Sara Hanks to Help Upstream Bring Secondary Market Liquidity to the $1B Equity Crowdfunding Market

CrowdCheck CEO & securities law attorney joins to introduce Upstream to equity crowdfunding issuers seeking the exit-liquidity potential for investors

6 min readMar 3, 2023

By Anastasia Samaras

This week we announced Sara Hanks, securities law attorney, and CEO of CrowdCheck is working with Upstream to help bring secondary market liquidity to the $1B equity crowdfunding market.¹ Sara Hanks will work to introduce Upstream to equity crowdfunding issuers seeking the exit-liquidity potential for investors.

Welcome, Sara Hanks!

Sara Hanks is a well-known securities law attorney with over 30 years of experience in the corporate and securities field. As the co-founder and CEO of CrowdCheck, she has been a pioneer and leader in the crowdfunding space. Sara’s legal expertise in securities law and start-ups is extensive, making her a valuable addition to the team.

“Investors have been backing crowdfunded companies without a clear exit strategy for years,” says CrowdCheck CEO Sara Hanks. “Upstream’s innovative blockchain-based trading app offers a unique solution to this challenge, and I’m thrilled to help usher in a future of equity crowdfunding that includes access to a diverse investor pool and real-time secondary trading.”

Current Equity Crowdfunding Obstacles

Equity crowdfunding has become a popular way for early-stage companies to raise capital from everyday investors. However, liquidity has long been an obstacle for the equity crowdfunding industry. $1B has been invested in early-stage companies in 2022 with limited venues for liquidity available.

Once shares have been purchased, there are limited venues for investors to sell their shares and for issuers to provide exit options for their initial shareholders. This has resulted in a primarily illiquid market, making it difficult for investors to realize returns and for issuers to attract new investors.

Upstream offers a solution for investors to have liquidity potential

Upstream, a MERJ Exchange market, is uniquely positioned to provide the equity crowdfunding market with a next-generation secondary trading venue.

Upstream is a blockchain-powered market offering digital-first investors direct access to equities from all over the world with digital currency, credit, debit, PayPal, and fiat.

Upstream keeps the values of equity crowdfunding in place with accessibility, transparency, and community engagement opportunities such as digital coupon NFTs and other Web3 perks.

The user-friendly trading app features real-time trading using on-chain orderbooks with smart-contract prevention of predatory market practices, and instant settlement, and Upstream maintains certain insurances and bankruptcy protections for cash and securities held by Upstream Members. Details of the Upstream investor protections may be found at

Upstream is accepting listing applications from issuers who have completed offerings on crowdfunding platforms around the world that are looking to provide exit liquidity to their shareholders on a real-time secondary market and trading app. This means that initial shareholders who have invested in crowdfunded companies can now gain the opportunity to exit their positions in a more liquid market.

“We are pleased to add Sara Hanks to our team as we welcome equity crowdfunding issuers from the U.S. and internationally to apply to list on Upstream,” says Upstream Co-Creator Mark Elenowitz. “Sara is a pioneer and leader in the crowdfunding space. Her 30-plus years’ experience working directly with issuers on online capital formation will be invaluable in our efforts to make Upstream the select secondary market for crowdfunded securities.”

On Upstream, initial shareholders gain the opportunity to exit their positions in what has primarily been an illiquid market, while issuers have the opportunity to introduce their shares to a whole new set of global investors who can trade early-stage opportunities using digital currency and USD on a user-friendly app.


With the support of Sara, Upstream is set to provide a unique solution to the challenge of illiquidity in the equity crowdfunding market. By unlocking liquidity and providing a real-time secondary market, Upstream is helping to enable investors to exit their positions and providing issuers with the opportunity to introduce their shares to a global investor pool.

Upstream is accepting listing applications from existing issuers who have completed their offerings on crowdfunding platforms around the world, and who are looking to provide exit liquidity to their shareholders and offer their shares to a whole new set of fans, investors, and traders. Register interest at


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