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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: June 2015

Classy Partners with Leading Technology Investor Mithril to Power the Next Generation of Social Impact Organizations

The world’s fastest growing online and mobile fundraising platform for nonprofits & social enterprises raises growth round, adds key advisors and welcomes former Redfin CTO Michael Young as Chief Technology Officer

SAN DIEGO, Calif – June 30, 2015Classy, the leading cloud-based fundraising platform that helps nonprofits and social enterprises mobilize and empower communities, today announced several major milestones, including an $18M growth round of funding led by Mithril Capital Management, the leading technology growth capital firm founded Ajay Royan & Peter Thiel. The financing will allow the company to expand its product and bring its platform to even more organizations around the world. Michael Young, the former Chief Technology Officer at Redfin and Plumtree, is also joining Classy as its first CTO.

“Generational and technological shifts are changing the way social impact organizations attract and engage with supporters faster than ever,” said Scot Chisholm, CEO and co-founder of Classy. “Eighty million millennials will make up more than 50% of the workforce in less than five years and their overwhelming preference is to engage online and through mobile. Still, only 10% of the $360 billion that nonprofits raised in the United States last year was raised online; but this is about to change in a big way. Classy enables social impact organizations to make that technology transition, tap into this tremendous opportunity and alleviate a lot of their financial and operational burdens so they can concentrate on what’s most important – solving the world’s social problems.”

Mithril led Classy’s growth round, with investors Salesforce Ventures, Bullpen Capital, Venture51, Galileo Partners and Rethink Impact also contributing. $2M of the $18M round has been reserved for certain strategic investors.

“Millions of lives are saved, improved or enlightened by passionate people who devote their careers to creatively advancing a vital cause,” said Ajay Royan, co-founder and managing general partner of Mithril. “Simple and elegant tools can combine the resources of doers with the resources of donors to create exponential social impact. That is why the most talented social entrepreneurs, from SamaSource to Team Rubicon, from Special Olympics to Heifer International, are all fueling their missions on Classy.”

With the trend from offline fundraising to online fundraising only accelerating, Classy has seen massive demand from social impact organizations around the world:

  • Classy is now working with over 1,500 of the world’s top nonprofits and social enterprises including Oxfam, National Geographic, Heifer International and Team Rubicon.
  • Organizations using Classy grow their own fundraising on average by 225% year-over-year and are 330% more efficient in their fundraising efforts.
  • Classy’s business is on pace to grow 3.5x in 2015 with momentum accelerating in all areas of the United States; 77% of new customers in Q2 were from outside of California.

“The Classy platform has transformed the way that people around the world support Team Rubicon veterans as we respond to natural disasters like Hurricane Sandy or the recent earthquake in Nepal,” said Jake Wood, CEO & Co-founder of Team Rubicon. “The Classy toolset makes it very easy for us to get a campaign up and running in minutes and mobilize our supporter base. Because of that, our fundraising has grown 2,000% since our first year using Classy.”

The company is also attracting some of the most respected names in the technology and nonprofit sectors to help it continue to grow and serve more organizations:

  • Michael Young, former CTO at Redfin and Chief Architect at Plumtree Software, has joined Classy as its first Chief Technology Officer.
  • Suzanne DiBianca, president and co-founder of the Salesforce Foundation, joins Classy’s advisory board.
  • Scott Harrison, CEO & founder at charity:water has also joined Classy’s advisory board.

Led by its new CTO Michael Young, Classy will use the funding to triple its engineering team and accelerate its product roadmap to meet growing demand. Michael brings to Classy a long history as an engineering leader at highly successful startups, including Redfin and Plumtree Software. Michael quickly recognized the importance of Classy’s mission, noting that “social enterprises and nonprofits have been underserved from a technology perspective for far too long. Classy’s technology platform and feature set, in contrast, has allowed its customers to mobilize communities in ways that were not possible before. I am proud and excited to join a team that is helping organizations scale their impact, and I look forward to using my past experience to take Classy’s technology platform to the next level.”

“At the Salesforce Foundation, we are passionate about using technology to change the world,” said Suzanne DiBianca, president and co-founder, Salesforce Foundation. “Classy is another amazing example of the powerful impact that technology can have, and I’m thrilled to be joining the Classy advisory board.”

Closing the Wealth Gap through Real Estate Crowdfunding

This is a guest post from Scott Picken , CEO and founder of Wealth Migrate

From spurring innovation to building knowledge on increasing personal wealth, there’s no denying that crowdfunding platforms have had a significant and positive impact on the economy. Prior to the advent of crowdfunding, most people lacked the resources to participate in established investment markets which only contributed to the cyclical nature of income inequality. In fact, the stark disparity between the “haves” and the “have-nots” was the number one global risk according to the World Economic Forum 2014 meeting in Davos Switzerland.

