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Monthly Archives: September 2014

Actress, Director, Producer Teaches Crowdfunding

Independent filmmaker Alexia Anastasio teaches other filmmakers how to raise money using crowdfunding.

Alexia will join me for a live discussion on Wednesday, September 10, 2014 at noon Eastern. She’ll share some of her insights for crowdfunding. Tune in here to watch the interview live!

You can download an audio podcast here or subscribe via iTunes.

Alexia’s bio:

Alexia teaches filmmakers how to raise money using crowdfunding and spread their message so that they can make a difference in the world.
Alexia is an artist, actress, filmmaker and Dream Funding Coach. She was featured in HBO’s Bored to Death, VH1 “If you like…” commercial and Vetiver “Everyday” music video.
Her feature film work includes:

  • Editor of Vampira: The Movie
  • Associate Producer of The Wild World of Ted V. Mikels
  • Co-producer of Beyond the Noise: My Transcendental Meditation Journey
  • Director of Adventures in Plymptoons! documentary on Oscar nominated animator Bill Plympton
  • Creator of documentary Ginger Girls: The Secret Lives of Redheads
  • Creator of narrative feature Little Fishes

When not creating features, Alexia enjoys teaching her online class entitled Dream Funding and has used crowdfunding to raise money and bring global awareness for her own films. Her priority in life is to have fun and inspire creatives that they can live the art life.

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Utah Governor’s Office of Economic Development Sponsors GoodCrowd14

GOED and other sponsors support Social Enterprise and Crowdfunding Conference to help socially minded entrepreneurs thrive in the most generous state in the nation.

September 26, 2014 – The Utah Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED) has joined the ranks of sponsors for GoodCrowd14, the Social Enterprise and Crowdfunding Conference on September 26, 2014 at Snowbird.

GOED joins Kirton McConkie, SeedEquity, CrowdEngine, Gate Global Impact, Ellenoff Grossman & Schole,Carman Lehnhof Israelsen, YESCO and KUER in supporting the event, which is designed to help those who are doing good to scale their impact.

Vincent Mikolay, GOED Managing Director of Business Outreach and International Trade, explained, “Utah shows perennially up at the top of surveys and rankings for business friendliness, philanthropic giving and volunteering. We hope to see Utah’s social entrepreneurs grow in step with the rest of Utah’s remarkable economy, and this conference will help that effort.”

Brent Andrewsen, Shareholder and Directorat Kirton McConkie, a Utah-based law firm with a robust practice in nonprofits as well as general business and securities, notes, “We are excited to sponsor GoodCrowd14.As a firm, we enjoy applying our expertise and experience in helping the great people who are driving social impact. We see the potential for socially minded people both in the nonprofit and for-profit sectors to scale their impact.”

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About GoodCrowd14, Social Enterprise and Crowdfunding Conference:

GoodCrowd14, the Social Enterprise and Crowdfunding Conference 2014 (SECFC14) will be held September 26, 2014 at Snowbird, Utah. Expert speakers, philanthropists, venture capitals and other impact investors from across the country will join us. To register or for more information, visit www.secfc.co.

About the Utah Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED)

The Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED) charter is based on Governor Gary Herbert’s commitment to economic development statewide. Utah’s economic development vision is that Utah will lead the nation as the best performing economy and be recognized as a premier global business destination. The mandate for this office is to provide rich business resources for the creation, growth and recruitment of companies to Utah and to increase tourism and film production in the state. GOED accomplishes this mission through the administration of programs that are based around targeted industries or “economic clusters” that demonstrate the best potential for development. GOED utilizes state resources and private sector contracts to fulfill its mission. For more information, please visit business.utah.gov.

About Kirton McConkie:

Kirton McConkie is a full service firm focusing on litigation, business/corporate, real estate, employment and immigration, intellectual property, First Amendment, tax, estate planning, nonprofit corporations, charitable planning, and family law. For more information, visit http://www.kmclaw.com.

