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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: July 2016

Elio Motors CEO to SEC Panel: Regulation A+ Can Help Bring Wall Street Back to Its Roots

Crowdfunding Investment Policy Helps Companies Find Needed Capital, Provides Greater Opportunity for Small Investors

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Press Release – WASHINGTON, D.C., July 20, 2016 – Regulation A+ (Reg A+) is an important strategy for companies to raise capital at critical junctures of their growth, according to Paul Elio, founder and CEO of startup vehicle manufacturer Elio Motors, Inc. (OTCQX: ELIO), which plans to build a $6,800, three-wheeled vehicle in the U.S. capable to achieving up to 84 mpg.

Elio made his remarks yesterday in a presentation to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Advisory Committee on Small and Emerging Companies (ACSEC). As part of the ACSEC program, the SEC Division of Corporate Finance also delivered an update on the utilization of Reg A+.

Reg A+ is an initiative made possible under Title IV of the 2012 Jumpstart our Business Startup (JOBS) Act, which paved the way for private companies to raise up to $50 million from non-accredited investors.

“The point of the equity markets has gotten lost. In the 1700s, when people were trading securities underneath a tree at the corner of Broad and Wall [Streets], the equity markets were a place for companies to raise capital, not a place for venture capitalists and private equity firms to cash out their winnings,” Elio said. “I think Reg A+ has a chance to bring it back to its roots, where equity is about a place for companies to find capital – to start and to expand.”

Elio Motors is using a portion of the nearly $17 million it raised in a public offering through Reg A+ to build 23 prototypes for use in testing and validation. Elio said the funding raised in the Reg A+ process was critically important in helping the company get to this development stage. Elio introduced the company’s first E-Series test vehicle – dubbed the E1A – at an event in Livonia, Mich., last month, which he called “an event brought to you by Reg A+.”

After completing the Reg A+ raise, Elio Motors proceeded to list its shares on the OTC Markets, making it the first crowdfunded security to go from public solicitation under Reg A+ to a publicly traded security. The company has raised nearly $100 million total to date from various sources.

“The single-biggest hurdle in creating Elio Motors was attracting capital. This is absolutely key to our continued success. Reg A+ put us over the hump,” Elio said, referring to the fact that the company is now attracting the attention of institutional investors.

The company also continues to gain grassroots support, as more than 55,000 people have made reservations for an Elio.

About Elio Motors

Founded by car enthusiast Paul Elio in 2009, Elio Motors Inc. represents a revolutionary approach to manufacturing an ultra-high-mileage vehicle. The three-wheeled Elio is engineered to attain a highway mileage rating of up to 84 mpg, while providing the comfort of amenities such as power windows, power door lock, cruise control and air conditioning accompanied by the safety of multiple air bags and an aerodynamic, enclosed vehicle body. Elio Motors’ first manufacturing site will be in Shreveport, Louisiana.

Forward-Looking Statements

Certain statements in this press release including, but not limited to, statements related to anticipated commencement of commercial production, targeted pricing and performance goals, and statements that otherwise relate to future periods are forward-looking statements. These statements involve risks and uncertainties, which are described in more detail in the Company’s periodic reports filed with the SEC, specifically the most recent reports which identify important risk factors that could cause actual results to differ from those contained in the forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements are made and based on information available to the Company on the date of this press release. Elio Motors assumes no obligation to update the information in this press release.

First Investment Deal of Its Kind, Boutique Luxury Hostel Races Past Crowdfunding Goal Through NextSeed

Achievement Marks Historic Moment In U.S. Crowdfunding And Small Business Financing Industries

Press Release – HOUSTON, TX – Austin -based hostel, The Native, raised $396,500 in just eight weeks from 227 investors. The team raised the funds on NextSeed (www.nextseed.co), a new investment platform that allows the community to invest directly in local businesses.

This type of fundraising was previously reserved for accredited (wealthy and high earning) investors only. Under new, revolutionary investment regulations (Title III of the JOBS Act), everyone can now begin investing in small businesses through registered platforms. Small business investing has now crossed a historic threshold, as The Native’s raise on NextSeed marks the first offering to successfully fund under the new rules.

