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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: January 2016

Virtuix Receives Over $5 Million of Investment Interest In 48 Hours From Public For Potential Mini-IPO

AUSTIN (January 7, 2016) – Virtuix, the leader in active virtual reality and the developer of the popular and highly anticipated Omni motion platform, launched a “testing-the-waters” campaign on SeedInvest this past Tuesday to garner whether there would be interest from the general public in its upcoming Series A financing round via a potential mini-IPO. In the first 48 hours of the campaign, more than 750 people collectively indicated their interest in investing more than $5 million in Virtuix.

Virtuix’s upcoming fundraise comes shortly after Virtuix announced it started shipping the Omni to customers last month.

“We are overwhelmed by the positive reactions to our testing-the-waters campaign,” says Jan Goetgeluk, Founder and CEO of Virtuix. “We continue to be humbled by the enthusiasm and support of our passionate community.”

Historically, the general public was required to be accredited with the Securities and Exchange Commission in order to invest in private companies. These conditions were based on income and net worth and denied all but the wealthiest 2% of Americans an opportunity to invest. With the new regulation under Title IV of the JOBS Act, the opportunity to invest in private tech startups is now extended to everyone.

Virtuix has grown to a team of 31 people and has raised funds in excess of $9 million, primarily from private and institutional investors including a series of Silicon Valley venture capitalists. Virtuix has pre-sold more than 4,000 Omnis to date and started shipping in December 2015.

Virtuix plans to use the proceeds from its upcoming offering to fund growth and further product development. Ultimately, Virtuix’s vision is to have an Omni be part of every Active VR setup both for home use and for commercial applications that include out-of-home entertainment, training and simulation, and virtual tourism.

Since the start of 2010, nearly $3.9 billion has been deployed into the emerging VR space across 353 completed deals, according to PitchBook. Virtuix filed to have its offering qualified with the SEC. The company continues to collect non-binding indications of interest from investors at www.seedinvest.com/virtuix.

About Virtuix

Founded by CEO Jan Goetgeluk in April 2013 and headquartered in Austin, Texas, Virtuix is the pioneer of the Active VR category and is the developer of the Omni – the first-of-its-kind motion platform that enables 360-degree mobility in virtual environments. The Omni is compatible with leading headsets and virtual reality content. It is currently available for pre-order for $699 per unit at www.virtuix.com.

ClassWallet Launches Prepaid Discover Card

MIAMI – January 6, 2016 – ClassWallet, fast becoming the leading platform for funds disbursement and tracking, announced the official launch of the ClassWallet Prepaid Discover Card. The ClassWallet Card is issued by Community Federal Savings Bank on the Discover Network and is using the Marqeta Platform to customize controls to the exact requirements of a school. The card program brings a new level of flexibility and dynamism to ClassWallet’s innovative patent-pending digital wallet solution.

Today, ClassWallet users can shop online with a network of vendor partners that accept ClassWallet as form for payment, such as Amazon, Office Depot and Best Buy. ClassWallet automatically tracks spending activity down to SKU-levels, digitizing the paper trail and helping to record financial transactions. As a result, ClassWallet saves administrators countless man hours spent reconciling funding against purchases, which today entails purchase orders, invoices, payment receipts and other paperwork.

With the ClassWallet Prepaid Discover Card, teachers can spend their ClassWallet funds off-platform for educational activities such as professional development courses, events, field trips and other travel, to shop at local merchants offline, or to shop at online merchants that are not ClassWallet partners. The card offers users unbridled flexibility while still helping administrators control and monitor their spending.

teachers-card

“The ClassWallet Prepaid Discover Card is another step in ClassWallet’s vision of simplifying teachers’ and administrators’ lives, and enabling students to get the resources they need more efficiently,” said Jamie Rosenberg, ClassWallet’s founder and CEO. “The demand for the card is through the roof. Working in tandem with our digital wallet and online partners has allowed us to create a powerful robust product for the market.”

Founder Jamie Rosenberg is no stranger to tackling school funding issues. His first venture AdoptAClassroom.org, which he launched in 1998, was the first online crowdfunding site and the first national education philanthropy online platform. ClassWallet President Neil Steinhardt has 20 years of experience in payments, most recently as Managing Director of the U.S. division of Skrill, the second largest digital wallet platform in the world behind PayPal.

“What excites us the most,” said Rosenberg, “is being able to leverage digital wallet technology to more closely align education procurement decisions with the actual users and beneficiaries – the teachers and students.”

Jason Gardner, Founder and CEO of Marqeta, commented: “There is a massive amount of innovation happening in the FinTech space and we are always excited to launch with a new partner, such as ClassWallet, to help power these revolutionary firms. As a result of our partnership, we are enabling the digitization of financial spending and tracking for schools, nonprofits, and helping ClassWallet to reduce the man hours it takes to sort through piles of paperwork. We’re proud of this and looking forward to continuing our work with ClassWallet.”

