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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: February 2016

Internet-Based Crowdfunding for Cancer Treatment Costs

This story is originally published here.

Young adult cancer survivors turn to crowdfunding to help pay off debt from treatment.

The word is out: #cancerisntfree. We have been saying this for years in our work with The Samfund, having heard from thousands of young adult cancer survivors who have had to sacrifice life essentials like their cars, apartments, and healthy food because their treatment bankrupted them. The cost of cancer treatment goes beyond just medications, doctor and hospital copays; the collateral damage of emotional stress, ruined credit, and permanent biological repercussions like infertility and lymphedema all hit a survivor’s quality of life very hard. It pains us when young adults contact us in desperation and say they are skipping medications, forgoing meals, and facing homelessness due to their treatment. They are also confused, angry, and feel helpless that they have beaten cancer but are now saddled with enormous debt.

Back in 1999, at the age of 21, I was diagnosed with Ewing’s Sarcoma. Two years later, I was diagnosed with secondary myelodysplastic syndrome as a result of the chemotherapy I had undergone. After 5 months of additional chemotherapy, I received a bone marrow transplant (thank you, Eli!) at age 23. This series of events rocked not only my world, but also that of my family and friends, too. They were so supportive in every way: providing meals for my parents and me, keeping me company at appointments, offering us a place to live during treatment, and yes, providing financial help. At that time, there was an amazing program (now defunct) at BMT Infonet, wherein friends and family members could make a tax-deductible donation to an account in my name, and we could draw on that account to cover our bills as needed. Their generosity and the program itself were a lifeline for me and my family during those very dark days.

That program was one of the only resources I knew of at the time that provided this kind of help. Today, there are similar programs that exist online, which allow people to reach out to their networks for help with medical and other costs. Here are a few of the best-known:

GoFundMe – Considered the “granddaddy” of crowdfunding sites for individuals and organizations, this site has tons of resources and tools to get you started.

Give Forward – Most campaigns on this site are medical-related, and in addition to offering donors the opportunity to send funds specifically for hospital bills and the like, they also offer a “wish list” for cancer patients that include things like comfortable clothes, head scarves, and other items to help them through their treatment.

IndieGogo – This site is predominantly known for its use by startups, and it can be challenging to wade through the sheer number of campaigns. However, since it is long established, many donors are comforted by its veracity. It also has a global reach for those with family and friends overseas who would like to donate.

StandBuy – While as of this writing, StandBuy is not currently accepting new fundraisers as they roll out some changes, we recommend this site because a) it is a uniquely cancer-related fundraising tool and b) funds raised are deposited into the recipient’s account in real time, not after a campaign ends.

There are many benefits to setting up personal campaigns on any of these sites (or others): convenience and ease of use, having a way to share your story without having to repeat it again and again, and most importantly, being able to get immediate help with some of your bills. But there are a few things to keep in mind before setting up a campaign:

  1. Donations made through these sites are typically not tax-deductible, since funds are going to a person rather than an individual. That said, friends and family may not necessarily care about getting a tax deduction. They just want to help you. Which leads me to…
  2. Few people actually like to ask friends and family for money.  But many of us who have gone through treatment have been asked (probably often!), “What can I do to help?” Sites like these are one answer to this question, and are equally valuable to the people who want to help as they are to the person who needs it. (Hint: one way to get around that feeling that you’re begging for help? Ask a friend or family member to set up the page for you. Or, set it up yourself and ask a friend or family member to share it. You may be amazed at how quickly word travels.)
  3. Administrative fees eat into the funds raised. For example, some sites charge credit card transaction fees in addition to PayPal fees; if used together, this can total up to 8% of a donation. For a $500 donation, this is $40, which for a cancer survivor can pay for a month’s gym membership or a week’s worth of healthy meals.

It is uncomfortable to ask for help. But the reality, as we see every day at The Samfund, is that cancer is often too expensive to face alone. These and other crowdfunding sites, just as BMT InfoNet was to me, can be an invaluable resource.

Samantha Watson

Samantha Eisenstein Watson, MBA

Samantha Eisenstein Watson, MBA

Samantha Eisenstein Watson, MBA, is the chief executive officer and founder of The Samfund. Sam is a 2-time young adult cancer survivor. After completing her treatment for Ewing’s sarcoma and secondary myelodysplastic syndrome, she co-founded The Samfund in 2003 after recognizing a void in programs and services tailored specifically for young adult cancer survivors. She is an active member of the cancer community and an advocate for young adult survivors throughout the country. Sam holds a BA and an MBA from Brandeis University.

Social Entrepreneurship Transforming Waste Materials In The Coffee Industry Into High-Demand Apparel And Home Decor Products

Your love of coffee + the world’s great need to alleviate poverty = a transformative business opportunity.