  • The top 1 percent of the world’s population owns 46 percent of all global assets.
  • The top 85 wealthiest people on the planet have the same wealth as the bottom 3.5 billion put together.

Though 49 percent of the world’s wealth is held in real estate, only 12.9 percent of the world’s population can actually tap into the real estate market. The majority of the world’s overall wealth is created through capital gains and appreciating assets like real estate, but the middle class has been historically shut out of these opportunities due to lacking the adequate funds or information. Clearly, it was only a matter of time before alternative investing routes for the masses, like crowdfunding, were invented.

Once the only path to economic growth, traditional investing is quickly being replaced in the digital age with new platforms entering the market weekly. Through the use of crowdfunding portals on their mobile phones, the majority of the population can now invest in quality opportunities that had been strictly exclusive to the top 1 percent of wealthy individuals in the past. They’re also helping many different industries overcome challenges by cutting out the middleman and reducing costs. And in doing so, platforms have democratized access to wealth by opening the doors for lower-income investors from across the world.

Scott Picken

Scott Picken

In fact, combatting financial disparity was the core cause that initially inspired many entrepreneurs to get involved in crowdfunding. For example, the real estate crowdfunding platform, Wealth Migrate, strives to achieve their “Wealth Movement” mission to empower a billion people with the wealth effect of real estate by 2020. Platforms are also fueling the entrepreneurial spirits of those who were previously barred from raising the investor capital to grow their inventions.

Elon Musk, the CEO of the renowned auto company Tesla, is an example of an entrepreneur who has positively impacted our society, thanks to non-traditional investing methods. Musk, who grew up in my home country of South Africa, is a disruptive innovator for the betterment of society, and is revered in industries like transportation, space and energy.

Richard Branson is another example of someone who has overcome obstacles to grow his personal wealth. He has over 400 companies in different sectors where he has purposely disrupted the markets in an attempt to provide better solutions to current problems. I have had the opportunity to spend some time with Branson, and learned first-hand that it is his “screw it, let’s do it,” attitude that has led to successes such as creating eight separate billion-dollar companies in different sectors. Richard envisions what the top of the mountain looks like, and then he focuses on nothing but getting there.

No amount of objections, “no’s” or obstacles stop entrepreneurs like Branson or Musk from impacting society and investing in their future. It is this kind of attitude that crowdfunding can now inspire for lower and middle income investors. And crowdfunding has begun to allow lower and middle income households the opportunity to invest in innovative concepts similar to those ideated by billionaires like Branson and Musk.

Like many entrepreneurs, those who lack capital but need it the most are often the ones who have the greatest potential to better our world. But with its ability to close the ever-increasing wealth gap, crowdfunding’s effects on our economy could reach further than we ever imagined.

Scott Picken is the CEO and founder of Wealth Migrate, the premier global real estate investment marketplace. A technologist at heart, Scott married his lifelong passion for IT with his 16 years of international real estate investment experience to actualize the dream of Wealth Migrate as a crowdfunding platform. Wealth Migrate’s leadership team has been a part of $1.34 billion in real estate transactions worldwide.

Portugal Ventures Invests In New Tech-Based Start-Ups

boomApp, Easy Easy Apps, eSolidar and Possible Answer are the new Portuguese start-ups selected for investment by Portugal Ventures as a result of their submissions to the Call For Entrepreneurship. Through the various editions of the Call For Entrepreneurship, Portugal Ventures has already invested in more than 50 start-ups with the ambition to become global businesses of excellence. The 12th edition of the Call opens 27th July.

boomApp is a mobile App based on a unique video and image recognition technology. It can be described as the “Shazam for videos and images”. Anything that’s in your database is detectable, enabling it to go from offline to online with a simple photograph. CTO of boomApp Nuno Moutinho says that “developing this technology has been an exhilarating and challenging experience”. The short-term objective is to “develop new features for the boomApp and we hope to launch in the USA by the end of the 3rd Quarter”, states CEO of boomApp, João da Maia Jorge.

