A comprehensive online climate-focused hub including an equity crowdinvesting component, a community bulletin board, discussion forums, etc.
Worldwide, in cities and small communities, millions of climate-concerned citizens are working diligently on projects, technologies and solutions to the most pressing problems humanity has ever faced.
Non-Profit organizations like NextGen Climate, 350.org, The Climate Reality Project and Rocky Mountain Institute are creating communities and inspiring important, meaningful action. Unfortunately they lack a key component of the solution to Climate Change: a practical system for displaying and directing capital investment to innovative grassroots businesses that are developing and implementing Climate Change Solutions.
Recent changes to long-standing Federal and State laws governing investment in private companies (aka the JOBS Act) are now making it possible to setup such a system and provide the opportunity to involve and empower communities around the world.
This system—Equity Crowdfunding (aka Crowdinvesting)—allows “the crowd” to invest in startup businesses (something that was forbidden since 1934).
Today, 50% of Germany’s renewable energy is now owned by communities. When people know they are directly contributing to and benefiting from a project, they are more likely to embrace its implementation (less NIMBY syndrome).
The financial incentive created by investment opportunities will attract and involve a significantly larger slice of the population in local climate projects and initiatives. It will motivate people to become active participants in the sustainability movement and low-carbon economy.
We propose: Boulder.Clime-IT.com, an equity crowdinvesting site and community climate-hub where:
- Local organizations present themselves
- The community has a bulletin board and calendar
- Climate-related projects are presented to the public
- The community of climate-concerned citizens gather, plug in, connect, get and stay informed, get involved and invest
- Experts and mentors pitch in
- Investors find projects
- Projects get funded
- Startups with climate solutions get launched
What actions do you propose?
We propose the creation, implementation and promotion of an online Community Hub and Equity Crowdinvesting platform customized specifically for Boulder, Colorado. We will:
— Complete the team of essential players
— Purchase the white label backend
— Work with web designers and content creators
— Work with securities attorney to create legally impeccable content
— Create an easy-to-follow guidelines booklet for entrepreneurs who wish to post their projects
— Train a customer support staff
— Integrate data from local organizations
— Offer public information sessions for the public and entrepreneurs
— Meet with entrepreneurs
— Work with a marketing firm
— Promote the new system
In order to address Climate Change and other environmental calamities facing us we must develop a “social infrastructure that brings the climate community together” in cooperation and collaboration, and we must streamline the process of directing capital investment to businesses that are dedicated to protecting the environment for future generations.
The Power of the Crowd
The JOBS (Jumpstart Our Business Startups) Act of 2012 allows the creation of online platforms that do exactly what the Boulder Climate-Conscious Community strives to do: it connects people, coordinates efforts, builds community engagement, directly involves citizens and gets them united and excited about local climate change initiatives.
These new laws allow:
—Businesses that are raising startup or expansion capital to announce to the public that they are raising capital (previously illegal and considered “public solicitation).
—“Unaccredited” investors (most of whom have been forbidden from investing since 1934) the opportunity to invest in, and potentially profit from their investments in startup businesses.
Properly implemented, a business model based on these new laws can become a shining example of Conscious Capitalism — A business that benefits everyone it touches.
—Entrepreneurs find all the resources they need, including capital, to build and expand climate –conscious projects
—Increased access to a wide range of expertise improves the odds of business success
—Impact Investors find projects that allow them to use their resources for positive good
—Impact investors roll the profits they earn from successful projects back into more green projects
—The local community grows more resilient with the influx of “green jobs”
—The entire planet benefits from the reduction of greenhouse gases
—Through conscious collaboration and cooperation the entire system grows exponentially
We’re not only wholeheartedly onboard with the idea of cultivating a sense of community ownership but we take it a step further and have members of the community literally become part owners of climate-solutions-related projects.
Allows community action partners to identify themselves
—Local climate organizations can introduce themselves to the public
—Local climate activists can post events and initiatives
—Local companies and funded start-ups can post green jobs openings
—Climate-Concerned Citizens can browse projects, communicate, ask questions, offer expertise, contacts and collaboration to speed implementation of climate-action projects
Coordinates existing efforts in the community for a magnified impact
—Cleantech entrepreneurs across the Front Range can present their projects for public display
—Innovators and entrepreneurs can find and get to know each other, and explore integration to magnify the impact of their individual projects
—The local community will learn that they have the legal right to invest in startup businesses and projects and involved in those projects from inception to implementation
—“People who are unfamiliar with the community can immediately plug in and get connected”
—Non-Accredited, Accredited and Institutional investors from around the world can browse projects and interact with project developers in either public or private communications within the website
Can be adopted by communities worldwide
This type of site is easily duplicated and can be customized for each community’s individual needs and each nation’s equity crowdinvesting laws. (regulations vary greatly from country to country)
This idea is BIG, BOLD and GROUNDBREAKING.
