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Your Support to “Beyond the Backpack” Project Helps Animal Conservation and Saves Endangered Wildlife

“Beyond the Backpack” project produces tank tops from sustainable and ocean cleaning fabric and a part of the profits will be donated to animal conservation and the fight to save endangered wildlife. He is raising money on Kickstarter. Recently I caught up with Micah Teixeira to learn more about the effort; here’s what he told me:

What is the social benefit you hope to achieve with or through your crowdfunding campaign?

Beyond the Backpack. It’s way of living. It’s the hope to inspire others to live well and do as much good as we can.Backing our project funds the production of our tank tops. Doing so also supports animal conservation, sustainable and ocean cleaning fabric, ethical supply chains and transparent giving.

We need to be more than just tourists. More than just travellers. We need to go Beyond the Backpack.

50% of the profits from every sale will be donated to animal conservation and the fight to save endangered wildlife.

This innovative material is made from 100% recycled plastic bottles and ocean plastic. rPET (recycled polyethylene terephthalate) uses less water and energy, its carbon footprint is smaller than most fabrics. It cleans up our earth and oceans. Reducing the risks of hurting animals. And it’s insanely soft!

When you purchase an item, you’ll actually be given the option of where you want the donation to go towards. Fully transparent and track-able giving. So you see that your money goes to where it’s needed most.

Animals and humans alike should never have to face exploitation. Production takes place in the USA, an ethical factory where workers are treated with respect, and paid properly for their work. Human and animal cruelty free.

Beyond the Backpack is meant to be a full process of giving back. We hope we’ve achieved that goal!

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

Our goal is $10,000 although we’re really hoping to far surpass that. The funds will be used for the initial order of tank tops. However the special fabric is very expensive, and is being made specially for our order. On top of this it is being produced in the USA, so labour costs are much higher than what it would be overseas. Our actual startup costs are $30,000 and we’ll need to secure funding on top of our Kickstarter campaign as well. This doesn’t include any of the money I’ve already put in from my pocket which included product development, video shoot, etc.

50% of the profits for all the sales will be donated towards an animal conservation charity. We’re affiliated with 3 and the buyer will choose where they want the donation to go.

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

We’re trying to help everyone in a full circle of giving! 50% of the profits will be directed towards animal conservation organizations. This will help not only the animals (which is the main goal), but also the amazing people which work and volunteer their lives there.

The other main group we hope to benefit is the people who are making our clothing. Right now it is being made in the USA, where are able to see fair and ethical sourcing. However we are planning on shifting the production to Guatemala. It would be with the same company, who have their main production centre there. The costs are essentially the same for us, however it checks another pillar which hoped to have right from the start. Being able to support developing cultures and nations and not exploiting them.

Lastly, the actual fabric which is made from recycled plastic bottles and ocean plastic provides work to the actual people who are collecting and cleaning the earth of the plastic. This not only has a significant impact on the earth and animals, but also us who ingest plastic in almost all the food we eat.

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

The rewards are the tank tops themselves! Super cool designs with out logo which we’re very proud of. Made of the innovative, super soft and amazing material which is derived from 100% recycled plastic!

For some of the bigger backers, we’re offering custom designs for them, as well as as trip with us to one of our animal conservation partners!

Check out the campaign:

Visit the website.
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Now You Can Be A Shark! Learn How At Crowd Invest Summit

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

If you are a regular GoodCrowd.info reader, you know that you can now invest in startups via FINRA-registered web portals. You can now be a venture capitalist, “shark” or perhaps, more benignly, an angel investor.

In May, the Securities and Exchange Commission implemented rules for investment crowdfunding under the 2012 JOBS Act. Alon Goren and Josef Holm have organized the first conference, the Crowd Invest Summit, focused exclusively on investment crowdfunding since the rules went into operation.

Alon has provided GoodCrowd.info readers with a special discount on registration. Use the discount code “GOODCROWD” to receive 30 percent off the registration fee!

The speakers will include Robert Herjavec, star of ABC’s “Shark Tank”; James Altucher, the famed author and entrepreneur; Tim Draper, one of Silicon Valley’s leading venture capitalists and long-term crowdfunding advocate; and, Dara Albright, one of the leading minds in crowdfinance. Conference organizers have also invited me, Devin Thorpe, to speak.

