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Archive | August, 2015

Divvi launches $400,000 Preferred Equity Crowdfunding Raise on designbook.com

26 Aug

Burlington, Vermont idivvi.com is launching a $400,000 equity fundraising campaign through designbook.com. divvi is a mobile iOS app that couples word-of-mouth recommendations with easily actionable sales links delivered in a text or email. Available on the apple store, divvi makes it easy for consumers to connect with products they love.

divvi is the fastest, most honest way to share brand and product recommendations with friends and family

divvi is the fastest way to share product/service recommendations with friends & family

The divvi deal is a Regulation D private offering, meaning that it is available to accredited investors nationwide. divvi previously raised $120,000 in an angel seed round to create their minimum viable product now available on the Apple App store. divvi has an efficient approach to product development and a clear path forward to sustainable cash flow.

divvi is initially focused on the outdoor consumer goods industry, where retailers and friends spend a great deal of time educating consumers on the right gear.  There are more than 50 million products listed on divvi, including socially and environmentally conscious brands like Patagonia, Seventh Generation and Tom’s Shoes.

The $400,000 to be raised by divvi on Designbook in this offering will be used for sales and marketing purposes to bring national awareness to divvi as well as continued product development. divvi will build on its existing strong relationships with brand reps and retail outlets to enter the retail market.

Richard Morin, divvi’s CEO/CMO, has said, “We envision a world where consumers, retail sales associates and brand employees have the digital tools to help one another easily find and purchase quality goods – improving the bottom lines for brands and retailers while giving back to the planet.”

A portion of every divvi-powered purchase is donated to organizations working to preserve the planet and help those in need. divvi is a member of 1% for the Planet and a pending B Corporation.

Morin and his team have deep domain experience in the retail field, having worked more than 15 years in youth marketing and winter action sports marketing with best-in-class brands such as Burton Snowboards, Tom’s Shoes, Nordica, Tecnica and Specialized. divvi’s executive suite includes Tom Durse, President, an experienced brand and operations leader, who has helped lead Burton Snowboard and Ben & Jerry’s; James Thompson, CTO, a senior engineer, who has built more than 200 enterprise-level applications; and Amy Magyar, head of sales, a pioneering sporting goods executive.

For more investment information, please visit divvi on Designbook.

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By Robert Hoskins

Robert Hoskins, a seasoned Front Page PR veteran provides more than twenty-five years of external communications, media relations, digital social media and SEO skills to Front Page PR’s crowdfunding PR and media relations service portfolio.
(512) 627-6622
@Crowdfunding_PR


Mr. Hoskins is a seasoned marketing veteran with a proven track record of helping entrepreneurs, startups, small businesses as well as Fortune 500 corporations launch successful marketing communications campaigns to gain market traction for a wide variety of products and services.
Hoskins is one of the crowdfunding industry’s foremost crowdfunding advocates and has amassed a huge social media following that is dedicated to supporting donation-, rewards- and equity-based crowdfunding campaigns. Due to the overwhelming demand from the general public for crowdfunding information, he empowers entrepreneurs with some of the internet’s most affordable ($20) online crowdfunding training classes, which provide insight to startups around the world on a 24 x 7 basis.
Hoskins adamantly believes that the crowdfunding industry will empower everyone in the United States to rediscover the possibility of living the American dream with a little hard work, a great business idea and the dedication to researching, planning and launching a well-thought-out crowdfunding campaign. He consults on a regular basis with crowdfunding campaign managers as well as crowdfunding sites, portals and platforms to deliver successful crowdfunding marketing campaigns.

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Chicago-based Mother of Two Takes a Bite at the Growing Crowdfunding Industry with Mom-Focused Mumzy.com

22 Aug

Mumzy will also provide small business development resources so a mom’s journey to entrepreneurship doesn’t end when her funding goals are met

By Robert Hoskins

Chicago, Illinois – Chicago-based startup, Mumzy.com, launches new crowdfunding site for creative moms that want to bring brilliant ideas to life by raising capital to launch and grow their businesses. It is a well-known fact that moms are inventive and resourceful and Mumzy’s mission is to support moms whether they are starting a company, developing invention new product, creating a non-profit, or simply looking to raise funds to help a fellow mom.

