Crowdfunding in Oz

I was born in Australia and half my heart still remains there. I’m a dual citizen and visit my family there regularly. Of course, as I’ve launched my own crowdfunding platform, Small Change, here in the US, I’ve also been following the progress of crowdfunding in Australia with much interest.

Legislation has been a long time coming. As other markets around the world were taking off the Australian market stagnated while the Federal Government deliberated for more than two years. Finally, in early 2017 the Crowdsourced Funding Act 2017 passed into legislation. This bill, however, only applied to unlisted public companies and there were concerns that this would deny small to medium enterprises access to crowdfunding. This time the Government acted fast and in September the bill was amended to include proprietary companies.

Australia’s Fintech Industry is already growing rapidly. Let’s see what happens next.


Genius and Gender

Liza Mundy gets it right in this fantastic opinion piece. Genius is not gender-specific. Military heroes – be they on the battlefield or behind the scenes – are most often depicted as men. Yet, during World War II, more than half of the American code-breaking force was female. Over 10,000 women flexing their intellectual muscles to keep us safe. The military was visionary enough to give these women, most of whom were excluded from their chosen fields, an opportunity to use their talents. We all benefitted.

Why haven’t we ingrained this lesson? Economists have told us over and over again, there is value in diversity. Science has assured us that ingenuity belongs to all genders. Yet, today we continue to confine leadership and technology to one gender and one race in this country.

As Liza so aptly puts it, “There is a lesson here for the tech bros.” In the noise of technological gain, we’ve lost sight of how to make the most lasting advances. We want innovation, strength and security. To get it, it’s time to acknowledge the presence, power and genius of the women who are making intellectual change each and every day.

What I’m Reading

Reading takes precious time but it’s worth it. Even 15 minutes a day can have you reading 25 books a year. And according to this article it improves your health and well-being. Here are a couple of books I recently took off the shelf:

Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness  — Written by the winner of the 2017 Nobel Prize in Economics Richard H. Thaler and Harvard Law Professor Cass R. Sunstein, this book was first published in 2008. It was named one of the best books of the year by The Economist and the Financial Times, and is a New York Times Bestseller. Nudge draws on behavioral science research to show that no choice is ever neutral and that using choice architecture may help to nudge us toward better decisions for ourselves, our families, and our society. There’s always room for self-improvement.

Principles: Life and Work  — This #1 New York Times Bestseller was written by Ray Dalio, founder of the investment firm Bridgewater Associates and one of the world’s most successful investors and entrepreneurs. Here, Dalio shares the unconventional principles that helped him create unique results in life and business. Known as the “Steve Jobs of Investing” he started his investment company from his 2 bedroom New York apartment at the age of 26. He has been named one of the 100 Most Influential People in the World by Time Magazine and one of the 100 Wealthiest according to Forbes. I’m so impressed by people who start small and make it big. This promises to be an interesting read.

How Many Women Start Crowdfunding Portals?

Regulation Crowdfunding, which implements Title III of the JOBS Act and opens up investment crowdfunding to everyone, had its first birthday this past May. By all accounts, it’s picking up steam. There are now 29 Funding Portals regulated by FINRA (Financial Industry Regulatory Authority), the agency tasked with managing this pioneering group.

We scoured the list of Funding Portals for pioneering women amongst them and found just five.

As founder and CEO of Small Change, I’m one of these women. My Funding Portal connects developers of transformational projects with investors who want to see positive change.

Denise Smith, co-founder of Indie Crowd Funder, has worked for multiple Fortune 100 and 500 companies and has a wealth of experience in finance. Her Funding Portal helps Hollywood professionals raise funds. She explains more about it here.

Claudia Ecobici has co-founded not one, but two Funding Portals. She has tons of marketing and start-up experience. Her portals are TruCrowd, which helps start-ups find investors and FundAnna, the first US Funding Portal targeting cannabis businesses.

And just a few weeks ago Grace Leung Shing and Catherine Yushina joined our ranks. They’ve taken their considerable strengths to bring us Startwise, a revenue-sharing platform which enables individuals to support businesses they believe in.

Ladies, we’re off to a smashing start. I can’t wait to see where we go next and who else joins us.