“As the first event of its kind in the United States, the Crowd Invest Summit connects retail investors and top crowdfunded investment opportunities,” said Josef, founder and CEO of crowdfunding marketing and PR software firm Krowdster. “Given the recent shifts in the equity crowdfunding industry, we created this event to be inclusive of all types of investors. Our first summit will take place in Silicon Beach and we’re already exploring a series of domestic and international events to follow.”

Alon Goren, courtesy of Crowd Invest Summit

Alon Goren, courtesy of Crowd Invest Summit

Alon added, “Until now, crowdfunding events have been predominantly focused on debating the potential rules and laws that are now finally in place and available. In contrast, this will be the first large-scale event in the crowdfunding sector focused on companies and investors raising real money and closing actual deals. We want all Americans to know that any of them can become venture capitalists now.”

On Thursday, October 20, 2016 at 1:00 Eastern, Alon will join me here for a live discussion about the conference and the opportunity all Americans have now to invest in startups. 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 Crowd Invest Summit:

Twitter: @crowdinvestsmt

Crowd invest summit is the country’s premier investment focused crowdfunding event.

Alon’s bio:

Twitter: @alonymous

Alon is CEO and co-founder of Invested.in and INVST. He has developed technology that powers websites and financial transactions for Fortune 500 companies and well-known foundations such as Coca-Cola, ATB Financial and Global Philanthropy Group. He also created a white label fundraising portal for individuals and businesses hoping to crowdfund ventures independently of major platforms. His support of the JOBS Act and day-to-day interactions with investors and financial professionals inspired him to create INVST (http://inv.st) a solution for marketers hoping to attract investment firms and hedge fund managers. Utilizing proprietary social technology, INVST streamlines and amplifies the capital introduction process, while offering relationship, tracking and deal management tools for fund managers, third-party marketers and investors.

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!

 

Crowdfunding Campaign Has Lasting Impact for Kids With Birthmarks

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

One of the most inspiring stories in my book Crowdfunding for Social Good features Martha Griffin’s campaign to raise money to publish Sam’s Birthmark, a book about a boy born with a birthmark on his face. The book has impacted countless lives since, including her own son Barron, helping kids born with port wine stain birthmarks like Barron’s to feel special.

For the book, Martha explained that she learned four key lessons from her Kickstarter campaign where she successfully raised $31,763.

  1. Would the birthmark community embrace or see a need for the book?
  2. Would the message appeal to our network and outside the birthmark community?
  3. Could we “market” the book through a viral campaign like Kickstarter?
  4. What would be the response to our story?

Today, I caught up with Martha to learn more about her ongoing effort to build a movement that protects kids against bullying and builds their self-confidence.

Sam's Birthmark

Sam’s Birthmark

Martha says, “A child’s individuality, whether it’s marked by curly hair, freckles or even a birthmark; it’s what makes them special. Sam’s Birthmark is about raising vascular birthmark awareness as well embracing our own and each other’s differences.”

Martha hoped the book would not only help her son, but that it would provide her with a platform for educating others. “We wrote Sam’s Birthmark to build confidence in our son. Also the general public are not aware of the health issues from Vascular Birthmarks. The book has helped us connect with other Birthmark parents throughout the world and be a part of the vast birthmark community.”

Martha still worries about bullying. “Children can be cruel about physical differences. As parents we face the challenge of raising a confident child.”

She worries, too, that Barron’s birthmark could get larger and that growths might develop. Barron has had nine laser surgeries to prevent this. The book remains profoundly relevant in his life.

Martha acknowledges that it will be difficult to stop bullying altogether. “We live a society that focuses on beauty and I don’t see that changing. It’s your face all the time now with social media. Bullying is a huge problem. By parents starting the conversation at an early age about physical differences we can over time stop bullying.”

She remains optimistic, however, and sees her book as a powerful tool for good in the lives of affected children and families. She wants to share the book as widely as possible. “The more people that share and read Sam’s Birthmark, the more good we can do. Through our website we have the ‘Buy-the-Book/Get-a- Book’ campaign. For every book purchased, we give you an extra book to donate to a school, doctor office, church or library.”