“The community responded in a tremendous way. The Native raised over 144% of their goal, and we’re thrilled to be part of their journey,” said NextSeed CEO Youngro Lee. “This is a huge moment. The ability for everyday people to now have access to these types of deals and directly invest – this democratizes the world of finance. It changes the way businesses access capital and how we think about investing. Nearly half of the investors in this deal were Millennials who are clearly dissatisfied with the limited investment options that they used to have. Investing in a local business is now a real possibility, and it’s the type of investment that people of this generation feel closer to. This is just the beginning, and we’re working tirelessly to create more opportunities like this for both businesses and investors.”

NextSeed’s recently launched national platform has debuted three offerings since inception. The Native, a luxury boutique hostel that is launching under the leadership of Michael Dickson, Will Steakley, and Antonio Madrid, represents a unique venture that will revitalize a former warehouse and will be situated ideally between Austin’s bustling Downtown and Eastside districts. An emerging trend in other parts of the world, The Native is the first concept of its kind to launch in Texas. The funds raised on NextSeed will be put towards construction. The team was excited about offering everyday people – particularly target customers of the business who otherwise would never have the chance to invest – the opportunity to participate in the financial success of the business. Investors share a percentage of the business’s monthly revenue and earn a 2X return on their investment. They will also receive special bonus rewards, such as free stays and exclusive experiences available only to investors.

Michael Dickson shared the team’s thoughts on why they approached NextSeed to begin with. “We’ve financed other businesses in the past, and we normally would have turned to accredited investors for something like this. When we learned about NextSeed, we were intrigued by the chance to involve more of the community in the process. Our average customer for The Native probably isn’t accredited. But through NextSeed, we could accept investments as small as $ 100 and open the opportunity to people who normally would be excluded from this type of investment. And the response was huge! We’re excited that so many people are now part of our team.”

Following The Native’s offering, NextSeed has subsequently debuted two more Austin-based businesses: Vigilante Gaming Bar, a full-service bar and restaurant devoted to board gaming and nerd culture, and The Brewer’s Table, a craft brewery and restaurant concept under the leadership of founder Jake Maddux, formerly of New Belgium Brewing, Thirsty Planet Brewing, and Anchor Brewing Company.

All listings on NextSeed are debt investments. While much of the speculative hype surrounding the investment crowdfunding industry has fallen on equity investments in tech startups, The Native’s highly successful raise reflects a large area of real need – small business lending for companies on Main Street. It also reflects the demand that investors have for investing in small businesses that are creating new opportunities in the community.

NextSeed has partnered with The Native, Vigilante, and The Brewer’s Table because it is committed to driving small business investing and offering entrepreneurs a powerful platform to secure the financing they need to build and expand their businesses. On NextSeed, businesses also form a strong bond with investors who like their concept and will help spread the word. NextSeed will continue to promote its mission of helping all investors and small businesses reach their financial goals, thrive and prosper.

About NextSeed

NextSeed US LLC (“NextSeed”) is a SEC-registered Funding Portal and FINRA member. Headquartered in Houston, TX, NextSeed is an online debt crowdfunding platform that helps U.S. small businesses raise capital from any investors while showcasing their business. For more information, please visit www.nextseed.co.

NextSeed’s Texas affiliate (www.nextseed.com) launched in 2015 pursuant to Texas crowdfunding rules, and since then has facilitated over $1.2 million in business loans for Texas businesses.

American Committee Selected As Bronze Winner In The 37th Annual Telly Awards

Press Release – NEW YORK, NY — July 18, 2016 — The Telly Awards, one of the world’s premier honors recognizing outstanding films and videos, has named the American Committee for the Weizmann Institute of Science as the winner of a Bronze award in the 37th Annual Telly Awards in 2016.

A Bronze Telly was awarded in the category of Online Video, Fund Raising, for the film “Project-Based Fundraising.” The video introduces the American Committee’s online fundraising initiative, which encourages donors to create peer-to-peer fundraising pages to support research projects that match their personal passions and interests.

The initiative offers participants an opportunity to become “partners in innovation” with Weizmann Institute scientists by helping to fund one of twelve cutting-edge research projects focusing on healing lives around the world, fighting cancer through science, protecting the earth, advancing education and science literacy, developing the technologies of the future, and revealing the mysteries of the universe. The award-winning video takes viewers on a virtual walk through the process of creating a fundraising page, and inspires ideas for crowdfunding campaigns with creative examples of events to fundraise around, including bar and bat mitzvah projects or community walks or races.