Mumzy Crowdfunding Platform for Creative Moms

Mumzy Rewards-Based Crowdfunding Platform for Creative Moms

Mumzy was founded to solve one of the biggest problems for innovative moms while harnessing the growing popularity of the crowdfunding industry which had a projected growth of 81% year-over-year and, according to a World Bank report, could be a $90 to $96 billion dollar industry by 2025. This explosive growth has created the need for the industry to become more niche to cater to specific audiences, and Mumzy is the only platform geared towards moms, catering to their unique needs and challenges.

In addition to helping moms raise capital, Mumzy will also provide small business development resources so a mom’s journey to entrepreneurship doesn’t end when her funding goals are met. Furthermore, Mumzy has a built-in community where entrepreneurs can ask questions, connect with like-minded moms and source auxiliary help from people in a similar situation.

Mumzy was founded by Catherine Merritt, a Chicagoan, mother of two boys and vice president at Olson Engage, a Chicago marketing and public relations firm which championed her efforts. When Catherine had her oldest son, Teddy, she had her first mom-inspired invention – and it was a great one! – but with a lack of resources and funding options, her idea never took off. It did, however, pave the path for Mumzy. Having spent over a decade working in marketing, and five years as a mom herself, Catherine brings both personal and professional expertise in helping solve problems for moms.

“By creating a rich, engaged, resourceful platform designed with moms in mind I am confident Mumzy will prove what I already know – moms with great ideas and the support of other moms is not something to take lightly,” said Catherine Merritt.

In partnership with Olson Engage and Juice Interactive, Mumzy was brought to life by some of the best in the business. Mumzy is a dynamic crowdfunding platform with the full capacity to raise funds, promote ideas and engage in a like-minded community for support and encouragement. While mom entrepreneurs are the target user for Mumzy anyone can utilize the platform to further their entrepreneurship goals.

Mumzy has an experienced advisory board made up of Melinda Kramer, CEO of KloudVenture, LLC and one of this year’s “Crain’s Tech 50,” Peter Shankman renowned speaker and author of numerous books including the most recent “Zombie Loyalists: Using Great Service to Create Rabid Fans,” Eric Sheinkop, the founder and CEO of Music Dealers and author of “Hit Brands: How Music Builds Value for the World’s Smartest Brands,” and Bryan Specht, President of Olson Engage, a marketer and communicator with almost two decades of experience who guided the agency’s initial work supporting Mumzy.

“Mumzy is a perfect example of a great idea borne of insights, technology and creativity in a way that can deliver real value and benefit to a community,” said Specht. “Our people are able to connect the dots and generate ideas like Mumzy and we are proud to provide them the freedom to develop and realize unique ideas that have community and business value.”

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Onevest Sets $2 Million Self-Crowdfunding Record; Uses Funds to Hire Top Talent

22 Aug

Financial technology company currently operates one of the leading startup investing marketplaces with over 80,000 entrepreneurs and 15,000 investors registered

By Robert Hoskins

New York City, New York – Onevest announced that reached $2M in financing for its Series A round after self–crowdfunding on its own platform.   The financial technology firm launched the 506c offering to celebrate the implementation of Title IV of the JOBS Act. In one month alone the company has been able to close what would normally take on average between 4 to 8 months in the offline world for a tech startup of its size.

New Equity Crowdfunding Platform, OneVest, Creates One-Stop Shop for Investors Seeking Startups in the United States

New Equity Crowdfunding Platform, OneVest, Creates One-Stop Shop for Investors Seeking Startups in the United States

The company is currently operating one of the leading startup investing marketplaces with over 80,000 entrepreneurs and 15,000 investors registered.

Onevest has a unique approach, as it captures deal flow at the formation stage via its cofounder matchmaking property site, CoFoundersLab, which gives Onevest six months to one year in advance to build the relationship with the company before the entrepreneur is ready to seek a round of financing. Via CoFoundersLab, Onevest is onboarding over 2,000 registered entrepreneurs to its ecosystem every month.

“Today we have put a dent in the universe by changing the game of fundraising online. We are lucky and honored to be part of an industry that is revolutionizing what has been an old and outdated model that clearly needed a healthy disruption,” said Onevest’s Executive Chairman Alejandro Cremades.

The company is already putting the capital to work as it has hired a new CFO, Barry Shereck. Barry has more than 30 years of experience in financial management with early stage companies and has taken four companies public.

Onevest also announced the hire of Erica Duignan as the Head of Deal Flow to hone in on bringing high quality startups on its marketplace and to build a world-class team of venture associates. Erica is joining Onevest from the renown accelerator program Dreamit Ventures, where she was a Managing Director focused on company recruiting, fundraising and developing investor relationships.

