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Monthly Archives: April 2017

This Entrepreneur Is Working To Address Affordable Housing Crisis With Shipping Containers


The country’s fascination with tiny homes has led to a nascent movement using shipping containers for low-income housing. With some tiny homes and apartments having fewer than 200 square feet, the 40-foot shipping container and its approximately 320 square feet could feel relatively spacious.

Wanona Satcher, the CEO and founder of ReJuve Corp based in Atlanta, is launching a new initiative to create “Plug-In Pods” using shipping containers. She hopes to create a flexible model for l0w-income housing that addresses need of a range of people, from millennial minimalists to seniors who may want or need to live backyard-close to family caregivers.

Be sure to watch my interview with Wanona at the top of this artice.

Two Plug-In-Pods, one home and one office, rendered side-by-side courtesy of ReJuve Corp

Two Plug-In-Pods, one home and one office, rendered side-by-side courtesy of ReJuve Corp

Recently, Wanona launched a crowdfunding campaign on the new ifundwomen crowdfunding site. She has already raised $11,920 toward her goal of $20,000 to construct a prototype dwelling in a container.

The costs for creating a dwelling begin with the $2,000 to $3,000 price for a container. Wanona hopes to keep the all-in cost between $20,000 and $40,000.

Wanona is seeking to use a land trust to create financial models that will keep the housing units affordable long into the future. For the prototype dwelling, Wanona has received a donated site.

Container homes could potentially have very long lives. Containers are designed to withstand weather when shipped across oceans, on trains or highways. The strength of a container could be an optimal space for a dwelling.

Wanona is working to acquire and equip a manufacturing a facility where the containers can be converted. This will create jobs and allow the completed homes to be shipped to a site for installation.

She hopes that the homes will contribute to solutions for poverty in America. By providing radically affordable housing, she hopes to enable people to find sustainably affordable lifestyles.

To learn more, visit Wanona’s crowdfunding page at ifundwomen.

Wanona Satcher, courtesy of ReJuve Corp

Wanona Satcher, courtesy of ReJuve Corp

More about ReJuve Corp:

ReJuve Corp is an Atlanta-based charitable urban design nonprofit for social good. Our team reuses and upcycles spaces and materials to develop permanent equitable communities and effective neighborhood services around the globe through cost-efficient and environmentally sound methodologies.

Wanona’s bio:

Wanona Satcher is an urban designer, landscape architectural designer, city planner, economic developer and has produced children’s theatre. Wanona holds Masters degrees in landscape architecture and community planning from Auburn University as well as Economic Development and Finance Professional Certification from the National Development Council in small business development and real estate development. She’s been featured in the Huffington Post, GOOD Magazine and was a Next City Vanguard. Wanona is currently working on a crowdfunding campaign to rapidly build affordable housing and entrepreneurial spaces in low-wealth communities.

Never miss another interview! Join Devin here!

Devin is a journalist, author and corporate social responsibility 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!

 

Miracle Foundation Launches Unique Mother’s Day Campaign to Benefit Orphaned Children

Non-Profit Hopes to Raise Money to Support Children Who Don’t Have a Mom

Press Release – AUSTIN, TX – There are millions of orphaned children in the developing world, many of whom languish in sub-standard institutions with deplorable conditions, where even their most basic needs are not met. That’s why Miracle Foundation, a non-profit organization that empowers orphans to reach their full potential, is launching its unique Mother’s Day campaign. The 501(c)(3) charity, which brings life-changing care to the world’s orphans, hopes to raise funds by May 14th to provide clean water, nutritious food, healthcare and a quality education for mother-less children—all in a stable, loving, nurturing environment.

“This Mother’s Day, we invite you to honor your mom in a very meaningful way, by participating in our campaign,” said Caroline Boudreaux, Founder of Miracle Foundation. “Doing so will engage both you and your mom in the lives of less fortunate children in the developing world. What better way to pay tribute to your mother than by giving to children who don’t have one?”

To honor a mom, gift-givers simply visit www.MiracleFoundation.org/mothers. There, they can make a tax-deductible donation in the name of their mother—or other special woman in their lives. Supporters at all donation levels will receive a beautiful certificate they can share with their honoree for Mother’s Day.

In addition to the special Mother’s Day certificate, donors at two levels will receive additional perks:

  • $60 & up: eBook from Amazon’s Kindle Store (electronic code sent to donors via email, within 1 business day after donation)
  • $125 & up: Gourmet chocolates from Maggie Louise Confections (chocolates sent to honorees via mail, within 2 business days after donation)

“We believe in quality over quantity, in supporting the whole child and breaking the cycle of poverty. Our Mother’s Day campaign represents a meaningful new way that every person can make miracles for orphans and honor their mother at the same time,” added Boudreaux. “Helping children go from hopeless and head-down, to empowered and standing tall, with bright futures ahead of them, is one of the most fulfilling endeavors in the world.”