The video was produced with Flightpath, a New York digital agency.

Founded in 1979, the Telly Awards is a highly-respected international competition, representing the top work of the most prestigious advertising agencies, production companies, television stations, cable operators, and corporate video departments. This year, there were nearly 13,000 entries from all 50 states and numerous countries.

A distinguished judging panel of over 600 accomplished industry professionals judged the competition, which was one of the most successful in the long history of the Telly Awards. Approximately 18 to 25 percent of entries are chosen as winners of the Bronze Telly, making it a significant creative achievement.

The American Committee’s winning entry may be viewed online on WEIZMANN-USA.ORG’s Project-Based Fundraising page.

Equity Crowdfunding is a Growing Global Movement

Dan Miller Believes Crowdfunding Will Grow Exponentially Over the Next 10 To 20 Years

Press Release – NEW YORK, NY – July 14, 2016 – Dan Miller, President and Founder of Myrtle Grove Ventures, believes online finance and equity crowdfunding in particular will see significant and international growth over the next 10 to 20 years. As a direct result of the Regulation Crowdfunding put into place by Title III of the JOBS Act, it is easier for private companies—particularly small to medium enterprises (SMEs)—to raise funds, and for individual retail investors to invest in SMEs, which are the engines of the American economy. Online investment crowdfunding platforms, knows as funding portals, are a growing, global movement. Recent global regulatory changes have facilitated investment crowdfunding in countries such as the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Australia, New Zealand, and now the U.S.

“It’s amazing to watch all the crowdfunding legislation take shape around the world,” said Mr. Miller. “The regulation nuances happening now are setting the stage for this growing movement, with the U.S. and U.K leading the way. Potential global hubs such as Switzerland and Singapore are now changing their regulation infrastructures. It will be beneficial that legislation being implemented globally will likely retain 80%-90% of the initial regulations. There is no other legislation being enacted like this on a global scale.”

In the U.S., prior to Title III of the JOBS Act being put into place, 94% of Americans were excluded from investing in private companies because they did not meet the net worth ($1 million total assets) or annual income ($200,000) requirements. Additionally, a majority of businesses were off-limits because 99% of U.S. companies with employees are privately held. Now, the rules have changed and more people can become investors. Under the new rules, investment crowdfunding will still be tightly regulated. Funding portals must be licensed by the SEC with oversight by FINRA. These portals will allow entrepreneurs to submit their business for funding, and will then work to vet the project, make sure it meets certain standards, and prepare offering materials to comply with securities regulations. Once the company has been approved, the investment will be posted on the crowdfunding platform, allowing any U.S. resident to invest. Once the investment commitments reach a pre-determined amount, the funding will close, and the company will receive the funds.

“Title III gives Americans more investing opportunities, which shifts the types of assets they want to invest in. I believe the projects most likely to succeed through online investment crowdfunding will be those that connect on an emotional and personal level with investors and that eventually crowdfunding will grow to the point where companies can tap their consumers to raise capital across a multitude of asset classes,” added Mr. Miller.

Miller believes that as a whole we are at the beginning of a major global shift in the world of finance and investment. The regulations put into place by Title III of the JOBS Act on May 16th will prove to be a turning point for crowdfunding. In the next ten to twenty years, the result will be diversified economies and smaller firms in the space.

About Dan Miller

Dan is the Founder of Myrtle Grove Ventures, a global investment holding company based in NYC with interests in real estate, finance, and technology. Dan launched Myrtle Grove Ventures in October 2015 to build a global investment platform that expanded upon his initial work in financial technology and real estate crowdfunding. Dan previously co-founded and served as president of Fundrise, the first and largest US real estate crowdfunding platform. During his tenure as Founder and President, Dan led the firm to become an industry leader and globally renowned business that continues to dominate its industry. Dan is also a Managing Partner of WestMill Capital Partners, a Washington D.C. based real estate development company. He remains involved with Western Development Corporation, his family’s real estate organization which has developed more than 20 million square feet in its 48-year history. Dan graduated from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania as a submatriculant with a dual B.S. and M.B.A.