Grant, Martha and Barron Griffin, courtesy of Sam's Birthmark

Grant, Martha and Barron Griffin, courtesy of Sam’s Birthmark

On Thursday, October 6, 2016 at 1:00 Eastern, Martha will join me here for a live discussion about how Sam’s Birthmark has influenced the life of her son Barron and others like him around the world. 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 Sam’s Birthmark:

Twitter: @samsbirthmark

Sam’s Birthmark is a children’s book about teaching kids to appreciate the differences in others and themselves.

Martha’s bio:

Martha and Grant found their inspiration for Sam’s Birthmark after their son Barron was born with a Port Wine Stain birthmark covering the right side of his face. After researching Vascular Birthmarks and connecting with other birthmark parents, they saw a need for a children’s book with a main character who has a birthmark. Their goal for Sam’s Birthmark is to teach children to embrace their own and each other’s differences starting at an early age.

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!

 

5 Key Attributes to Look for in a Startup Founder

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

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

Ordinary investors can now invest in startups as a result of the belated implementation of the JOBS Act in May. As you start thinking about investing in startups, one key is to identify an entrepreneur you can back.

Todd Crosland, CEO of our sponsor Seed Equity Ventures, invests in startups along with investors who use the platform. He is an accomplished entrepreneur himself. He recently wrote a blog post about the five key attributes to look for in a startup founder. I’m sharing them here with permission.

1. Passion

When an entrepreneur is pitching you his or her business, their passion for the venture should be apparent from the time they open their mouth. They need to be fully committed to the mission and exemplify that they will do whatever it takes to see it succeed.

2. Experience

Has the founder started a company before? How successful was it? If he or she was able to grow a successful business prior to this venture, they know the ropes better than a first-time founder and have proven they have the dedication it takes to see a company endure.

3. Adaptability

Plans and challenges change frequently while building a company. Someone who can adapt and focus on the need of the customer, rather than refuse to abandon the original idea, will be more suited to build a winning company.

4. Persistence

Acquiring customers and making sales is not an easy task when a company is getting off the ground. When the founder is likely one of just a few employees, if not the only one, they will need to be persistent, tenacious and motivated to keep the company moving forward. Some will want to throw in the towel after hearing “no” several times. A successful founder will keep pushing through until they hear “yes.”

5. Communication

If you are to be an investor in their company, you want a founder who will be able to communicate issues and how he or she plans to solve them effectively. A founder should be in touch with his or her investors regularly, providing updates on the company and its progress.

On Thursday, September 29, 2016 at 4:00 Eastern, Todd will join me here for a live discussion about these five keys and how they influence investment decisions. Tune in here then to watch the interview live. Post questions in the comments below or tweet questions before the interview to @devindthorpe.

Todd Crosland, Seed Equity Ventures

Todd Crosland, Seed Equity Ventures

More about Seed Equity Ventures:

Twitter: @getseedequity

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

Todd’s bio:

Twitter: @ToddCrosland

A seasoned entrepreneur, Mr. Crosland has demonstrated the ability to build successful teams and companies. Mr. Crosland was the Founder, Chairman and CEO of Interbank FX, LLC (“IBFX”; www.IBFX.com), from 2001 until he sold the firm in 2011. IBFX was a Futures Commission Merchant and Retail Foreign Exchange Dealer registered with the U.S. Commodities Futures Trading Commission. IBFX was also authorized and regulated by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission. IBFX was a worldwide leader in retail Forex trading services. IBFX offered individual traders, fund managers and institutional customer’s proprietary technology and tools to trade Forex online. IBFX saw Global customers grow to over 40,000, in more than 140 countries. Annual trading volume reached $750 billion. IBFX had 120 employees and offices in Beijing, China; Seoul, South Korea; Sydney, Australia; Salt Lake City, Utah and London, England. IBFX and Mr. Crosland have received many awards, including: The Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award and numerous Inc. 500 awards. Mr. Crosland holds a B.A. in Business (Business Finance) from the University of Utah. He also currently holds the following Securities Licenses: Series 7, 24, and 63 and previously held series 3 and 30 Licenses.

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!

A Small Tibetan Family Needs Your Help to Open a Storefront

A Small Tibetan Family has started a kickstarter campaign to get funding for opening a storefront in the Raleigh area for handcrafted Tibetan beads, pendants and jewelry supplies. Recently I caught up with Tsering L to learn more about the effort; here’s what she told me:

What is the social benefit you hope to achieve with or through your crowdfunding campaign?