About ClassWallet

ClassWallet removes the paper from the ubiquitous “paper trail.” When purchases must be tracked, then invoices, purchase orders, reimbursement requests are surely in tow, which can incur up to $100 M $200 in labor costs per transaction. ClassWallet Enterprise streamlines payments by combining a reloadable virtual wallet with the power of a network marketplace to connect funders, buyers and suppliers in a single, patent-pending platform. The result is that ClassWallet owns both funding and purchasing data and provides real-time tracking and reconciliation in a completely paperless environment, saving billions in transaction costs. Learn more at www.classwallet.com.

About Marqeta

Founded in 2010, Marqeta has reMengineered how payment cards, virtual cards and mobile authorization products should be developed and deployed. The Marqeta Platform, built from the ground up with no legacy infrastructure, provides the world’s first fully documented, open API issuer processor platform. Companies can build, issue and deploy innovative payment, finance and commerce solutions with enormous control over what, where, and how purchases are authorized. Adopters of The Marqeta Platform include leading financial services, e-commerce, retail, and social media brands. Engineered in California, The Marqeta Platform integrates with Visa, MasterCard and Discover and makes it easier than ever to make payments, receive payments, reward customers and create more efficient business processes. Learn more at http://www.marqeta.com.

Big Job for 1 Man: Save 200M Children from 7k Rare Diseases

The always cheerful Dr. Robert Selliah, founder of American MedChem, is deadly serious about finding cures that could save up to 200 million children around the world.

He explains, “About 7,000 rare diseases are known and nearly 20 million children in the US and 200 million children worldwide have some form of rare disease. But for 95 percent of these rare diseases there are no effective targeted medicines. 30 percent children with rare diseases will not live to see their 5th birthday. Lack of medicines is primarily because it is not profitable for pharmaceutical companies to create medicines for these children – no market-based drivers.”

Robert explains how far reaching the problem is. “In the same way, lack of profitability for pharmaceutical companies is the reason for the lack of medicines for nearly 500 million children in poor countries afflicted with neglected tropical diseases. But sick children need safe and effective medicines too, so they can get well and enjoy a healthy life. The big question is this: what is the best gift we can give a very sick child? Answer: healing medicines. This is what forms the core value of AMC.”

So, Robert created AMC to solve these problems. “AMC as drug discovery and development technology organization creates and provides these essential targeted medicines necessary to treat children afflicted with rare diseases and neglected tropical diseases. AMC changes the status quo and fills the existing gaps in medicines to treat children, who currently have no medicines. Genetics technology is driving exact diagnosis of rare childhood diseases, but diagnosis without available treatment is useless for the children and families.”

Undaunted, Robert keeps pushing. “AMC is set up to collaborate with research leaders in biology and genetics, carry out the critical discovery and medicinal chemistry research at AMC, and bring forward clinical candidates for testing and approval by FDA. Technology is readily available, talent is plentiful, the needs are huge; but we need the strong support of philanthropy to fund this work. AMC is currently seeking major philanthropic support.”

“At AMC our commitment is to create healthy outcomes for children diagnosed with rare and neglected diseases. The status quo is unacceptable, because industry has left these kids out of the mainstream for reasons of profitability. We know that our vision can become a reality for sick kids by applying existing drug discovery technology to create very specific drugs for specific diseases. The age of precision medicine is here, and sick kids must benefit from this technology also,” Robert concluded.

AMC is presently conducting a crowdfunding campaign on Fundly with a goal of $500,000. So far, he’s raised nearly $10,000 for this work, but there is a long way to go. You can help by clicking here to learn more.

On Thursday, January 7, 2016, at 3:00 Eastern, Robert will join me here for a live discussion about his work aimed at saving 200 million children. 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 American MedChem:

Twitter: @americanmedchem

American MedChem (AMC) is a social enterprise nonprofit drug discovery and development organization with a mission to create and provide targeted medicines for children afflicted with rare and neglected diseases. AMC research model is based on collaborations with leading biology and genetics researchers at universities and institutes. The business model is designed to be sustainable by way of monetizing revenue sharing and licensing deals to create revenue streams to support the research operations.

Dr. Robert Selliah, courtesy of American Medchem

Dr. Robert Selliah, courtesy of American MedChem

Robert’s bio:

Twitter: @robtselliah

Dr. Selliah has more than 18 years of experience in technology, leadership, and management in drug discovery, medicinal chemistry, and preclinical development in the United States and the global pharmaceutical and biotech sector. He was most recently vice president of Medicinal Chemistry at SAI Advantium Pharma in India, where he led a group of over 200 scientists. Dr. Selliah is a co-inventor of two clinical development candidates—PRLX93936 (oncology, Prolexys) and AL12182 (glaucoma, Alcon)—and several preclinical candidates, and he contributed to the discovery and development of Travatan®, a marketed prostaglandin drug for glaucoma. He currently serves as a consultant in drug discovery, medicinal chemistry, and project management to early-stage biotech companies in the U.S. Dr. Selliah received his B.S. (Special Honors in chemistry) and Ph.D. (synthetic organic chemistry) degrees from The University of Texas at Austin.