Easy Easy Apps’ mission is to facilitate the development of new mobile apps. Easy Easy Apps is a do-it-yourself platform that allows anyone to develop apps for Android, iOS and Web without programming, or even needing to install any kind of software. The project started in 2013 focused on Brazil because of its market potential and growth in the online and mobile worlds. Currently, Easy Easy Apps is helping thousands of SMEs, digital agencies, brands and entrepreneurs to establish themselves in the mobile world, and aims to be the platform of reference in Latin America in the coming year. “Easy Easy Apps was created to allow anyone to develop an App, facilitating access to the mobile market which is in accelerated growth” says Vasco Andrade e Silva, co-founder of Easy Easy Apps.

eSolidar is a start-up with social impact, based in Braga, that aims to empower the community in order to bolster the visibility and sustainability of charitable institutions, through technology. It was recently awarded as “One of the most outstanding digital initiatives for social good of the year!” and “Best Business Potential” by the European Youth Award 2014. eSolidar is an ecosystem of solidarity which takes the form of an online market for charitable institutions and their communities, bringing together consumers and the online stores of the institutions, and special auctions with celebrities and brands. This allows even the small charitable institutions to have access to a large consumer base. Marco Barbosa, CEO, states “The investment by Portugal Ventures will allow us to develop new features, improve the support we give to the charitable institutions and start our expansion to London. In addition, this investment shows that venture capital and social impact can, in fact, mutually advance and grow hand in hand. I believe that we are beginning to see a disruption in the mind-set of this market”.

Possible Answer founded in June 2014, has developed a fluid and biomaterial technology for the production of a non-Newtonian fluid with high absorption capacity / impact dissipation, which can be applied to a wide range of products, namely in the production of protective equipment (ballistics; sports and personal) and road safety equipment. The material developed by Possible Answer is light and flexible and is also more efficient in the absorption and dissipation of impact energy, making it an innovative product with great commercial potential with advantages over more traditional products. “Our aim is to make Possible Answer a global reference on the impact protection and shock absorption market”, states CEO Miguel Pimentel.

Submission of projects to the Twelfth Call will run from 27th July to 3rd September 2015. Projects in the sectors of Information and Communication Technologies, Electronics and WEB, Life Sciences, Tourism, Endogenous Resources, Nanotechnologies and Materials are eligible for investment through the Call For Entrepreneurship. The projects selected by Portugal Ventures will benefit from an investment of up to 750 thousand Euros, until a maximum of 85% of each project’s total funding needs.

In the preparation and qualification of their projects, entrepreneurs may benefit from the support and guidance of one of the entities from the Ignition Partners Network, making their project investment ready. All submissions are to be made through the Portugal Ventures website.

The projects submitted to the Call will be evaluated by assessment panels, divided by industry, and made up of business experts, both national and international, as well as investors from the Ignition Capital Network, business angels and other venture capital investors, who may come to co-invest in the projects with Portugal Ventures. Portugal Ventures will select those projects which show the greatest potential for growth and which have the ability to become global start-ups of excellence.

The projects invested in will benefit from the advice of experts, preferably international experts, with accumulated experience and a vast network of contacts. The projects will also be given the opportunity to be incubated and accelerated at the centres for the Portuguese entrepreneurship ecosystem in San Francisco, Boston, Austin and Berlin.

During the previous eleven editions of the Call, 2,421 entrepreneurs registered on Portugal Ventures’ website, resulting in the submission of 789 projects. The support and involvement of the Ignition Partners Network, made up of 49 national entities from the scientific and technology-based entrepreneurship ecosystem, in this initiative has been crucial to its success.

The Call For Entrepreneurship is the entry point to the Ignition Programme, an initiative spearheaded by Portugal Ventures and which is an integral part of the +e+i Programme (more entrepreneurship, more innovation). The objective of this programme is to bolster the Portuguese technology-based entrepreneurship ecosystem, thus contributing to the development of a more modern and competitive economy, open to the world, based on knowledge, innovation and highly qualified human capital, with a strong entrepreneurial spirit. Through this initiative, Portugal Ventures aims to invest around 20 million Euros, per year. Some of the venture capital funds managed by Portugal Ventures are co-financed by the European Union through FINOVA, managed by PME Investimentos, COMPETE and POR LISBOA.

Trainer Launches RallyMe Campaign To Fund Outdoor-Online Program

Melanie Webb is the founder of Sol Fitness Adventures and is raising money on RallyMe to fund the the launch of her new certification program. Recently, we connected with her to learn about the effort; here’s what she told us.

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

U.S. Secretary of the Department of the Interior Sally Jewell said that “the future of the outdoor industry and America’s public lands depends on reconnecting people – especially our young people – to the outdoors.”