About Myrtle Grove Ventures:

Myrtle Grove Ventures (MGV) is a global investment holding company with interests in technology, finance, and real estate. MGV focuses specifically on the financial technology and investment crowdfunding sectors. MGV founds, funds, and operates companies in-house and brings in external partners and investors to help scale the organizations. MGV was founded by Dan Miller, a FinTech and crowdfunding pioneer, and is based in New York City.

One-Of-A-Kind Kids’ Backpack Collection Kicks Off On Kickstarter

Press Release – NEW YORK, NEW YORK – July 13, 2016: HERO NEW YORK launches its first-ever back-to-school collection on Kickstarter on July 20th, 2016. HERO NEW YORK is designed to inspire and empower today’s youth by evoking their inner heroes.

Each HERO NEW YORK backpack comes with a collectible trading card of a hero from history with a unique story. “If children can see it, they can be it,” founder Alissa Lentz says. “Our diverse set of heroes show kids that you can make history, no matter where you’ve come from.”

The collection uses fun, eye-catching, gender-neutral colors and patterns. Kickstarter supporters can select from twelve color options. A large backpack (fits a 15” laptop), a small backpack (fits a school folder), and a pencil case are available.

All products ordered during the campaign come with a specialty, Kickstarter-only ‘Original Hero’ logo that shows the backpack is from HERO NEW YORK’s first-ever production run. The trading cards that come with these backpacks are limited edition.

HERO NEW YORK backpacks are made of a strong, military-grade, water-resistant cotton canvas. For nighttime safety, the backpacks have reflective detailing on the front, sides and straps. HERO NEW YORK uses digital printing, an alternative to screen printing that minimizes water waste.

Each HERO NEW YORK purchase supports education. This year’s contributions will go to High School of the Fashion Industries, an NY public school where 76% of students live below the poverty line, yet 91% of students graduate and 82% continue to college. HERO NEW YORK will provide scholarship funding and host design/business workshops.

Shop the first-ever collection at: www.herobackpacks.com/launch

Launch Party: HERO NEW YORK celebrates the launch of its Kickstarter campaign with a “back-to-school” bash for members of the press on July 19, 2016 at the citizenM rooftop. Free drinks and appetizers will be served 7:00-9:00pm. An exclusive preview of the collection will on display. 218 W. 50th St. RSVP at press@herobackpacks.com.

About the Founder: The hero-inspired collection was born out of the childhood story of our founder, Alissa Lentz. A first-generation immigrant from Russia, Alissa struggled to fit in, but when a friend drew a cartoon superhero inside Alissa’s backpack, a hero ignited in her. Now Alissa wants everyone who might think they don’t fit in to feel like a superhero. So in every HERO NEW YORK backpack, she places a collectible trading card of an unsung hero from history to inspire and empower today’s youth.

Evoke your inner hero. Join the #HEROtribe on Instagram @herobackpacks and Facebook at www.facebook.com/herobackpacks.

‘Farm to Fork’ Healthy Eating Investment Opportunity

Mindful Chef partners with Seedrs for equity crowdfunding round

Mindful Chef, the healthy recipe box company that has been given the thumbs up by members of the England Rugby team and The Beckhams, is seeking to raise £300,000 on equity crowdfunding platform Seedrs as it offers existing and prospective customers a first opportunity to share in its success.

Advocating convenient healthy eating for the busy individual, couple or family, Mindful Chef is expanding to offer their services to more health-conscious homes, to benefit the entire country. Mindful Chef currently delivers gluten-free, organic produce with no refined carbohydrates to homes nationwide. Customers choose the recipes, Mindful Chef source and deliver the produce and the customer cooks and enjoys the meals. No fuss, minimal waste, just delicious and healthy meals.

Three remarkable men with variant qualities and experience saw a gap in the market, and joined together to launch Mindful Chef. Co-Founder Robert Grieg-Gran was a time-poor, global investment banker who ate badly at his desk for 7 years, whose mission is to offer the nation good quality, ‘farm to fork’ meals. Co-Founder Giles Humphries, worked long hours at M&C Saatchi and preparing healthy meals was unwillingly replaced with grabbing fast food with no nutritional goodness. Giles brings digital marketing and brand experience to the executive team. Lastly, Co-Founder Myles Hopper, personal trainer and nutritional coach brings health credentials and expertise to the team, regularly keeping a strict, close eye on the nutritional value of each recipe.