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Devin D. Thorpe

Calling All Social Innovators: Nominations Now Open for 2016 Classy Awards

Classy Awards opens nominations to social impact organizations, announces initial Leadership Council lineup

SAN DIEGO, CA – January 6, 2015Classy, the leading cloud-based fundraising platform that helps nonprofits and social enterprises mobilize and empower communities, today announced its call for nominations for the 2016 Classy Awards. As the culminating event of the 6th annual Collaborative + Classy Awards, the biennial three-day experience convening top leadership from across the social sector, the Classy Awards honor the most innovative nonprofits, social enterprises and social good initiatives tackling the world’s greatest challenges. The event will take place June 14-16, 2016 in Boston’s Innovation District.

Nominations are open through February 29, 2016 for organizations of any size, age, location and corporate structure that are tackling issues ranging from environmental conservation, to human rights and social justice, to disaster response and risk reduction. Winners, selected for their excellence in social innovation, are assessed by the following judging criteria:

  • Scale, scope and leadership expertise of the problem being addressed
  • Innovative approach
  • Ability to solve the problem
  • Organizational effectiveness and resource management
  • Additional information on judging criteria can be found here. Classy will announce finalists on April 19 and winners will be awarded their “Classy” live on stage at the Classy Awards on June 16.

“Social innovation is realized when organizations think beyond traditional models and challenge existing systems to create solutions that are different and creative. Today, this type of approach is being carried out by nonprofits, social enterprises and for-profit corporations alike that are making huge strides towards addressing our most complex social problems,” said Pat Walsh, Classy Co-Founder and Chief Impact Officer.

Classy is also pleased to introduce the initial lineup of Leadership Council members, an honorary board of 110 leaders and experts who collectively determine the winners of the Classy Awards. Their unique perspective and valuable insight establishes this recognition as one of the highest honors in the social sector. Leadership Council members will be announced on a rolling basis through early February. Preliminary members for 2016 include:

  • Jake Wood, President & Co-Founder, Team Rubicon
  • Susan Asiyanbi, Executive Vice President, Program Continuum, Teach for America
  • Erica Williams Simon, Editor, Upworthy.com, Social Impact Strategist, Speaker & CEO of EWS Strategies, columnist at TIME.com
  • Sergio Fernández de Córdova, Private Sector Advisory Group, SDG-FUND at United Nations, UNDP, Sustainable Development Fund
  • Stephanie Berzin, Co-Director, Boston College Center for Social Innovation

“We’re honored to be able to shine a public spotlight on incredible organizations through the Classy Awards process,” said Walsh. “With each year of the Awards, we’ve seen significant growth in the nominations we receive and the caliber of work being done around the world. We’re confident that the 2016 Awards will follow this trajectory and be the best year yet.”

Nominee eligibility includes:

  • Classy Awards are awarded at the program level; they are not awarded at the organization or individual level
  • Programs must address a social problem
  • Programs must have at least one year of measurable results
  • There are no limitations on corporate structure, size, or age of the program
  • Organizations must complete the Nomination in English
  • Organizations may submit multiple programs for recognition

To submit, visit http://collab.live/awards-nominate and submit your entry by 11:59pm PST time on Monday, February 29, 2016. Top Finalists will receive round-trip flights to Boston for the event, courtesy of Southwest Airlines.

The Collaborative + Classy Awards is presented by Southwest Airlines, in partnership with the United Nations Foundation and Guidestar.

About Classy

Classy is a technology company that helps social impact organizations solve social problems faster. Since launching in 2011, Classy has helped more than 1,800 social enterprises including Oxfam, The World Food Program and National Geographic to raise hundreds of millions of dollars. Classy also hosts the Collaborative + Classy Awards, a three-day experience that convenes top leadership across the social sector and recognizes global excellence in social innovation. Based in San Diego, CA, Classy employs a staff of more than 135 people and is backed by investors including Mithril and Salesforce Ventures. For more information, visit www.classy.org or follow Classy on Twitter: @Classy.

Virtuix Tests The Waters For A Mini-IPO

Following The Production Launch Of The Omni, Virtuix Explores Offering Shares To The General Public

AUSTIN (January 5, 2016) – Virtuix, the leader in active virtual reality and the developer of the popular and highly anticipated Omni motion platform, today announced that it has begun a “testing-the-waters” investment stage on SeedInvest under the new mini-IPO rules of Regulation A. This upcoming fundraise comes shortly after Virtuix announced it started shipping the Omni to customers last month.