Launched on Mother’s Day in 2000, Miracle Foundation turns struggling, institutional orphanages into stable, loving, nurturing homes where children thrive. The Austin, TX-based organization partners with existing orphanages to implement its proven and systematic method for providing a home where the fundamental needs and rights of growing children are met, from the day they arrive until the day they graduate into adulthood.

“While our goal is to find a loving family for every orphaned child, that isn’t always possible. For orphans with nowhere else to go, we ensure that orphanages are in line with international standards and guidelines. And we provide excellent training for caregivers, a top-notch education for the children, nutritious food and plenty of love,” added Boudreaux.

Currently, Miracle Foundation supports 24 orphanages in the developing world (starting with India), and offers its wide range of capacity-building training—focused on child protection, child rights, caregivers, life skills education, governance and more—to anyone running or donating to an orphanage around the world. With an increasingly global focus, Miracle Foundation is also partnering with organizations in Egypt, Uganda, Sierra Leone, Ethiopia and more to redefine the role of orphanages and bring life-changing care to the world’s orphans.

Miracle Foundation is unique in that its metric-driven method is measurable, scalable and transparent, guarding against corruption and ensuring that all donations go directly into nurturing and transforming the lives of orphaned children. Through its work, Miracle Foundation has given thousands of children without parental care a childhood that would have otherwise been impossible.

“Miracle Foundation proves that one person can make a difference,” said Shelley Seale, donor. “I have witnessed first-hand what my monthly donation can do to change the lives of many. I’ve traveled to India and visited the orphanages and have seen the difference my investment makes in orphans’ lives. We are empowering children to be the best that they can be.”

Miracle Foundation has been honored with the highest possible rating of four stars by Charity Navigator, an independent organization that evaluates U.S. charities’ effectiveness and financial transparency: http://bit.ly/1nJC7wq

About Miracle Foundation

Miracle Foundation is an Austin, TX-based non-profit organization that brings life-changing care to the world’s orphans. The ultimate goal of the Miracle Foundation is to find a loving family for every orphaned child. That means we explore every possible avenue to reunite children with a parent or relative, if possible. In fact, we have reunited approximately 25% of our children with their families. We do this by allocating resources to more efficiently support alternative care options and ensuring that excellent family support services are in place. And, for orphans who have nowhere else to go, we ensure that orphanages are in line with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and international standards and guidelines. We provide excellent training for caregivers, a top-notch education for the children, nutritious food and plenty of love for them to thrive.

Together with our supporters, we work toward a common goal of providing a loving home, a quality education and a promising future to each and every orphan. Because when you bring together those who have, with those who have not—miracles happen.

For more information, please visit www.MiracleFoundation.org.

About Maggie Louise Confections

Maggie Louise Confections is a creative confections company that brings haute couture designs to the world of chocolate by combining handcrafted creations with nostalgic flavors, modern design, and meaningful bespoke details. Made in Austin and packed with personality, MLC chocolates and candies are gifting perfection.

Launched in 2013, Maggie Louise Confections has reinvented the classic sampler box with color, personality and a unique customization platform making each box of chocolate a fun and memorable experience to both create and gift. The collection is designed seasonally and takes cues from the fashion and entertaining worlds to create a collection that feels fresh, fun and spirited.

For more information, please visit http://www.maggielouiseconfections.com/

Social Bluebook Invites The Crowd To Invest Alongside Top Content Creators

Company Seeks Growth Capital; Launches Reg A+ “mini-IPO”

Press Release – LOS ANGELES, Calif. — April 18th, 2017 — Today Social Bluebook, the social media technology company that provides the tools for content creators to make social media their full-time business, announced a Regulation A+ initial public offering. In line with Social Bluebook’s democratic values, the offering is open to both accredited and unaccredited investors. Investing in Social Bluebook is an investment in the creative community as well as the future of creator-led marketing.

Started in 2014 by creators for creators, Social Bluebook simplifies and streamlines the process of executing influencer marketing, connecting thousands of online content creators and advertisers on their platform. Their proprietary algorithm produces a dollar value that can be used as a starting point for negotiating branded deals.

Per their “for creators by creators” mantra, Social Bluebook’s Reg A+ offering is intended to open the door for creators to invest in their own careers. Notable creators investing include Eh Bee family, Shaytards, Furious Pete, Ellie and Jared, and more. The funding will accelerate Social Bluebook’s expansion via strategic acquisitions and marketing. This strategy is aimed to cement their platform as the leading space for advertisers and creators to connect, negotiate deals, and build together.