They are supported by a hard-working and talented team including Head Chef, Louisa Mitchell, who trained at Leith’s cookery school and has extensive experience within the premium fresh food sector.

Current investors include former Global Chief Strategy Officer of Interbrand, Leslie Butterfield CBE who commented: “This is one of the most promising brands in one of the strongest growth markets right now. High-quality product, talented team and major growth market – that makes for a very powerful brand! I’m really excited to be supporting the Mindful Chef team as they build a great business and a powerful brand for the future.”

The healthy recipe box brand plans to use funds raised to increase marketing, invest in their technology to enhance the user experience and build a state of the art mobile app. Mindful Chef’s long-term vision is to sell other health and lifestyle products to homes nationwide.

Giles Humphries, Co-Founder at Mindful Chef said: “There is something very exciting about inviting existing customers as well as brand ambassadors of the future, to actually be part of our growth. £9 billion is spent online on groceries in the UK each year and that number that is set to double by 2020. It is the fastest growing sector of e-commerce. Mindful Chef is a challenger brand in an exciting sector with a number of unique brand differentiators. By fundraising on Seedrs we hope to reach a wider market, build brand loyalty from new investors and take our simple, delicious healthy-eating option to more people. We are excited to invite people to be a part of our long-term journey.”

Ekaterina Steube, Campaigns Success Manager at Seedrs, said: “Mindful Chef is a vibrant, eye-catching healthy food brand, pioneered by three inspirational entrepreneurs. We are delighted to be hosting the campaign on Seedrs, and we’re excited to see their customers, fans and partners jump on board to be a part of their exciting growth plans.”

The business has seen a 25% month-on-month growth since launch in summer 2014, has a £1m gross order value, with an average order spend of £36. There is a huge opportunity for Mindful Chef to own the healthy sector in the rapidly growing recipe box market.

In the US, research firms like Technomic have pointed towards recipe boxes making up $3-5 billion of the $1.2 trillion grocery and restaurant market. If that holds in the UK, recipe boxes would be 0.25% of the £178bn grocery market. That means potential annual revenue of £44+ million for Mindful Chef alone.

Mindful Chef is now live on Seedrs: www.seedrs.com/mindfulchef

Seed Equity Looks to Streamline Regulation A+ Offerings

Seed Equity Ventures is a sponsor of the Your Mark on the World Center, which publishes GoodCrowd.info.



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

Following the passage of the 2012 JOBS Act, the greatest excitement in the startup finance community was on Title III, which has now been implemented by the SEC as Regulation Crowdfunding. Title IV of the Act, however, is proving to be where the real action is.

The SEC’s implemented the rules for Regulation A+ on June 19. An article by Amy Wan at Crowdfund Insider provides some key statistics about offerings being conducted under the act. 105 offerings were filed, 44 of which were “qualified” by the SEC.

Elio Motors raised almost $17 million earlier this year. Paul Elio joined me twice in the last year to discuss his offering, here and here. The scale of that offering suggests appropriately that Reg A+ offerings are not intended for idea-stage or seed-stage transactions. They may be best seen as a path to an early and more affordable IPO, as the shares of a company that has completed a Reg A+ offering can be listed.

Seed Equity Ventures, a sponsor of our work here at GoodCrowd.info, is a FINRA-registered broker dealer providing investment banking services to early-stage companies. Founder and CEO Todd Crosland has indicated that the firm hopes to make it easier and more affordable for small companies to raise money with a Reg A+ offering.

Todd notes that Seed Equity’s inside legal counsel will work with companies and their legal advisors to ensure complete and affordable regulatory compliance. The firm will help with the company’s offering materials, the closing process and “everything in between,” he says.

Seed Equity has an online investing platform with thousands of investors already signed up. New investors can sign up quickly with their streamlined application process, Todd says.

The Seed Equity platform includes a communications portal so issuers (the companies raising money by issuing shares) can communicate efficiently with interested investors.

The platform also includes a connection to a transfer agent so that seamless records are kept of every shareholder from the first sale of shares.

Seed Equity also takes care of a rafter full of regulatory compliance steps from determining investor suitability, anti-money laundering rules and guidelines for knowing your customer (KYC).