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Classwallet.Com Secures Funding From Kaplan Inc., NewSchools Venture Fund and MaverixLab

Matt Tumbleson joins as CMO

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MIAMI, FL September 9, 2013: ClassWallet.com, a tool designed to make it easier for teachers to raise, manage, track and spend money for the classroom, has secured separate investments from Kaplan Inc. and NewSchools Venture Fund, as well as an investment from MaverixLab. 

Kaplan is the global education company and largest subsidiary of the Graham Holdings Company (NYSE: GHC). NewSchools Venture Fund is a venture philanthropy that partners with entrepreneurs to provide all students, especially those most underserved, with an excellent public education. MaverixLab is a Miami-based business accelerator and early-stage investment fund that assists tech startups by linking entrepreneurs, their ideas, products and services with capital, mentorship, education and business relationships. 

“ClassWallet.com has a unique opportunity to finally evolve the historically antiquated approach to funding discretionary spending in K-12 classrooms,” said MaverixLab founder & CEO Joe Morgan. “Jamie has assembled a great team and instilled a great sense of discipline to their idea of bring about true change. That is a rare trait and one that we feel will lead to ClassWallet enacting that change on a global level.”

“The support of Kaplan, NewSchools and MaverixLab validate our efforts to create a cashless paradigm within K-12 education funding,” said ClassWallet.com Founder and CEO Jamie Rosenberg.

In addition to the two investments, ClassWallet.com announced Matthew Tumbleson as Chief Marketing Officer. In this role, he will focus on developing a marketing strategy to propel ClassWallet.com towards accelerated growth and increased brand awareness.

“Matthew is a great addition to the ClassWallet team,” said Rosenberg. “His background is truly unique. He understands complex problems and uses creative thinking to solve them. We look forward to his innovation and fresh approach to marketing.”

Tumbleson joins after successfully taking Seamless.com and GrubHub.com through a merger and subsequent IPO with the New York Stock Exchange. As Creative Director, he and his team launched successful marketing strategies nationwide, while creating brand affinity that bordered on religious. Tumbleson is an advisor to multiple New York-based tech companies, and one of the tech industry’s top people to watch. 

At ClassWallet.com, teachers are provided an e-wallet to collect funds for on-going classroom needs, special projects and to purchase supplies within ClassWallet.com’s ecommerce marketplace. The marketplace includes Office Max, School Specialty, Scholastic and other trusted retailers. Parents, foundations and corporations, as well as school and district administrations, can contribute directly to a ClassWallet.com account and designate and track how funds are used to support the classroom. ClassWallet.com can also be used by PTA administrators or parents to collect, manage, and use funds for activities and programs.

To learn more or to sign up for a free account, visit www.ClassWallet.com.

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ABOUT CLASSWALLET.COM

ClassWallet.com is a tool that allows teachers to raise, manage, spend and track funds in a cashless, transparent environment using a virtual e-wallet and ecommerce marketplace. 

By streamlining the collecting, spending and tracking of funds, ClassWallet.com brings efficiency, transparency and savings to a system that for years has relied on cash, checks and brown envelopes. ClassWallet.com enables teachers to make budgeting and purchasing decisions for the classroom while affording administration and funders appropriate transparency and control. 

To learn more, visit www.ClassWallet.com or find us on Twitter @classwallet.

ABOUT KAPLAN VENTURES

Kaplan, Inc. (Kaplan.com) is a leading international provider of educational and career services for individuals, schools, and businesses. Kaplan serves students of all ages through a wide array of offerings including higher education, test preparation, professional training, and programs for kids in grades K through 12. Kaplan is a subsidiary of Graham Holdings Company (NYSE: GHC) and its largest division.

ABOUT NEWSCHOOLS VENTURE FUND

NewSchools Venture Fund is a venture philanthropy that partners with entrepreneurs to provide all students — regardless of where they come from or live — with an excellent public education and the promise of a bright future. Since NewSchools’ founding in 1998, more than $200 million have been raised and invested in a national portfolio of entrepreneurial ventures, including charter management organizations, teacher preparation programs and educational technology companies. These investments have improved educational outcomes for more than 15 million students. To learn more, please visit www.newschools.org.

