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The best source for news and information about crowdfunding for good.

Crowdfunding for Social Good

Devin D. Thorpe

Devin Thorpe

Monthly Archives: May 2015

Rare Genomics Institute to Study Impact of Crowdfunding on Rare Diseases

Washington D.C., May 6, 2015 – Rare Genomics Institute (RG) today announced the Amplify Hope Initiative, a new study aimed at determining how crowdfunding can promote scientific research to help rare disease patients. RG is an international non-profit providing rare disease patients with access to state of the art genomics sequencing technology, connections to scientists and researchers, and help for payment of these services through grants, insurance, or crowdfunding.

“I am excited to see how crowdfunding will not only help raise much needed funds to uncover the cause of their child’s illness, but also how it can educate an entire community about this latest revolution in medicine,” said Jimmy Lin, MD, PhD, MHS, President of the Rare Genomics Institute.

Patients will be lead through different strategies and coached through different methods for crowdfunding. During the whole process, in addition to the funds raised, the study will track overall reach and scientific impact on their community. Anyone can donate and share these campaigns through social media to spread the word about the promise of genetic sequencing and raise money to help families affected by rare ailments. Participants and donors will be asked to complete surveys to enable RG to create additional resources, support and education tailored to rare disease patients and caregivers.

Rare Genomics is inviting patients, families, friends, industry partners and everyone to join in support of the Amplify Hope Initiative. Thanks to a generous grant from the Templeton Foundation, this project will measure the effectiveness of different crowdfunding strategies, the resulting scientific impact and community engagement. Scientific partners on this project include two life sciences technology leaders: Ambry Genetics and Baylor Miraca Genetics Laboratories. Crowdfunding partners include three leading pioneers: CrowdRise, Indiegogo Life and YouCaring. Communications software for the project is provided by xTeros.

For more information about the Amplify Hope Initiative and to apply, please visit http://amplifyhope.raregenomics.org/

About Rare Genomics Institute

Rare Genomics is an international 501(c) 3 non-profit that makes cutting edge research technologies of genome sequencing, physicians and scientists around the world accessible to rare disease patients. Rare Genomics helps families source, design and fund personalized research projects for diseases not otherwise studied helping rare disease patients find hope for a cure. By providing an expert network and an online crowdfunding mechanism Rare Genomics works alongside patients and their families, providing them with the necessary tools, knowledge, and connections so that they can better understand the cause of their disease.

For further information on Rare Genomics, please visit http://www.raregenomics.org.

Funding Circle Partners with the NSBA to Help Main St. Get Better Access to Growth Capital

— The partnership, unveiled during National Small Business Week, will provide NSBA’s 65,000 active members access to affordable loans and financial literacy tools —

SAN FRANCISCO (May 5, 2015) — From bolstering inventory levels to hiring more people, thousands more American small businesses will have better access to quality, affordable growth capital thanks to a new partnership between Funding Circle, the world’s leading marketplace for small business loans, and the National Small Business Association (NSBA).

Through the partnership, Funding Circle loans are now a key solution for NSBA members seeking capital from a marketplace lender to grow their businesses. NSBA members will also receive access to a range of financial education materials specifically tailored to their needs by Funding Circle’s business financing experts.

“At Funding Circle, we believe America’s 28 million small businesses deserve a better lending experience – successful and established business shouldn’t have to scramble to access affordable financing that is critical to growing their business,” said Sam Hodges, Funding Circle co-founder and U.S. managing director. “We’re thrilled to partner with the NSBA, the nation’s leading small business advocacy group, to help connect more entrepreneurs directly with the capital they need to grow, hire more people and ultimately stimulate their local economies.”

According to a recent report by the NSBA, one-third of small businesses in the U.S. said a lack of capital had affected their ability to grow or expand their operations.*

“Despite significant improvements in economic outlook, more small-business owners report a lack of financing is hindering their ability to finance increased sales or increase inventory to meet demand,” said Todd McCracken, NSBA president and CEO. “This is why NSBA is proud to partner with Funding Circle to offer our members another way to garner the quality, affordable financing they need.”

Through the Funding Circle marketplace, businesses looking to borrow up to $500,0000 are matched with accredited and institutional investors who want to lend. By bringing together industry leading risk management and cutting edge technology, Funding Circle’s proven marketplace model enables businesses to access financing in under 14 days compared to months with a bank.

