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The best source for news and information about crowdfunding for good.

Crowdfunding for Social Good

Devin D. Thorpe

Devin Thorpe

Interviews

Stories that include video interviews.

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Having Overcome Anorexia, She Helps Others Do the Same

CaringCrowd® sponsors GoodCrowd.info and the Your Mark on the World Center. CaringCrowd® is proudly sponsored by Johnson & Johnson.

Robyn Shumer didn’t ever want to weigh 40 pounds. Before she was ten years old, she developed anorexia. To this day, she faces the effects of the disease. Courageously, she recently opened up about her story to help raise more than $10,000 for Project Heal on CaringCrowd.org.

Preliminary Interview with Robyn Shumer Who Raised Over $10K for Project Heal.

The following is a brief pre-interview that provides context for the recorded interview you may watch or listen to at the top of this article.

Crowdfunding page: https://www.caringcrowd.org/heal-people-eating-disorders

What is the purpose of your crowdfunding campaign?

Our goal is to provide treatment assistance to as many applicants as possible.

Project HEAL’s financial assistance program is their trademark service. They fund both inpatient, residential, intensive outpatient/partial hospitalization, as well as outpatient treatment for individuals who wish to recover from eating disorders but find their financial means lacking. Project HEAL’s primary criteria for selecting grant recipients is motivation. They fund applicants who want to recover from their eating disorders, and are ready to do the hard work required.

Each potential treatment grant recipient must submit a detailed application that asks about motivation for recovery, current medical status and symptoms, medical and financial information including any treatment history, plans for after treatment, and preferences for treatment. All of this information is reviewed on a quarterly basis by Project HEAL’s Clinical Advisory Board (“CAB”), which includes a team of ten international expert clinicians in the eating disorder field.

Finalists are interviewed by the CAB, and awards are made based on current funds and the level of treatment requested by the applicant. Their CAB members and program manager follow up with grant recipients quarterly during their treatment, and subsequently, every six months for two years after treatment. Finally, Project Heal’s Co-Founders speak with grant recipients before, during, and after treatment, providing valuable and meaningful human interaction and personal support.

More about Project Heal:

Twitter: @theprojectheal

Facebook: facebook.com/ProjectHEAL

Website: theprojectheal.org/

Project HEAL is the leading non-profit in the US delivering prevention, treatment financing, and recovery support for people suffering from eating disorders.

For-profit or Nonprofit: 501(c)3 Nonprofit

More about CaringCrowd:

Twitter: @caringcrowd @jnjcares

Facebook: facebook.com/CaringCrowdPublicHealth/

Website: www.caringcrowd.org

CaringCrowd(R) is a crowdfunding site 100% dedicated to global public health. Individuals who want to support public health can browse projects that need funding and make a pledge to help. Any 501(c)(3) non-profit can submit a project and funding goal for consideration on the platform. Then, submitted projects are reviewed by a team of advisors to ensure they fall within our definition of public health. This platform was created by Johnson & Johnson as a driver for collaboration on global public health, and as a new way to bring funding to organizations tackling key public health challenges on the ground.

Robyn Shumer
Photo credit: Donate A Photo

Robyn Shumer’s bio:

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/robyn-shumer-mph-1a150a15/

Influential, inspirational leader and trainer with proven success in program management and talent development, doubling the size of the J&J Bridges program and successfully expanding the program into APAC, all three sectors and Enterprise.  Excellent communicator with collaborative leadership style.  Broad experience aligning with global partners in the businesses and HR. Effective change agent with the ability to act both strategically and tactically.  Deep understanding of shaping and delivering strategic programs and training plans based on identified needs. Faculty for the Center for Leadership & Development’s Captivating Communications course; JNJ Global Citizen Faculty; J&J Employee Ambassador; JNJ Virtual Notebook Mentor; Lean Six Sigma Green Belt.

What is the problem you solve and how do you solve it?

I connect people and solve the problem of disconnection.  I do so by listening to people, for what is said and more importantly, for what is not said. I teach others to speak in a language that others understand.

My work reaches many organizations and all of the JNJ sectors creating a diverse and comprehensive network in which we’ve successfully broken down bottlenecks to drive lean and efficient processes forward. This includes process harmonization; creative sharing of resources and ultimately opportunities for talent and the businesses.

