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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

Flashfunders Profile

This profile is part of our crowdfunding site directory. If you have used the site and have comments you’d like to share with our readers, please share them below. If you are part of the company and see an error that needs correcting, please send us an email.

About Flashfunders:

FlashFunders, the equity crowdfunding platform, connects global investors with innovative startups and small businesses raising capital, enabling everyone to own a piece of a company they believe in for as little as $50. FlashFunders empowers companies to convert their customers into shareholders and leverage investments from the crowd, international and accredited investors in a single fundraising round. With its streamlined deal execution and compliance, FlashFunders supports companies from the Form C prep through post-fundraising with FlashFunders Shareholder Services, and aims to help entrepreneurs activate a passionate community of shareholders to advocate for their businesses. Launched in 2014, FlashFunders is headquartered in Santa Monica, California.

Spotfund Profile

This profile is part of our crowdfunding site directory. If you have used the site and have comments you’d like to share with our readers, please share them below. If you are part of the company and see an error that needs correcting, please send us an email.

About Spotfund:

Spotfund is a mobile micro-donation platform that allows users to fund causes and current events with only $1, $2 or $3. With Spotfund, you can easily discover and donate to the stories the world is talking about. You can also create a story of your own to raise funds for a cause that matters to you. With donations capped at $3, the platform is designed for everyone looking to make a difference. And by closely integrating with major social networks, Spotfund helps turn conversations into results.

 

Flashfunders Joins Equity Crowdfunding Fray


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

With equity crowdfunding less than 60 days old, measuring from the date the SEC’s Regulation CF became effective in May, the marketplace is beginning to take shape. Flashfunders is one of the players offering a crowdfunding portal.

Vincent Bradley, the CEO of Flashfunders, shared his take on the emerging crowdfunding market.

Vincent sees two related problems in the market. “Historically, there have been large hurdles in both the fundraising and investing spaces, namely a lack of accessibility. Startups and small businesses have had limited options for financing, many of which were expensive and time consuming to pursue. Additionally, those startups have often been unable to offer equity to investors who are truly passionate about their business model.”

The JOBS Act, which directed the SEC to implement crowdfunding, was passed four years before the SEC rules became effective.

With respect to the second problem, Vincent notes, “Before Title III went into effect giving power to average investors, there were very few investment options available. Private investing was a right reserved only for the 1 percent, the accredited investors.”

Crowdfunding fundamentally addresses both problems. Vincent explains the company’s international approach, saying, “FlashFunders’ equity crowdfunding platform is giving startups and small businesses a progressive financing option. It empowers companies to raise capital from all types of investors – the crowd, international, and accredited- in a single fundraising round. The platform also provides everyday investors with the tools they need identify and invest in innovative businesses that they believe in.”

One of the challenges of crowdfunding comes directly from the delay in implementation. A burst of enthusiasm about the JOBS Act in 2012 and 2013 gave way to skepticism about some of the law’s specifics and investors willingness to participate in a market they’ve been blocked from for eight decades.

Vincent acknowledges some of the challenges that portals face in this market. “With uncharted territory comes a lack of public knowledge about the process, and general skepticism of whether it is a valid option or not. Our greatest challenge will be educating potential investors and companies of the financing model, as well as its risks and benefits.”

The SEC’s regulations, consistent with the JOBS Act, provide strict limitations. He says, “While companies using FlashFunders can raise an unlimited amount from international and accredited investors, under the Reg CF regulations they can only raise up to $1 million from the crowd in a single round. Additionally, crowd investors, whose yearly investment limits are calculated by their income, are self-certified. We provide an investment calculator for these investors to determine how much they can legally invest, but beyond that, platforms cannot control if unaccredited users are investing beyond their means. While the regulations can be confusing, we understand that they have been put in place for the protection of both investors and businesses using Reg CF.”

Despite the challenges and limitations, Vincent remains optimistic. “We think that equity crowdfunding has the potential to cause a major ripple effect across the country. Over time we may see a slow redistribution of wealth since everyday citizens have now been afforded the same investment options as accredited investors,” he says.

