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New Equity Investment Fund Setup by Launch Angels to Invest in Women-Led Startups

13 Feb

PayPal shows support for women and the crowdfunding industry by sponsoring the Finding the Bright Spots: Women & Capital Event on March 4th

By Robert Hoskins

Launch Angels, an investment platform focused on equity crowdfunding deals and based in Boston, MA, is now offering two programs programs that will allow investors to begin backing women-focused startups.

New Equity Investment Fund Setup by Launch Angels to Invest in Women-Led Startups

New Equity Investment Fund Setup by Launch Angels to Invest in Women-Led Startups

First, Launch Angels and co-sponsor PayPal are hosting Finding the Bright Spots: Women & Capital, a March 4th event on how women entrepreneurs and investors are finding “bright spots” in equity.

Second, Launch Angels is opening its Women-Led Fund to accredited investors. This is the first fund dedicated to searching equity crowdfunding platforms for investments in women-led startups.

Finding the Bright Spots features a panel on funding sources disrupting male-centric models. It will explore how women entrepreneurs and investors are succeeding empowered by crowdfunding, accelerators, angels and venture capital.

Kara Miller, host and executive editor of “Innovation Hub” (which airs on 89.7 WGBH and SiriusX) will moderate. The keynote will be delivered by Michelle Watson, CIO of First Republic Investment Management. Panelists include Daily Grommet CEO Jules Pieri, Techstars Managing Director Katie Rae and ClearSky Data CEO Ellen Rubin. The free event is set for 6:00-8:30 PM at One International Place, Boston, with reservations through EventBrite.

Launch Angels CEO Shereen Shermak will kick off the evening. Shermak observed, “I’m an entrepreneur and angel, so I’ve seen that women are underfunded and under-represented in the C-suite. But trends—including equity crowdfunding—are changing the story. Launch Angels is pleased to be part of that through this event and our Women-Led Fund. Matching angels with women-led and -focused businesses needing capital benefits women, investors and the economy.”

A good example of crowdfunding at work is the event caterer, Mei Mei. This Boston-based company recently expanded their business from a food truck to a restaurant thanks to a crowdfunding campaign. Two members of the sibling management team are female.

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Outer Aisle Gourmet Cooks Up Tasty Gluten-Free, Low-Carbohydrate Veggie Recipes for Athletes, Celiacs, Diabetics, Dieters and Vegetarians

7 Oct

New veggie bread, pizza crust, pasta and rice product lines offer restaurant-quality taste while keeping vegetables disguised from kids young and old so the whole family can enjoy eating a healthy diet of delicious meals

By Robert Hoskins

Outer Aisle Gourmet introduced a new product line of Veggie Pizza Crust, Veggie Pasta, Veggie Rice and Veggie Bread that are made with fresh vegetables and are naturally gluten-free and low in carbs, calories and fat.  The new products offer a delicious menu for athletes, vegetarians, diabetics, dieters, celiacs and health conscious eaters who will enjoy eating one to two servings of vegetables with every meal. Non-vegetarian families can top off any of these tasty vegetable-based products with chicken, beef, pork or shrimp to provide a balanced meal.

Outer Aisle Gourmet Cooks Up Tasty Gluten-Free, Low-Carbohydrate Veggie Recipes for Athletes, Celiacs, Diabetics, Dieters and Vegetarians

Outer Aisle Gourmet Cooks Up Tasty Gluten-Free, Low-Carbohydrate Veggie Recipes for Athletes, Celiacs, Diabetics, Dieters and Vegetarians

“According to a Gluten-Free Shoppers Survey, over 71-percent of consumers reported that it was hard to find gluten-free products that tasted good.  Our family agreed,” said Jeanne David, Outer Aisle Gourmet’s President and Head of Product Development.  “One thing my husband and I know about from growing up in New Orleans is great tasting food.  I thought it would be fun to cook up some improved gluten-free recipes that would taste more like a delicious meal you would enjoy eating in any restaurant in New Orleans.  That’s why our products are selling so well. They actually taste great!”

Due to heavy demand for its tasty products, Outer Aisle Gourmet is currently running a Kickstarter campaign through October 19th to raise $30,000 to expand production and move a step closer to its ultimate goal of building a nationwide distribution channel.  Until they achieve their goal, the only way for consumers outside of the Santa Barbara area to sample Outer Aisle Gourmet’s products is to contribute to their Kickstarter campaign before October 19th.

Outer Aisle Gourmet’s vegetable-based products do not contain any artificial ingredients and have a shelf life of more than three weeks when refrigerated.  The products are perfect for healthy grocery stores and restaurant franchises and big box retail outlets that serve gluten-free products to their customer base. Call (805) 682-1990 or visit the company’s website (www.outeraislegourmet.com) to inquire about placing future distributor, restaurant and retail outlet orders.

After the Kickstarter campaign succeeds, Outer Aisle Gourmet’s veggie products will be rolled out in Santa Barbara, Malibu, Camarillo, Carpenteria, Agoura Hills, Moor Park, Palo Alto, Los Angeles, Fillmoor, Ojai Valley, Oxnard, Santa Ynez, Solvang, Simi Valley, Thousand Oaks and Ventura County, California.