I strive for people to leave interactions with me feeling better than they did prior to and I aim to connect the right people at the right time so everyone can become the best versions of themselves that they can.

I also work very hard to help people re-engineer movement into their lives and do a lot of coaching around wellness. I’m a HUGE advocate of JNJ’s ‘7 Minute App and have completed The Human Performance Institute’s Energy for Performance in Life Train-the-Trainer and teach yoga, incorporating mindfulness, movement and breathing into my work every day.

What Makes You A Social Entrepreneur?

I am a social entrepreneur at work and home and here’s why.

At work, my full time job is developing people – creating opportunities for them to diversify their skills and competencies and bring a unique perspective to the drug development process at JNJ.  I create up encounters with VIP role models and bring them to the people as a way to develop the leadership skills of our future leaders.  And to me, this exemplifies the social entrepreneur mindset of creating solutions to cultural issues.

A key component of my work is teaching personal branding and helping others to develop self-awareness and to close gaps and to develop strategies so that others may perceive them as they wish to be perceived.   By creating these opportunities for participants we are providing the businesses with a dedicated talent bringing a new perspective to their challenges and are SHAPING a culture of collaboration at JNJ.

Personally I am active in my kids’ schools, community and successfully led the funding of the Project HEAL fundraiser on CaringCrow®) which will help 2 people with an eating disorder obtain treatment, thus contributing to the ‘social’ aspect of social entrepreneur.

I’ve been on my town’s board of health and the volunteer director of a food pantry and was my town’s volunteer of the year many years ago.  When a food franchise promised the food pantry a $1,500 donation and didn’t deliver, I advocated and obtained the donation after an investigative reporter ran a story about the promise on the nightly news.

I advocate for people in many ways.  Another example is coaching displaced homemakers who left their homes/jobs due to domestic violence and are trying to re-enter the workforce.

Derek Fetzer

Derek Fetzer’s bio:

Twitter: @derekfetzer

Linkedin: http://linkedin.com/in/derekfetzer

Co-founder and Team Leader of CARINGCROWD®. Originally an industrial engineer from Peru and from Purdue University, Derek has over 23 years of strategy, consulting, and business analytics experience across different industries, spanning the US, EU, and Latin America. For the last 10 years, Derek has worked in the area of infectious diseases, collaborating on key product launches in HIV/AIDS, HCV, and tuberculosis. His career interest is in improving access to healthcare around the world by empowering the “crowd.”


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!

This Alternative To 911 Could Give Some Emergency Response For First Time

Serial entrepreneur Mark Jeffrey has developed a new platform using mobile devices that could give billions of people in the world access to emergency response for the first time.

Available today, the Guardian Circle app allows you to build a network of friends who may be willing to come to your aid when you’re in a pickle or even have a real emergency.

The platform incorporates five functions the use blockchain technology. The company is launching an ICO or initial coin offering now to fund the growth of the platform.

Preliminary Interview with Mark Jeffrey, the Co-Founder and CEO of Guardian Circle.

The following is a brief pre-interview that provides context for the recorded interview you may watch or listen to at the top of this article.

Crowdfunding page: http://guardium.co

What is the purpose of your crowdfunding campaign?

We will build the world’s new mobile and cloud-native emergency grid with both citizen and paid vetted responders.

More about Guardian Circle:

Twitter: @guardiancircle

Website: http://guardiancircle.com

Guardian Circle is global decentralized emergency response — universal 9-1-1.  We open the emergency grid to any Alert Device (via an open API), vetted citizen responders (alongside friends, family and neighbors), government and private response services for the very first time. Mobile devices are used to create a ‘flash mob of help’ anywhere on earth. Our blockchain token, GUARDIUM, is used for smart contracts, payments, alert transcripts and emergency info lockbox storage. Working apps are released now worldwide on iOS, Android, and Amazon ALEXA.  Six billion people have no 9-1-1.  One billion do, but it is antiquated (1960’s tech).  We fix all of this.

