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Monthly Archives: March 2015

Kickstarter Meets Sharktank: New Platform Changes Perceptions About Supporting Millennial Startups

GenYrator is the First Mission-Driven Equity Crowdfunding Platform That Combines Real Returns with Real Impact by Investing in the Next Generation of Entrepreneurs

Los Angeles, CA – GenYrator, a millennial focused and founded equity crowdfunding platform, has launched its private beta concentrating initially on startups from USC, the alma mater of co-founders Sean Nasiri and Jay Roth. The GenYrator platform looks for emerging generation-y founded businesses with revenue that are not quite ready for institutional investors, and encourages regular people to get involved to fill that gap.

The company is currently being advised by notable figures from both the startup and USC communities. Current advisors include famous venture capitalist and USC Trustee Mark Stevens, former Managing Partner at Sequoia Capital, as well as Alex Cappello, former President of the USC Alumni Association Board of Governors who also served as the only two-time international chairman of YPO. Other notable advisors include Rob Ukropina, former CEO of Overnite Express, who also served on USC Board of Governors, and Ryan Meyers, Managing Director of General Assembly LA and former CEO of AlumniFunder.

GenYrator has recently achieved proof of concept by helping two companies close their recent rounds. First is wearable technology startup, Loopd, with noteworthy lead investors Tim Draper and Marc Benioff, which closed out its $1M seed round. Second is triple bottom line Hawaiian water bottle company, Waiakea, which closed out its $1.6M dollar Series-A. GenYrator has since opened up its platform to all, but still requires a private beta access code to view deals. It is currently featuring a selection of promising USC-founded companies in “preview mode,” with more being added over the next couple of months.

“The problem GenYrator is solving,” explains Nasiri, “is that too many good millennial founded startups end prematurely or stagnate because they lack the support they need to grow.” In the entire United States, there are only around 260,000 active angel investors, contributing roughly $20 billion dollars annually . “Your average twenty year old simply has not been around long enough to build out a network of experienced individuals who can provide capital and guidance.” GenYrator aims to take crowdfunding into the mainstream and increase the number of active accredited investors. By taking targeting local communities and affinity groups, GenYrator makes the investment process personal and encourages regular people to participate.

Millennials now have the largest presence in the workforce , but according to the Huffington Post, they are facing the worst job market in more than twenty years . “We are starting businesses out of necessity. There are just not enough opportunities out there for people our age, and we need the support of all generations to create more jobsand grow the economy,” Nasiri explains.

While GenYrator is currently focused on startups from USC, it plans to grow beyond just a university platform. “The long-term vision of GenYrator is to establish itself as the premier destination for the next generation of entrepreneurs and leaders,” says Nasiri. “I think people from all different backgrounds will be pleasantly surprised by the value and impact they are able to provide a young startup.”

To get involved, please sign up at www.GenYrator.com.

About GenYrator: True Angel Investing

Founded with the mission to generate a more prosperous future through supporting entrepreneurship, GenYrator is the online platform that brings the benefits of the Silicon Valley ecosystem to the mainstream. GenYrator’s online community enables all interested parties, provided they are accredited in accordance with current regulatory guidelines, to directly participate in promising millennial founded businesses. Beyond simply crowdfunding, members and other supporters can lend guidance and mentorship. Please visit GenYrator.com for more information.

Teen Creates Business To Make Donations To Charity Fun And Easy

Emma Moonwood, the teenage founder of Navivi, has created a fun way to raise money for nonprofits and is raising money on Indiegogo. Recently, I caught up with Emma to learn more about the effort; here’s what she told me:

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

I want to change the selfie ME population into a smart WE generation. A generation that is aware that they are valuable. Not only on the internet – via their data, word-of-mouth, likes and shares… – but also to the world.

Therefore, I have invented a system that can change the world click by click.

A system that will convert your WORD-of-mouth into WORTH-of-mouth thanks to my moneymaking EMOJIS. Emojis that will make money for you, but most importantly for your favorite social causes by monetizing the power of your word-of-mouth.

emma

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

I am hoping to raise at least $150,000. This amount will be enough to bring on the strongest first team members who are qualified to help me develop my first prototype and bring it to the next level. These are specific kinds of people with specific talents.