ABOUT MAVERIXLab

MaverixLab is a Miami based business accelerator and early-stage investment fund that assists tech startups by linking entrepreneurs, their ideas, products and services with capital, mentorship, education and business relationships. By revolutionizing the nature and method of support delivered to startups, MaverixLab drives the entrepreneurial ecosystem towards better decisions and therefore more likelihood of success. Companies that are accepted into the program will receive seed funding, office space, 3 months of regimented business support in Miami and the opportunity to pitch to follow-on funders, strategic partners and potential clients/customers. In addition, the MaverixLab headquarters will serve as an education campus by delivering 21st century skills such as coding, web development and digital marketing for the weightless technology economy.

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Hispanics in Philanthropy Launches PROTECT THE CHILDREN, an Emergency Crowdfunding Campaign Supporting nonprofits Working With Unaccompanied Children – on HIPGive.org

Who – Hispanics in Philanthropy (HIP) and nonprofits providing critical services to unaccompanied minors on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border.

WhatPROTECT THE CHILDREN, an emergency campaign on HIP’s crowdfunding platform, HIPGive.org, which will support the efforts of nonprofit organizations working to protect the unaccompanied children crossing the U.S.-Mexico border.

When – September 5th, 2014 through October 15th 2014.

Where – Online at HIPGive.org.

Why – The sheer numbers of children who have crossed the border fleeing violence in Central America and Mexico have overwhelmed nonprofits and government agencies alike. PROTECT THE CHILDREN provides a unique opportunity for individuals and communities to come together in support of these children. This crisis requires a strategic and humane community response and HIPGive.org provides an excellent platform for facilitating that response.

On September 5th, Hispanics in Philanthropy launched PROTECT THE CHILDREN, an emergency fundraising campaign on the organization’s crowdfunding platform, HIPGive.org. Funds from the campaign will support nonprofit organizations working on the ground to defend the basic human and legal rights of unaccompanied children on both sides on the U.S.-Mexico border. HIP believes that the work these organizations are doing is immensely valuable, especially during this humanitarian crisis, and would like to support them in their endeavors by providing them the opportunity to raise funds for and awareness about their projects on HIPGive. HIP is also pledging its support to these organizations by providing $50,000 in matching funds. The first 10 organizations to meet their fundraising goals during the 40 day campaign will each receive up to $5,000.

“Regardless of our politics, children are children. If we want a better world tomorrow, let’s support and protect these children today. Each one of us can be part of the solution to this humanitarian crisis.,” says Nelson Colón, Chairman of HIP’s Board of Directors.

All participating organizations will be given 40 days to actively fundraise for their projects. The general public will have the option to either donate directly to a nonprofit, or to contribute to a general pool of funds. The HIPGive team will be providing ongoing, one-on-one training and support to all participants throughout the duration of the one month campaign.

HIP is also providing educational materials on this important campaign and issue, including a video, to raise awareness about this crisis and to invite people to find out about and support the amazing work of these organizations. Interviews will be available with various staff members of Hispanics in Philanthropy and the participant organizations. Bios, images, and other materials will also be provided.

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Robot To Read Science Stories To Children

Jeremy Scheinberg and his business partner Chris Harden, two creative engineers with impressive pedigrees, have created a new company called TROBO the Storytelling Robot to market and sell robots that read customized, science-based stories to children to help them learn. They are seeking to raise $60,000 on Kickstarter and are already past one-third of their goal after two days. 

Recently, I caught up with Jeremy to learn more about their project. The following is what we learned.

What is the social benefit you hope to achieve with or through your crowdfunding campaign?

Chris and I are two fathers who wanted to give our children (and children everywhere) a toy that would answer their questions about the science and engineering in the world around them. As engineers and fathers, we have seen first hand how are children are losing interest in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). We both worked in the theme park and video game industries where storytelling is king but there is a void when it comes to using storytelling to engage children in the science and engineering all around them. We want to bridge that gap and give them an awesome toy that will make them excited about science.