About Funding Circle

Funding Circle (www.fundingcircle.com) is the world’s leading online marketplace for business loans, matching small businesses who want to borrow with investors who want to lend in the UK and the US. Since launching in 2010, investors at Funding Circle – including 40,000 individuals, financial institutions and even the UK Government – have now invested more than $1 billion in 8,000 businesses globally, and currently lend ~$80 million per month. Funding Circle has raised $273 million in equity capital from the same investors that backed Facebook, Twitter, Airbnb and Alibaba.

*NSBA, 2014 Year-End Economic Report (released February 2015)

Sharestates, LLC Announces $30MM Transformational Investment by Ranger Capital Group

GREAT NECK, N.Y., May 5, 2015 /PRNewswire/ — Sharestates, LLC (“Sharestates”) is thrilled to announce an investment by the Ranger Direct Lending Fund (“Ranger”), a pooled investment vehicle dedicated to direct lending investment. The Ranger Direct Lending Fund is advised by Ranger Alternative Management II, LP, a Ranger Capital Group affiliate. Ranger trades on the London Stock Exchange and recently completed a $200,000,000 public offering for investment in direct lending platforms. Sharestates and Ranger Capital Group have agreed to focus on debt offerings in New York State.

Sharestates and Ranger are seeking to deploy up to $30MM in commitments in fraction and whole loan deals through sharestates.com. Ranger is intending to invest in residential, commercial, and mixed-use properties in New York, scaling their investments throughout the remainder of the year.

“On behalf of all of the team members at Sharestates, I want to express our excitement and appreciation over Ranger’s investment. The opportunity allows Sharestates to further enhance and diversify its product offerings while continuing to expand its relationships within the real estate community. It is truly a transformational deal for Sharestates, and a relationship we trust will only grow over time,” Allen Shayanfekr, CEO at Sharestates, LLC.

“In our view, Sharestates is one of the most promising real estate platforms in the direct lending industry. Their on-boarding process was completely transparent and their management team was very easy to work with. We are excited to have them as a partner moving forward,” Bill Kassul, Partner in the Ranger Direct Lending Fund.

About Sharestates

Sharestates is an online investment platform that allows investors to participate in unique pre-vetted real estate projects. Sharestates sources and qualifies potential opportunities and offers securities to accredited investors through a transparent online platform. Sharestates is based in Great Neck, New York, founded by Allen Shayanfekr, Radni Davoodi, Raymond Y. Davoodi along with team members, Alex Egan, Wayne Geffen, Michael Ramin and Kevin Shane. To learn more about Sharestates, please visit https://www.sharestates.com

About Ranger Capital Group

Ranger Capital Group is an employee-owned holding company for registered investment advisors offering traditional and alternative investment opportunities to institutional and high net worth individual investors. Currently, Ranger affiliated investment advisers manage over $3 billion in assets.

Seed Equity Ventures Founder, Todd Crosland, Launches Venture Fund

  • Seed Equity Ventures Founder and CEO, Todd Crosland, launches a new venture seed fund targeting $10 million
  • The fund will benefit from the sourcing, vetting and due diligence process that is performed by the Seed Equity Ventures investment team
  • The fund’s affiliation with Seed Equity Ventures has yielded three investments, including its first U.K. based investment in Spatch, Inc. which came out of Techstars London

May 5, 2015Seed Equity Capital Partners, LLC, announced today that it is launching Seed Equity Venture Fund I, L.P. (the “fund”), a venture seed fund targeting $10 million to invest in early growth stage technology companies. The fund has made a filing with the SEC under Rule 506(c), which permits it to engage in public fundraising activities.

Investment opportunities for the fund are expected to be sourced primarily through Seed Equity Capital Partners’ affiliate Seed Equity Ventures, a registered broker dealer with the SEC and a member of FINRA and SIPC, that provides investment banking services to startups and growth companies around the world.