Coffee has become far more than just the #1 consumed beverage in the world, it’s actually become a culture of its own. A culture that begins in Countries where coffee is cultivated and exported, leaving behind resources that most coffee drinkers aren’t even aware of. Our burlap products and coffee wood products are just a few examples of this. Millions of burlap sacks a year that were intended to haul coffee, end up being disposed of and/or burned after rotting in storage facilities beyond their useful shelf life. Similarly, a coffee tree must be pruned nearly to it’s roots every few years in order to maintain it’s bush-like form. The wood that is pruned from these trees is often just burned as firewood. We have found a way to turn this waste from coffee farming into valuable, high-demand products via upcycling, and with your help we can expand the coffee culture into new realms of creativity…and transform lives along the way.

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The city of Masatepe, Nicaragua, exists in the 2nd poorest Country in the Western Hemisphere and has it’s unfair share of challenges as a community. But on the flip side, it also has some tremendous resources. In 2012, my wife and I moved into the city-center of Masatepe in order to integrate ourselves into a community that we saw as having tremendous potential for growth and transformation. We decided that instead of focusing on global statistics and problems, we would to take an entrepreneurial approach and focus on the opportunities. Opportunities that involve utilizing local resources, like coffee, and local talent, like our friend Don Beto, in order to create enterprises that bring value to the marketplace, that bring jobs to the community, and more importantly that bring dignity to the talented people who make it all possible. Enterprises that exist not to simply benefit their shareholders, but rather with a core purpose of transforming the community around them. In 2013, Beto’s Coffee Co. was launched to do just this.

Join us on Kickstarter to take this project to the next level.

Crowdfunding Campaigner Magazine The Platform For Thought Leadership

With the belief that crowdfunding is now becoming recognized as a channel to finance the dreams of our target market the overall intention of the magazine is to support the crowdfunding process by way of sharing knowledge from our subject matter experts, share experiences from campaigners and investors and overall become a reference and guide to crowdfunding success.

The quality of the magazine is based on the expertise and knowledge of the featured contributors delivering relevant, incisive and inspiring content covering many their years of raising finance for entrepreneurs, startups and business members alike.

Crowdfunding Campaigner Magazines goal and KPI is to become a global presence in supporting crowdfunding and a point of reference where the approach differs in countries due to rules and regulations while watching the growth of the many platforms Kickstarter and Indiegogo manage to help to raise the funds required by campaigners.

With the increase in mobile touchscreen devices content delivery and design is no longer the same as web or print. Publishing and distribution of content in this new mobile age is forever changing because readers now have greater expectations from this medium.

Crowdfunding Campaigner Magazine has the mobile trend in mind with future proofing as a market objective. With mobility in mind the magazine provides content to subscribers in a way that it is most likely to be consumed at any given moment. The effect will be more touch points for the user to the brand, deepening value, brand loyalty with greater engagement between the contributors and readers.

The UK’s No.1 Equity Crowdfunding Platform Seedrs Hits £100 Million Invested In Early-Stage and Growth Businesses

  • Seedrs Is Now The Most Active Seed-Stage Equity Investor In The UK
  • Seedrs Holds 37% Market Share Of UK Equity Crowdfunding Activity
  • Seedrs Has A Particularly Strong Lead In Technology Investments

London, 11 February 2016. Seedrs, the UK’s No. 1 equity crowdfunding platform, today announced it has had more than £100 million invested on its platform in early-stage and growth focused businesses since it launched in July 2012.

This news follows another record-breaking 2015, in which Seedrs saw over 38,000 investments made on its platform.

A new report, ‘The Deal 2015 – Review of investment in UK start-ups and scale-ups in 2015’, released today by leading research firm Beauhurst, shows that equity crowdfunding continues to dominate early-stage investment, with Seedrs taking pole position in the space.

Seedrs is ranked number one in various categories of investment, including being the top seed-stage equity investor in the UK and the top equity investor in London, and it has established “a strong lead” in investment activity for businesses in the Technology and the Business & Professional Services sectors. In some cases Seedrs has experienced more than double the activity of its nearest competitor according to Beauhurst, a leading source of objective deep data on UK start-ups and scale ups.

Standout funding rounds on Seedrs in 2015 included, healthy eating high street brand, Tossed, which raised £1.34 million from 661 investors, and award-winning cloud accounting software, FreeAgent, which raised £1.21 million from over 700 investors.

Seedrs has funded more than 320 deals since launch, and it is growing quickly. The last three months alone have seen over £18 million invested on the Seedrs platform.

Seedrs has also become the UK equity crowdfunding platform with the most users. Based on Alexa rankings, which measures website visitors over a rolling three-month period, Seedrs now has significantly more people using its site than any other UK equity crowdfunding platform.

In January this year, Seedrs was named a Bloomberg Business Innovator 2016, an accolade that recognises “the people changing how the UK lives, works and thinks,” as well as joining Tech City UK’s Upscale Programme of 30 of the fastest-growing UK tech companies.

Jeff Lynn, CEO & Co-Founder, Seedrs said: “As the first regulated equity crowdfunding platform in the world, Seedrs has always focused on doing equity crowdfunding the right way. Our mission is to build a sustainable industry with a business approach focused on a combination of scale and professionalism. We create a world-class experience for investors and entrepreneurs and build long-term relationships along the way.