How much money are you hoping to raise and why? How much have you raised so far?

We are trying to raise $60,000 to finish development of our first 5 stories and build the first manufacturing run of our talking plush toy TROBOs. As of this moment, we have raised just under $22,000 (or 36% of our goal).

Whom are you trying to help with your project and why?

We are trying to help parents and kids to learn about science and engineering in a fun and engaging way. Kids are full of questions – how is honey made, why do I have to get shots at the doctor’s office. Our goal is to inspire a love of learning by answering those questions using storytelling.

What rewards, if any, are you offering to your supporters?

We are offering everything from T-shirts and stickers to our product. Supporters can get one or more TROBOs and they can even choose to donate them to a STEM program at a school for underserved children. We are really hoping to open up STEM to anyone who wants to learn.

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Working For the Success of Every Fundraiser and Their Supporters, By Providing Education, Resources and Assistance to All Stakeholders in the Crowdfunding Community

The Crowdfunding Professional Association (CfPA), the federally-recognized, not-for-profit, 501(c)(6) trade association for all stakeholders in the Crowdfunding industry, is pleased to announce the publication and availability of a recommended Termsheet template for use by participants in JOBS Act Title III (Section 4(a)(6)) Crowdfunding equity offerings. This effort reflects the CfPA’s core mission of promoting the success of all stakeholders in the Crowdfunding community, and addresses several of the potentially important reservations expressed by some about Title III Crowdfunding. For more information about this recommended Termsheet template, the CfPA itself or Crowdfunding in general, please consider attending the Education Summit being held in Washington, D.C., on 9/30 and 10/1/14 (https://www.eventbrite.com/e/cfpa-education-summit-tickets-12689010171).

Major provisions of this recommended Termsheet template include:

  • Definition of Title III Crowdfunded equity transactions as providing a separate class of Crowdfunding (“CF”) security, distinct from Common shares or other ownership units (to allow the recognition and separate treatment of Crowdfunded security holders.) 
  • Cancellation by either prospective investor or issuer, for any reason whatsoever and at any time prior to closing, of all commitments to invest or offer and full refund of any funds proffered (to mirror usual practice in private security offerings, and prevent any participant from being locked into a pending transaction that they may have come to regret.) 
  • Ability of a supermajority of holders of CF equity, by vote proportional to ownership interest, to decide all issues pertaining to the CF security class (to preclude impeding a future transaction of the company by inability to communicate with or obtain consent from a minority of holders, or to simplify the Cap Table by allowing aggregation of all CF interests into a single holding entity.) 
  • Anti-dilution protection for CF investors (a critical and essential safeguard for all equity holders.)

Legal documents incorporating above concepts appropriately to each specific issuer and fundraise must be prepared by competent legal counsel. However, the Crowdfunding Professional Association recommends that investors not participate in raises that do not include and reflect the above-described terms that are considered essential to the protection of both investors and issuers.

The Crowdfunding Professional Association info@cfpa.org

www.cfpa.org

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Working For the Success of Every Fundraiser and Their Supporters, By Providing Education, Resources and Assistance to All Stakeholders in the Crowdfunding Community

The Crowdfunding Professional Association (CfPA), the federally-recognized, not-for-profit, 501(c)(6) trade association for all stakeholders in the Crowdfunding industry, is pleased to announce the launch of two new certification programs. These efforts are based on and supplement the CfPA’s ongoing activities in education, communication, advocacy and operational enhancement for all forms of Crowdfunding. They will be provided for no charge as benefits to members of the CfPA, and for a fee to non-members. For more information about these new programs, the CfPA itself or Crowdfunding in general, please consider attending the Education Summit being held in Washington, D.C., on 9/30 and 10/1/14 (https://www.eventbrite.com/e/cfpa-education-summit-tickets-12689010171).