All of the information on the platform is secured with Bank Level Security, according to Todd. The platform includes a secure data room where the issuer’s documents and financial records are stored for review by the investors performing their due diligence.

On Thursday, July 14, 2016 at 3:00 Eastern, Todd will join me here for a live discussion about regulation A+ and how Seed Equity can make completing an offering easier. Tune in here then to watch the interview live. Post questions in the comments below or tweet questions before the interview to @devindthorpe.

Todd Crosland, Seed Equity Ventures

Todd Crosland, Seed Equity Ventures

More about Seed Equity Ventures:

Twitter: @getseedequity

Seed Equity Ventures is a registered broker dealer with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and a member of both FINRA and SIPC, providing investment banking services to startups and growth companies from around the world. Seed Equity believes the best entrepreneurs in the world should be funded, no matter who they are or where they live. Investors throughout the world, should have a voice to choose what the future should look like. They should be able to support entrepreneurs who will build that future. Seed Equity was founded to provide growth equity to entrepreneurs and their startups in exciting industries globally.

Todd’s bio:

Twitter: @ToddCrosland

A seasoned entrepreneur, Mr. Crosland has demonstrated the ability to build successful teams and companies. Mr. Crosland was the Founder, Chairman and CEO of Interbank FX, LLC (“IBFX”; www.IBFX.com), from 2001 until he sold the firm in 2011. IBFX was a Futures Commission Merchant and Retail Foreign Exchange Dealer registered with the U.S. Commodities Futures Trading Commission. IBFX was also authorized and regulated by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission.

IBFX was a worldwide leader in retail Forex trading services. IBFX offered individual traders, fund managers and institutional customer’s proprietary technology and tools to trade Forex online. IBFX saw Global customers grow to over 40,000, in more than 140 countries. Annual trading volume reached $750 billion. IBFX had 120 employees and offices in Beijing, China; Seoul, South Korea; Sydney, Australia; Salt Lake City, Utah and London, England.

IBFX and Mr. Crosland have received many awards, including: The Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award and numerous Inc. 500 awards.

Mr. Crosland holds a B.A. in Business (Business Finance) from the University of Utah. He also currently holds the following Securities Licenses: Series 7, 24, and 63 and previously held series 3 and 30 Licenses.

Community Builder Tackles Chicago’s South Side Using Crowdfunding

You can download an audio podcast here or subscribe via iTunes.
Bernard Loyd, an MIT-educated activist born on Chicago’s West Side and raised in Liberia, has returned to Chicago to lead the rebuilding of a historically black community.

“Despite being the historic center of Black Chicago, a former cultural and commercial hub of Black America, and located only minutes from downtown Chicago and Lake Michigan, Bronzeville is one of the most economically-challenged communities in the United States and a food and jobs ‘desert,'” Bernard says.

With that as motivation, Bernard and his company, Urban Juncture, is out doing something about the problems he sees.

He says, “We are developing a culinary district celebrating unique Black cuisine from around the world in order to provide delicious food for residents, a one-of-a-kind dining destination for visitors, a significant number of locally accessible jobs, and wealth creation opportunities for restaurateurs and investors. We’ve also started development of a companion cultural district highlighting Bronzeville performance arts and hospitality.”

Rebuilding won’t be easy. Money is the biggest constraint on success, he says. “Accessing the capital needed to build culinary enterprises is our most difficult challenge.”

Bernard is raising $100,000 using crowdfunding site Wefunder today. Readers can learn more about the offering here.

The shortage of cash is a result of a complex variety of factors. “Our community was redlined for decades, starting with the federal government, and the after effects of this redlining, along with bad municipal policy, and unintended byproducts of civil rights have created a tremendous resource crunch in Bronzeville and similar communities,” Bernard says.

He acknowledges that the community’s problems go deeper and reach further than his program can solve, but he sees Urban Juncture as a part of a solution that will bring jobs and prosperity back to the neighborhood.

He says, “Gun violence is the single biggest problem that ails Chicago and, while our projects are having positive impact on our community, we need a much broader effort to create the volume of jobs, social connections, and sense of hope needed to eliminate the key root causes of violence.”

Bernard is looking beyond Chicago’s South Side. “We are creating a cuisine-based model for community revitalization that, with the appropriate tailoring and adaptation, can be applied to thousands of urban neighborhoods that lack good food, accessible jobs, and social capital.”