I make traditional & modern style Tibetan Jewelry & crafts in Nepal. I am responsible for creating this cottage industry of materials & supplies that are used in my designs & supports many Tibetan & Nepalese artisan families working with us.

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

My goal is to raise $30,000 on Kickstarter to support opening a storefront for my designs. Funds will be used for securing the retail space for approximately 6 months, furnishings, rewards for the backers, commissions & fees,  & anything left over will be used for products.

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

My project helps Tibetan refugee artisans & Nepalese artisans. Most of them have not had any schooling and are only skilled in producing these craft supplies.

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

My rewards are all listed on my Kickstarter project page.

 

Check out the campaign:
Twitter: @TibetanBeadStor
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TibetanBeadStore

 

Bobbi Rebell Launches Book With Fully Funded Crowdfunding Campaign for Teachers

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

Bobbi Rebell, Reuters financial news television anchor and author of the new book How to Be a Financial Grownup, is launching the book with a fully funded crowdfunding campaign for teachers and students via DonorsChoose. You get to give without giving!

Here’s how it works. 1) You buy a copy of the book. 2) You post about it the purchase on social media including a link to the crowdfunding campaign on DonorsChoose. 3) Send screen grabs of your receipt and your post to Bobbie here. 4) You will receive a gift code for $18 allowing you to back a teacher’s project to benefit students without using any of your own money! (Of course, there are some teachers who are hoping you might add a few bucks of your own.) See complete rules here.

Bobbi wrote her new book to be of help to more than just teachers and their students. As a financial news reporter, she sees a crisis brewing in America.

“We are in an economic crisis because so few of us know the basics about how to manage our financial lives as adults. Americans want to get better at paying attention to—and managing—their money, but with a lack of financial literacy education and information overload thanks to the internet, it has become a daunting and overwhelming task. We need to make financial education accessible, compelling and inviting so we can finally start acting like financial grownups,” she says.

It was important to her that her book be accessible to readers. “I wrote How to Be a Financial Grownup specifically as a book people would actually read. It is fun. At first it even might be mistaken for a personal finance ‘beach read,’ but it is anything but. The advice is serious and specific.”

“The stories are raw, real and, at times, shocking. Most of the early feedback I have received includes an example of how the reader made an immediate change based on the book’s recommendations, and got results. It has already been incredibly gratifying,” she adds.

Getting a new book into the hands of readers is difficult even for a public figure like Bobbi. She says, “The challenge is that there is an overwhelming amount of content out there, and it is tough to break through. I hope that between the incredible stories from inspiring role models, and my own efforts to get the word out, the book will raise awareness.”

She also hopes that the launch can raise real money for DonorsChoose.org. “I also hope it will bolster my efforts to raise money for teachers that have made financial literacy a priority through DonorsChoose.org.” HighTower/Elliot Weissbluth is co-sponsoring the Donors Choose campaign.

DonorsChoose’s founder Charles Best is featured in the book as a role model of financial literacy.

Bobbi says, “I believe the issue of financial literacy is beginning to gain more and more advocates, including several of the role models in my book, among them Tony Robbins, Kevin O’Leary, Amanda Steinberg, Sally Krawcheck, Bob Moritz and of course DonorsChoose.org’s Charles Best.”

Bobbi envisions her book as a key part of the solution to America’s problem with financial illiteracy. “Without a clear understanding of the basics of finance, we cannot improve the economic well-being of millions of Americans. Only 17 states require that high school students take a class in personal finance, according to the Council for Economic Education. How can we expect our young people to be financial grownups if we don’t give them the tools to be successful? How to Be a Financial Grownup is one of those tools,” she concludes.

On Wednesday, September 7, 2016 at 1:00 Eastern, Bobbi will join me here for a live interview to discuss her book and the crowdfunding campaign. Tune in here then to watch the interview live. Post questions in the comments below or tweet questions before the interview to @devindthorpe.