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Crowdvance.com Offers Crowdfunders 100% Free Crowdfunding Opportunity to Launch Fundraising Campaigns with Zero Service Fees

23 Jun

Crowdvance is poised to disrupt the entire online fundraising industry by serving as the for-profit fundraising platform that passes 100% of donations received to organizations for processing and that rewards donors for their donations

By Robert Hoskins

Crowdvance.com announced plans to drop the Crowdfunding service fee they deduct from donations to zero percent, down from 6.5%. By removing the company’s service fee, Crowdvance.com becomes the first for-profit online fundraising platform to be 100% free.  Most other crowdfunding and fundraising platforms continue to promote the same model: no cost to sign up, but the various platforms deduct 3-10% from donations as a service fee on top of universal credit card processing fees. Crowdvance now offers one of the the only online fundraising platforms on the planet that does not deduct an additional service fee on top of standard credit card fees.

Crowdvance.com Now the Only Fundraising Platform on the Planet to not Charge a Service Fee and to Reward Donors

Crowdvance.com Now the Only Fundraising Platform on the Planet to not Charge a Service Fee and to Reward Donors

“When we launched Crowdvance, we set out on a mission to help organizations run more engaging, effective, and efficient fundraisers,” said Dylan Fox, Crowdvance’s CEO.  “We got the engaging part down by rewarding donors with gifts from great national companies we partner with, but our fee was getting in the way of our company reaching all of our goals.”

Crowdvance announced this service fee reduction after completing a recent round of seed-stage financing. “After we closed our seed round, we were able to think longer term, and that’s when our team realized we wanted to go big and really change the game,” said Fox.

Crowdvance.com’s 100% free model is not the only unique aspect to its fundraising platform. The company strives to be more than just a passive middle-man like other fundraising websites. It does this by forming partnerships with national companies to arrange exclusive gifts for donors to choose from as a reward for their donation. Current partners include companies like Hulu and Fathead.

“We saw that donors were getting burned out with traditional and online fundraising campaigns,” said Zachary Herman, CMO of Crowdvance. “With traditional fundraisers, small organizations are wearing out donors by trying to sell them the same bland fundraising products every year. How many tubs of popcorn or t-shirts can someone buy? And with more organizations making the switch to online fundraising, donors are experiencing fatigue. We solve that problem by rewarding donors for their good behavior. Donors can save on things like concert tickets or pro-sports tickets, or even on jewelry, as a reward for contributing through Crowdvance to an organization they care about. Plus, now a donor can have their donation go where it is intended to go.”

As the only for-profit fundraising platform that passes on 100% of donations received for processing, Crowdvance is poised to disrupt the entire online fundraising industry.

“We can support a 0% service fee because of our innovative business model,” said Fox. “We’re focusing on the value we deliver to national companies as our main business, and passing the benefits back to the organizations that use our platform to raise funds, making it entirely free.”

Crowdvance has always had a values focus. It won first place in the international Values and Ventures Business Plan Competition in April, 2013 and now the company feels even stronger about its ability to focus on its values mission.

“Over the next few months, we’re going to open the Crowdvance platform to the masses, and are going to become the standard for fundraising. Our model just makes sense,” says Fox.

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Bellevate Launches Boutique Crowdfunding Site for Women Entrepreneurs, Startups and Inventors with Great Ideas

2 May

By Robert Hoskins

Bellevate.com launched a new crowdfunding site dedicated to helping women use the internet, and their social media currency to start or expand a business. Crowdfunding represents the next generation of alternative financing tools that allow women with creative ideas to open doors that have never been possible before.

Bellevate uses DreamfundingSM,  the next generation of Crowdfunding finance – a hot new way for entrepreneurs to raise funds through small individual contributions. It’s a way for businesses to use the Internet and their established social media networks to find the funding to launch new ideas or expand existing operations.

But, many times women’s ideas and business plans are often lost in the shuffle.

On most crowdfunding sites, businesses looking for funding are all pooled together. One artist is raising funds to write the next great American novel while two-clicks-away another is hoping to fund a movie. Entrepreneurs can easily get lost amidst a sea of others all clamoring for the same thing – money.

The inability to stand out from the masses can be especially harmful for women-owned businesses. According to Forbes magazine, women-owned businesses represent nearly 50% of privately held companies in the U.S., however, three quarters of these businesses are not able to grow their businesses past $50,000 in annual gross revenue.

Biz2Credit, an online matchmaker for entrepreneurs and lenders, found that women-owned companies were 15 percent to 20 percent less likely to be approved for small business loans during the last six months of 2012.

Bellevate.com is a platform that offers women a solution. Bellevate is dedicated to helping women owned start-up companies, new projects, and existing businesses find funding.

Bellevate.com expects to become a location where female entrepreneurs can find encouragement, guidance, and funding.

“Our unique approach to Crowdfunding allows each entrepreneur to be in the spotlight,” said Becca Sanders , spokeswoman for Bellevate.

Sanders continued, “Bellevate is a new word and we want it to represent a concept that everyone understands. Bellevate is a verb. It’s an action.  We want women to have their businesses Bellevated.”

The Bellevate site celebrates the courage it takes to say, “I am ready to launch my idea.”

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