“Our continued growth and leading position in the market is testament to our reputation within the finance space. We deliver a robust and effective product that gives entrepreneurs a trusted platform to pitch inspiring businesses, and that educates investors about the benefits and risks of investing in early-stage and growth-focused businesses. ”

Site For Documentary Filmmakers Advances Social Movements

This post was originally produced for Forbes. is part crowdfunding, part petition platform and partly a platform for committing people to change their behavior, all driven by video stories. Founded by sisters Mika and Emi Onishi, the site is focused on causes.

Mika explains the motivation for creating the site, “Our original inspiration came out of the genuine overwhelm of wanting to do GOOD but not always knowing the best way to direct our desire to help after watching social change documentaries online that tugged at our hearts.”

She notes that many of these stories are important, but are “far from what was breaking the internet.”

Mika and Emi Onishi, courtesy of UPTOGOOD

Mika and Emi Onishi, courtesy of UPTOGOOD

Emi adds, #StoriesThatMatter,” writing with a favorite hashtag, “often don’t get enough attention in today’s media and is difficult for some to figure out what actions can and should be taken.”

“Users can create a video-based impact campaign designed to bring attention to #StoriesThatMatter and have the opportunity to provide long-term support to the causes they are passionate about with a choice of four UPTOGOOD actions: FUNDit, SIGNit, PROMISEit, SHAREit, offering an easy way for good-hearted people to take action on what they just watched; creating concrete and immediate actions through the click of their mouse,” Emi said.

Mika agrees, “We are making it easier for people to direct their inspired hearts into action that generates more GOOD in this world after watching a story that just moved them.”

Mika is enthusiastic about the future. “We believe impact and change can happen in numbers. It’s not always one person taking monumental action. It can actually be as simple as lots of people taking a little bit of action. By making GOOD much more accessible by offering a clearer course of action at the right time, we hope to see momentum for GOOD. That is how things move, and that is how we make an impact and arrive at a world that is UPTOGOOD.”

Emi enthuses that the success of UPTOGOOD “will get people to authentically engage in topics, raise awareness on social issues and influence individual perspectives, attitude and behavior to inspire actions and social impact.”

On Thursday, February 11, 2016 at 3:00 Eastern, Emi and Mika will join me here for a live discussion about UPTOGOOD. Tune in here then to watch the interview live. Post questions in the comments below or tweet questions before the interview to @devindthorpe.

More about UPTOGOOD:

Twitter: @UPTOGOODorg

UPTOGOOD is a video-based impact campaign platform designed to bring attention to #StoriesThatMatter in order to inspire action and promote more GOOD in our world. At UPTOGOOD, anyone can create a campaign around an inspiring social change documentary, a DIY video taken with your smartphone or anything in between. The campaign then comes with a choice of four simple actions: FUNDit, SIGNit, PROMISEit, and SHAREit, offering an easy way for good-hearted people to take action on what they just watched. It is a place where everyone is encouraged to “Watch. Get Inspired. ACT.” all through the click of your mouse, all in one place.

Mika’s bio:

Twitter: @mikaonishi

Mika is Cofounder of UPTOGOOD, a video-based, user-generated platform that harnesses the power of social media for GOOD, where anyone can create a campaign around an inspiring documentary or video clip – a story that matters. On UPTOGOOD, inspired hearts can take action on what they just watched with a click of their mouse to help direct their participation via a choice of four actions: FUNDit, SIGNit, PROMISEit, SHAREit.

Prior to UPTOGOOD, Mika was President & Publisher of Clique Media Group, parent company to popular fashion editorial brand, Who What Wear. There, she oversaw and scaled the strategy and operations of the company from the ground up. Before Clique Media Group, Mika represented Dentsu, Asia’s largest ad company, as an expert digital media delegate to MPEG and other international industry standards bodies. Previously, Mika developed digital media strategies for entertainment studio clients. She also produced PROMAX/BDA award-winning promotions, 3D attractions, CGI and video games for Square USA, Sony, Disney and others. Mika holds an MBA from UCLA Anderson School of Management.

At Clique Media Group, Mika established an in-house creative services and influencer agency representing top fashion bloggers. She honed her expertise by creatively executing campaigns, leveraging influencers and social media to help fashion and lifestyle brands connect with their audience. During this time, watching the documentary Forks Over Knives inspired a Netflix binge in social change documentaries in her personal life. As the Watched List grew, a desire to be part of something more began to bloom, but not knowing what and how, coupled with overwhelming choices and their inaccessibility were paralyzing. This revealed a disconnect juxtaposed between work enveloped in glamour and celebrity to these pressing narratives deserving of more attention. It was also apparent this good-hearted community of social change documentary filmmakers and activists, full of wonderfully inspirational people, often spoke amongst themselves in an echo chamber due to frustratingly limited distribution and monetization vehicles. An opportunity was revealed; make social change stories — stories that matter — immediately actionable, packaged within an accessible, fashionable brand that attracted a mainstream audience. A platform leveraging the power of storytelling by providing an easy way for good-hearted people to take action on what they just watched. She saw how this could ensure better access to resources for these important storytellers to continue their craft also. After revealing her inspiration to her sister, Mika was ecstatic to discover Emi was on a similar path. It was a natural fit. The sisters were excited about the prospect of utilizing their complementary expertise to build something meaningful together and thus, UPTOGOOD was born.