For-profit or Nonprofit: For-profit

Mark Jeffrey
Photo credit: Mark Jeffrey

Mark Jeffrey’s bio:

Twitter: @markjeffrey

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/markjeffrey/

Mark Jeffrey is a serial entrepreneur and author with Harper Collins. Most recently, Mark founded Guardian Circle for global decentralized emergency response.  He is also an early pioneer of blockchain technology, having published BITCOIN EXPLAINED SIMPLY (2013) and THE CASE FOR BITCOIN (2016).  His previous companies include The Palace (backed by Time Warner, Intel and SoftBank; sold to Communities.com in 1998 with 10 million users), ZeroDegrees (a business social network sold to InterActiveCorp / IAC in 2004 with 1 million users) and ThisWeekIn (co-founded with Kevin Pollak and Jason Calacanis). He was the founding CTO of Mahalo / Inside.com (backed by Elon Musk, Sequoia, Mark Cuban and others). Mark worked with Travis Kalanick (CEO Uber) on his first company Red Swoosh.


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!

This Entrepreneur Went From ‘Wall Street’ To ‘Main Street’ To Make A Real Difference

When Ken Martin left “Wall Street” to make a dent on “Main Street” he really wanted to make a difference. With so much of the economy still operating in small businesses in the old economy, he saw a need–and when an entrepreneur sees a need he sees an opportunity–small business lending for established companies.

Regulation CF, the new crowdfunding investment rules issued by the SEC effective in 2016, create a new opportunity for ordinary investors to put their money to work in the businesses they frequent.

For these businesses, a debt approach makes more sense than equity. As Martin says, “What good are seven shares of the local hardware store?” More to the point, the hardware store can afford to pay back a loan with interest. That’s a deal that is relatively easy for investors to grasp as well.

Preliminary Interview with Ken Martin, the Co-Founder of Honeycomb Credit.

The following is a brief pre-interview that provides context for the recorded interview you may watch or listen to at the top of this article.

Crowdfunding page: https://www.honeycombcredit.com/

What is the purpose of your crowdfunding campaign?

We are a registered funding portal that helps Main Street America get the expansion capital it needs.

More about Honeycomb Credit:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/honeycombcredit

Website: https://www.honeycombcredit.com/

Founded by a 6th-generation rural community banker and an investment banker who left Wall Street for Main Street, Honeycomb is using fintech to build communities one small business at a time.  

Unlike other fintech players who focus solely on quantitative metrics resulting in high APRs, Honeycomb uses crowdfunding to bring fair expansion loans to great local businesses.  Community banks used to serve our Main Street businesses well, but they are disappearing at a rate of 1 per day. Honeycomb steps into that void between Kickstarter and big banks.  

For-profit or Nonprofit: For-profit

Ken Martin

Ken Martin’s bio:

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/ken-martin-cfa/

Ken is a former Vice President at Barclays investment bank and a serial entrepreneur of Main Street small businesses.  He is also a Chartered Financial Analyst and holds degrees from Georgetown, Dartmouth, and the London School of Economics.  


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!

Death Inspires Crowdfunding Success to Fund Training to Prevent Tragedy

CaringCrowd® sponsors GoodCrowd.info and the Your Mark on the World Center.  CaringCrowd® is proudly sponsored by Johnson & Johnson.

Zachary Schleien lost a friend, Louis, who suffered from schizophrenia, in a tragic and unnecessary death. His friend’s passing inspired him to do something.

Having just been introduced at work to CaringCrowd, Johnson & Johnson’s crowdfunding platform to support global public health efforts, Zach launched a campaign to raise money to help train hundreds of parents of children with schizoaffective disorder. The training, NAMI Basics, is led by the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

Preliminary Interview with Zachary Schleien who raised over $9,500 for NAMI.

The following is a brief pre-interview that provides context for the recorded interview you may watch or listen to at the top of this article.

Crowdfunding page: https://www.caringcrowd.org/nami

What is the purpose of your crowdfunding campaign?

Non-profit funding is difficult and many times government funding does not reflect the concerns of local communities.  I turned to crowdfunding to help supplement funding on this very important, often neglected, and misunderstood condition.

More about NAMI:

Twitter: @namicommunicate

Website: https://www.nami.org/

NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, is the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness. We are an association of hundreds of local affiliates, state organizations and volunteers who work in your community to raise awareness and provide support and education that was not previously available to those in need.