In the first of these programs (“CfPA Investor Education and Certification”), prospective investors in public Crowdfunding (aka Title III or Section 4(a)(6)) transactions will be educated, examined and certified as having received an appropriate program of education as required by the Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) Act of 2012. Under the JOBS Act, intermediaries conducting Title III fundraises must certify that investors have completed training and adequately understand the opportunities and risks that they are undertaking. This education and certification program will be available to be used and relied upon by investors and Intermediaries as providing assurance that the content and certification of such investor education have been formulated and administered by the broad industry community in a collaborative, consistent and comprehensive fashion.

Second, the CfPA has committed to formulating and administering a “CfPA Professional Crowdfunding Certification” for individuals seeking to provide education or professional services to the Crowdfunding industry. We recognize and appreciate pioneering programs in this direction by the industry, and hope that these efforts will continue to offer high quality education in the field. The CfPA believes that impartial third-party certification will enhance the value of such education and the recognition that certified persons will enjoy. The CfPA launches this Professional Certification program with the following observations:

  • Professional certification is desired by many and is already being marketed as a credential of differentiated professional status and training, in order to allow program graduates “to assist businesses that need capital, and to lead training courses for others. … to confidently assist businesses and others in small business capital formation industry.” Certified professionals must be educated and take care to provide services concerning business, legal and financial issues without encroaching into professionally regulated practice domains. In addition, the unsatisfactory outcomes possible in or after Crowdfunding campaigns may expose educators or practitioners to legal challenge and potential liability. The CfPA believes that a recognized and collaborative not-for-profit association, setting educational standards and providing examination and certification for the industry as a whole, will be more secure from such risks and challenges than individuals or private entities that attempt to do so. 
  • In order to optimally serve consumers, the CfPA feels that Crowdfunding professionals should have broad knowledge and competence regarding all aspects of Crowdfunding, including but not limited to the legal and regulatory aspects of specific securities-based forms. Thus, fundraising and investment essentials and best practices, patterns of corporate development and communication, professional issues such as limitations, responsibilities and ethics, comparison and contrast of various forms of Crowdfunding, etc., all will be included in a comprehensive syllabus and examined for certification.

“CfPA Investor Education and Certification” and “CfPA Professional Crowdfunding Certification” are scheduled to be available starting January 1, 2015. Please contact the CfPA for more information, or if interested in participating in these important efforts for the industry as a whole.

The Crowdfunding Professional Association info@cfpa.org

www.cfpa.org

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Open Letter to the SEC

Dear fellow group members,

Below find my updated request. Thank you for your patience!

My name is Ron Miller and I am the CEO of StartEngine Crowdfunding Inc.

Over the past 2 months I have made it my personal mission to move the SEC to publish the Title III rules. I have conducted extensive interviews with staff of the SEC chair’s office, each of the SEC commissioners and members of the Division of Corporation Finance.

I have also initiated a nationwide letter writing campaign, enlisting platform CEOs, potential issuers and crowdfunding insiders to leverage momentum by writing individual letters to SEC, requesting they publish the final rules as soon as possible. So far 41 letters have been submitted and I expect upwards of 50 more in the coming weeks. My goal is to get over 100 supportive letters to Chair White in the next few weeks.

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There is a relatively strong consensus that additional support in the form of industry comments on the potential of the proposed rules is the best way to further the probability that the Title III rules will be published on or before the currently scheduled October 2014 meeting. The Title III rules are not perfect and while a few changes are needed, it is important that the SEC move forward.

Accordingly, I am asking you to support finalization of the Title III by submitting a formal comment letter to SEC.

Below please find the talking points specific to platform CEOs and issuers. I realize that you may not fall into one of these categories completely, but they should help you craft your letter.

  1. For Platform CEO’s:
    • Your Title III platform will operate under Title III
    • Costs to issuers are much lower than stated in the proposed rules
    • While you would like to encourage the SEC to incorporate industry comments gathered during the public comment period, finalizing the proposed rules are imperative and also a workable and necessary first step
  2. For Issuers:
  3. State that you are a small company/startup
  4. Describe what the company does
  5. Say you intend to initiate a crowdfunding campaign under the proposed Title III rules
  6. Describe how you plan to use proceeds to
  7. Build a company
  8. Employ x number of people within 12 months

Please submit your letter via the web link, http://www.sec.gov/cgi-bin/ruling-comments (Go to 2013 , Crowdfunding, file number S7-09-13) or email address, rule-comments@sec.gov

Thank you in advance for your support!