Like Secretary Jewell, I believe that if every person could experience the joy of what their body can do, in connection with the wonders of nature, the entire world would be healthier and happier. I’ve seen others de-stress and rejuvenate on my fitness retreats, and I want more people to have these opportunities. We can help our communities be healthy and reclaim that wild, instinctive, necessary part of being human – outdoor adventure!

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

I’m raising $10,000 to share my method of leading fitness retreats through an online training program and two-day teacher training workshop, Sol Guide Certification. As of Day 3 of a 30 day campaign I’ve raised $4,270, or 43% of my goal.

The $10,000 raised through this RallyMe campaign will help me:

  1. Share my message and reach the individuals and organizations who need this toolkit
  2. Complete the back end IT integration processes needed to purchase the course online
  3. Register the course for continuing education credits (CEC’s) with fitness certifying bodies
  4. Assist with operating costs for the first 6 months

The course is 100% complete, as is integration with the website for online purchase. I simply need more money – and press – to take the course to market.

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

Up to 69% of Americans are overweight. An additional 18% suffer from anxiety and depression. Our children suffer from the effects of nature deprivation. The outdoor industry and America’s public lands are in jeopardy because we’re raising a generation of children who have not been exposed to their wonders.

I believe that restoring and nurturing the individual connection between ourselves and the earth is essential to health and well-being, that the very act of placing ourselves in an outdoor setting can be rejuvenating, restorative, and healing. Sol Guide Certification is my way of trying to make a difference and inspiring others to embrace an active lifestyle. While I’m getting started here in the U.S., I intend to take Sol Guide to the global community.

I created Sol Guide certification in response to a growing number of fitness professionals and recreation-minded individuals who are looking for ways to help others improve overall fitness and wellness outside of the gym. In addition, they are seeking ways to assist others in attaining wellness and self-knowledge – both body and mind – through a connection to nature, but need guidance on how to effectively lead these types of experiences.

We can help the global community collectively by giving them more opportunities to experience an active lifestyle. We do this by educating the leaders in their community and sharing the knowledge and tools to help them help others. Below is a bit more detail on our two target audiences:

  1. Sol Guide certification appeals to fitness instructors looking to get out of the gym and deliver a lifestyle approach to fitness. Specialty fitness certifications are a way of life for fitness professionals; they understand that in order to sustain and grow their clientele – whether through private individuals or group classes – their offerings must be relevant and effective. For this reason, most fitness professionals regularly seek out “the next great thing” when it comes to specialty certifications so that they can offer their clients new and interesting fitness methods.
  2. Recreation-minded Individuals. A growing number of individuals who already enjoy an active lifestyle are looking for ways to expand their fitness experiences. Sol Guide certification, particularly at Level I, appeals to this population because the curriculum will equip them with basic integrated fitness/mindfulness/outdoor strategies to deepen their outdoor exercise experiences. These individuals may include well-paid professionals who crave immersive fitness experiences (aka, “weekend warriors”), avid cyclists (e.g., long distance biking 3 times/week) or triathletes. Baby boomers are particularly interested in ways to stay young and vibrant to avoid injury and age gracefully. Parents are always looking for ways to engage children in outdoor activities. Sol Guide certification helps parents design custom-made family experiences that are not only safe and fun, but also help them grow closer together through engaging with nature.

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

I have six categories of perks to share with my donors, several from my own brand sponsors and others from my direct product line.

  1. A gift package from NAAWK skincare for the $75 donation
  2. A yoga mat from ATHLETA, a Gap Brand, for the $150 donation
  3. A $50 discount on Sol Guide Online Training for the $250 donation
  4. A stand up paddle from Carbonerro for the $500 donation
  5. A $200 discount on the 2-day teacher training workshop for the $1,800 donation
  6. An all-inclusive, fully 2-day guided fitness adventure for 4 people in Zion National Park

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

BankRoll Launches Investment Crowdfunding Under Regulation A+

Investment crowdfunding is suddenly standing in your living room; it sneaked in the back door while you were watching out the front door for action from the SEC on Title III of the JOBS Act. This spring, the SEC issued rules for Title IV of the Act, amending Regulation A, and making investment crowdfunding possible under a separate regulatory scheme.

Kendall Almerico, a lawyer, has recently launched the investment crowdfunding site BankRoll, leveraging regulation A, which allows offerings to be pitched to ordinary small investors, not just wealthy (accredited) investors. The new rules, commonly called Regulation A+, represent a game changer for crowdfunding.

Kendall is enthusiastic about the new rules and his platform. “With Regulation A+, you are selling securities to the general public. Do you really want to walk that legal and compliance minefield on a funding site without the top legal minds behind it?”