For-profit or Nonprofit: Nonprofit

More about CaringCrowd:

Twitter: @caringcrowd @jnjcares

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CaringCrowdPublicHealth/

Website: www.caringcrowd.com

CaringCrowd(R) is a crowdfunding site 100% dedicated to global public health. Individuals who want to support public health can browse projects that need funding and make a pledge to help. Any 501(c)(3) non-profit can submit a project and funding goal for consideration on the platform. Then, submitted projects are reviewed by a team of advisors to ensure they fall within our definition of public health. This platform was created by Johnson & Johnson as a driver for collaboration on global public health, and as a new way to bring funding to organizations tackling key public health challenges on the ground.

Zachary Schleien

Zachary Schleien’s bio:

Twitter: @ZachSchleien

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/zacharyschleien

Zach’s CaringCrowd Profile:  https://www.caringcrowd.org/zachary-schleien

Zachary Schleien works for Johnson & Johnson as an Analyst in their IT Leadership Development Program (ITLDP). Zach recently successfully funded a project for $9,500 to benefit the NAMI Basics Program in honor of a close family friend, Louis. In March of 2017, Louis rejected therapy due to medication side effects along with non-acceptance of his condition, making it nearly impossible to manage. Two months later, in the throes of psychosis, he did not understand the danger posed by the nearby river. It is presumed that he perished on June 4, 2017. NAMI Basics is a free, 6-week education program for parents and family caregivers of children and teens who are experiencing symptoms of a mental illness or who have already been diagnosed.

Derek Fetzer

Derek Fetzer’s bio:

Twitter: @derekfetzer

Linkedin: http://linkedin.com/in/derekfetzer

Co-founder and Team Leader of CARINGCROWD®. Originally an industrial engineer from Peru and from Purdue University, Derek has over 23 years of strategy, consulting, and business analytics experience across different industries, spanning the US, EU, and Latin America. For the last 10 years, Derek has worked in the area of infectious diseases, collaborating on key product launches in HIV/AIDS, HCV, and tuberculosis. His career interest is in improving access to healthcare around the world by empowering the “crowd.”


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!

Just How Safe is a Simple Agreement for Future Equity?

Marty Tate, partner at Carman Lenhoff Israelsen, explains in this interview what a SAFE or Simple Agreement for Future Equity is and just how safe it is for both issuers and investors. If you’ve ever wanted to invest in an equity crowdfunding campaign, you do not want to miss this episode.

Preliminary Interview with Marty Tate, the Partner of CLI.

The following is a brief pre-interview that provides context for the recorded interview you may watch or listen to at the top of this article.

More about CLI:

Twitter: @clilawmarty

Website: www.clilaw.com

CLI is a boutique corporate finance and securities law firm

For-profit or Nonprofit: For-profit

Marty Tate’s bio:

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/martytate/

I specialize in advising clients in securities law, crowdfunding, fintech, token sales, peer-to-peer lending, private equity, and fund formation and management. I am passionate about crowdfunding, fintech and private equity, and continue to play a national role in these ever-evolving areas of securities law.

I also counsel clients on complex structured finance, investment advisory, real estate and asset backed lending, mortgage securitization, lease financing, real estate development, securities and M&A.


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!

Partnering With the DiCaprio Foundation, Re-Volv Completes Crowdfunding Campaign in 1 Day

Leonardo DiCaprio helped Faith Baptist Church raise more than $15,000 in a single day with support from his foundation and a few well-timed tweets on #GivingTuesday. The funds will be used to put solar panels on the church, helping it fulfil its mission to feed the hungry at lower cost while reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Preliminary Interview with Andreas Karelas, the Executive Director of RE-volv.

The following is a brief pre-interview that provides context for the recorded interview you may watch or listen to at the top of this article.

Crowdfunding page: https://re-volv.org/project/faithbaptistchurch/

What is the purpose of your crowdfunding campaign?

Faith Baptist Church plays a critical role in the East Oakland community. One of the ways they serve the community is through their Food Giving Program, where volunteers give out food to those less fortunate. Faith Baptist Church gives out over 100 tons of food every year. Every other week, people from East Oakland and beyond line up at the Church to receive free food to feed their families. Faith Baptist church feeds over 300 families every month with its Food Giving Program.