“Marketing professionals, including Fortune 500 companies using Social Bluebook, are now realizing there is a tremendous value to teaming up with online video personalities who are drawing millions of viewers with the content they post on platforms like YouTube and Instagram,” said Chad Sahley, CEO of Social Bluebook.

“We are very excited to share this investment opportunity with creators and other like-minded individuals,” said Sahley. “While early stage offerings before an IPO would generally allow only accredited investors to invest at this stage, we are taking advantage of new SEC regulations and opening up the door to the crowd in an effort to level the playing field for all creators.”

Social Bluebook was the first to introduce patent-pending valuation formulas for YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and blogs, with more on the way. As of June 2016, over 33,000 social media platforms with an audience reach of over 2.87 billion people and over 400 brands have registered with Social Bluebook and growing daily.

The company seeks to raise up to $12 million in its “mini IPO” under Regulation A+. Individuals interested in learning more about the Social Bluebook Regulation A+ investment opportunity can visit http://invest.socialbluebook.com.

About Social Bluebook

Social Bluebook was started by creators for creators in order to bring transparency to influencer marketing and specifically the content creator community. It was designed to simplify and streamline the process of executing influencer marketing for online content creators and advertisers with the goal to help creators make the money they deserve so they can do what they love.

SEC Disclaimer

An offering statement regarding this offering has been filed with the SEC. The SEC has qualified that offering statement which only means that Social Bluebook may make sales of the securities described by that offering statement. It does not mean that the SEC has approved, passed upon the merits or passed upon the accuracy or completeness of the information in the offering statement. You may obtain a copy of the offering circular that is part of that offering statement HERE. You should read the offering circular before making any investment.

Forward-Looking Statements

This release may contain forward-looking statements regarding projected business performance, operating results, financial condition and other aspects of the company, expressed by such language as “expected,” “anticipated,” “projected” and “forecasted.” Please be advised that such statements are estimates only and there is no assurance that the results stated or implied by forward-looking statements will actually be realized by the company. Forward-looking statements may be based on management assumptions that prove to be wrong. The company and its business are subject to substantial risks and potential events beyond its control that would cause material differences between predicted results and actual results, including the company incurring operating losses and experiencing unexpected material adverse events. Please see the Offering Circular for the discussion of these risks.

Student Entrepreneurs Launch New Round of Ventures through Suffolk Crowdfunding Course

Press Release – BOSTON — Savory waffles sold from a food cart, a cinch-locking bag that deters theft of package deliveries and a children’s book about a guppy who tries too hard to fit in are three of the latest Suffolk University student-run ventures that launched crowdfunding campaigns April 7.

Suffolk’s Sawyer Business School introduced one of the nation’s first experiential courses on crowdfunding in fall 2016, where students launched campaigns to fund their own startup companies through Kickstarter and Indiegogo. The acclaimed course is now in its second semester with a new group of student entrepreneurs launching campaigns to fund their businesses. Campaigns will conclude with the end of National Small Business Week on May 6.

“Crowdfunding is shaping up to be an important factor for startup success,” said Sawyer Entrepreneurship Professor Chaim Letwin. “To run a successful campaign one must be passionate about their venture. That is why it is important to not only teach our students why some campaigns are successful while others are not, but also to give them the opportunity to dig in, get their hands dirty and run a campaign of their own.”

The concept for the crowdfunding course came out of conversations between Letwin and Professor Jenni Dinger, a colleague in the Sawyer Business School’s Management and Entrepreneurship department. Dinger and Letwin co-teach the course and both study crowdfunding and how campaign components relate to people’s decisions to contribute money to a particular project.

“This course is still quite young, only the second time through, so we are continuously adjusting and learning as a group,” Dinger said. “It’s very exciting to see how this group of students has built on what was accomplished last year.”

This semester’s ventures include:

  • Waffleholics, founded by Suffolk junior Carmen Reddick and senior Max Taylor, aims to create the most delicious sweet and savory waffles, starting with a Boston food cart business. Reddick graduated from Johnson & Wales University with an associate in science degree. Both students are from Boston.
  • Beyond Borders is a full-length documentary film by David Apostolides and John Moran. The film seeks to incorporate the perspectives of those living outside of the U.S. in the current American political conversation.
  • Baggabox prevents package theft by securing deliveries to your door in a cut-resistant and waterproof cinch-locking bag. Baggabox was founded by Jamie Manning, a Suffolk MBA alumnus, and is being supported by seniors Faisal Janahi and Alonso Villarreal. Janahi is from Manama, Bahrain, and Villarreal is from San Antonio, Texas.
  • Goliath Gallon, founded by Suffolk senior Zack Smith of Methuen, Mass., makes a reusable, BPA-free and easily cleaned gallon bottle for ice, fruits, amino acids, etc.
  • Cosmic Eye, founded by Ashton Viqueras-LaRochelle, utilizes augmented reality technology to bridge the gap between what you see through a telescope and what actually exists in the cosmos. Viqueras-LaRochelle, a Suffolk junior, is from Portsmouth, N.H.
  • Kwapis Can’t Hang is a children’s book about a guppy that enters a new bowl and pretends to be someone she is not in a misguided attempt to fit in. The book is authored and edited by Dana Prandato, a Suffolk junior and Marketing major from Sandpoint, Idaho.
  • Claude and the Magic Garden is a children’s book that tells a magical story of two brothers living in a foreign land and trying to fit in. Their community helps uncover the magic of true friendship. The book is authored and edited by Suffolk junior Christopher Hassapis. He is from North Reading, Mass.
  • Pup Picnic, founded by Joe Tassinari, is a 2-in-1 dog bowl with a water bottle attachment. This allows any disposable water bottle to attach to the bowl and act as a feeder. Tassinari is a Suffolk senior from East Boston, Mass.