“Seed Equity Capital Partners and the fund are a natural extension of Seed Equity Ventures’ investment banking services,” said Todd Crosland, founder of both Seed Equity Capital Partners and Seed Equity Ventures. “We think the two businesses nicely complement each other. The fund will benefit from access to the global network of companies on the Seed Equity Ventures platform. The companies and investors on the Seed Equity Ventures platform will benefit from having the fund as a potential co-investor. The fund may also provide certain investors on the Seed Equity Ventures platform a means to more easily diversify their investment across the platform.”

The fund will focus on early and growth stage investments that meet the following investment criteria:

  • Technology companies with potentially disruptive business models
  • Early traction with either a growing user base or revenues
  • Experienced management teams with prior success

“The fund will target companies that are at the forefront of disruptive changes in the technology industry,” said Crosland. “We will be selective about which entrepreneurs and businesses we choose to invest in, and once we’ve made an investment we will work with the company’s management to help make the company a success.”

About Seed Equity Capital Partners

Seed Equity Capital Partners, LLC is a venture capital firm investing globally in early growth stage technology companies that are driving transformative change in their respective industries. Our mission is to find and fund successful and visionary entrepreneurs. To date, the fund has invested in three companies. For more information on Seed Equity Capital Partners, please visit www.seedequitypartners.com.

About Seed Equity Ventures

Seed Equity Ventures, LLC is a registered broker dealer with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and a member of FINRA and SIPC. The firm is authorized to engage in private placement of securities and M&A advisory services. Seed Equity Ventures was founded to provide growth equity to entrepreneurs and their startups in exciting industries throughout the world. Seed Equity Ventures’ mission is to help find the best and brightest entrepreneurs and connect them with global institutional and individual investors. The Seed Equity Ventures platform includes investors and entrepreneurs from over 90 countries around the world.

Follow Seed Equity Ventures on:

About FINRA and SIPC

For more information about FINRA, please visit www.finra.org.
For more information about SIPC, please visit www.sipc.com.

Endless Reinvents Computer; Targets Developing Countries

Recently, I came across a Kickstarter campaign for the Endless computer and it really got me excited. While I often back Kickstarter campaigns, this was the first time I did so just to get in touch with the founders so I could talk to them on my show!

Matt Dalio is the genius behind Endless. He explains the company mission this way, “Ask a person in the developed world whether people in emerging markets want computers, and their guess will often ‘why would they need it?’ Then ask someone in the developing world whether they want a computer and they will tell you ‘of course I want a computer!’ People who can’t afford today’s computers want the same things we do, they just want it to be made for them. Currently, that’s not an option, and that’s where Endless comes in.”

“To have truly scalable impact, we need a scalable business model. The sort of scale that one can achieve is much harder as a non-profit. To use a crude measure of impact, to raise a million dollars as a non-profit is hard and to raise a hundred million dollars is virtually impossible,” he continues. “However, if one can generate a profitable return on investment, those resources are readily available. Most importantly, if people can buy the devices, you can reach a whole lot more people than if you have to donate them.”

Matt concludes, “While the market for technology in emerging markets is competitive, Endless has opted to work from a bottom up approach as opposed to the more common approach of trickle down technology. We built an operating system and a device that is designed specifically for our target market so they won’t have to adapt. While there are good desktop computers for the developed world, there is currently not a viable desktop solution for a user in an emerging market. Hence, the fact that 4.4 billion people can’t afford a computer. We hope to solve that.”

On Wednesday, May 6, 2015 at 3:00 Eastern, Matt will join me for a live discussion about his remarkable new computer, the Kickstarter campaign and the team that is building it. Tune in here then to watch the interview live. Tweet questions in advance to @devindthorpe.

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

 

More about Endless:

Endless was founded in 2012 with a single mission: to provide access to affordable personal computers to people in the developing world. The flagship product is called Endless, a fully functional desktop computer and operating system designed for emerging markets. Just over two billion people have computers. Nearly five billion can’t afford one. With the plummeting cost of faster microprocessors, the next billion people will soon be able to afford high quality, powerful and affordable technology. This allows the opportunity to change lives at a scale never before possible. Education, health, livelihood: these are the things that digital access means to people in China, India, Brazil, Indonesia, and so many other parts of the globe. Endless’ mission is far from over; it is just getting started. We have offices in San Francisco, Rio de Janeiro and Guatemala with people on the ground in Jordan, the UAE, and India.