“We make funding easy and accessible. I may be a lawyer, but I am an entrepreneur like the companies who use BankRoll,” he adds.

On Thursday, June 25, 2015 at 1:00 Eastern, Kendall will join me for a live discussion about Regulation A+, crowdfunding and BankRoll. Tune in here then to watch the interview live. Post questions in the comments below or tweet questions before the interview to @devindthorpe.

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

More about BankRoll:

Twitter: @BankRollable

BankRoll (www.BankRoll.Ventures) is an equity funding platform that specializes in helping small businesses raise funds through Regulation A+ Mini-IPOs and Regulation D private placements. Founded by Kendall Almerico, one of the leading crowdfunding and JOBS Act attorneys in the country, BankRoll is a highly curated web site backed by a FINRA licensed broker dealer, a New York City investment bank, a California angel investment group and top crowdfunding experts from the legal, compliance and marketing world.

Kendall Almerico

Kendall Almerico

Kendall’s bio:

@KendallAlmerico

Kendall Almerico was called “one of the top crowdfunding and JOBS Act attorneys in the country” by one Forbes writer and was named one of the 20 most influential thought leaders on crowdfunding in the world by Venture Beat. Kendall is a subject matter expert who has been interviewed and had his crowdfunding businesses featured in the New York Times, USA Today, Forbes, Bloomberg, The Washington Post, The New York Daily News, Reuters, Chicago Tribune, Huffington Post, Christian Science Monitor, Business Insider and on CNN, Fox News, CNBC, CBS, ABC and NBC. Mr. Almerico is a regular crowdfunding columnist for Entrepreneur.com and a highly sought after international keynote speaker. Mr. Almerico practices law with the prestigious law firm of DiMuro Ginsberg in the Washington DC area.

Remember to “join the cavalry” by subscribing to our content here.

Devin D. Thorpe

Crowdfunding Platform Created To Fund Type 1 Diabetes Research Designed To Prevent, Cure, Care And Treat This Disease

San Diego, CA, June 24, 2015 – One out of every hundred Americans has type 1 diabetes. Millions of children and adults struggle with this autoimmune disease. Despite these numbers, funding has decreased for research to prevent, cure, and better manage the disease. Of the funding available, 97% goes to established scientists with conventional projects. Scientists starting out in diabetes research, also known as early-career scientists, have a difficult time finding money to support their innovative ideas.

Considering Albert Einstein developed the general theory of relativity at the age of 26, Frederick Sanger determined the structure of insulin at age 34, and Francis Crick and James Watson discovered the structure of the DNA molecule at age 37 – just imagine our world today if these scientists had not received funding for their research?

DRC created a platform connecting donors directly with early-career scientists throughout the country, enabling them to perform research designed to prevent and cure type 1 diabetes, minimize its complications, and improve the quality of life for those living with the disease.

Early-career scientists from across the country submit their projects and a panel of more than 80 of the leading diabetes experts review it for innovation, feasibility, value, and achievability. As established scientists, DRC’s panel of experts donate their time and expertise to encourage the next generation of diabetes investigators to push the envelope.

The time from application to funding can be as little as 12 weeks, compared to over a year for many research grants, and 100% of research funds go directly to the scientists in 2015. To ensure transparency, each researcher provides updates on their project, posting final outcomes on DRC’s website.

Dr. Todd Brusko from the University of Florida successfully funded his project through DRC. He received $50,000 to begin working on his project titled, “Can we engineer a patient’s immune cells to stop the autoimmune attack that causes type 1 diabetes?”

“The Brusko lab is incredibly grateful for the donation received to drive this exciting research project forward. Conducting research on this scale is a team effort,” says Brusko.

The Diabetes Research Connection was established in 2012 by five tireless proponents of diabetes research. Dr. Alberto Hayek, emeritus professor from the University of California and Scientific Director at Scripps/Whittier Diabetes Institute in San Diego; Doctors Nigel Calcutt and Charles King, diabetes research scientists affiliated with the University of California, David Winkler, an attorney, entrepreneur and venture philanthropist who was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of six, and Amy Adams, a writer and business owner whose son has lived with type 1 diabetes for most of his life.

“As someone who has lived with type 1 diabetes for more than 50 years, and who has other family members and friends who have diabetes, I know firsthand how this disease impacts a person’s life and the lives of those around them,” says Winkler.