More information on the student startup businesses and crowdfunding campaigns may be found at www.suffolk.edu/business/undergraduate/71487.php.

Big Life Journal Launches Kickstarter Campaign to Help Children on the Path to Success

The first of its kind journal for children looks to investors to help spread word and increase distribution

Press Release – APRIL 12, 2017: Big Life Journal – the world’s first journal designed to inspire entrepreneurship, creativity and positivity for children – has launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds to enhance the lives of children across the USA.

The journal has been created by storywriters, poets, illustrators and graphic designers and is looking for funding to increase distribution and fulfill its mission of helping children on the path to success.

Created and curated by husband and wife duo, Alexandra and Scott Eidens from New York, the journal aims to help parents tackle the changing face of the workforce environment and teach children the importance of qualities such as: persistence, gratitude and mindfulness.

The 52 page, 26 week hardback journal seeks to develop a growth mindset and guide children ages 6-11 through topics such as ‘why it is important to help others’ and ‘be persistent.’ Poems, quotes and writing aim to teach children the qualities that will help them be successful adults such as: optimism, persistence, embracing failure, taking action and dreaming big.

Alexandra comments: “Big Life Journal is much more than another children’s book or diary, this is a book that can and will shape the future of children. When compiling the book we wanted to draw on qualities that inspirational people possess, such as Richard Branson, Sara Blakely, Tim Ferris and Sheryl Sandberg. Big Life Journal identified qualities that got them where they are today, such as courage and empathy.”

Scott adds: “It is important for children to understand there are many components to being a successful adult and one of those is mindfulness. Mindfulness is not just associated hippie culture and instead is identified as an important aspect of dealing with the stresses and pressures of adult life. Alongside thought-provoking poems and stories, journaling itself has been proven to evoke mindfulness and improve communication skills.”

To help Big Life Journal on their mission, visit the Kickstarter page where backers can pledge to shape the children of the future and receive special discounted rates on Big Life Journals for their own little ones.

The Big Life Journal Kickstarter campaign will run from 12th April – 12th May 2017.

Star Wars: Force For Change Celebrates 40 Years Of Star Wars With Epic Fundraising Event

Prizes Include A Visit To A Star Wars Movie Set, Tickets To The Premiere Of Star Wars: The Last Jedi, An Overnight Stay At Skywalker Ranch, And More!

Press Release – SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (Apr. 11, 2017) – Star Wars: Force For Change in collaboration with Omaze will launch the Star Wars “Past, Present and Future” fundraising campaign to benefit UNICEF and Starlight Children’s Foundation. The campaign is themed around the timeless appeal of Star Wars, with experiences inspired by the saga’s past, present, and future. Lucky winners will receive prizes, like the chance to appear in the upcoming Han Solo movie, tickets to the world premiere of Star Wars: The Last Jedi, or, an overnight stay at the fabled Skywalker Ranch.

Over the course of four weeks between April 11th and May 11th, 2017, fans may enter at Omaze.com/StarWars for a chance to win these once-in-a-lifetime Star Wars experiences, with each week bringing a new prize to be awarded to a randomly-selected winner. Additionally, at the end of the campaign, one randomly-selected grand prize winner will be awarded all three amazing experiences.

Starlight Children’s Foundation is joining Star Wars: Force for Change as the initiative’s newest charity beneficiary in 2017. Through a $1 million grant, Star Wars: Force for Change supports the foundation’s core programs which are designed to bring comfort and joy and comfort to hospitalized kids through Starlight’s network of more than 700 children’s hospitals, clinics, camps and other partners across the US. Star Wars: Force for Change and fan donations through this campaign will also provide new Starlight programs, like fun, comfortable Star Wars-themed Starlight Brave Gowns, to tens of thousands of hospitalized children across the country.