Emi’s bio:

Twitter: @emi_onishi

Emi is Cofounder of UPTOGOOD, a video-based, user-generated platform that harnesses the power of social media for GOOD, where anyone can create a campaign around an inspiring documentary or video clip – a story that matters. On UPTOGOOD, inspired hearts can take action on what they just watched with a click of their mouse to help direct their participation via a choice of four actions: FUNDit, SIGNit, PROMISEit, SHAREit.

Prior to UPTOGOOD, Emi was a seasoned product management, digital media and technology executive with a proven track record of building innovative products and consumer experiences, leading products at companies such as Fox Interactive Media, Myspace Music, IGN Entertainment, Textplus and M-GO. She oversaw product development, roadmap, strategy, design and user experience, and successfully launched major products; a digital entertainment service, user-generated music service, digital download and streaming store-fronts, audition platforms and free texting and calling mobile applications across multiple platforms.

While Emi enjoyed her career building fun and innovative products in the tech industry, she had harbored a strong desire to join the social impact space for many years. In particular, she had been a passionate fan of Participant Media’s work and their powerful films around social change, and had long aspired to participate in their line of work. Watching social change documentary films over the years made her discover the power of story-telling, leaving her feeling the desire to build a product for social impact. While she attempted to do more and support the causes she cared about, she knew it could be difficult for some to figure out what actions can and should be taken, as it certainly was for her. She was inspired by the work of amazing storytellers and their ability to move people and saw the opportunity to bring her expertise and best practices from the digital media / product management world to the impact space to help solve this quandary she strongly identified with. The mission to simplify the process of giving, providing an easy way for good-hearted people to put their post-viewing inspiration to action was a logical answer and a worthy entrepreneurial pursuit, in line with her desire she had to participate in the social impact space all along. After revealing her inspiration to her sister, Emi was overjoyed to discover Mika was on a similar path and that she can share this journey of building something that matters with her sister.

Experts Comment, Offer Tips For Investment Crowdfunding Under New Regs

This post was originally produced for Forbes.

Last fall, the SEC issued long-awaited rules for investment crowdfunding. FINRA also issued its rules. The new rules become effective on May 17, 2016. It’s time for entrepreneurs to start thinking seriously about whether and how to take advantage of the them. I’ve invited three experts to comment and offer suggestions.

Richard Swart, CSO of NextGen Crowdfunding, notes that “Regulation Crowdfunding is far from perfect – but it will allow the first inning of retail equity crowdfunding to begin. Expect legislative changes soon, but at least we now have opportunity for local and community oriented crowdfund investing.”

“The single biggest misconception about Regulation Crowdfunding is that is is somehow an alternative to Venture Capital,” he adds. “Regulation CF will function at the seed round – or as an alternative to debt. Rapidly scaling high-growth potential technology firms are unlikely to use it.”

“Congress made one huge mistake,” he says, referring to the fact that unlike Title IV of the JOBS Act, the new rules issued under Title III don’t allow for entrepreneurs to “test the waters” or solicit expressions of interest in an offering prior to conducting a full offering.

Sara Hanks, CEO and Founder of Crowdcheck, offers a few tips to those considering a crowdfund offering:

  1. Remember that what you are allowed to say about the offering anywhere except on the intermediary’s site is very limited. Know the rules about communications before you start the campaign. Don’t hire communications or PR experts to publicize your campaign unless you know that they know the rules too.
  2. Everything about the offering that appears on the intermediary’s website has to be filed with the SEC, and everything filed with the SEC has to appear on the intermediary’s site. And until the filing has been made, the offering can’t go live on the intermediary’s site.
  3. You will be responsible for “misleading statements.” So no exaggeration, no wild predictions, nothing that you can’t back up with proof. You can say you have the best craft beer on the east coast, but you can’t say you’ll be the next Sam Adams. “Just the facts.”