So far I have only raised $4,400 in my own network. But…I have been in conversations with many people in the business world who see this as an investment opportunity. But I do not see it that way. I want this to start with ALL STREET before it becomes WALL STREET.

Watch a video here.

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

The power of my solution is that the possibilities are endless as to who it can help. I do not have one single charity or foundation in mind. Instead, my solution empowers EVERYONE to feel valuable because they will all play a part in the greater good and each have a say in choosing the good cause that means something to them.

Just imagine if 1 million, 10 million, 100 million people start paying forward a small % of their WORTH-OF-MOUTH every day.

How many charities could be helped?
How many foundations could be empowered?
How many talented people, entrepreneurs, universities and research centers could speed up their solutions to solve global issues, or even rare diseases that aren’t profitable enough in the pharmaceutical world?

But equally important: this will teach all kids – the next generation – right from their first internet steps how valuable their content & data is in the trillion dollar internet business, and how they can add purpose to their lives right from the start. Because they are worth it.

Check out the campaign:

Visit the website.
Follow on Facebook.
Follow on Twitter at @emmamoonwood

Entrepreneur Creates Board Game To Spur Discussions About Important Issues

Taylor Walker, co-founder of Earth Encounters, has created a game intended to spark meaningful discussions about real problems and is raising money on Kickstarter. Recently, I caught up with Taylor to learn more about the effort; here’s what he told me:

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

We created a platform to promote meaning conversation on important issues that impact communities across our nation. Too often issues that impact us are briefly featured in the media only to be replaced by the next news cycle when a further attention to that issue could generate important actions at the community level where the most good can be done.

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

We are at 37% of our first target of $15,000. This was accomplished in the first five days of a 30 day campaign. We have several levels of funding goals. Level one simply defers some of the costs to create molds and custom game pieces. Because ours is not a copy of any prior game everything we do is a first time project. We have different quality standards at every step.

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

A better question would be whom are we not trying to help. We say that because anyone, starting around sixteen and older, will surely learn something they did not know before playing Earth Encounters.What they learn will not be trivia, rather something that will help them as they go forward in life. It might seem simple but challenge the next person you meet to describe the difference in symptoms for heart attacks for men and women. Keep a record of the number of correct answers you get. Not knowing the answer could cost a life. Our goal is to save that life through having fun playing a game.

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

Our rewards are many from limited edition prints of graphics created for the kickstarter, a calendar, custom game pieces, Earth Encounters games, participation in developing game cards, and lunch.

Check out the campaign:

Visit the website.
Follow on Facebook.
Follow on Twitter at @EarthEncounters

Island Community Fight to Save Endangered ‘Arran Whitebeam’ Tree

A community group on the Scottish island of Arran is inviting members of the public to help them plant up to 200 Arran Whitebeam saplings, significantly increasing the numbers of the critically endangered tree.

Arran Community Land Initiative (ACLI) bought 80 acres of disused farmland in Whiting Bay on the Isle of Arran in December 2014 with a grant from the Scottish Land Fund. They are now raising funds through an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign to deliver a range of community and conservation projects, including an effort to save the Arran Whitebeam tree. Members of the public can receive a personalised certificate, and have an Arran Whitebeam tree planted in their name, in return for a donation of £40.

Since 1869 when they were first mentioned in journals, the three species of Whitebeam tree growing on the Isle of Arran have fascinated nature conservationists and tree lovers. The tree is a mix of the Rock Whitebeam and the Rowan, and boasts pretty leaves with a soft, white underside, white blossoms in the spring, and orange berries in the autumn.

They are considered close to extinction by the World Wildlife Fund and Arran is the only place in the world where they are found growing naturally. Although they have been studied and protected sporadically by various environmental organisations, including the Nature Conservancy Council who ran a reserve around them in Glen Diomhan from 1973­1991, there are far fewer left than in the 1950s. Deer prefer nibbling them to almost any other native tree, and sheep have been known to die for them: the trees that are left mainly live precariously between 100 and 300 feet up on craggy steep­ sided rocks.