Since 2014, Star Wars: Force for Change and UNICEF have joined together to help improve the lives of children around the world. With the support of Star Wars fans, the collaboration has raised more than $9 million to help the world’s most vulnerable children. To date, Star Wars: Force for Change has helped UNICEF save the lives of over 30,000 children suffering from severe acute malnutrition through the distribution of over 4 million packets of Ready to Use Therapeutic Food Packets (RUTF) around the world.

“In a year that we celebrate 40 years of the Star Wars saga, I continue to be inspired by the incredible generosity and charitable efforts of our fans,” said Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy. “We are so proud of their tireless dedication to positively impact the lives of children and others around the world, and hope this year’s Force For Change campaign will offer a few of those wonderful fans an experience they will never forget.”

Star Wars “Past, Present, and Future” Winner Experiences:

  • Past – Stay at Skywalker Inn, tour of the archives & the Ranch, and a screening of Star Wars: A New Hope
  • Present – Join the cast and attend the Star Wars: The Last Jedi premiere and exclusive after party
  • Future – Visit the set, meet the directors and have the chance to appear in the untitled Han Solo movie
  • Grand Prize – One winner will receive the Past, Present AND Future prizes!

Fans are encouraged to follow the campaign at Omaze.com/StarWars for exclusive updates each week.

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. Void where prohibited. Promotion begins 12:01 AM Pacific Time (PT) on April 11, 2017 and ends at 11:59 PM PT on May 11, 2017. Must be at least eighteen (18) years old and a resident of an eligible domicile to enter and win prizes. Residents of of Belgium, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Cuba, Iran, Iraq, Italy, Malta, North Korea, Singapore, Sudan, Syria, or Thailand are not eligible to enter. Sweepstakes consists of four (4) prize drawings; odds of winning a prize depend on number of entries received for each drawing. For free entry: (i) send postcard to Sponsor at P.O. Box 866, 9942 Culver Blvd, Culver City, California 90232 and write the following statement: “I have read and agree to the Star Wars: Force For Change Official Rules” and send by applicable mail date; or (ii) visit www.omaze.com/starwars. Prizes that include being filmed in a movie scene do not guarantee that such footage will be included in the final movie. Travel and accommodations are at Sponsor’s discretion and subject to availability and change. Winner and guest may be required to pass a background screening or security check to receive a prize and/or reward. Visa conditions may apply. All taxes are winner’s responsibility.

Rewards are separate from sweepstakes prizes. Some rewards are limited in quantity. Not sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook®. Residents of certain territories may be required to successfully complete a trivia question to qualify. For full sweepstakes entry requirements, methods & entry periods, prize details, list of rewards and all limitations & restrictions, see Official rules at www.omaze.com/starwars. Sole Sponsor: Omaze, Inc., P.O. Box 866, 9942 Culver Blvd, Culver City, California 90232.

ABOUT STAR WARS: FORCE FOR CHANGE

Star Wars: Force for Change, a charitable initiative from Lucasfilm and Disney, harnesses the strength of Star Wars to empower and improve the lives of children around the world. Born in 2014, it was inspired by Star Wars fans, and the countless hours they have dedicated to
philanthropy over the past four decades. To date, over $13 million has been raised for charitable causes around the world on behalf of Star Wars: Force for Change, including $9 million towards UNICEF’s programs to put children first. This year, Force for Change is proud to announce Starlight Children’s Foundation as its newest charitable beneficiary. As a founding sponsor of Starlight Children’s Foundation’s VR program, Force for Change will continue to empower and improve the lives of children around the world. With a bright future ahead, and new Star Wars stories to be told, Force for Change aims to continue collaborating with causes and encouraging others to be forces for change in their own community. To learn more, please visit ForceForChange.com.

ABOUT LUCASFILM LTD.

Lucasfilm Ltd., a wholly-owned subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company, is a global leader in film, television and digital entertainment production. In addition to its motion-picture and television production, the company’s activities include visual effects and audio post-production, cutting-edge digital animation, interactive entertainment software, and the management of the global merchandising activities for its entertainment properties including the legendary STAR WARS and INDIANA JONES franchises. Lucasfilm Ltd. is headquartered in northern California.

ABOUT STARLIGHT CHILDREN’S FOUNDATION

Starlight creates moments of comfort and joy and comfort for hospitalized kids and their families. For 35 years, Starlight’s programs have positively impacted more than 60 million critically, chronically and terminally ill or injured children in the US, Canada, Australia and the UK. With your help, kids and their families will enjoy Starlight VR, Starlight Brave Gowns, Starlight Fun Centers and other Starlight programs at a children’s hospital or facility near you. Support Starlight’s work by visiting www.starlight.org and by following Starlight on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

ABOUT UNICEF

UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere. For more information about UNICEF and its work for children, visit www.unicef.org. Follow UNICEF on Twitter and Facebook.