Boulder can lead the way in creating a community-based system that can be multiplied around the globe and significantly impact the future of the planet. This system has the potential of putting power in the hands of the people and to affect change through collaboration, cooperation and community. It is an opportunity to align the greater collective agendas for greatest impact.
Who will take these actions?
We propose the creation of this site as a collaborative effort among existing climate actors along the Front Range, under the umbrella of our company, Clime-IT, LLC.
In addition to the securities attorney, broker/dealer and web developers we will bring in to handle the legal details of the website we will also create a Board of Directors, Board of Advisors and/or Project Selection Board and Steering Committee from C3 Boulder, local representatives of 100 Resilient Cities and other climate actors from within the local community.
We will also engage the local community of climate-concerned citizens to complete the team for PR outreach, marketing, customer service representatives and all other staffing requirements needed to operate the website.
Note: We are currently in the process of relocating in order to live closer to nature. Our choice of location is yet to be determined. With sufficient interest and financial backing, we would be honored to relocate to Boulder for the opportunity to launch this initiative regardless of our proposal winning this contest.
What are the key challenges?
- Promoting the new site in order to maximize its impact and make it profitable
—To the community
—To local entrepreneurs
—To impact investors
- Educating the public about the new laws that allow everyone to invest in startup businesses (i.e. the JOBS Act of 2012)
- Initial startup of the equity crowdinvesting portion of the site requires authorization from a variety of State and Federal agencies. Compliance with the various agencies must be navigated by a qualified securities attorney who is thoroughly familiar with the new laws. (We already have a relationship with this sort of attorney)
- Businesses using equity crowdinvesting sites to raise capital must comply with a variety of disclosures in order to qualify to raise capital this way legally. The qualification steps vary depending on variables such as how the business is structured, how much capital they’re raising, whether they want to allow “non-accredited” investors to invest in their businesses, whether they want to allow international investors to invest, etc.
- The compliance issues increase the startup cost for the businesses raising capital through equity crowdinvesting. We have a variety of solutions that can be integrated into the business model to assist businesses with this challenge. For example a donation-based crowdfunding component could be added to the website or a system of grants could be put in place.
- On-going operation of the site requires registration or a working relationship with a broker/dealer. (We have a relationship with a broker/dealer that will work for this proposed site.
- Finding then training a customer service staff to become familiar with crowdinvesting specifics in order to guide entrepreneurs and investors through the process.
What are the key benefits?
A comprehensive online Community Hub and Equity CrowdInvesting website focused on projects, organizations and events in the Boulder, Denver and the Front Range:
- Increases connectivity among and between community action partners and businesses
- Increases the awareness of what individuals and organizations are doing, what they need in order to move forward and how their initiatives can integrate into the larger solution to Climate Change.
BENEFITS THE LOCAL COMMUNITY
— Creates a local clearinghouse for social and informational events in the community
— Allows anyone to find out about all local climate-related activities in the area
— Creates a dynamic network where entrepreneurs, innovators, researchers, mentors, citizens and members of the press can easily browse the site to see what others are working on, potentially sparking mutually beneficial connections and collaboration and offers to “fill the gaps” in order to speed implementation and improve overall chances of success of projects.
— Attracts a new slice of the population because of the financial incentive created by investment opportunities.
— Allows entrepreneurs to broadcast the fact that they are raising capital in a controlled, LEGAL fashion.
— Businesses that have posted the “offering” on the site can have public or private conversations within the platform to discuss details and answer questions about their projects and offerings.
— Climate-conscious investors can browse the equity crowdfunding portion of the site to find, evaluate and invest in projects
— Creates local, regional, national or worldwide communities for like-minded citizens to interact
— The platforms are self-renewing as projects are funded and new projects and investors come to the site.
—The platforms are easily replicable as they can be tailored to each community’s unique needs and (equity crowdfunding) laws, and can operate on a local, regional, state, national or worldwide basis.
What are the proposal’s costs?
White label website backend platform set-up fee: $21,000
Website backend customization: $20,000
White label Monthly fee: $5,000/month
Website design, backend integration, etc.: $50,000
Website monthly maintenance fee: TBD
Financial modeling: $5,000
Securities Attorney’s retainer: $5,000
(up to $100,000 in legal fees for business formation, operating agreement, IP, content creation consultations and licenses)
Executives - TBD
Site Administrators - TBD
Ongoing Legal Compliance – TBD
HR outsourcing — TBD
Office infrastructure — TBD
Marketing - varies depending on success of PR campaign
Marketing and public education can begin immediately.
The website’s “back end” is immediately available for purchase.
With funding the process of developing the platform can begin immediately