Henry Murdo of Corriegills on Arran is working with ACLI to plant the trees on the land acquired by the community group above the coastal village of Whiting Bay. He says:

“The Arran Whitebeam has been around since the ice age and is one of the rarest trees in the world, but it could die out in my lifetime.”

I’m very keen on the land being community owned ­ that way the species can be protected.”

Murdo goes on to praise the work of ACLI in helping protect the species:

“I’m very keen on the land being community ­owned. That way the trees will be protected, and I’ll be part of that.”

To significantly increase species numbers and have an endangered Arran Whitebeam tree planted in your name, visit: http://igg.me/at/arranland

For more information visit: www.arranland.org

Teenage Humanitarian Needs Your Help

Akbar Khan, the teenage founder of Bags to Riches, an organization that collects conference bags and distributes them to those in need, is raising money on Indiegogo. Recently, I caught up with Akbar to learn more about the effort; here’s what he told me:

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

You know those old conference bags you have sitting around at your house? We collect those and give them to underprivileged schoolchildren around the world.

Thousands of conferences happen every year where attendees receive quality conference bags that typically go unused after events. At the same time, many schoolchildren don’t have a quality bag to hold their stuff in. Bags to Riches bridges the gap between these problems.

bags_to_riches

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

Shipping is rather expensive and a lack of funds is the only thing keeping us from scaling up. Bags to Riches has the potential to prevent hundreds of thousands of bags from being wasted. And in doing so, we would promote the educational goals of kids around the globe. We launched our Campaign on March 10, 2015 and have raised $500 of our $5000 goal within 24 hours.

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

Our partnerships with event centers and conferences allow us to set up donation boxes at events, where attendees have the option to donate their bags. We also offer a pickup program for conferences that have excess bags. We donate the collected bags to the developing world through our parter charities. To date, 14,000 bags have been donated to schoolchildren across the world—from Peru to Gambia to Salt Lake City.Everyone! This book will serve as a kind of Chicken Soup for the Soul for anyone who needs or wants inspiration in their lives.

2015 Bags to Riches Video from Akbar Khan on Vimeo.

Check out the campaign:

Visit the website.
Follow on Facebook.
Follow on Twitter at @Bags_to_Riches

Low Cost Media Outreach Service for Crowdfunders

Krowdster Releases Low Cost Media Outreach Service for Crowdfunders

Crowdfunders using Krowdster can now leverage media outreach to connect with journalists and bloggers relevant to their project

The world’s first crowdfunding analytics, research and supporter discovery tool, Krowdster has announced the launch of a low cost media outreach service for crowdfunding entrepreneurs.

Designed around Krowdster’s big data approach, the new outreach option is a high quality yet affordable media promotion service. It allows those running crowdfunding projects to connect with journalists and bloggers in their niche. With over 500 journalists and dozens of authority publications including Mashable, the New York Times, USA Today, Wired, TechCrunch, Bloomberg and Entrepreneur, Krowdster’s media outreach covers a dozen industry specific categories. Each category is aligned with common crowdfunding project themes, such as the arts, education, health, technology and games.

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The media outreach service is included free of charge for Krowdster premium members who can use it once per month to reach 500+ journalists and bloggers in their crowdfunding category.

Josef Holm, Krowdster founder said, “The ability to connect with key media influencers is an increasingly important component of a crowdfunding campaign. It can elevate a project above the white noise created by thousands of other campaigns, helping to secure vital media coverage and raise awareness amongst the general public. Our new media outreach module has been in development for some time. We’re delighted to now be rolling out to our users and are confident this will be a hugely popular addition to existing Krowdster capabilities.”

Launched three months ago, Krowdster is already used by over 3500 entrepreneurs seeking evidence based help with their crowdfunding campaigns. Powered by big data, machine learning and predictive analytics, Krowdster is a cloud-based app that takes the guess work out of decision making, campaign creation and supporter engagement on Kickstarter, Indiegogo, Tubestart, Rockethub and Pozible.