By supporting this crowdfunding campaign, donors are helping Faith Baptist Church feed even more people. The goal of this campaign was to raise enough money to put solar panels on Faith Baptist Church. This 5.8kW solar array will cover 100% of their electricity usage and save them over 30% on their electric bills. That’s money that can be put into serving more people in the community with their incredible Food Giving Program.

More about RE-volv:

Twitter: @RE_volv

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/solarseedfund/

Website: www.re-volv.org

RE-volv empowers people to take direct action on climate change by crowdfunding solar energy projects for nonprofit organizations. Donations made to RE-volv’s crowdfunding campaigns grow a revolving fund that provides solar financing for nonprofits across the nation. RE-volv also raises awareness about solar energy through its flagship Solar Ambassador Program, which trains college students to solarize nonprofits they care about. RE-volv is supported by the U.S. Department of Energy SunShot Initiative and is an inaugural member of the White House National Community Solar Partnership. Learn more at RE-volv.org.

For-profit or Nonprofit: 501(c)3 Nonprofit

Andreas Karelas

Andreas Karelas’s bio:

Twitter: @RE_volv

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/andreas-karelas-3b363423/

Andreas Karelas is the founder and Executive Director of RE-volv. Andreas is a dedicated renewable energy advocate with over ten years of environmental and renewable energy nonprofit experience. Prior to founding RE-volv Andreas worked with a number of leading organizations including the American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE), the National Audubon Society, blueEnergy, and the Center for Resource Solutions. Andreas holds Master’s degrees in International Affairs and in Natural Resources and Sustainable Development, and a Bachelor’s degree in Economics. He is a 2013 Audubon Toyota TogetherGreen Conservation Leadership Fellow and a 2016 OpenIDEO Climate Innovator Fellow.


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!

BYU-H Students Lead Crowdfunding Campaign for Ghanaian Entrepreneur

Interview with Gabriela Porras, the Project Manager / Student Lead of Pangea Empowerment and Paul Wilson of Brigham Young University-Hawaii.

Gabriela Porras and a team of students at Brigham Young University of Hawaii are raising money to help an entrepreneur in Ghana raise the money she needs to launch a business selling handicrafts via the web to consumers in the developed world.

Crowdfunding page: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/pangea-empowerment-patience-s-beads/x/17606703#/

What is the purpose of your crowdfunding campaign?

The money raised on this campaign will all be going directly to Patience, a young entrepreneur in Ghana. Patience dreams of growing her small jewelry company but lacks the resources to get her raw materials and get quality pictures. By the end of this campaign she will empowered with not only the funding but the tools to continue her enterprise online. Patience is just one person but by helping her we hope to further empower entrepreneurs in her community.

More about Pangea Empowerment:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pangeaempowerment/?ref=br_rs

All across the world entrepreneurs are diligently working to come up with new ideas, create new products, and build a legacy for the next up and coming generation. In some areas though, issues such as poverty, hunger, crime, war, and violence impede the entrepreneurship dream. These hampered aspirations could do so much more if entrepreneurs had access to the right tools and opportunities. Pangea Empowerment’s purpose is to fuel the creativity and dreams of entrepreneurs everywhere, but particularly in locations where access to funding and specific technology is severely limited. To accomplish this goal, an academic model of research and teaching is being coupled with entrepreneurial principles and application.

Gabriela Porras

Gabriela Porras’s bio:

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/gabyporras/

Gabriela Porras, a senior at BYU-Hawaii and from Colorado, is majoring in Business Management with an emphasis in Marketing. After graduation she plans to pursue a career in public relations and marketing. She is passionate about empowering entrepreneurs to create positive change in their communities. Throughout this project she has lead the team through project management and helped with the research and curriculum development.

What is the purpose of your crowdfunding campaign?

After IndieGoGo and the credit card fees all money is being sent to Patience, the Ghanaian entrepreneur who the crowdfunding project was for. Our first objective of the crowdfunding project was to assist Patience in launching her bead company. Our second objective was to study the struggles of crowdfunding in Africa. We are teaching crowdfunding at an entrepreneurship conference in Congo, Africa December 18-21, 2017 and we wanted to best understand the issues that arise when an African entrepreneur tries to crowdfund.