ABOUT OMAZE

Omaze is an online fundraising platform that offers once-in-a-lifetime experiences and exclusive merchandise to support nonprofits around the world. Omaze is disrupting the charitable giving space by offering creative opportunities that make it fun and easy for anyone to give. Each of our fundraising and awareness campaigns brings together influencers, nonprofits and people across the globe and enables real, lasting impact. Since launching, Omaze has impacted more than 200 charities and received donations from over 175 countries.

New Venture Seeks $50k to Teach Coding to Adults on Autism Spectrum



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

Oliver Thornton says his Aspergers is his super power. His brother, who is also on the autism spectrum, serves as a role model. Because autism hits close to home, he wanted to do something to address the unemployment rate for those with autism, which approaches 85 percent, he says. So, he launched Coding Autism with Austen Weinhart.

The two visited with me about their plans. Watch the interview at the top of the article.

Oliver, who serves as the company’s CEO, says, “Although we are pre-revenue, we just recently launched our crowdfunding campaign with the goal of fundraising a minimum of $50,000 on StartSomeGood. If we are successful with fundraising $50,000 on that platform, we will be able to cover the minimum costs to make the Coding Autism ASPIRE program happen.”

The money they are raising will go to pay the instructor, an assistant instructor, an occupational therapist, a social skills intervention expert, a career counselor and to pay for the space where the intensive 15-week course will be taught. Those who complete the course are expected to have sufficient skills to be able to begin a career as a software developer.

Oliver adds, that if they exceed the $50,000 goal they will be able to discount the tuition to the first class of students. If they reach $120,000, they can waive tuition altogether.

As of now, Coding Autism has raised $18,815.

Oliver says mentorship is key to the program’s success, “Research has proven that adults with autism tend to do significantly better in their careers and live more fulfilling lives when they have mentors and advocates. Coding Autism has made it one of its cornerstones to provide ongoing advocacy and mentorship services to all Coding Autism students. Our Coding Autism mentors and advocates ensure that all Coding Autism students stay on track with their curriculum requirements, their personal goals, their employment goals, and more.”

Readers can learn more and contribute to the campaign by visiting StartSomeGood.

More about Coding Autism:

Twitter: @codingautism

Coding Autism is a full-service professional coaching and training company that trains adults on the autism spectrum in professional skills such as software engineering, quality assurance, and web development. We also assist our graduates in finding employment within the software and technology industries. We do so by providing services such as immersive programs and bootcamps, resume workshops, career counseling, interview preparation, and coaching/mentorship, all of which is designed around providing an environment where people on the spectrum can thrive.

Oliver Thornton, courtesy of Coding Autism

Oliver Thornton, courtesy of Coding Autism

Oliver’s bio:

When I was two years old, I was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome shortly after my older brother was diagnosed with Autism. In 1994, the year of my diagnosis, having any variation of Autism was perceived as a horrific condition by society and experts in the medical field. In fact, doctors had told my parents that I would never develop adequate social skills and to not expect him to succeed independently in life.

Throughout my adolescent years, I struggled with my speech, making friends, and lacked self confidence in his intelligence and ability to succeed. One day, I had a realization. Through the motivational forces of autism influencers such as Temple Grandin, I transformed my mentality of what it truly meant to be an individual on the autism spectrum.

With this newly adopted mentality, I dove head on into my later years of college at California Lutheran University (CLU), where I was able to accomplish impressive feats such as obtaining my Real Estate Salesperson License, co-founding and spearheading CLU’s professional business fraternity Delta Sigma Pi, and winning CLU’s 2016 New Venture Competition.

Since my college graduation, I have devoted my waking hours to building my father’s real estate team/Real estate representation at Compass in Beverly Hills as well as building my start-up Coding Autism, which helps and trains autistic individuals in professional skills such as software engineering, website development, QA, etc as well as assists in finding and obtaining employment in the software and technology industries. In recent months, I have been slightly drifting away from real estate and moving towards working on Coding Autism full-time.

I am confident that my entrepreneurial mindset, my gift of Asperger’s syndrome, and my drive to succeed and make the autism community more progressive will allow me to satisfy my highest endeavors with Coding Autism and my future ventures. Eventually, I sees myself manifesting into one of the most influential advocates, thought leaders, and mentors of the autistic community in my generation.

Austen Weinhart, courtesy of Coding Autism

Austen Weinhart, courtesy of Coding Autism

Austen’s bio:

I come from a background of extensive experience in the technology space, performing roles in marketing, quality assurance, and web development. Early on as a student at UC Berkeley, I was the president of the public relations student group, PR @ Cal. After graduating from Berkeley, I worked on both technical and marketing projects for high-profile clients such as Adobe, Microsoft, Google, Facebook, and others. I was drawn into Coding Autism both for my passion for autism advocacy and also as someone who is a product of a coding bootcamp education myself. I am eager to create an environment where others can turn their lives around by learning to code, just as I did.