Sam Guzik, an attorney with Guzik & Associates, also offered three tips for entrepreneurs considering crowdfunding, all focused on helping entrepreneurs choose between rewards (think Kickstarter) versus equity crowdfunding:

  1. Understanding Your Crowdfunding Funding Options – Look Before You Leap! A company which is a candidate for a crowdfunded raise needs to weigh equity crowdfunding versus rewards based crowdfunding.  The key difference between these two options is that one makes the crowd an owner of your business, while the other simply provides the crowd with a predetermined reward.  But there are many other differences which may not be obvious. Most importantly, equity crowdfunding is heavily regulated by SEC rules.  This not only imposes greater upfront costs, such as preparing an SEC compliant disclosure document, but a company which is successful will have ongoing annual reporting obligations as long as the crowdfunded equity remains outstanding.  And because equity crowdfunding is regulated, a company which does not dot all of the i’s and cross all of the t’s, as well as its controlling persons (management), could be faced with a legally enforceable demand by the crowd to return their money if they are dissatisfied for any reason.
  2. The Devil is in the Details! Companies which have a good story and a good product, especially those which tap into an affinity group, such as pet lovers, movie fanatics, or a community based enterprise, face a choice: which form of crowdfunding is best for them.  Apart from the additional legal costs and reporting obligations which are part and parcel of an equity crowdfunding raise, stringent SEC rules applicable to equity crowdfunding, but not rewards based crowdfunding, could materially impact the likelihood of the success of the crowdfunding campaign.  A major consideration is that under equity crowdfunding, with limited exceptions, all of the promotion for the campaign must be conducted on an SEC registered internet portal. Off portal advertising is severely limited, as is promotional activity directed at potential investors before a campaign is listed on a registered portal. A key metric in projecting the success of a crowdfunding campaign in the rewards area has been the ability of a campaign to gain traction – measured by committed dollars – at the very beginning of a campaign.  This requires pre-launch marketing, something that is generally prohibited under JOBS Act equity crowdfunding.
  3. Understanding What the Crowd Wants! If your company decides that an equity crowdfunding raise is preferable to a rewards campaign, a company needs to keep in mind that the investing crowd will have different requirements than in a rewards based campaign. If you do not properly recognize and address these concerns before you launch your campaign you may be sorely disappointed. An example: you have invented and built a prototype for the next “world beater” gadget. For the rewards crowd, the questions will be: will it work as advertised, when will it be delivered, and is the product worth the cost? The equity crowd will have other considerations, with a longer time horizon: how strong is the management team, when and how will I be able to profit from my investment (the exit), and are the terms of the equity investment itself fair? An equity crowdfunding company which does not understand and address these factors in their pitch will not succeed in engaging the equity crowd.

On Thursday, February 11, 2016 at 2:00 PM Eastern, Swart, Hanks and Guzik will all join me for a live discussion about the new rules and how entrepreneurs can use them to raise money once they’re effective in May. Tune in here then to watch the interview live. Post questions in the comments below or tweet questions before the interview to @devindthorpe.

More about UC Berkeley:

Twitter: @UCBerkeley

The University of California was chartered in 1868 and its flagship campus — envisioned as a “City of Learning” — was established at Berkeley, on San Francisco Bay. Today the world’s premier public university and a wellspring of innovation, UC Berkeley occupies a 1,232 acre campus with a sylvan 178-acre central core. From this home its academic community makes key contributions to the economic and social well-being of the Bay Area, California, the nation, and the world.

Richard Swart, courtesy of UC Berkeley

Richard Swart, courtesy of UC Berkeley

Swart’s bio:

Twitter: @richardswart

Richard Swart is the Director of Research at the University of California, Berkeley, overseeing research into policies, best practices and innovative social financing models, including effective practices in crowdfunding. Swart is one of the top thought leaders in crowdfunding globally with particular interest in crowdfunding impact and, in crowdfunding practices for corporations who can now leverage crowdfunding as an essential tool for driving innovative ways to strengthen their brand experience, deepen their impact in the community and improve sales.

Current Projects Include:

  • Launching world’s first Exec Ed course in Corporate Crowdfunding
  • Researching how small business use alternative finance and Crowdfunding
  • Building largest data repository for crowdfunding and alternative finance research
  • Studying how multi-national NGOs and Organizations can empower projects with crowdfunding
  • Advising Universities on best-practices in crowdfunding

More about CrowdCheck:

Twitter: @crowdcheck

CrowdCheck provides due diligence, disclosure and compliance services for online alternative investments, including offerings by early-stage companies, real estate projects and pooled investment vehicles. We protect investors by performing due diligence on the company or project and making sure investors have the information they need to make an informed investment decision. We protect issuers and project sponsors by walking them through the disclosure process to help them comply with the law and avoid liability. We protect online intermediaries by making sure the information presented by issuers and project sponsors on their site is not misleading and complies with the law, and providing related compliance services, such as our “Bad Actor report”. The result of our work usually appears in an easy-to-understand Report that appears on the website of the online intermediary.

Sara Hanks, courtesy of CrowdCheck

Sara Hanks, courtesy of CrowdCheck

Hanks’ bio:

Twitter: @saracrowdcheck

Sara Hanks, co-founder and CEO of CrowdCheck, is an attorney with over 30 years of experience in the corporate and securities field. CrowdCheck provides due diligence and compliance services for online alternative securities offerings, helping entrepreneurs and project sponsors through the disclosure and due diligence process and giving investors the information they need to make an informed investment decision and avoid fraud.