Bobbi Rebell, author of "How to Be a Financial Grownup"

Bobbi Rebell, author of “How to Be a Financial Grownup”

More about How to Be a Financial Grownup:

How to Be a Financial Grownup provides a fresh, new approach to getting readers to pay attention to their money and take action. Just as parents sneak veggies into sweet treats to get their kids the nutrition they need, How to Be a Financial Grownup is designed to draw in readers with can’t-resist stories from incredibly successful Role Models, and then turn their attention to specific solutions readers can use to improve their financial well-being.

Bobbi’s bio:

Twitter: @bobbirebell

Bobbi Rebell is an award-winning journalist and advocate for financial literacy. She currently leads the U.S. business video unit for Reuters, the largest news organization in the world. In that role she anchors business reports, interviews top newsmakers and reports on breaking news. Her work is syndicated globally and seen by millions of viewers on Reuters broadcast and online clients. Bobbi also writes a globally syndicated personal finance column on millennials.

Her work has appeared on hundreds of media outlets including Reuters, Fox, CNBC, CNN, NYTimes.com, WSJ.com, MSN.com, Yahoo Finance, Huffington Post, USA Today, Time.com, Money.com, NYPost.com, PBS, and many more. She began her business news career as an intern at CNN, where she worked with top journalists including Maria Bartiromo, Lou Dobbs and Stuart Varney. Her first job was at CNBC, after which she went on to work at CNN and Nightly Business Report.

Bobbi has interviewed hundreds of the world’s business leaders, some of whom have contributed to her first book “HOW TO BE A FINANCIAL GROWNUP: Proven advice from High Achievers on How to Live Your Dreams and Have Financial Freedom.” The book uses memorable stories to teach basic financial skills, inspiring readers to take control of their finances, and successfully navigate financial adulthood.

Bobbi is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania. She holds a Certificate in Financial Planning from New York University. She lives in New York City with her husband, their son, her teenage stepkids, and morkie Waffles.

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!

 

 

5th Annual Global Crowdfunding Convention Approaches



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

The 5th Annual Global Crowdfunding Convention is coming up on October 15 through 17, 2016 in Las Vegas at Planet Hollywood.

Ruth Hedges, the showrunner for the convention, bills it as the biggest industry event of the year.

Featured speakers will include Slava Rubin, co-founder and CEO of Indiegogo; Lisa Song Sutton, Miss Nevada 2014; Vladimir I. Ivanov, PhD, of the SEC; and, yours truly, Devin Thorpe, among many others.

The speakers will include a number of people profiled on the Your Mark on the World Show, including Ruth, Douglas Ellenoff, Richard Swart, Kendall Almerico, Jilliene Helman, Mary Juetton, Jillian Sidoti, Samuel Guzik, and Howard Leonhardt.

Ruth says, “We bring together a dynamic program featuring exciting breakout sessions, crowdfunding superstars who have raised millions of dollars, office hours with investors and mentors, crowdfunding professional experts, and leading Fintech companies driving the growth of the industry. They will share actionable information and proven strategies on all facets of Reward, Donation,and Equity Crowdfunding. You will not find this anywhere else.”

The crowdfunding industry has been reenergized by the belated implementation of the JOBS Act Title III provisions allowing ordinary investors to participate in startup investing for the first time since the 1933 Act was passed during the Great Depression.

On Thursday, September 1, 2016 at 2:00 Eastern, Ruth will join me here for a live discussion about the Global Crowdfunding Convention, the speakers and the events associated with it. Tune in here then to watch the interview live. Post questions in the comments below or tweet questions before the interview to @devindthorpe.

Ruth Hedges, courtesy of the Global Crowdfunding Convention

Ruth Hedges, courtesy of the Global Crowdfunding Convention

More about the Global Crowdfunding Convention:

Twitter: @thegccworld

The Global Crowdfunding Convention (GCC) consistently hand picks the best and the brightest in the field and covers all topics of crowdfunding. Produced by Crowdfunding industry experts, it attracts the world’s business leaders to discuss the industry’s most pressing issues. For more information visit www.thegccworld.com. Follow the hashtag #thegccworld on Twitter for real-time hashtag highlights.

Ruth’s bio:

Ruth E. Hedges is one the world’s foremost authorities on crowdfunding and is one of the original pioneers of the legislation that was ultimately signed into law as the JOBS Act on April 5, 2012. She was honored with an invitation to the White House for its Crowdfunding Champions of Change event. Ruth created and operates the worlds first Global Crowdfunding Convention (GCC) now in entering its 5th year. It is hosted every year in Las Vegas NV.