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Miami’s ClassWallet Raises $1.9 Million to Fund Ed-Tech Digital Wallet Technology

22 Aug

Investment Signals Introduction of Digital Wallet Technology in Education; Another Success Story Emeres from Miami’s Startup Scene

By Robert Hoskins

Miami, Florida – ClassWallet, fast-becoming the leading platform for school funds disbursement and tracking, has closed a $1.9 million round of seed financing. Total funding raised to date is $2.53MClassWallet is a leading end-to-end digital solution to manage funding within school systems.  The platform combines funds disbursement, e-commerce, a reloadable debit card and tracking in a fully integrated manner designed for maximum simplicity and accountability.

ClassWallet brings accountability to a $23 billion system that relies heavily on cash, checks, and purchase orders that add up to 40 percent transaction costs and a fund-spend-track lifecycle that takes weeks. ClassWallet reduces these transaction costs to less than 5 percent, and the transaction lifecycle to same day.

ClassWallet platform for school funds disbursement and tracking

ClassWallet platform for school funds disbursement and tracking

Investors include NewSchools Venture Seed Fund, Kaplan Ventures, William Guttman, as well as several edtech and fintech angel investors. Accelerated Growth Partners and other leading Miami-based angel investors, including MaverixLab, founded by former Noodle CEO Joe Morgan, continued their support by contributing to the round. ClassWallet is a graduate of the Kaplan EdTech Accelerator, powered by Techstars.

ClassWallet is a platform for school systems to disburse and track funds. The company will use the funding to fuel sales and accelerate its product roadmap. The team plans to release the next version of its platform this summer, which will include a reloadable ClassWallet debit card and a Pay by ClassWallet API for vendors to integrate.

“As school budgets shrink, an increasingly larger portion of procurement is being funded by corporations, foundations, parents and teachers to meet student needs,” said Jamie Rosenberg, ClassWallet’s founder and CEO. “The size of this market, up to $23 billion annually, and the amount of inefficiency and lack of transparency is staggering.”

Organizations and school districts using ClassWallet include Harrington Park School District, Albuquerque Public Schools Education Foundation, Reading is Fundamental, Broward Education Foundation, as well as many others.

Companies including Amazon, Office Depot, Best Buy, School Specialty, Scholastic and 40 more accept ClassWallet as a form of payment. Each provides ClassWallet with SKU level purchasing data, which makes tracking and reconciling of purchases seamless. Most recently, Marqeta, the program manager behind Facebook and eBay’s card platforms, joined forces with ClassWallet to power the ClassWallet debit card for offline purchases such as professional development, field trips and more.

“Getting accurate accounting from all of the cash and receipts that come through the business office is time as a school leader I would like to use moving the agenda forward,” said Adam Fried, superintendent, Harrington Park School District, Harrington Park, N.J. “ClassWallet has created a solution to a problem that we thought could never be resolved. It is giving me the ability to lead my district rather than manage a problem.”

Founder Jamie Rosenberg is no stranger to tackling school funding issues. His first venture, AdoptAClassroom.org, which he launched in 1998, is considered to be the first crowd funding site on the Internet and the first national education philanthropy online platform. ClassWallet President Neil Steinhardt has 20 years payments experience, most recently as managing director of the U.S. division of Skrill, the second largest digital wallet platform in the world, behind PayPal.

“What excites us the most,” stated Mr. Rosenberg, “is being able to leverage digital wallet technology to more closely align education procurement decisions with the actual users and beneficiaries….the teachers and students.”

“When ClassWallet approached us, we were able to look at the current process with a fresh perspective and realized how inefficient it was. Literally, ClassWallet took an entire box of paperwork from my desk and made it go away,” said Coco Burns, program coordinator, Broward Education Foundation, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

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Staples Opens First-of-Its-Kind Online Retail Store Shelf Slots for New Crowdfunded Products

21 Aug

The debut of the online store marks the first time a retailer has used crowdfunding to determine market demand and social support in choosing products to carry

By Robert Hoskins

Framingham, Massachusetts – The winners of the inaugural Crowd2Shelf Contest debut on Staples’ new entrepreneurial store at Staples.com/fundable. Created by Fundable and sponsored by Staples, the Crowd2Shelf Contest drew thousands of startups across the country competing for a chance to crowdfund their way to Staples. The Crowd2Shelf Contest was also made possible by the business strategy firm Sprosty Network.