Regards,
Ron Miller
CEO, StartEngine Crowdfunding
ron@startengine.com

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Gust and El Observatorio Nacional Del Emprendedor (One) Announce Partnership to Support the Financing of Mexican Startups

September 4, 2014 – NEW YORK, NEW YORK and MEXICO CITY, MEXICOGust, the global platform for the sourcing and management of early-stage investments, and El Observatorio Nacional del Emprendedor (ONE), have entered into a long-term strategic partnership that gives the venture capital industry in Mexico access to Gust’s global deal flow management and collaboration platform, helping venture funds more easily identify and invest in talented entrepreneurs.

Established by El Instituto Nacional del Emprendedor (INADEM) and Asociación Crea México (CREA) to support Mexico’s burgeoning entrepreneurial community, ONE’s partnership with Gust makes it easier for early-stage investors to support skilled entrepreneurs and attract new ones to the early-stage investor ecosystem. Already, almost 2,000 entrepreneurs in Mexico actively use Gust to access funding. This partnership will bring increased and immediate access to venture funds, collaboration capabilities, and support to Mexico’s early-stage financing community.

The Gust platform is endorsed by the world’s leading business angel and venture capital associations. It powers over 1,000 investment organizations in 100+ countries, facilitating collaboration among more than 200,000 startups and 45,000 investors. Gust is the official platform of the world’s leading national angel investor federations, including those in the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Europe (EBAN and BAE), Ireland, Scotland, Spain, France, Portugal, Turkey and Russia, among others.

“ONE is a key driver in the creation of a successful startup ecosystem in Mexico, and we are thrilled to help contribute to the growth of the startup community and its early-stage investors” said David S. Rose, Founder and CEO of Gust. “Our strategic partnership will enable any entrepreneur and venture capital firm in Mexico to connect and manage the investment relationship, from initial pitch to successful exit.”

“We are very excited to partner with Gust and open the door for Mexico’s early-stage investors and entrepreneurs to a global ecosystem of opportunities,” said Giulliano Lopresti, President of ONE. “Entrepreneurs – the men and women behind micro, small, and medium businesses – are the backbone of our national economy. This partnership will further our objective to support entrepreneurs with increased and immediate access to the funds they need to grow their businesses and support their communities.”

About Gust

Gust provides the global platform for the sourcing and management of early-stage investments, enabling skilled entrepreneurs to collaborate with the smartest investors by virtually supporting all aspects of the investment relationship, from initial pitch to successful exit. Gust is endorsed by the world’s leading business angel and venture capital associations, and powers over 1,000 investment organizations in 100+ countries. More than 200,000 start-ups have already used the platform to connect and collaborate with over 45,000 individual investors. Gust is based in New York, NY, with a European office in London, UK. Please visit www.gust.com for more information.

About ONE

The Observatorio Nacional del Emprendedor (ONE, by its initials in Spanish) is an autonomous Mexican institution that monitors entrepreneurial activities, generates and disseminates information regarding entrepreneurial practices, and supports entrepreneurs and their entrepreneurial projects. ONE aims to be the reference institution for the information related to the entrepreneur ecosystem in Mexico, as a permanent, interdisciplinary and appropriate initiative on a specific domain of the economic development, with national and international knowledge. This will be accomplish through statistics information, generation and analysis; a catalogue of the government entrepreneurship programs; studies about the management and impact of these entrepreneurship programs; development of enterprise tools for the entrepreneurs and micro, small and medium sized enterprises; and finally, creating mechanisms of dissemination to advise the entrepreneurs, micro, small and medium sized enterprises about financial products, programs and non-financial resources.

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