Never miss another interview! Join Devin here!

Devin is a journalist, author and crowdfunding 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!

 

7 Crowdfunding Keys For Social Entrepreneurs

This post was originally produced for Forbes.

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

Lots of people hold themselves out to be crowdfunding experts. I haven’t met anyone who has raised more money in on Kickstarter and Indiegogo than Funded Today’s Zach Smith. He reports raising over $110 million total over hundreds of campaigns.

Smith visited with me (watch the video recording of the interview above) to talk about how to apply his experience and insights for social entrepreneurs.

He thinks of himself as a social entrepreneur, helping other entrepreneurs to be successful. He is almost a prototypical entrepreneur. Young, confident—even brash—he has built his company to 50 employees and reports “eight figures plus” in revenue. Funded Today charges 25 to 35 percent of funds raised, so in its short three-year history, we’d expect it to have generated over $30 million in revenue.

Zach Smith

His reputation in the crowdfunding community is such that when Hiral Sanghavi, co-founder and CEO at BauBax had his crowdfunding campaign stall at around $4 million, he called on Smith to help. He says, “They reached out to a completely different audience and got another huge wave of traffic our way which helped us add another $4.5 million to our total in the last 3 weeks and our campaign closed at $9.19 million.”

“FT has got access to thousands of crowdfunding campaigns and they’ve built a community of early adopters out of it. They were able to get our campaign in front of the right audience who are mavens, early adopters of technology and innovative products. We couldn’t have done that using only Facebook ads,” Sanghavi says.

Paid media on social media sites, including Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest, is a key tool that Funded Today uses to raise money for clients. Smith explains how you can do it on Facebook.

A good crowdfunding campaign begins with a crowd. A crowd is best represented by a list of email addresses. He suggests spending up to $5 per email address for people who are interested in your mission. Given that you’d like a list of 10,000 people and a list that long will cost up to $50,000 to build, he has another plan.

Ask, he says, someone in your mission space who has a list for a copy of the list specifically to use for building a Facebook audience. You should promise not to send email to the people on the list. Instead, you want to upload the list to Facebook for targeting advertising. Until Smith told me, I had no idea you could do this. Did you?

Not only can you use that audience as a target, Facebook will automatically offer to create a “lookalike” audience that is much bigger. For instance, I uploaded my mailing own mailing list following the instructions on Facebook and it instantly helped me create a list of more than 2 million people who are like the people on my list.

Smith also shared his “Seven Ps” for crowdfunding success:

  1. Product: The crowdfunding reward or product must be appealing; for nonprofits, Smith recommends identifying recognition that donors will appreciate.
  2. Platform: Not only do social entrepreneurs need to decide which platform to use, but whether or not their business is a good fit for crowdfunding. If a reward can’t be shipped or delivered digitally, it may not be, Smith says.
  3. Presentation: The way you pitch your offering on the crowdfunding page, including the video, represents the presentation—and he says it makes a big difference. Smith says he helped ShotBox raise over $184,000 primarily by changing the presentation after the original campaign raised only $7,000 and had to be canceled.
  4. Promotion: The three key parts to promotion are paid media, press and partnerships.
  5. Price: Smith cautions crowdfunders not to discount the price, noting that it is easier to drop the price later than to raise it.
  6. Probability: He says that backers need to believe you can and will do what you promise. In other words, you need to develop trust by proving you have the smarts and other resources to necessary to pull it off.
  7. People: Your team needs to have the right people on it; they must be confident of success and committed to doing the work required to achieve it.

Marina Prospero, CEO of Perfectore Corp, is crowdfunding with help from Funded Today now. She says, “We were watching some very successful 6 figure Kickstarter campaigns and they all had one thing in common, Funded Today was their marketing partner. Several of these campaigns were products that focused on back and neck treatment. We figured if they have already been successful marketing these campaigns then they will definitely know how to market ours.”

She’s glad she did. “They have performed beyond my expectation.” With Smith’s help, she’s raised over $585,000 with an original goal of just $5,000. “Frankly I am blown away at how good they are and I am anxious to work with them again on our next invention.”

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Devin is a journalist, author and corporate social responsibility 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!

 

EPIcenter Hires International Fundraising Firm With A Track Record Of Partnering With Transformational Renovation Projects, Worldwide

Press Release – San Antonio, TX, April 4, 2017EPIcenter has hired CCS Fundraising (CCS) to design and implement a comprehensive fundraising campaign for the new $74.56 million energy innovation center planned for the historic Mission Road Power Plant. CCS is a New York-based fundraising consulting firm that for seven decades has helped organizations across the globe advance some of the most important causes in history.