Staples Carries New Crowdfunding Products via Online Stores

Staples Carries New Crowdfunding Products via Online Stores

Contestants demonstrated demand for their innovative products by gathering votes and crowdfunding pledges. A panel of innovation experts, including Fundable and Staples representatives, chose the winners based on votes, success of crowdfunding campaigns, and each judges’ understanding of what it takes for a startup to be successful.

The debut of the online store marks the first time a retailer has used crowdfunding to determine market demand and social support in choosing products to carry.

“We’re proud to showcase our Crowd2Shelf entrepreneurs through our new online store and help them launch their ideas,” said Daniel Reilly, Director of Product Design and Innovation at Staples. “We were incredibly impressed with the caliber of startup product companies that participated and are thrilled to offer our customers these innovative new products to help them make more happen.”

The winning products and contestants include:

  • Folding Bluetooth keyboard
    Jorno – Los Angeles, Calif. (exclusive to Staples)
  • Remote-controlled recessed LED lighting
    EVA – Wilmington, DE (exclusive to Staples)
  • Outlet-mounted Bluetooth music player
    The Plug Radio – Hollywood, Calif. (exclusive to Staples)
  • Smartphone-controlled lighting
    Plum – Austin, Texas
  • Secure tablet holder
    nHand – Tulsa, Oklahoma

“We’re pleased to see the winners of the Crowd2shelf contest now available on Staples.com,” said Wil Schroter, CEO, Fundable. “The contest has been an incredible journey for each of these startup companies, and given each of them the opportunity of a lifetime to turn a great idea into a household name.”

Staples makes it easy to make more happen with more products and more ways to shop. Through its world-class retail, online and delivery capabilities, Staples lets customers shop however and whenever they want, whether it’s in-store, online or on mobile devices.

Fundable is one of the largest business crowdfunding platform with nearly $200 million in commitments and exclusively dedicated to helping businesses. Different from any other crowdfunding platform, Fundable offers both rewards and equity business crowdfunding options. Fundable is a part of the Startups.co platform, the world’s largest startup launch platform with tools to help startups and entrepreneurs at any stage of their business.

Sprosty Network is a business strategy and innovation firm helping clients re-imagine technology and the delivery of products, services, and experiences. They have worked for companies ranging from Fortune 50 retailers to startups, and bring a wealth of expertise in leading and developing consumer technology, wireless solutions, and emerging technologies.

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Illinois Governor Rauner Signs New Intrastate Equity Crowdfunding Bill into Law

21 Aug

New crowdfunding legislation means more available capital forIllinois entrepreneurs and small businesses, resulting in more Illinois jobs being created by these entrepreneurs and small businesses

By Robert Hoskins

Chicago, Illinois – Governor Rauner has signed intrastate equity crowdfunding into law.  This new vehicle for raising capital empowers the small business community by allowing business owners and entrepreneurs to raise capital from a large number of people.  In exchange, investors receive a small equity interest in the business.

Illinois Equity Crowdfunding Intrastate Exemption

Illinois Equity Crowdfunding Intrastate Exemption

“Intrastate equity crowdfunding can be a game-changer for the small business community, it will allow business owners and entrepreneurs to invest in, and empower one another.  Many states, including Wisconsin, Indiana and Michigan, have already passed legislation allowing companies to raise money in this way.  Passing this legislation has ensured Illinois businesses are able to compete on a level playing field with those in neighboring states,” said Elliot Richardson, Small Business Advocacy Council, CEO.

The SBAC and a coalition of chambers and business groups spearheaded a grass-roots effort to bring intrastate equity crowdfunding to Illinois.  Through the power of critical mass, the small business community worked with legislators and moved this important legislation.  “This is a tremendous step forward for Illinois small businesses and entrepreneurs. This will mean more available capital forIllinois entrepreneurs and small businesses, resulting in more Illinois jobs being created by these entrepreneurs and small businesses,” said attorney, Anthony J. Zeoli of Freeman & Peters LLP.

State Rep. Carol Sente, D-Vernon Hills, issued this statement, “As Co-Chair of the Small Business Owners Caucus in Springfield and primary bill sponsor, I’m thrilled Governor Rauner signed our Crowdfunding bill!  I know the business community has been anxious to see this legislation passed.  It has been a sincere pleasure to work with the SBAC on this and other measures over the years.  Illinois has so much to offer small businesses and today marks a milestone in finding new ways for small businesses to raise capital.”

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