Ms Hedges is the founder of CrowdfundingCRM.com the industry’s first Marketing Automation CRM and Social media platform built for Crowdfunding and Crowd Financing.

The company aims to fill the void between basic email software and complex and expensive marketing software. Along with an easy to use Crowdfunding Task & Action Plan™-A virtual placeholder,guide and calendar for you to create a step by step crowdfunding plan with timelines for launching and running a successful and compliant campaign.

As an industry expert, Ms Hedges has been interviewed or quoted in over 50 major publications and was selected to teach the first university-level course on securities-based crowdfunding in the nation at the University of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV).

Ms Hedges was also a Founding Board member of the CrowdFund Intermediary Regulatory Advocates (CFIRA) and CFPA. ​In 2012 Ms Hedges also launched globalcrowdfundingday.com to help spread the word across the globe.

Previously, Ms. Hedges was featured in the Chronicle of Philanthropy as well as the New York Times, the LA times and People magazine for her work with Oxfam America and the Hollywood Hunger Banquets.She was featured on ABC’s Home Show, and the Financial News Network produced a two-part series on Ms. Hedges for their show” American Entrepreneur.” She was invited to fill a cabinet seat on the Second Century Campaign board which raised over 16 million dollars to build the new Union Rescue Mission. She is the recipient of the Certificate of Appreciation from the City of Los Angeles for that work.

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 Film Needs your Support to help “HANA: Help a Needy Animal”

The filmmakers want to produce a documentary profiling “HANA, the Help-A-Needy-Animal Fund”. This nonprofit has a mission to prevent euthanasia in pets. They are raising money on Kickstarter. Recently I caught up with Josh Haygood to learn more about the effort; here’s what he told me:

What is the social benefit you hope to achieve with or through your crowdfunding campaign?

I’m a film and television producer in New York city having made two Emmy Award winning television programs as well as many others. I’ve made my career primarily in the documentary space. I love projects with a big heart, such as the feature doc Ride With Larry which we released last year about a man battling Parkinson’s. My father also has this disease, so this was a very personal journey for me and very rewarding to help such a wonderful cause. We’re now working with the Michael J Fox foundation to raise money for research. I feel it’s the highest calling of an artist in any medium to be able to use their voice to help others.

It’s this call to action that’s led to my current project. I was introduced to a wonderful charity in California called HANA – the Help A Needy Animal fund, a 501c(3) non profit that provides life saving veterinary care to animals whose lives hang in the balance, but whose owners lack the financial resources to afford the often high cost of surgery and other procedures necessary to save their animals. The doctors at HANA have spent years treating domestic pets as well as horses and other critical working animals across California and now want to take their expertise to other areas to try and save as many animals as possible.

My idea is to make a film about their incredible work to get the word out to a big audience. As an animal lover myself, I feel this incredible work deserves to be recognized on a national stage. However the bigger hope is that similar to our film about Parkinson’s, which has helped raise money and awareness of that cause, this film will drive donations and support to HANA which can only do its life saving work with continued financial support.

sunny2

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

We just launched our Kickstarter campaign two days ago, so far it hasn’t been seen very widely, thus my outreach to you. I’m a filmmaker, not a marketing or social media guru. I definitely need help in this area as I believe very much in the cause this film will promote.

The total ask is $75,000 which is about a quarter of what a film of this nature would cost on the open commercial market. I’m calling in every favor I’m owed from the film making community to get it done on a modest budget.

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

I’ll repeat what I wrote on your first page in case that’s not the place to enter this info:

I was introduced to a wonderful charity in California called HANA – the Help A Needy Animal fund, a 501c(3) non profit that provides life saving veterinary care to animals whose lives hang in the balance, but whose owners lack the financial resources to afford the often high cost of surgery and other procedures necessary to save their animals. The doctors at HANA have spent years treating domestic pets as well as horses and other critical working animals across California and now want to take their expertise to other areas to try and save as many animals as possible.

Vets Without Borders from Bandito Films | NYC on Vimeo.

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

We are trying to be as generous as possible in this area. On our Kickstarter campaign backers are offered everything from t-shirts and DVDs at the lower levels up to invites to the LA premier of the film. We are also offering access to a live online backers only premier stream of the film at nearly every support level, which includes a live chat with the film makers. For those looking to be very generous, we are also offering Associate Producer and Executive Producer credits.