Situated across the San Antonio River from the historic Lone Star Brewery and just upstream from the San Antonio River Foundation’s Confluence Park, EPIcenter is leading the way in transforming the Mission Road corridor.

Construction on the more than 80,000 square foot project is expected to take between 18 and 24 months and will begin as soon as a critical mass of funding is achieved.

To date, EPIcenter has received $21.2 million in cash and in-kind donations, including the property, from founding sponsors OCI Solar Power, Silver Spring Networks, Landis+Gyr and CPS Energy. An additional $53.36 million is to be raised.

In addition to its international clients, CCS has helped raise funds for a wide range of one-of-a-kind, groundbreaking building and renovation projects across the country, including the Crocker Art Museum in Sacramento, CA, the UCSF Medical Center in San Francisco, CA, and most recently, the brand-new Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, DC.

“We are very pleased to work with CCS. The firm’s strategic approach to such an unusual and innovative project stood out. CCS quickly understood EPIcenter’s vision and the unique challenges and opportunities associated with a start-up non-profit. Its leaders have successfully completed several projects with these unique parameters.,” said Kimberly Britton, CEO for EPIcenter.

Groundwork for the campaign structure and organization is being laid now with an anticipated launch late spring.

“CCS is excited to be a part of this historic effort to create a hub for clean energy technology innovation, education, community engagement, and entrepreneurial incubation in San Antonio,” says Gary Hawkins, Senior Vice President, CCS. “Our firm has worked on a variety of campaigns supporting unique building and environmental projects across the globe, and we are honored to add EPICenter to that list of partners.”

Built in 1909, the Mission Road Power Plant housed one of the city’s first steam turbo generator units, using water from the San Antonio River to cool its operation. The historic structures, including its iconic smokestack, stand as testaments to the changes in the evolving energy industry and will serve as the foundation and framework for EPIcenter.

The project will include a new energy “co-op” where start-ups can incubate along existing companies; a think tank aimed at advancing the fundamentals of clean energy policy; a research and development fabrication laboratory to develop and test products, services, and technologies; exhibition space with interactive and structural artifacts; an auditorium and conference center; and outdoor venues with terraces, gardens, amenities and community spaces.

Occupation of the building is planned for 2021-2022.

Wefunder Launches Series of Themed, Local Funding Events For Small Businesses; First Will Focus on Women Founders

12-event series kicks off May 4 in Oakland; deadline for startups to apply is April 14

Press Release – San Francisco, Calif. – April 6, 2017Wefunder, the most popular platform for Regulation Crowdfunding, announced today that it is hosting a 12-city tour of live, in-person funding events for small businesses – much like the Demo Days hosted by accelerators. The objective is to help those small businesses connect with potential investors in their cities and within the broader Wefunder community – comprised of 90,000 individual investors around the world.

Regulation Crowdfunding, enabled by Title III of the Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) Act, enables startups and small businesses to raise up to $1M from unaccredited investors. Since the legislation took effect in May 2016, companies have raised more than $23M under Reg CF, and approximately two-thirds of that was raised via the Wefunder portal.

“We’re finding that many of our portfolio companies are drawing most of their investment dollars locally – often, from people who are already customers or fans of the company,” said Nick Tommarello, co-founder and CEO of Wefunder. “So we decided to launch a series of in-person events designed to draw in local investors and expose them to startup investment opportunities right in their area.”

The first event, taking place in Oakland, Calif. on May 4, will focus on startups founded by women. The deadline for startups to apply for the Oakland event is April 14; the deadline to apply for the other events in events is May 5.

Other events/themes in the series will include in the coming weeks:

  • New York City – Immigrants
  • Los Angeles – Food
  • New Orleans – Nightlife
  • Napa – Wine
  • New York City – Fashion
  • Portland, OR – Breweries
  • Denver – B Corps
  • Washington, DC – Veteran founders
  • Detroit – Makers (manufacturing)
  • Austin, TX – Music
  • Boston – Health tech

To learn more about attending or pitching at any of the events, visit https://wefunder.com/live_events. To register as a potential investor at Wefunder, visit wefunder.com. The minimum investment is $100.

About Wefunder

Wefunder helps anyone invest as little as $100 in startups you love, and is the most popular platform for Regulation Crowdfunding. Its vision is to build a new type of stock market (“a NASDAQ for riskier ventures”) that lets the public allocate capital to a wider range of businesses, more broadly and efficiently than banks or venture capitalists. Investors on Wefunder have invested more than $34 million into 150+ companies since 2013, including Zenefits, Checkr and Casetext. Learn more about Wefunder’s story at wefunder.com/wefunder or follow us @wefunder.

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