It has the world’s largest database of crowdfunding supporters. Krowdster’s crowd builder module makes it easy for project managers to identify and engage with people who have supported a similar campaign in the past. The power of Krowdster gives anyone with a budding project immediate access to professional crowdfunding research, optimization tips and supporter list building. Its insight covers core success metrics with platform, category, campaign, rewards, creator and supporter analytics. The new media outreach module is a logical addition to this functionality, helping campaign owners connect not just with supporters, but with journalists, bloggers and premium news titles to further progress campaign goals.

A Premium Account on Krowdster is $49 per 30 days and includes one media outreach.

To find out more visit https://www.krowdster.co/media-outreach

Flow Hive Campaign Sets New Indiegogo Funding Record

Innovative Beekeeping System Raises Over $5 Million

Indiegogo, the world’s largest online funding platform, announces the Australia-based Flow Hive campaign has set a new record for the most funds ever raised on the platform — $5.2 million (https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/flow-hive-honey-on-tap-directly-from-your-beehive). Flow Hive also set a record for the most funds raised in a 24 hour period with $2.18 million.

Flow Hive achieved its funding goal in a staggering 477 seconds and has received more than 12,000 contributions.

Launched by a father and son team, Flow Hive is raising money to produce their revolutionary beekeeping system that makes harvesting honey as easy as turning a tap. Over the course of the last 10 years, Cedar and Stewart Anderson developed their Flow™ design in an effort to make harvesting honey easier. The duo are leveraging Indiegogo’s global reach to bring their technology directly to potential customers around the world.

The previous Indiegogo record for funds raised was held by Code.org’s Hour of Code campaign. Flow Hive is the 10th multimillion dollar Indiegogo campaign over the past year – spanning a wide variety of categories including nonprofit, film, small business, tech innovation and the environment:

The Flow Hive campaign is just one example of how entrepreneurs around the world are turning to Indiegogo’s open and global platform to bring their ideas to life. Indiegogo operates in 224 countries and territories, in four languages (English, French, German and Spanish) and five currencies (USD, CAD, AUD, GBP, EUR). With 30% of its campaigns located outside of the United States, Indiegogo is helping campaign owners around the world create and innovate.

Good Citizen Authors Book, Seeks Crowdfunding

Brad Jamison is the founder of Good Citizen and the author of Soul Serving. He is raising money on Kickstarter. Recently, I caught up with Brad to learn more about the effort; here’s what he told me:

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

This beautiful book will take readers on an inspirational journey into the life-changing benefits of serving others. Think Chicken Soup for the Soul, but with stories focused on how serving others impacted their lives.

These are my firsthand accounts, as well as the personal stories of some 40+ other people of various ages and walks of life — celebrities, business executives, nonprofit leaders and everyday good citizens. Whether you are a consummate volunteer or thinking of starting, young or old, male or female, gay or straight, you are bound to find a story that resonates and inspires you.

I am a firm believer that the secret to improving one’s own life lies in offering oneself to others. Of course, the benefits don’t stop there, as service impacts those directly involved, but also the world at large—making service the ultimate win-win and Soul Serving the ultimate inspiration.

Brad Jamison

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

Hoping to raise $24,600
20% = Book Development
20% = Book Production
40% = Marketing & Promotion
10% = Estimated Backer Reward Costs
2% = Kickstarter Video Development
8% = Kickstarter Fees

Have raised close to $6,000 so far.

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

Everyone! This book will serve as a kind of Chicken Soup for the Soul for anyone who needs or wants inspiration in their lives.

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

There are several different tiers, described on the Kickstarter page itself: www.bit.ly/SoulServing.

Check out the campaign:
Visit the website.
Follow on Facebook.
Follow on Twitter at @GoodCitizenBrad

What Not To Wear Star Seeks To Help Girls Have Better Body Images

Alicia Richmond is partnering with Clinton Kelly of What Not to Wear to help girls improve their body image and to help them avoid life-changing mistakes. She is raising money here. Recently, I caught up with Alicia to learn more about the effort; here’s what he told me:

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

PROBLEM:

  • 53% of 13-year-old girls are unhappy with their bodies.
  • 78% of 17-year-old girls are unhappy with their bodies.