As animal lovers ourselves, we believe so much in this cause. We very much hope to have the opportunity to make this film and support what we think is an absolutely wonderful and necessary organization.

Check out the campaign:

How To Do Your Due Diligence Before Investing

Todd Crosland is the CEO and Founder of Seed Equity Ventures, which sponsors GoodCrowd.info.

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

Hundreds of millions of Americans who have been statutorily and practically prohibited from investing in startups are now allowed to do just that under two new regulations. The 2012 JOBS Act created new rules for Regulation A offerings and Regulation Crowdfunding. Neither requires investors t o meet a specific net worth or experience requirement. Common sense suggests it is time to ask the expert how to do “due diligence” on a startup investment. Todd Crosland, CEO and Founder of Seed Equity Ventures, offers some advice on conducting proper due diligence. He suggests exploring each of the following questions:

  • Is there at least a minimum viable product or prototype with proof of concept?
    • If possible, you’ll want to use the product. If not, you should at least see it. If there isn’t a working prototype, be sure to ask yourself if you are prepared to invest at such an early stage. The answers to the other questions should be overwhelmingly favorable before investing in what amounts to a business plan.
  • Is there any initial traction with active users?
    • It is possible to have an active community without a product, but generally some type of minimum viable product will have to be in the market to prove the concept in the market. If the product is available and there isn’t an active user community, it may be time to move along.
  • Are there at least two full time team members?
    • Experienced investors have seen this movie before. A lone wolf entrepreneur fails because he can’t share credit, can’t delegate, can’t work well with other people or just thinks he can do it all himself. Look for a solid, committed team before you commit your hard-earned money to the deal.
  • Have any team members successfully founded companies in the past?
    • While many first time entrepreneurs are successful and some who have been successful in the past, miss on subsequent efforts, you improve your odds of making a good investment by finding teams that have been successful before.
  • Was the team able to raise any funds prior to this raise?
    • It is scary for investors to be the first money invested in a company. If there are investors who have invested before, you may also want to know if they are investing with you in the current round. Are they still true believers? As a general rule, you don’t want to invest your money to help a prior investor get paid. Remember, this isn’t your problem until you put your money in.
  • What is the payback period on the investment?
    • Most startup investments are in the form of equity and it may be difficult to determine how long your money may be tied up, but spend some time trying to understand the development cycle, the time required to get the product or service to scale in the market and how an “exit” happens, that is, how you’ll get your money back,
  • Have you calculated when you are expected to see a return on investment?
    • Depending on the cash flow projections, you may get your investment back before you get a return on the investment. Be sure to calculate your expected returns based on realistic projections. Be sure that you are willing to lose all of your investment for the possibility of achieving that return.
  • Is the entrepreneur’s marketing plan realistic?
    • By comparing the projections of the company to actual results for other companies in the same sector you can get a feel for whether the marketing plan is realistic. Investments like Facebook are exceedingly rare; be cautious if an entrepreneur suggests topping their early results.
  • Do you fully understand the industry?
    • Owning and using a mobile phone doesn’t give you the expertise to make investments in mobile technology any more than eating gives you the experience required to run a restaurant. Be sure you either really come up to speed on the industry or find experts who have to advise you.
  • Have you looked closely at the competition?
    • Don’t ever let an entrepreneur tell you there is no competition. This fallacy not only suggests a problem with the business plan, it suggests a problem with the management team. Get to know the strengths and weaknesses of the competition before you invest.
  • How many investors are on the cap table?
    • The “cap table” is the roster of owners, some of whom frequently have special rights that you may or may not be getting with your investment. Be sure you understand not only the number of shareholders but also the rights that each has. Typically, the entrepreneur has common shares that are riskier than the preferred shares the investors receive.
  • How does the entrepreneur plan to use the next round of capital?
    • It is vitally important to understand the company’s planned use of proceeds from the investment. You want to understand exactly what the entrepreneur will do with the money you invest. While thoughtful entrepreneurs will never plan to use the money on fancy cars and bonuses, you want to go deep enough to understand how the money will be used to generate a positive return on investment.
  • What is the startup’s burn rate?
    • The “burn rate” is the pace at which the company is spending money faster than it comes in. Most startups do spend more money than they generate in revenue and often continue to do so for years as they scale up. Be sure to understand not only how much the company is burning now but how long they project burning cash before they reach the break-even point when revenue will match expenses.