Alberto Hayek, M.D., co-founder and president of The Diabetes Research Connection and world-renowned diabetes expert believes that the lack of funding for early, discovery-stage projects is one of the biggest problems in research. “With DRC, we are giving scientists the resources to test and validate research that departs from conventional thinking, because the opportunity to pursue new paths is when and where breakthroughs occur,” says Hayek.

For more information on the remarkable work being done at the Diabetes Research Connection, please visit the website at: www.diabetesresearchconnection.org, or connect with them on Twitter @DiabetesRsrch or Facebook.com/ DiabetesResearchConnection.

Diligent Artists Hosts Bay Area Senior Care Town Hall with Castro Valley Senior Care Heroes Maurice Rowland and Miguel Alvarez

Los Angeles – (June 22, 2015) Diligent Artists in partnership with Bay Area senior care advocates and Castro Valley senior care heroes Maurice Rowland and Miguel Alvarez is please to host a senior care town hall discussion and fundraising reception at the scenic HS Lordships Restaurant in Berkeley, CA on Tuesday, June 30, 2015, at 6:30 p.m.

Moderated by Bay Area Radio Hall of famer Ed Baxter, the town hall event will help raise awareness of critical senior care issues with a discussion addressing the challenges and potential solutions for the care of older adults. The community dialogue will help shape the narrative for the independent feature film IF WE LEFT, a project that promises to become one of the most ambitious reflections on the state of senior care in America.

IF WE LEFT is a dramatic true story adaptation about Maurice Rowland and Miguel Alvarez, the cook and the janitor who stayed without pay to care for abandoned elderly residents when their assisted living home was shut down in Castro Valley, CA. Their selfless act of heroism led to the 2014 Residential Care For the Elderly Reform Act.

“I’m honored to be associated with this film,” said Miles Maker, executive and creative producer of IF WE LEFT. “This true story looks and feels like an isolated incident, yet people 65 and older are the largest and fastest growing age group in the U.S. This past recession destroyed the possibility of a comfortable retirement for many of them, and there’s no safety net to keep the boomer generation out of homelessness in the next decade, maybe sooner. We need tangible actions to help our aging seniors, so we hope you will join us because we need the public’s support to make a difference with this film by inspiring these kinds of conversations.”

To learn more about IF WE LEFT and to donate please visit the film’s website.

Win A Disappointing Lap Dance From Amy Schumer

Amy Schumer, writer and star of the upcoming comedy, TrainWreck, has promised a disappointing lap dance for the winner of Universal’s TrainWreck Premiere Experience hosted on CrowdRise to benefit the National Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Society, an organization that is very dear to her heart.

As a child, Schumer’s father was diagnosed with MS. Watching the disease progress had a profound impact on her, and it’s a storyline that features in the movie. The fundraiser will raise money and support for a cure and to address the challenges of everyone, like Schumer, affected by MS.

The contest launches today at www.CrowdRise.com/TrainWreck. Fans of Schumer, director Judd Apatow, and the comedian-heavy cast can donate for a chance to win a VIP experience that includes 2 tickets to the New York Premiere of TrainWreck on July 14th, round-trip airfare, 2 nights in a 4 star hotel, a walk down the red carpet and a photo opp session with the cast of the film. As a bonus, Bill Hader will hand deliver the winner popcorn with special truffle salt.

Schumer and Apatow explain everything in a launch video at https://www.crowdrise.com/TrainwreckPremiere.

A $10 donation gets participants 1 entry for the grand prize; a $25 donation gets participants 3 entries and a digital thank you from TrainWreck director Judd Apatow; and a $50 donation gets participants 7 entries and a digital thank you from Judd Apatow plus a shout out on Twitter from Amy Schumer.

The premiere contest follows a previous charitable endeavor framed around the film as well. During the month of June, stars from the movie went on a comedy tour to benefit various charities in seven cities.

About CrowdRise

CrowdRise is the world’s largest and fastest growing online platform dedicated exclusively to charitable fundraising. CrowdRise is used by millions of individuals, tens of thousands of charities, hundreds of companies and many of the most famous artists and athletes in the world to creatively leverage their resources and networks to unlock the power of crowds and raise hundreds of millions of dollars to support positive social missions. CrowdRise’s unique functionalities as a platform for individual activists engaging in peer-to-peer fundraising and its strategic innovations as a high level partner for companies, foundations and major events alongside its widely publicized success at making giving back fun, cool and aspiration has unlocked huge pools of previously untapped support for charitable efforts, delivered with revolutionary cost-efficiency.

Founded by actor Edward Norton, film producer Shauna Robertson and Robert and Jeffrey Wolfe, CrowdRise has conceived, implemented and powered campaigns that have raised over $250 million to date and is on track to raise $200 million in 2015 alone.