CONSEQUENCE:

Teenage girls looking for outside validation of their body make stupid decisions, sometimes with life altering implications.

OUR GOAL:

To foster a generation of young women who are more accepting of their perceived “imperfections” and love themselves as they are.

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

We’re raising funds to carry out a four-prong awareness campaign:

  • Traditional media (TV, radio, print) and digital outlets
  • Pinterest (majority of users are women)
  • Bloggers (very loyal fan base)
  • Celebrity vignettes

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

You can tell a girl she needs to have more self-esteem and give her tools and pep talks, but a young woman (daughter) is much more likely to develop a healthy body image if she can model the attitude and behavior of a woman (her mother) who portrays a positive body image herself.

Check out the campaign:
Visit the website.

Online Direct Lender Dealstruck Launches Inventory Line of Credit

First provider to offer multiple lines of credit now accommodates businesses in need of cash to purchase inventory

San Diego, Calif. – March 4, 2015 – Online direct lender Dealstruck, Inc. today announced the launch of its newest financing product, the Inventory Line of Credit (ILC). Designed to meet the needs of growing, profitable businesses with recurring needs to purchase inventory – wholesalers, distributors, retailers, resellers and more – Dealstruck’s ILC solves a key pain point for the millions of small businesses whose successful operation relies on ready and affordable access to inventory.

This new credit product enhances Dealstruck’s existing product suite, which includes a term loan and asset-based line of credit, and makes Dealstruck the first online marketplace lender to offer multiple line-of-credit products.

The recurring need to purchase inventory requires a significant cash outlay from purchasing businesses, which subsequently must hold that inventory until it sells. With significant cash locked up in inventory, a lack of proper financing can be critically restrictive for new or growing companies. Dealstruck’s ILC fits small businesses with all types of inventory needs, whether regular or seasonal.

“After lending $35 million to hundreds of small businesses nationwide over the last year, we are excited to expand our lending options with our Inventory Line of Credit,” said Ethan Senturia, Dealstruck co-founder and CEO. “Dealstruck is committed to providing capital to growth businesses in a way that’s fast, fair and transparent. Our ILC is just one more tool we’re able to offer to meet the unique needs of small companies that could not otherwise secure capital from traditional lenders.”

The ILC process is straightforward: Once a borrower provides a purchase order for inventory, Dealstruck directly pays the inventory vendor. The vendor ships inventory to the borrower, and, as inventory is sold, the borrower pays back each advance on the credit line in weekly installments over 13-26 weeks, including an interest-only period to allow the inventory to be delivered. Credit lines from $50,000-250,000 are available immediately, subject to credit approval.

Dealstruck customer The Orchid Boutique, a Miami swimwear retailer, originally sought a $250,000 term loan from Dealstruck to build out its operation and purchase inventory. Learning that the retailer’s inventory needs were seasonal, Dealstruck recommended a revolving financing product and provided The Orchid Boutique with a $120,000 ILC to prepare the store for the vacation season, when its inventory needs increased.

“I originally financed my inventory purchases with merchant cash advances (MCA) or daily debit loans, but these were far too expensive,” said Ivan Rincon, co-founder and CEO of The Orchid Boutique. “The Dealstruck ILC saved my company thousands of dollars in interest, given that we could pay it back as we sold inventory without any additional fees or penalties. Thanks to the ILC, we’re able to buy more inventory, which has increased sales and helped to grow our business during our critical sales period.”

Dealstruck’s ILC joins the company’s term loan, revenue-secured term loan and asset-based line of credit products. In 2015, the company projects it will provide more than $100 million in new loans to hundreds of businesses nationwide.

About Dealstruck

The Dealstruck lending marketplace connects profitable, small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) with innovative credit solutions. Unlike the one-size-fits-all approach offered to them by banks and the high-cost, short-term credit offered to them by alternative lenders, Dealstruck provides growing SMBs with a suite of products that give them a credible and transparent path to bankable. Dealstruck is the first online lending platform to offer multiple products to SMBs, and the first to allow investors the freedom to choose specific investments. For more information, please visit https://www.dealstruck.com/.

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