Perhaps the most important part of due diligence is to get to know the management team and their capabilities. As you explore these questions with the team, use their feedback to understand their personalities, strengths and weaknesses. You’ll be counting on them to turn your investment into something bigger and better.

Even if you are focused on social impact more than profits, remember that if you lose your money on an investment you can never put it to work again. If you invest well and get your money back with some return, you can reinvest that money in another social venture and have more impact. Be sure to weigh your social impact and financial goals carefully.

On Thursday, August 25, 2016 at 5:00 Eastern, Todd will join me here for a live discussion about conducting due diligence on an investment. Tune in here then to watch the interview live. Post questions in the comments below or tweet questions before the interview to @devindthorpe.

Todd Crosland, Seed Equity Ventures

Todd Crosland, Seed Equity Ventures

Twitter: @getseedequity

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

Todd’s bio:

Twitter: @ToddCrosland

A seasoned entrepreneur, Mr. Crosland has demonstrated the ability to build successful teams and companies. Mr. Crosland was the Founder, Chairman and CEO of Interbank FX, LLC (“IBFX”; www.IBFX.com), from 2001 until he sold the firm in 2011. IBFX was a Futures Commission Merchant and Retail Foreign Exchange Dealer registered with the U.S. Commodities Futures Trading Commission. IBFX was also authorized and regulated by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission. IBFX was a worldwide leader in retail Forex trading services. IBFX offered individual traders, fund managers and institutional customer’s proprietary technology and tools to trade Forex online. IBFX saw Global customers grow to over 40,000, in more than 140 countries. Annual trading volume reached $750 billion. IBFX had 120 employees and offices in Beijing, China; Seoul, South Korea; Sydney, Australia; Salt Lake City, Utah and London, England. IBFX and Mr. Crosland have received many awards, including: The Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award and numerous Inc. 500 awards. Mr. Crosland holds a B.A. in Business (Business Finance) from the University of Utah. He also currently holds the following Securities Licenses: Series 7, 24, and 63 and previously held series 3 and 30 Licenses.

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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!

 

Giving Through Gifting; Support “Packed with Purpose” to Make Positive Change

Packed with Purpose is a specialty gifting company that curates gift boxes comprised of products with a social impact. They are raising money on Indiegogo. Recently I caught up with Leeatt Rothschild to learn more about the effort; here’s what she told me:

What is the social benefit you hope to achieve with or through your crowdfunding campaign?

Packed with Purpose curates gift boxes comprised of products that have a social impact. Each product is produced by a social enterprise or purse-driven company and has a unique contribution to society.  For example, we feature honey produced by formerly incarcerated Chicago residents, who are part of a workforce development program to help them learn job skills, land a full time job, and successfully re-join society.  Other products contribute to positive youth development, or sustainable farming practices.

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

Packed with Purpose aims to raise $30,000 to help cover expenses related to product sourcing, box production, fulfillment, among other things.  Less than 48 hours after launch we are just shy of raising $9,000, and are already at 30% of our funding goal.

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

Packed with Purpose aims to generate social good across diverse individuals and communities in the US. In our first crowdfunded launch box we will be supporting individuals with barriers to employment through workforce development opportunities.  We are also supporting the entrepreneurial and leadership development of urban teens.  Every social enterprise (and individual associated with that organization) benefits from a Packed with Purpose purchase- be it through transitional employment opportunities to break the cycle of poverty or teen leadership development to secure a promising future.

Packed with Purpose Launch Video from Leeatt Rothschild on Vimeo.

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

Rewards vary and include: a Packed with Purpose launch box, which will feature 5 products from social enterprises and socially conscious businesses; a subscription to a seasonal delivery of 4 Packed with Purpose boxes, each a unique curation of products; a fully- funded Bee Hive, in partnership with a Chicago social enterprise that produces honey, and a customized tour of a social enterprise + lunch with Founder, Leeatt Rothschild

Check out the campaign:

Follow on Facebook.
Follow on Twitter at @PackedwPurpose

 

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