More about Brigham Young University – Hawaii:

Twitter: @empowerpangea
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pangeaempowerment/
Website: byuh.edu

byuh.edu

501(c)3 Nonprofit

Paul Wilson

Paul Wilson’s bio:

Twitter: @paulwilson
Linkedin: linkedin.com/in/mymarketer

Paul Wilson, the BYU-Hawaii faculty sponsor of Pangea Empowerment, teaches both social entrepreneurship and digital business in the Entrepreneurship Department. For the last 20 years Paul has been a digital technologist, specializing in search, content strategy, and application development. He has managed digital projects for hundreds of small businesses, and has held senior marketing positions for large corporations. Paul recently became full time faculty at BYU – Hawaii and utilizes his industry experience to help the students explore the vast potential of earning a living on the Internet.


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!

#GivingTuesday Streamathon To Follow Donation Totals Live

This post was originally produced for Forbes.

#GivingTuesday, the annual giving day organized by 92nd Street Y and the UN Foundation under the leadership of Kathy Calvin, now in its sixth year, will raise hundreds of millions of dollars around the world. See my 2014 coverage of #GivingTuesday here.

Following the labeling of shopping days following Thanksgiving–Black Friday and Cyber Monday most notably–#GivingTuesday was created to catalyze the beginning to end-of-year donations to charities around the world.

Facebook has partnered with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to match up to $2 million in donations made through Facebook’s new-this-year crowdfunding feature. Facebook will also waive all fees for US-based 501(c)(3) charities on #GivingTuesday. Detailed instructions can be found here.

Many other crowdfunding sites will be participating in #GivingTuesday as well. I’ll be gathering and aggregating data from as a many as possible in real time throughout the day!

This year, I’ll be live-streaming updates for 24 hours right here! Below are three video players. Each will be live for 8 hours beginning at 12:00 AM Pacific Standard Time on Tuesday.

Midnight to 8:00 AM PST

Due to technical problems, we’ve launched a 2nd viewer to finish the first segment beginning at 3:38 AM PST.

8:00 AM to 4:00 PM PST

4:00 PM to Midnight PST

During the “Streamathon” as I’ve dubbed it, I’ll be interviewing nonprofit leaders who are raising money on #GivingTuesday. If you represent a nonprofit and would like to appear on the show, sign up now. You’re welcome to come on the show to make the case for donating to your cause. Just click here.

During the day, I’ll be juggling a few updates to this post, Tweets, up to 96 interviews and lots of caffeine. The show should be worth watching if only to see me slowly unravel! Be sure to bookmark this article so you can come back on #GivingTuesday for all the fun!

Giving Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Over 1 million people have read my books; have you? Check out my free webinar exposing the three myths that impair and two keys for crowdfunding success.


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!

‘Unstoppable’ Mom, Cancer Survivor Creates New Fertility App

This post was originally produced for Forbes.

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

Have you ever had a question you wanted to ask a doctor but couldn’t find one to ask? Have you ever wanted a second opinion but decided it would take too long or cost too much?

Alice Crisci did. Unlike the rest of us who’d had such problems, she decided to do something about it. She founded Ovum Medical to provide MedAnswers, an iPhone app that gives patients direct access to doctors and other experts to answer questions. Crisci plans to launch Android and web versions of the service before the end of 2017.

She traces the history of the company to her own scare with cancer. “I was diagnosed with breast cancer when I was only 31 years old.” Three weeks after her cancer diagnosis she launched a nonprofit called Fertile Action.

Alice Crisci, MedAnswers

“When I was diagnosed with cancer I didn’t see a second opinion oncologist until I was already going through treatment. He didn’t even agree with the treatment plan that I was going through. So I connected the two oncologists in a conference call so I could hear both of their approaches.”

Last year, she came up with the idea for MedAnswers and began working to bring it to market. The app is already available for free in the App Store.

The app allows multiple experts, typically medical doctors, to offer answers and then to vote them up or down so users can see a consensus forming around the best answer.

Today, the company is conducting two simultaneous securities offerings to raise money, including a crowdfunding campaign via Start Engine. There, she set a goal of just $10,000 but has raised over $107,000.

For now, the app only provides answers in the fertility space but the plan is to broaden the reach of the experts organically until it covers the universe of health care questions. “We called it MedAnswers and not infertility answers or oncology answers because we want to help people in their moment of health care crisis,” Crisci says.