Historically, the general public was required to be accredited with the Securities and Exchange Commission in order to invest in private companies. These conditions were based on income and net worth and denied all but the wealthiest 2% of Americans an opportunity to invest. With the new regulation under Title IV of the JOBS Act, the opportunity to invest in private tech startups is now extended to everyone.

“Our company owes its beginning to the support of the passionate virtual reality community,” says Jan Goetgeluk, Founder and CEO of Virtuix. “Each week we receive requests from supporters who want to participate in the financial future of our company and, because of regulation, we’ve had to turn them away. It felt counter to our company’s culture. Now, with Regulation A, our customers and supporters may have a chance to buy shares in Virtuix alongside Silicon Valley venture capitalists and global institutional investors.”

Virtuix has grown to a team of 31 people and has raised funds in excess of $9 million, primarily from private and institutional investors including a series of Silicon Valley venture capitalists like Maveron and Tekton Ventures. Virtuix has pre-sold more than 4,000 Omnis to date and started shipping in December 2015.

“Given Virtuix’s previous fundraising successes on Kickstarter and SeedInvest, it’s fitting that they now invite all of their customers to indicate interest in potentially owning a small piece of the company,” said Ryan Feit, CEO and Co-Founder of SeedInvest. “Virtuix is a great illustration of a company that is at the forefront of combining raising capital with building a passionate community.”

Virtuix plans to use the proceeds from its upcoming offering to fund growth and further product development. Ultimately, Virtuix’s vision is to have an Omni be part of every Active VR setup both for home use and for commercial applications that include out-of-home entertainment, training and simulation, and virtual tourism.

Since the start of 2010, nearly $3.9 billion has been deployed into the emerging VR space across 353 completed deals, according to PitchBook. Virtuix filed to have its offering qualified with the SEC. The company is collecting non-binding indications of interest from investors at www.seedinvest.com/virtuix.

About Virtuix

Founded by CEO Jan Goetgeluk in April 2013 and headquartered in Austin, Texas, Virtuix is the pioneer of the Active VR category and is the developer of the Omni – the first-of-its-kind motion platform that enables 360-degree mobility in virtual environments. The Omni is compatible with leading headsets and virtual reality content. It is currently available for pre-order for $699 per unit at www.virtuix.com.

CFX Markets Announces Opening of Secondary Market for Crowdfunding Investments

CFX Markets, the secondary market for crowdfunding assets, announced today that its online market is now open to the public, providing investors from nearly two dozen real estate crowdfunding platforms with the option of liquidity.

“The official opening of the CFX Markets platforms represents a landmark for the crowdfunding industry,” said CFX Managing Director Juan Hernandez. “We’ve always felt that in order for equity crowdfunding to reach its full potential, investors would need the option of liquidity. CFX will provide crowdfunding investors with the much-needed option of liquidity, and we’re thrilled to partner with some of the leading real estate crowdfunding platforms in the industry.”

Crowdfunding platforms that have already joined the CFX Network and have made their investment offerings available for resale on CFX include PeerRealty, American Homeowner Preservation, CrowdFranchise, and PropertyStake.

“I’m excited that CFX will allow PeerRealty to offer our investors the option of liquidity,” said PeerRealty CEO Jordan Fishfeld. “There are a lot of real estate crowdfunding platforms in the market, but being able to give PeerRealty investors the ability to exit their positions if need be will make our investment offerings more appealing.”

Added American Homeowner Preservation CEO Jorge Newbery, “Liquidity will help open up equity crowdfunding to many new investors. With the explosive growth of real estate crowdfunding over the past several years, the launch of a secondary market marks a new phase in the maturation of the industry. We’re looking forward to being part of the CFX Network.”

The secondary market effectively acts as a stock exchange for crowdfunding investments, allowing investors to buy and sell shares from other participants in the market (subject to SEC resale restrictions). Investors seeking to buy or sell shares of crowdfunding assets simply come to CFXinvesting.com (either directly or through CFX partner portals) and sign up for a free CFX account. By authenticating their identity on the CFX platform, investors can sync up their existing CFX partner portal assets. CFX will then automatically pull updated data from the partner portal, and investors interested in selling assets that they own can indicate the price that they’d like to sell for (an offer, or “ask”). Interested buyers can review listed assets and offers, along with historical financial data on each asset, before posting bids to buy listed assets.

The CFX platform is currently in invitation-only mode. Investors interested in buying or selling shares of crowdfunding assets may request access at CFXinvesting.com. Crowdfunding portals interested in listing their investment offerings on the CFX Network may contact CFX at info@cfxinvesting.com for more information.

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