On Thursday, July 14, 2016 at noon Eastern, Bernard will join me here for a live discussion about his efforts to rebuild the South Side of Chicago and his crowdfunding campaign. Tune in here then to watch the interview live. Post questions in the comments below or tweet questions before the interview to @devindthorpe.

Bernard Loyd, courtesy of Urban Juncture

Bernard Loyd, courtesy of Urban Juncture

More about Urban Juncture:

Urban Juncture, Inc. is a for-profit social enterprise focused on leveraging the unique cultural assets and underutilized talent of economically-challenged neighborhoods to catalyze revitalization. Urban Juncture, Inc. works closely with Urban Juncture Foundation, a 501c3 nonprofit with the same goal.

Bernard’s bio:

A native of Chicago’s West Side, Bernard was raised primarily in Liberia, West Africa. He received undergraduate and graduate degrees from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, including a doctorate in computational fluid dynamics and a masters of science in business.

Between 1990 and 2003, as an associate and partner of the management consulting firm of McKinsey & Company, Bernard helped senior corporate leaders around the world expand existing businesses, create new businesses, and improve operations. Bernard’s contributions at McKinsey include co-founding its global Agriculture and Food Chains initiative and leading world-wide client development and service in that arena. He also co-founded and led the firm-wide Black Client Service Staff initiative, which catalyzed substantial increases in the number of Black associates and partners.

Bernard created Urban Juncture, Inc., a community development firm and Urban Juncture Foundation to act as catalysts for the economic revitalization of urban communities and the empowerment of residents through the development of business and social ventures, provision of amenities, and creation of jobs.

He and his family reside in Chicago’s Bronzeville community.

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Devin is a journalist, author and speaker who calls himself a champion of social good. With a goal to help solve some of the world’s biggest problems by 2045, he focuses on telling the stories of those who are leading the way! Learn more at DevinThorpe.com!

 

RealtyMogul.com Closes Another $8.49 Million in Transactions

Online Crowdfunding Platform Helps Finance Multifamily Property Investments and Completes Additional Raises for Residential and Manufactured Housing Funds

Press Release – LOS ANGELES - July 12, 2016 – After becoming the first U.S. real estate crowdfunding platform to fully fund $200 million in transactions earlier this year, RealtyMogul.com announced today the closing of six recent transactions, including equity investments in commercial properties, mezzanine financing for an industrial conversion project and equity raises for two real estate funds.

“Our mission has always been to give regular investors broader access to the world of real estate investing,” said Jilliene Helman, CEO of RealtyMogul.com. “With each additional transaction, we’re opening the door a little wider.”

The transactions include:

Georgia Multifamily Complex with Appreciation Potential

RealtyMogul.com investors provided $950,000 in financing for the acquisition of Westchester Apartments in Decatur, GA. The property is comprised of 24 units of 840 square feet each, distributed across six buildings. The sponsor for the investment has over $300 million in assets under management, focusing on student housing, residential development and apartment buildings across the Southeast and Midwest. The sponsor plans to undertake renovations and capital expenditures on the property that are to coincide with rent increases.

Two Additional Raises of Joint Venture Equity for Single-Family Fund

RealtyMogul.com invested an additional $900,000 into a single-family fund over two funding rounds. These are RealtyMogul’s third and fourth rounds of investment in the fund, bringing the total amount invested by RealtyMogul.com investors to over $4.4 million. The fund currently owns single-family residential homes (SFRHs) throughout Southern California, Nevada and Georgia and intends to leverage the additional investment to acquire SFRHs under both “rent and hold” and “fix and flip” strategies. The sponsor of the fund has previously invested more than $1 billion in over 6,000 SFRHs on behalf of institutional clients and private investors.

Indiana Multifamily Property with Growable Income

RealtyMogul.com invested $1.3 million in joint venture equity in Beechmill Apartments, acquired for $15.8 million by the sponsor earlier this year. The Indianapolis-area property consists of 256 apartments ranging from 661 square feet to 905 square feet. This is RealtyMogul.com’s fourth equity transaction with the sponsor, which has managed over $230 million in multifamily assets across the country. The sponsor has determined that the property is currently renting at below-market rates, and it intends to implement an improvement plan aimed at bringing rents in line with the market.