CrowdRise’s major partners include the New York City Marathon, the Boston Marathon, Red Cross, UNICEF, IRONMAN, United Airlines, Huffington Post, Eventbrite, Square, the Skoll Foundation, the Clinton Foundation, CAA, UTA, as well as artists like John Legend, Sean Penn, Seth Rogen, Jonah Hill, Ian Sommerhalder, Sophia Bush, Paul Rudd, Olivia Wilde and many more.

The CrowdRise community was named a “Top 25 Best Global Philanthropist” by Barron’s.

About Trainwreck

No contemporary filmmaker has chronicled the messy human experience with the eye and ear of a comedic cultural anthropologist like Judd Apatow. Hits as varied as those he¹s directed, like Knocked Up and The 40-Year-Old Virgin, and those he’s produced, like Superbad and Bridesmaids, are all unified by their honest, unflinching, comic look at how complicated it is to grow up in the modern world.

Apatow has also built a history of helping break distinctive new comedy voices into the mainstream, from Seth Rogen to Lena Dunham among many others. Now, in his fifth feature film as a director, Apatow again brings a portrait of an unforgettable character, and a portrayal by a breakout new comedy star, together in Trainwreck, written by and starring Amy Schumer (Inside Amy Schumer) as a woman who lives her life without apologies, even when maybe she should apologize.

Since she was a little girl, it’s been drilled into Amy’s (Schumer) head by her rascal of a dad (Colin Quinn) that monogamy isn’t realistic. Now a magazine writer, Amy lives by that credo‹enjoying what she feels is an uninhibited life free from stifling, boring romantic commitment but in actuality, she’s kind of in a rut. When she finds herself starting to fall for the subject of the new article she’s writing, a charming and successful sports doctor named Aaron Conners (Bill Hader), Amy starts to wonder if other grown-ups, including this guy who really seems to like her, might be on to something.

The comedy, from a script written by Schumer, co-stars Brie Larson, John Cena, Tilda Swinton and LeBron James. Apatow produces Trainwreck through his Apatow Productions alongside Barry Mendel (Bridesmaids, This Is 40). www.trainwreckmovie.com

About Universal Pictures

Universal Pictures is a division of Universal Studios (www.universalstudios.com). Universal Studios is part of NBCUniversal. NBCUniversal is one of the world’s leading media and entertainment companies in the development, production and marketing of entertainment, news and information to a global audience. NBCUniversal owns and operates a valuable portfolio of news and entertainment networks, a premier motion picture company, significant television production operations, a leading television stations group and world-renowned theme parks. NBCUniversal is a subsidiary of Comcast Corporation.

About The National MS Society

The National MS Society mobilizes people and resources to drive research for a cure and to address the challenges of everyone affected by MS. The Society is united in our collective power to do something about MS now and end this disease forever. Our vision is a world free of MS.

White Paper Released Helps Issuers Prepare for Regulation A+ Offerings

Resource for Companies Executing Regulation A+ Offerings by Communications and Industry Experts

AUSTIN, TX–(Marketwired – Jun 22, 2015) – Leading financial communications firm, Leverage PR, releases white paper titled “Preparing for a Regulation A+ Offering,” which features insights from leading communications and industry experts to help companies prepare to launch their Regulation A+ offerings.

Final rules for the highly anticipated Title IV of the JOBS Act, Regulation A+, went into effect June 19th allowing small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) to raise up to $50 million with reduced state level filing requirements.

“While it is true that Reg A+ offerings will have reduced fees as compared to the traditional costs of going public, the investment from a time and fiscal perspective will still be considerable, with no guaranteed promise of results,” says Joy Schoffler, principal and founder of Leverage PR. “It is critical that company management understand the steps they need to take to get their companies ready for the attention that a Reg A+ offering will bring, as you only have one change to make a first impression.”

The white paper “Preparing for a Regulation A+ Offering,” which can be downloaded here http://www.leverage-pr.com/whitepaper_signup/, features insights from some of the leading broker dealers, securities attorneys and financial communications experts in the country. It is designed to help company leaders considering a Regulation A+ offering understand some of the steps they will need to take from a marketing and communications perspective to successfully utilize these new funding regulations.