Sara’s prior position was General Counsel of the Congressional Oversight Panel, the overseer of the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP). Prior to that, Sara spent many years as a partner of Clifford Chance, one of the world’s largest law firms. While at Clifford Chance, she advised on capital markets transactions and corporate matters for companies throughout the world. Sara began her career with the London law firm Norton Rose. She later joined the Securities and Exchange Commission and as Chief of the Office of International Corporate Finance led the team drafting regulations that put into place a new generation of rules governing the capital-raising process.

Sara received her law degree from Oxford University and is a member of the New York and DC bars and a Solicitor of the Supreme Court of England and Wales. She holds a Series 65 securities license as a registered investment advisor. Sara is an aunt, Army wife, skier, cyclist, gardener and animal lover.

More about Guzik & Associates:

Guzik & Associates, founded by Samuel S. Guzik in 1993 and located in Los Angeles, is a law firm providing a broad spectrum of legal representation in the areas of business, corporate, and securities law. We provide representation to a variety of businesses and individuals in the U.S. and abroad, including start-ups, emerging and established companies, and publicly held NYSE, Nasdaq and OTC listed companies. We also serve as legal counsel to other law firms from time to time on a project or “of counsel” basis.

Samuel Guzik, courtesy of Guzik and Associates

Samuel Guzik, courtesy of Guzik and Associates

Guzik’s bio:

Twitter: @SamuelGuzik1

With more than 35 years as a corporate and securities attorney, both in major law firms and in his own firm, Guzik & Associates, Sam Guzik is a nationally recognized thought leader on new capital raising alternatives for startups and SME’s under the JOBS Act of 2012, including Regulation A+ and investment crowdfunding. He is a frequent speaker at academic, government and industry conferences, and a prolific writer on post-JOBS Act issues, including two articles published in 2014 in the Harvard Law Forum and a Senior Contributor to Crowdfund Insider since 2013. He has been widely cited in major financial publications, including The Economist, Forbes and Bloomberg’s Business Week. He has also been actively engaged in the Regulation A+ and Title III crowdfunding rulemaking process, having submitted seven comment letters to the SEC, cited more than 60 times in the SEC’s Final Rules Releases issued in 2015. Mr. Guzik is also former President and Chair of the Crowdfunding Professional Association (CfPA).

Regulation A+ Offers Unprecedented Opportunity For American Small Businesses And Investors

Key architect Robert Kaplan reveals how they can benefit

RICHMOND, Va. (Feb. 10, 2016) – The Securities & Exchange Commission’s Regulation A+ is unlocking unprecedented capital and opportunity for America’s small businesses and investors, while most Americans remain in the dark. A new book seeking to enlighten readers simplifies the government’s legal language into actionable intelligence for companies and investors alike.

Kaplan Voekler Cunningham & Frank PLC, a prominent law firm based in Virginia, announced today the release of a book, “Regulation A+: How the JOBS Act Creates Opportunities for Entrepreneurs and Investors,” co-written by Robert Kaplan, Jr., a founding partner of the firm, along with experts Paul Getty and Dinesh Gupta.

“Reg A+ simplifies the capital-raising process, dramatically impacting how companies raise growth capital,” said Kaplan. “The effects could be revolutionary – as businesses grow, jobs are created and investors are rewarded. Reg A+ could significantly bolster the U.S. economy.”

Kaplan predicts that Reg A+ will help achieve what many political candidates are talking about: helping America’s small businesses and everyday investors succeed.

“For the past 20 years, the doors have been effectively closed to public securities, except for the largest investors on Wall Street,” Kaplan said. “But Reg A+ creates a class of securities available to Main Street and mid-market businesses.”

New book = New opportunities

Kaplan’s innovative book is the authoritative guide to Reg A+ for executives of emerging growth companies, entrepreneurs, financial advisers, venture capitalists, investment bankers, securities lawyers, finance and MBA students, as well as others who want to learn how to raise up to $50 million a year without doing a traditional IPO. Instead, Reg A+ offers a new type of IPO, unencumbered by the heavy regulation and costs of traditional IPOs.

The book guides readers in very practical terms on how to take advantage of key provisions of Reg A+ that:

  • Permit companies to raise up to $50 million, a 10-fold increase over the old Reg A limit of $5 million, and 50 times the current crowdfunding limit.
  • Allow companies to market IPOs to a wider audience, rather than just accredited investors.
  • Make it easier to market offerings.
  • Exempt companies under certain conditions from onerous and costly reporting and compliance requirements, such as Sarbanes-Oxley.


The bipartisan Jumpstart our Business Startups (JOBS) Act of 2012 required the SEC to update its old Regulation A to become what many are calling Reg A+. In 2015, the SEC announced the rules for Reg A+, which increased the amount a private company could raise through a public securities offering from $5 million a year, to $50 million a year, and allowed non-accredited investors buy in.

Many American companies are filing their first Reg A+ offerings now.

About Robert Kaplan Jr.

Over his career, Kaplan has been counsel in securities offerings/transactions and syndications worth more than $2 billion. He spearheads the firm’s practice area on the JOBS Act and Regulation A.