“Additionally, equity crowdfunding makes capital borderless. Businesses and investors are now able to access and invest capital no matter where they are located. For businesses this is especially powerful, since they are no longer forced to move to expensive cities to secure financing, and can instead build their companies in affordable environments,” Vincent concludes.

On Thursday, July 7, 2016 at 3:00 Eastern, Vincent will join me here for a live discussion about equity crowdfunding. We will also be joined by his colleague Meaghan Carlson, the Director of Marketing & Brand Strategy. 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 Flashfunders:

Twitter: @flashfunders

FlashFunders, the equity crowdfunding platform, connects global investors with innovative startups and small businesses raising capital, enabling everyone to own a piece of a company they believe in for as little as $50. FlashFunders empowers companies to convert their customers into shareholders and leverage investments from the crowd, international and accredited investors in a single fundraising round. With its streamlined deal execution and compliance, FlashFunders supports companies from the Form C prep through post-fundraising with FlashFunders Shareholder Services, and aims to help entrepreneurs activate a passionate community of shareholders to advocate for their businesses. Launched in 2014, FlashFunders is headquartered in Santa Monica, California.

Vincent Bradley, courtesy of Flashfuders

Vincent Bradley, courtesy of Flashfuders

Vincent’s bio:

Twitter: @vincentmbradley

Vincent Bradley is a serial entrepreneur with a diverse background in product and business development. Before co-founding FlashFunders, Bradley consulted for several technology startups, providing them with growth and product guidance. Prior to consulting, Vincent co-founded Ridotto, a virtual currency sports betting startup. Bradley also spent time working with Osprey Global Solutions (OGS), a frontier market consulting firm. While at Osprey, he focused on business development for OGS throughout the Middle East, Europe and North Africa. Prior to Osprey, Bradley was an early employee at FindTheBest, where he helped to build out its business development team.

Meaghan Carlson, courtesy of Flashfunders

Meaghan Carlson, courtesy of Flashfunders

Meaghan’s bio:

Twitter: @meagth

Meaghan Carlson is Director of Marketing & Brand Strategy at Santa Monica-based equity crowdfunding platform FlashFunders. Before joining FlashFunders, Carlson led major marketing campaigns for Disney and PayPal during her tenure at Mistress, an award-winning brand agency. Her in-depth strategic, digital marketing and communications background has driven the repositioning of European spirits brands and brand leadership of Viacom, Banana Republic and Sony. While at FlashFunders, Meaghan has proved her merit outside of her executive duties by contributing to the overall startup ecosystem as a published thought leader in top-tier publications. Her insights on widely discussed topics in venture capital, millennial finance insights and small business have been published in both TechCrunch and CBS Small Business Pulse.

Never miss another interview! Join Devin here!

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!

 

Whaaaat? This App Caps Donations at 3 Bucks!

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

The new Spotfund app is taking an interesting approach to fundraising for charity by capping donations at $3. The theory seems to be that if you are only allowed to give a little, everyone will. The cap removes the social pressure to give until it hurts!

Co-founder and CEO Sanford Kunkel says, “There is a disconnect between a problem and its call to action. Say you’re watching the news on the Flint Water Crisis and want to help. First, you have to get up off the couch, get to your laptop and register for the one of the many organizations or GoFundMe pages open to this. Then you have to determine how much you want to give to really make a difference and which charity to donate to.”

Spotfund, only available for Apple’s ios devices, simplifies donating by allowing you to do it from your phone–if you’re like me you have it with you all the time–and by placing a ridiculously low cap on donations. Using the app removes the fear that you’ll discover a cause to which you’ll want to give next month’s rent and allows you the comfort that you can come back and make a donation to any cause that moves you any time.

Sanford says that Spotfund takes the worry out of donating. “It’s part of our core values to vet and identify the single best charities to include. There was a need for a product that’s conducive with the lifestyle of mobile first today and Spotfund provides that. We’re putting democracy into charity – it’s not just a donation platform, it’s an awareness platform.”