Jenifer Gausman, a life-long friend and committed investor in the company, says, “MedAnswers solves the information overload by less reliable sources by connecting patients to experts that answer their questions.”

MedAnswers, iPhone app

Christina Stramacchia got to know Crisci through a fertility group on Facebook. She is using the app and says, “I have posted several questions – response time is excellent, and the feedback is professional and informative. Many times the responses are aligned with my RE [reproductive endocrinologist] and nurse opinions. In some cases, when I present the information I have gathered on MedAnswers, they are able to elaborate on the explanation I was given on MedAnswers.”

Crisci explains that she has found experts in seven fields related to infertility who have signed up to provide answers on the app. The fields include reproductive endocrinologists, embryologists, geneticists, genetic counselors, psychologists, urologists and reproductive attorneys. [Insert your own joke about multiplying lawyers here.]

These are early days for the young social enterprise. The app launched in the App Store only in June. Crisci acknowledges that “we’re still newbies.”

Gausman says, “If Alice has her way, she will ensure every patient seeking fertility answers will have that access. She is unstoppable.”

Over 1 million people have read my books; have you? Learn more about my courses on entrepreneurship, crowdfunding and corporate social responsibility here.


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!

 

How This New Innovation Could Be The Sliced Bread Of Solar Industry

This post was originally produced for Forbes.

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Andrew Yakub may be onto something. Big. Sliced bread big.

Yakub, 30, is the CEO and founder of Rayton Solar. A physicist who had used particle accelerators for cutting silicon had launched a solar installation business. Fearing the end of Federal tax incentives that might slow his business, he was thinking about ways to cut the cost of solar enough to make it economical without them. He surmised that the silicon in solar panels could be sliced with a particle accelerator rather than with blades, radically reducing wasted silicon.

From that foundation, Yakub has built a promising startup. Targeting a 60% reduction in manufacturing costs, he hopes to both lower costs to customers and operate with better-than-industry average margins. In addition, he expects the solar panels to be 25% more efficient. With those goals, he raised $2.8 million in seed funding.

Watch my full interview with Yakub in the video player at the top of the article.

Rayton Solar is now raising up to $50 million via a crowdfunding or Regulation A+ round from the public. Ordinary investors can participate. So far the Santa Monica, California-based company has received $4.2 million in funding commitments via the offering.

The first use of the new funding was to purchase the large particle accelerator the company will use to slice silicon for the solar panels. The custom equipment has been ordered; delivery is expected in January, Yakub says.

Yakub got his start in particle physics working as a design engineer at the UCLA Particle Beam Physics Laboratory. Those relationships have proven key to building the business.

Andrew Yakub displays prototype solar cell

James Rosenzweig, the Distinguished Professor of Physic in the UCLA Department of Physics and Astronomy, now serves on the Rayton Solar board. He says, “The concepts concerning use of particle beams in cutting materials for solar panels is an exciting spin off of the types of research we engage in at UCLA.”

Rosenzweig says that Rayton’s technology is “a potential game changer for solar manufacturing.” This is driven by the parallel impacts of cost reduction and increased efficiency.

Yakub, previously recognized by Forbes as one of the 30 under 30 to watch in energy, earned a degree in physics at the University of California at Santa Barbara.

Yakub has a passion for solar as a part of the path to eliminating global reliance on fossil fuels. He notes enthusiastically that California is moving to get 100 percent of its energy from renewable sources. He cites a prediction from the International Energy Agency that by 2050 the world will get 50% of its energy from renewables, representing a 50-fold increase in renewable energy production over just three decades.

He gushes about the economic revolution coming in Africa, mimicking that of South Asia. He sees off-grid and micro-grid uses of solar across the continent allowing the country to thrive without the expense of building an electric grid similar to ours. He sees an economy there built on renewable energy instead of fossil fuels.

Ultimately, the market will determine if Rayton Solar’s technology is the winning technology, but early signs suggest that slicing silicon with a particle accelerator could be the sliced bread of the solar industry.

Over 1 million people have read my books; have you? Learn more about my courses on entrepreneurship, crowdfunding and corporate social responsibility here.


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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!

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