Kaplan has appeared on radio and TV, as well as in print media, offering commentary on the JOBS Act. He has worked since its inception with the U.S. Congress on Title IV, and with the SEC on rules for implementation, including testifying before the U.S. Senate’s Banking Committee on Regulation A’s effects on the lower middle market and the alternatives industry.

About Kaplan Voekler Cunningham & Frank PLC

Kaplan Voekler Cunningham & Frank was founded in 2005 with one primary objective: to create a law firm capable of providing exemplary value to clients with sophisticated needs.

Kaplan Voekler Cunningham & Frank brings a comprehensive approach to legal services, offering practical, timely legal advice in a cost-effective manner. The firm offers the type of consistent, thorough, value-added service that can only be achieved by having a true understanding of clients’ businesses. The attorneys at KVCF have vast experience and focus on delivering superior quality work with a focus on cost effectiveness, efficiency, and timely responsiveness. KVCF, based in Richmond, serves clients nationwide.

Book Purchase Information

“Regulation A+ How the JOBS Act Creates Opportunities for Entrepreneurs and Investors” may be purchased online through the publisher’s website,; the distributor’s website,; and through

Group to Raise Funds for Ground-breaking Diversity Enriched Fashion Magazine

New York, New York — February 9th, 2016 – New York City based BULACE Magazine is pleased to announce the launch of its Kickstarter campaign. The new magazine promotes diversity in the fashion industry through the intentional use of LGBTQIA models, ethnic models, plus size models and disabled models.

The world is changing. Diverse groups of people are finally being accepted for who they are after fighting for rights and recognition over generations. While the world is changing, the fashion industry hasn’t kept pace — until now. With the publication of BULACE, finally there will be a fashion magazine that is diverse and inclusive rather than homogenous and exclusive. Editor-in-Chief, Rachel Seaforth explains, “We’re not just using diverse models and designers for the sake of diversity. We’re including them because we believe in their talent. We believe in their beauty. This magazine does not discriminate against anyone. There is no reason why a beautiful slim, Caucasian model can’t appear alongside a gorgeous transgender Asian model, or a beautiful plus-size model. If the model is talented and works well in the photo shoot, we’re going to use them because it is ridiculous not to!”

Fashion is constantly changing, but previously, fashion magazines tended to use only homogenous images, while the population is anything but homogenous. BULACE hopes to change the paradigm by using models of all sizes and ethnicities, as well as models with disabilities and those who identify as LGBTQIA. The best photographers, hair and makeup artists and styles will help to make this magazine relevant to all women.

Julissa Greenspan, spokesperson for the magazine explained, “There is a strong emphasis on quality and creativity in BULACE Magazine. The magazine only works with the most talented photographers, MUAs and stylists. As with any magazine, our goal is to captivate our reader’s attention in a very modern way.”

BULACE Magazine’s Kickstarter campaign is now available online. It can be found at


BULACE Magazine is a New York City-based fashion and lifestyle magazine that caters to the evolving taste of progressive women. It provides readers with a fresh perspective on fashion and culture. BULACE is not your typical fashion magazine. It seeks to highlight international talent and visionaries and showcases the latest trends from the point of view of the world’s most talented designers.

Learn more about BULACE at

Twitter: @bulacemagazine

Instagram: @bulacemag

Facebook: Bulace Magazine

Givebuy Releases Innovative Tool to Help Crowdfunding Projects Make More Money

Studies show that approximately 60% of crowdfunding projects never get funded. Givebuy’s new tool aims to lower that statistic by generating money from over 700 partnered retailers for projects whenever supporters shop online.

This is an example of what a page from Givebuy will look like. It includes a short bio, video & photo, generated totals, top 50 store links and the option of using a browser add-on.

This is an example of what a page from Givebuy will look like. It includes a short bio, video & photo, generated totals, top 50 store links and the option of using a browser add-on.

AUSTIN, TEXAS (PRWEB) FEBRUARY 03, 2016 – Running a successful crowdfunding campaign can be an overwhelming task to say the least. According to Kickstarter’s own stats, only 44% of campaigns meet their funding goal. This means roughly 60% of projects on Kickstarter will never experience the joy of being funded.

One company out of Austin, Texas is trying to change that with an innovative tool that helps crowdfunding projects make more money through their supporter’s online purchases.

“So many crowdfunding campaigns fall short of their financial goal.” said Andrew Parker, Givebuy’s founder. “We offer a creative and modern approach to help a lot of people get funded. Over 10,000 people use Givebuy everyday to support something that they care about.”

Givebuy has an application form where users submit their crowdfunding project. If a project is approved then a customized Givebuy page like this one will be built. All sales made through this page are tracked by Givebuy and the generated total is paid to projects each month. The retailers pay for it all so it doesn’t cost supporters a penny more than they would normally spend.

