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Rory Eakin
Founder & COO


c/o WR Hambrecht & Co. Pier 1, Bay 3
San Francisco, 94111
United States
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Circle Up

Rory Eakin

CircleUp exists to help consumer entrepreneurs and investors do what they do, better.

For years, we saw passionate consumer entrepreneurs struggle to find the support they need to grow their brand—to hire more employees, produce more product, and share their dream with more consumers. Consumer companies were often forced to reach out to friends and family—a long and often awkward process. At the same time, we saw investors that were passionate about these high-growth consumer product and retail companies, but didn't know how to get in touch with the entrepreneurs. We created CircleUp to make this process more efficient.

We believe:

  • Great entrepreneurs deserve funding from passionate investors.
  • Technology allows for accredited investors to find, vet, and invest in companies in a new way.
  • A community of investors, backing a company individually and collectively, will help a company grow beyond just the financial contribution.
  • True investor diversification should include more than just public market investing.

Investing in a high-growth consumer business has never been easier. OnCircleUp, you can find and invest in the consumer brands you believe in, and receive equity in return. Here's how:

  • Passionate consumer entrepreneurs share their company and vision.
  • Investors like you evaluate the plans and choose to invest.
  • When enough capital has been committed, the fundraising "closes" and your investment is complete.
  • You become an owner of the company!

As an investor, you get:

  • Direct equity in the business. Your ownership will be proportional to the amount you invest. As the company grows, so will your equity investment. This ownership will allow you to receive distributions when the business is sold or if dividends are paid.
  • The opportunity to build and diversify your private investment portfolio.
  • To be a part of the action – join the online forum to talk with the entrepreneur and other investors as well.
  • To support a business you love

Evaluating Deals

CircleUp focuses on established, high-growth consumer product and retail companies. The materials each entrepreneur provides should be a starting point but additional research is always wise and recommended. Here are some additional questions to consider (and ask!):

Does the entrepreneur have the skills or experiences to lead this business? What do I know about the leadership?

What makes this consumer product or retail store special? Is this unique differentiation likely to continue? How does that product or store compare to competitors? What do consumer reviews say about the brand?

Who are the customers? Are they happy? Are there likely to be more of them as this business grows? Who are the competitors? Why is this business different or better than others? What is this company's "reason for being"?

What are the plans for the business down the road? Does the entrepreneur have plans to grow indefinitely? Could this business be sold to a larger company?


Rory has supported entrepreneurs nearly all his career, most recently as Director of Investments at Humanity United, part of the Omidyar family enterprises. At Humanity United, he invested in small businesses and social enterprises to stimulate job creation and promote stability in fragile economies. He began his career at a startup providing financial training to small businesses in Cape Town, South Africa. Rory is a former consultant with The Boston Consulting Group.

Rory received his MBA from Stanford as well as a public policy degree from Princeton. He holds Series 24, 63, and 82 licenses, and enjoys listening to weekend NPR quiz shows a little too much.

Privately Held; 1-10 employees; Financial Services industry

October 2011Present (8 months) San Francisco Bay Area

CircleUp ( is an online social marketplace that supports direct equity investments from individual investors to small private consumer and retail companies.

Nonprofit; 11-50 employees; Philanthropy industry

2007October 2011 (4 years)

Work with Humanity United’s partner organizations and is responsible for the diligence, structuring, and execution of new investment opportunities.

Partnership; 5001-10,000 employees; Management Consulting industry

20052007 (2 years)


20012003 (2 years)


Princeton University

BA, Public Policy