About Leverage PR

Leverage PR is a full-service integrated communications firm delivering strategic planning, media relations and communications strategies that help our clients meet their business objectives. Leverage PR works closely with its clients to increase brand awareness and establish credibility through strategic message development, media and analyst outreach, targeted speaking and award opportunities, and insightful thought leadership campaigns. Having executed needle-moving global campaigns for leading enterprise brands as well as helped growth stage companies make the Inc. list and get acquired, Leverage PR’s team possesses a deep understanding of the opportunities and challenges facing clients.

StartEngine Launches First Equity Crowdfunding Platform to Redefine Investing for the Millennial Generation

Hot “Green” Automotive Startup ELIO MOTORS, YouTube Star-founded Game Company XREAL Among Initial Partners

LOS ANGELES – June 19, 2015 – StartEngine Crowdfunding Inc. today launched the premier equity crowdfunding platform, allowing individuals to invest in private companies on a public platform. In a historic first, StartEngine connects aspiring investors, including North America’s 80-plus million Millennials, with the progressive companies of tomorrow, including startup launch partners Elio Motors and mobile games publisher XREAL. The launch corresponds with Regulation A+ of the JOBS Act, which officially takes effect today and enables a broad new range of startup investment opportunities. To learn more and begin investing today, visit www.startengine.com.

“At StartEngine, our goal is to not only become the leading equity crowdfunding platform, but to help entrepreneurs achieve their dreams,” said StartEngine CEO Ron Miller. “We’ve built an industry leading platform to allow companies to take advantage of the greatest advancement for entrepreneurship in a generation. Companies can now advertise the sale of their stock and anyone, not just wealthy people, can invest.”

Partnering with StartEngine at launch, Elio Motors is a transportation startup that challenges the status quo of personal transportation. Founder Paul Elio has created a fun-to-drive, super-economical personal transportation alternative that’s affordable, safe, and environmentally friendly. The Elio is an ultra-high-mileage (up to 84 MPG), sleek American-made two-seater for an incredibly affordable base price (expected to be $6,800). The Elio is perfect for a wide variety of drivers. Owners of SUVs, minivans and pickup trucks see it as an AND vehicle – keep the functionality of the big vehicle AND you can still afford an Elio for solo commutes. It’s also a great vehicle for first time drivers, college students and “clunker” owners.

“Partnering with StartEngine was a natural fit, since Elio and StartEngine are both built on the principle of efficiency and cutting out unnecessary obstacles in the way of progress,” said Elio Motors founder Paul Elio. “StartEngine is poised to disrupt the course of traditional investment, just as Elio aims to alter the course of how people commute.”

Also partnering with StartEngine at launch is XREAL, a startup mobile game publisher poised to become a leader in mobile eSports. XREAL was co-founded by Jordan Maron (YouTube’s CaptainSparklez – 8.6 million subscribers) and Howard Marks, co-founder and former studio chairman of Activision and Executive Chairman of StartEngine.XREAL’s first title is Fortress Fury, a competitive tower building game that reached more than 1.5 million downloads in its first month in the marketplace. Built for the world’s largest gaming platform, XREAL seeks to elevate mobile and tablet gaming. With multiplayer action optimized for both in-game and real-world tournaments, Fortress Furry is helping to take the global eSports phenomenon onto mobile.

“StartEngine’s alternative investing platform makes it possible for anyone to back the companies they believe in and truly share a stake in their success,” said XREAL co-founder Jordan Maron. “We’re thrilled to be raising funds in a progressive and personal new way that better resonates with my generation.”

StartEngine empowers investors to dip their toes into equity crowdfunding by providing the resources, information and support for everyday consumers to make educated investment decisions. Thanks to Title IV of the JOBS Act and the just-approved Regulation A+, the general public is now able to become shareholders in exciting new startups before reaching an initial public stock offering. Unlike traditional crowdfunding, where backers can only anticipate physical goods or karmic compensation, equity crowdfunding makes it possible to get in on the ground floor and support startups in a whole new way.

StartEngine is a Los Angeles-based firm created in 2011 by Howard Marks, co-founder of Activision, a $14B market cap video game publisher, and Ron Miller, a four time Inc. 500/5000 Award recipient and professional entrepreneur who has successfully founded five companies. More information about StartEngine is available on the official website: www.startengine.com.

About StartEngine Crowdfunding, Inc.

StartEngine is the premier equity crowdfunding platform, connecting Millennials and aspiring investors with tomorrow’s progressive companies. Based in Los Angeles, the company was created in 2013 by Howard Marks, co-founder of Activision, and Ron Miller. StartEngine aims to revolutionize the startup business model by helping individuals invest in private companies on a public platform for the first time in history, thereby helping entrepreneurs achieve their dreams. Learn more at http://www.startengine.com

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