Givebuy was initially developed in 2014 as a way to help non-profits raise money through their supporter’s online purchases. Today, Givebuy is partnered with over 700 retailers and has generated thousands of dollars for several worthy causes. The company was recently voted a Top 5 Community Minded Company by the Austin Youth Chamber and has launched several campaigns that bring awareness to current world issues. Givebuy is now expanding to help more projects get funded on sites like Kickstarter, GoFundMe and Indiegogo.

“On average, a single Givebuy user will generate between $10 to $15 per month for a project they care about.” said Andrew. “Whether a project is trying to raise $100,000 to bring a new tech product to market or $250 for a pet’s surgery, Givebuy is a great tool to help projects reach their funding goals.”

Why? Well, for starters it doesn’t cost anything. Retailers actually pay Givebuy a separate commission for sales. This enables Givebuy to be a zero-cost platform and is also why projects receive 100% of their generated total.

Additionally, Givebuy has developed the option of using a browser add-on that kicks in at over 700 partnered stores. It’s a hands off approach so supporters won’t need to visit a their project’s Givebuy site whenever they shop online. The add-on is available for Chrome, Safari & Firefox.

Learn more at

Support the Campaign to Improve the Water Quality in Roma Populations

Rebecca Powell Doherty in collaboration with Drs. Ralph Hall and Stephen Eubank, have developed a targeted project to address the issue of clean water access and sanitation. They are raising money on gofundme. Recently, I caught up with Rebecca Powell Doherty 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?

The Roma people in Eastern Europe disproportionately face substandard living conditions and unreliable housing. This leads to extreme difficulties maintaining access to clean water and, as such, the Roma face illness from water-borne disease at much higher rates than non-Roma throughout Europe. In collaboration with Drs. Ralph Hall and Stephen Eubank at Virginia Tech University, I have developed a targeted project to address the issue of clean water access and sanitation. Dr. Hall has extensive experience in multiple use water systems throughout the globe and has generously shared a validated survey used previously in other countries to determine the level of need and satisfaction in target communities in regard to water access, cleanliness, and disease prevention. Dr. Eubank is a computer modeling expert and has developed a program that allows researchers to model the effects of a given public health intervention on a target population or region. I am an experienced research scientist with a background in immunology, with an emphasis on infectious diseases and immunology, currently pursuing a Masters in Public Health degree and certificate in global planning and international development at Virginia Tech.

I am interested in conducting a survey within the Roma population, based on Dr. Hall’s validated survey in conjunction with a World Health Organization (WHO) survey, in order to address the connection between clean water and the spread of communicable diseases in Roma settlements and camps. A great deal of research exists in the literature about these two concepts independently, but very little has been done in terms of combining the two and identifying the connection. In addition to demographic, educational, and housing information, my survey covers a range of topics related to clean water access, including perceived need, satisfaction, belief in government support, and questions addressing illness and the spread of disease. Following the survey data collection, Dr. Eubanks’ modeling system will allow us to leverage the data from the survey questions to evaluate the cost/benefit and cost/effectiveness of any proposed intervention to address the cross-over issues of water, sanitation, and the spread of disease. These data and subsequent analysis can then be utilized by ERTF, ERRC, or other collaborators to inform public policy, aid advocacy initiatives, and enhance the published literature.

The modeling system that we propose will allow us to identify development interventions that may be most useful in improving the water quality and access in targeted regions, and it can be readily updated as circumstances and populations change or progress. Again, our results will be used by our partner organizations to advocate for the implementation of the interventions we identify as most beneficial.

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

The proposal for the pilot initiative, which targets five villages in Romania, has a budget of $10,000. As of February 4, 2016, we have raised $6,020 of that total! The entire sum will be used to cover the cost of survey implementation, data collection, analysis, and advocacy. This includes travel by the research team, participatory incentives for study participants (no more than $5 USD), as well as the cost of running the models and simulations. Any remaining funds will be donated to the partner non-profit organizations, European Roma Rights Centre and European Roma and Traveller’s Forum (ERRC and ERTF), to use for advocacy initiatives.

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

The Roma, often known as Gypsies, are the single most disenfranchised group of people in Europe. In countries that most would classify as developed and wealthy, they live in substandard housing and are frequently segregated and denied access to primary health care, education, and the legal protections to which they are entitled as EU citizens. They are often evicted from their homes without notice, and the EU countries engage in illegal deportation, trading these individuals from country to country as if they were livestock. They are denied access to personal documentation, which would allow them to secure jobs and improve the lives of their families. Given all this, the rates of water borne illness and diarrheal disease are 5-10 times higher in this population than in non-Roma of similar geographical location. As it is not politically astute to aid this group of individuals, it is up to civil society to make a difference.

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

All backers receive communication (postcards) from Romania if they provide contact info and will be invited to a cocktail hour upon our return from Romania, in which we will update everyone on our activities and the results of the work. Access to the cocktail hour will be available virtually. Backers at the $20 and up range enter the raffle for yoga classes, thai massage, and life coaching sessions.

Check out the campaign:

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Follow on Twitter at @becka_bees



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