Matt Dalio, Endless

Matt Dalio, Endless

Matt’s Bio:

Matt Dalio is the CEO and Chief of Product of Endless Mobile, a company that is developing a platform to give computing to the next billion people in emerging markets. Endless is built upon the simple premise that smartphones have made computing affordable to the next swath of the world’s population. They are simply missing the software to make those devices truly powerful to their needs. Endless is developing a solution to that problem.

After living in China for a year as a child, at the age of 16 Matt founded the China Care Foundation, a non-profit dedicated to giving orphaned children a brighter future. China Care has raised over $15 million to provide surgery for over 1,200 special needs children, and has provided financial aid grants and foster placements to children in need. China Care also supports over 60 high school and college clubs where thousands of students have been able to run community service programs, fundraise, and volunteer at the China Care Children’s Home in Beijing, China. Matt was honored as one of Oprah Winfrey’s “People Changing the Lives of Children Around the World”, was one of Teen People’s “20 Teens Who Will Change the World”, and is the youngest recipient of the Fulbright Award for furthering peace and international understanding.

In founding China Care, Matt fell in love with the process of building organizations of consequence. After graduating from Harvard in 2006, Matt launched The Issue, an online media venture aimed at curating the best of the blogosphere. After merging The Issue into PBS’s world news program, Matt joined Harbor Point, one of the east coast’s largest urban renewal projects to revitalize the waterfront of Stamford, Connecticut. During his time there, Matt was involved in every aspect of the development including financing, leasing, construction, and marketing. Matt currently holds positions on the boards of both China Care Foundation and Half The Sky Foundation, is a Harvard ‘06 graduate, and is an adoring alumnus of the Stanford Graduate School of Business (’12).

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Devin D. Thorpe

New Book Series Helps Children Understand Taboo Issues

Los Angeles student creates social justice books for children ages 3-7, focused on issues such as homelessness and gender equality

Los Angeles, CA: Introducing complex social justice issues to children may seem taboo or even scary for some parents. Issues such as homelessness, gender equality, and environmental injustice surround families everywhere, yet why aren’t enough children’s books providing content to help educate young children about these social justice issues? Delta Books is a social justice themed book series that helps fill this need. The mission of Delta Books is to promote awareness for social justice issues around the world, with a goal to ensure that all children are well educated and inspired to create social change.

Our first book, Tommy the Dinosaur and the Invisible Walrus

Our first book, Tommy the Dinosaur and the Invisible Walrus

21-year-old John Ruffaine created Delta Books in the fall of 2014 while studying at Loyola Marymount University, to solve a problem he saw within his early childhood. “Growing up I never truly knew of the many issues affecting my own community. It wasn’t until I was much older that I began to learn about these issues and choose to take action. Looking back, I realize that there was so much more I could have accomplished”. John’s hope is that children will be inspired to take action after reading about the many issues Tommy encounters in his stories.

Tommy the Dinosaur is the lovable & caring animated character in the Delta Books series. In each book, Tommy is introduced to various social justice issues through his fun journeys. For example, in the first book, Tommy the Dinosaur and the Invisible Walrus, Tommy learns about homelessness and is inspired to make a difference. While children find the characters funny and playful, these stories teach powerful concepts in an approachable way. Consequently, reading about Tommy’s encounters has the potential to inspire children to learn more about similar issues and take action in their own communities. The ultimate vision of Delta Books is a world where parents and children are aware of social injustices and inspired to take action.

John reading to a group of students at Dolores Mission Elementary

John reading to a group of students at Dolores Mission Elementary

Delta Books is currently runnings its first Kickstarter campaign. They are hoping to raise $5,000 in just 30 days. If you would like to join them in their mission and vision for creating a better world, please support today!

ABOUT DELTA BOOKS:

Delta Books is a children’s book series created for children ages 3-7. Parents, schools, and families everywhere can utilize Tommy’s lovable character to introduce their children to complex, yet important social justice issues, in a simple & understandable way. Founded in 2014, Delta Books aims to launch its first book series by May 2015 online & in retailers. For more information, visit our Tommy the Dinosaur Facebook Page (https://www.facebook.com/tommythedino?ref=aymt_homepage_panel) and our Kickstarter campaign (https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1840286425/delta-books-inspiring-kids-to-change-the-world).

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