Estonian Equity Crowdfunding

Crowdfunding (as in Kickstarter, Indiegogo etc) has become mainstream. But this sort of crowdfunding only allows a debt based investment. In other words, when you support a project, you are buying something they offer. You are not buying any shares in the venture.

Is this a problem? Not in itself. But there may be reasons to set up a parallel equity crowdfunding system. First, it may provide a better way for some projects to get started, for example, when they don’t have anything yet to offer. Second, ti might also provide for more efficient exits for early stage investors — if the equity can be traded.

But there are legal hurdles to overcome. After the great depression, it was thought that small investors who don’t have sufficient knowledge needed more protection. So there are lots of limits on how such a market might work.

These hurdles are man made and therefore man can undo them or modify them. And it may happen. Estonia’s e residency cards may be a tool that allows us to take one step in that direction.

The People Century

I have been thinking quite a bit about how this century will differ from the last. This is hard to do because the influence of the 20th century is still quite strong. It is still early days in the 21st century.

But we do know something already. The driving force for change in the 21st century is technology. This is already a big change from the driving force of the 20th century – reducing costs with greater efficiency.

The question is where our new technologies will take us. A major change is already upon us. We are now “hyper connected”. That is, we can access information from the world around us faster than ever before. Being hyper-connected expands the realm of the possible. But to what?

I believe that it will turn the tide against the dehumanizing effects of the drive to efficiency of the last century. People will be more free to assert themselves. And they already are, if just in small ways. Steve Hilton takes this idea much further in his book. Here is a link to a review.


How Many Channels are You Using?

Are the efforts being poured into building a company actually producing growth? Are you scaling? Well, most of the time, the answer is an uncomfortable “no”. The reason — there is no “traction” being developed. So how do you build traction? Good question. The answer is in how you connect with your potential clients. More precisely, what channels you use and how you use them. Gabriel Weinberg has a new book about this — here is a link to a podcast where he explains what it’s all about.

So how many channels are there? At least 19. Here is a short primer.

All Praise Kickstarter!

Kickstarter has been around for six years and it is now an established way to fund creative ideas. Fred Wilson writes that they have now provided over $2bn in project funding.

The next step? Kickstarter helps take new ideas to production. This broadens the range of new products that are developed, bringing more people into the product development field. But it presupposes that a team backs the project. Can we find a way to build  betterteams faster?

Selling Creativity Online

A new type of digital market is evolving and it is a bit curious.

The story of Teespring is a good place to start. What is Teespring? It works like this (from a BI article)

… you log onto the site and create your own tee shirt design. You can either upload an image file or use Teespring’s built-in tools. Then you decide how much you want to sell each shirt for, and by extension, how much profit you’ll get per shirt. Teespring handles the manufacturing and shipping, and takes a cut of the sales.

Each tee shirt “campaign” works a bit like Kickstarter. People preorder your shirt, and when the campaign ends, Teespring ships them out — if you’ve sold a certain minimum number. When the campaign closes, Teespring transfers you the money you made. Simple.

Nice idea! Anyone can just log one and try to sell their creativity online. Here is the thing. This idea does not have to be limited to tee shirts. It is possible to organize any market in this fashion. All you need to do is to identify the creative component of the product or service and handle the logistics for incorporating that creative solution for people who want to buy it.

And this need not be limited to products. Services too can be “crowdsourced” for creative solutions. To get a peek at this, check out this article about using e commerce to promote better marketing.

… Victors and Spoils … crowd sources its ideas from various people – be it other creative partners or a lunch lady down the street.

The agency openly admits on its website:

“We’re smart. Smart enough to know that we don’t know it all. Fortunately, there’s a little something called the ‘rest of the planet’. It’s made up of billions of bright and inspired individuals who know things we might not. So we tap into them. […] We bring people from outside our walls into the advertising process. Because when you combine their expertise with ours, good advertising suddenly becomes great advertising”

Again, all they do is to identify the creative element that needs better thinking and put it out there for bids.

Brilliant! I will be keeping an eye out for more applications. Stay tuned!