The first big challenge Spotfund has is convincing people that tiny donations actually help. “A challenge we’re facing is convincing people that giving $1, $2 or $3 can actually make a difference, as long as they can harness the power of your social network and inspire their friends to give, as well,” Sanford says.

Spotfund doesn’t help everyone in every circumstance–this isn’t GoFundMe. “One limitation is that funds raised through Spotfund must go to a registered nonprofit. This should give our users confidence that money will be going to the right place, but we understand that in some cases, people want to give funds directly to individuals, without having to go through a nonprofit,” he continues.

Sanford’s vision for Spotfund is to activate an entire generation of digital natives to giving in a way that is comfortable for them. “We’re changing what it means to be civic minded. By creating awareness and actually providing people the medium to make an impact, we’re putting the power of change directly in the hands of millennials,” he concludes.

On Thursday, July 7, 2016 at noon Eastern, Sanford will join me here for a live discussion about the app and how people are using it to enable change they care about. Tune in here then to watch the interview live. Post questions in the comments below or tweet questions before the interview to @devindthorpe.

Sanford Kunkel, courtesy of Spotfund

Sanford Kunkel, courtesy of Spotfund

More about Spotfund:

Twitter: @spotfund

Spotfund is a mobile micro-donation platform that allows users to fund causes and current events with only $1, $2 or $3. With Spotfund, you can easily discover and donate to the stories the world is talking about. You can also create a story of your own to raise funds for a cause that matters to you. With donations capped at $3, the platform is designed for everyone looking to make a difference. And by closely integrating with major social networks, Spotfund helps turn conversations into results.

Sanford’s bio:

Sanford Kunkel is Co-Founder and CEO of Spotfund. Sanford oversees Spotfund’s strategic direction, branding initiatives and organizational culture. Sanford has a successful track record of bringing brands to market, having led several entrepreneurial ventures in real estate and hospitality. He co-created the downtown NYC hotel The Bowery House as well as The Surfrider Malibu, which is set to open across from the Malibu Pier in Fall 2016. Sanford holds a B.S. in business administration from Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business. His personal causes include historic preservation and groups advocating on behalf of small businesses.

Never miss another interview! Join Devin here!

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!

 

The Kiss Campaign is Here to Kiss the Kissing Bug Goodbye!

Helena Hounsel wrote this on June 10, 2016

The Kiss Campaign’s mission is clear: We’re raising awareness for a health crisis in Mizque, Bolivia, where almost every family in this remote village is at risk of serious health problems caused by a parasitic disease, Chagas, transmitted by the “Kissing Bug.”

Chagas has left a dark and widespread mark on this community …but there is hope. Together we can make our own mark on Bolivia that will last for generations.

Closer-Look-Mizque-Bolivia-Chagas-Disease-The-Kissing-Bug-Children-1024x683

We’re here to stop Chagas in its tracks. With enough campaigns started, The KISS campaign could turn this entire slum into a safe and sustainable community.

It’s time to say #AdiosChagas

(ASK 1) Start a campaign for $6,800—When you make the commitment to funding an entire home for a family in need, you email your friends, you share with your family and you get behind something that truly changes lives, communities, and societies.

BONUS: Write a blog post about this story and share with your entire network. We’ll share with our network and highlight you on our site.

(ASK 2) Join the Kiss Campaign on social media—Download boomerang and blow a kiss at the camera & join our Thunderclap campaign. Don’t forget to post on Instagram using the hashtag #AdiosChagas. (Here is example post language)

Meet the families and read their stories to see the harrowing reality of this disease. Once the family you funded moves into their safe new home in a Kissing Bug-free zone, you’ll get a move-in video right in your inbox with cheers and smiles from the exact family you helped.

Let’s say #AdiosChagas and kiss away the Kissing Bug in this village.

new_story_charity_chagas_disease-1024x606

What are you waiting for? Grab your family, tell your friends, and together we can build a New Story. We can’t wait to see how many lives we can change!

Join the Kiss Campaign and together we can change the lives of everyone in this community.

Never miss another interview! Join Devin here!
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