investors with “micro-cap” trading recommendations
- Digital Fortunes
Shows you upcoming trends in the digital investing space
However, in our research for this article, there seems to have been an update.
Only the first four are now listed as official services. We are not sure what happened behind the scenes. But it's clear Milner's company streamlined its services.
One of those that's no longer there is the subject of our past review, Lou Basenese’s Digital Fortunes.
Back to Milner's Crowdability, he advertises it as a trailblazer of sorts. It appears like a regular investment research firm. But its focus is on start-up investing.
As mentioned, the JOBS Act was the inspiration for the company. Since anyone can now fund private companies, people need guidance. Milner's team aims to help in this area.
They want to be the go-to resource for anything related to the subject. Since the development opens a lot of doors for investors, it also has risks.
People may be easily lured into investing in bad investments. Obviously, this is bad for the adventurous and curious. After all, scams are getting more sophisticated by the day.
So in this regard, we believe Milner's mission is laudable. In an age where disinformation thrives, we need more education. Looking at his services, it seems most are geared towards this aim.
In fact, there are lots of free articles on the company's website. These are grouped into various headings:
- The Basics
- Advanced Strategies
- Investing Ideas
- Crowdfunding News
- Crowdability Central
- Friday Digest
These are available to everyone.
If you want to get a taste of Milner's services, you can check out these resources. Of course, most of these do not contain deep insights and data. You can also expect upsells here once in a while.
Milner has already been featured on our website before.
In our write-up about “Genesis Investments,” we talked about his focus on educating people. In fact, that's what his Early Stage Playbook is all about.
Essentially, it's an online course that teaches people how to invest in early-stage companies. The 12 videos are interactive as well. Those wanting to know how crowdfunding works will find this valuable.
According to the website, 30 venture capitalists and angel investors helped create the material. Milner and Mulligan interviewed them for their insights. This way, newbies can learn from their experiences.
The course teaches people the basics of researching. As they learn, they will know which crowdsourcing opportunities to look for.
So what did we say about Milner's “Genesis Investments?”
Well, we did commend the material. The Early-Stage Playbook is user-friendly. It is also packed with information. So there's that.
However, we also said this:
They talk so much about big gains but almost say nothing about risk. The fact of the matter is that investing in early-stage companies via crowdfunding is a risky way to invest.
As you know, we at GBR always emphasize balance. If you are going to play up the rewards, teach people the downside as well.
Aside from this service, we also exposed the teaser to Milner's “Pre-IPO Cheat Codes.” He said you could make 29x more than stock market investments with these.
But what are these codes? Actually, these are "10-digit Central Index Keys (CIK Codes)." They are "generated when a company files with the SEC."
These are essentially "Regulation A offerings to raise capital from private investors." Milner says that he has a "proprietary system for evaluating, screening, and allocating capital" into these.
So before he goes further, you must buy his course. That course, my friends, is the aforementioned Early Stage Playbook.
As previously discussed, we believe these investments are best for those with extra capital to burn. Read our full article to know more about his “Pre-IPO Cheat Codes.”
Since the two articles talk about the same service, might as well read our review:
Here, we tell you all about the service. No tricks, no fancy diversions. In the review, we reveal all the details you need to know. After reading, you will have a better idea if the service is indeed for you.
But what do readers of Stock Gumshoe think? On the Early Stage Playbook review page, we see a 4.6/5 rating. A good rating, for sure. However, this is only from 13 votes. It may not be enough to say that there's a consensus.
User "chaszz' commented that it's "basically an expensive course in venture capital investing through crowdfunding." Further, the commenter said, "It's not for the average investor."
"Chaszz" also adds these:
The typically paradise-sounding pitch singing about 4,000 percent returns doesn’t mention the risk at all.
It also croons,” You’ll never have to invest in the stock market to do this!” Yes, great idea, avoid the stock market for the even-riskier domain of private capital!
Interestingly, even Travis Johnson chimes in:
What do you think?
We agree with the point that most of those with big potential are usually not on these platforms anymore. However, there's still a chance at success. Going by his assessment, it's a small chance, though.
Milner needs work in this area. If he wants to convince more people he's not a scam, the investor needs to start here. At this point, his pitch for crowdfunding isn't convincing yet.
Another user on the Stock Gumshoe page even said this:
When you get a pitch from Crowdability about some company about to moonshoot just go to the websites that specialize in these private offerings (Republic, Wefunder, Seedinvest, etc).
You will see whatever company they are pitching. Their newsletters are all very expensive and just summarize private offerings from these websites.
Very interesting input from user "OSUfball."
In contrast to the high rating Early Stage Playbook got, Milner's company got just 2.3 stars. Sure, it's only from 9 votes, but it's still a low score for Crowdability.
Unfortunately, we can't get more info from the comments section. There was only one there who said this:
Huge gains on micro biotech stocks recommended in Q1 2020. Comprehensive analysis for each reco. Have not used other services to date.
Seems positive. But other than that, it appears there's not much interest in Milner's company from Stock Gumshoe.
We further checked Travis Johnson's website for other Milner reviews. Apparently, readers also rated Private Market Profits from Crowdability. The newsletter got 3.4 stars from 9 votes.
Again, these reviews are mere opinions of those who chose to leave comments and ratings. Since not everyone does these, those that we mentioned do not represent all subscribers.
So just take from them what you find useful. At the end of the day, decide based on these plus your own assessment. Consider your personal investing principles as well.
Pros v Cons
- Milner is among the first to capitalize on crowdfunding investing due to the JOBS Act.
- His Crowdability's aim to provide information and education is commendable. Many didn't know much about it, so they needed guidance.
- Milner had years of experience and education in the investing, education, and digital space.
- There's a tendency to downplay the risks in his services. This may lead people to get overexcited. Investing via crowdfunding requires lots of research.
- Some gave feedback about how viable the "investable" companies really are.
- Milner's services on the website contain little information. We don't know much about what they are or how they will actually deliver.
Conclusion -- Is Milner Credible?
So, is Matt Milner a scam? In this article, we've examined all the angles. We checked his academic background. You also saw a thorough run-through of his professional career.
Based on these, he seems to have the right pedigree for this. His Wall Street background definitely helps as well. Plus, his relevant experience in startups and digital gives him an edge.
As well, we discussed what his company is all about. Crowdability seems to exist because of the JOBS Act. Since everyday investors can now fund startups, there's a need for more information.
To guide the everyday Joe, Milner started offering his services. These include:
- Early Stage Playbook
- Private Market Profits
- Income Unlimited
As for the reviews, they are mixed at best. Some say his efforts are commendable. Others say his services are subpar. Our take here is for you to take what's most relevant for you and your style.
Some reviews can be biased, while some are exaggerated. There are legit experiences, but other comments can be manufactured as well. So the best route is to assess for yourself based on all available data.
Since we are talking about funding new companies, it can be risky. Crowdfunding is definitely not for everyone. Most of the promising ones are not available to the public.
Johnson of Stock Gumshoe also adds an insightful comment. There may be some that may succeed, but who knows for how long?
However, if you are aware of all the risks, go for it. We know some of you can be adventurous. If you also have extra money to spare, why not?
But if you are looking at low-risk investments, think long and hard.
Matt Milner may not be a scam. But if you're not careful, you may be led into a path where you can lose money. Lots of it.