Debt Financing for California Property Acquisition and Conversion

RealtyMogul.com provided $3.9 million in mezzanine financing for the acquisition and conversion of an industrial property in Garden Grove, CA. After the acquisition, the property is to be converted into an 896-unit self-storage facility for a total cost of $15.1 million. This sponsor has designed, developed, owned and managed over 100 self-storage facilities.

Equity Raise for Mobile Home Park Fund

RealtyMogul.com invested $1.44 million in a mobile home park fund. The fund plans to invest in a diversified portfolio of cash-flowing manufactured housing communities (MHCs) across the country. The fund’s manager, a top-five owner and manager of MHCs in the United States, sees this as an opportunity with the potential for immediate cash flow as well as capital appreciation. The manager has identified 18 geographically diverse, undervalued MHCs for potential acquisition. This investment is still open for funding through our platform at RealtyMogul.com.

“We’re always excited to see the kind of potential we can unlock through crowdfunding,” added Helman. “Opportunities like these, which resulted from our ongoing collaboration with sponsors and investors, are testaments to what’s possible in a democratized real estate investing landscape.”

About RealtyMogul.com

RealtyMogul.com is an online marketplace for real estate investing, giving individual investors real-time access to commercial real estate and professional real estate companies easier access to capital. Through crowdfunding, RealtyMogul.com gives investors tools to browse investments, do due diligence, invest online and have 24/7 access to an investor dashboard to watch how their investments are performing. RealtyMogul.com partners with professional real estate companies to source investment opportunities and underwrites all of the investments. For these real estate companies, RealtyMogul.com offers JV and preferred equity as well as mezzanine and first position debt. For more information, visit www.realtymogul.com.

Equity securities are offered through North Capital Private Securities Corp., registered broker/dealer and member FINRA/SIPC.

Fourth Annual Veterans Charity Challenge Raises More than $300K For 58 Nonprofits across the USA Supporting Vets

Craig Newmark and CrowdRise Fundraising Campaign for Vets Groups Sees 66% Increase in Online Donations Over 2015

Press Release – SAN FRANCISCO (July 8, 2016) – The fourth annual Veterans Charity Challenge has concluded with success as online donations to 58 nonprofits grew more than 66 percent over 2015. Altogether the nonprofits involved received more than $300,000 in donations from almost 2,000 donors.In addition, the five winners of the main fundraising challenge and winners of weekly bonus prizes will receive a total of $50,000 in matching grants.

Veterans Charity Challenge 4 was a joint effort by Craig Newmark, founder of craigslist and craigconnects, and the crowdfunding platform CrowdRise. It was held between Memorial Day and July 6 to drive financial support for nonprofit organizations benefiting veterans, military families, police officers, and firefighters. Cash prizes sponsored by Newmark will be awarded to the organizations that solicited the most in donations.

To date, with prize money included, the four annual Challenges have raised nearly $1.5 million for participating veterans’ groups.

Based on the donations they solicited, prize winners for this year’s Challenge include:

  • Hero Dogs, which will receive a $20,000 grand prize:
  • Warrior Canine Connection, which will receive a $10,000 prize;
  • Dogs on Deployment, $5,000;
  • National Military Family Association, $2,500;
  • Veterans Ticket Foundation, $1,000.

In addition, twenty winners of weekly Bonus Challenges received cash awards.

“Even if an organization doesn’t win a prize, they still get to keep all the money they raised,” said Newmark. “We make it a competition to make it fun, but the real point is to help these important nonprofits connect at the grassroots with their supporters, and also attract new supporters, so we can really get behind vets and their families.”

CrowdRise supports participating organizations every step of the way with webinars, email content, social media posts, 24/7 support, tips, and more. “Our goalfor this year’s Challenge was to help each organization become even more powerful as fundraisers and advocates,” said Newmark.

“We’re so excited to work with Craig and his squad again on a fourth Veterans Charity Challenge,” said CrowdRise cofounder and CEO Robert Wolfe. “The stories we hear from organizations are awesome and overwhelming in the best way ever. The notion that we’re able to help veterans, their families, police, and firefighters in a campaign that’s meaningful and fun is just so great. Challenges like this are exactly what crowdrising is all about.”

For further information visit www.crowdrise.com/veteranscharitychallenge4

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