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.

Global Urban Innovators


The New Cities Summit: Thriving Cities held in Songdo, South Korea in June of 2017 featured eight GLOBAL URBAN INNOVATORS (GUIS). New Cities says “Global Urban Innovators is our community of trailblazing international urban tech companies. These startups and social enterprises creatively apply technology to tackle pressing urban challenges. We choose Innovators for their radically new approach to improving cities around the world.”

My presentation of Small Change explained how my crowdfunding portal is helping to fund transformational real estate projects and helping communities to identify and deliver change-making, high-impact urban development.  Every one of the seven other GUIS gave a powerful presentation of their innovative work.

Devin de Vries is co-founder of WhereIsMyTransport which provides an open platform for integrated transport data that provides users, developers, and cities with a comprehensive view of formal and informally run public transportation options, particularly in emerging African cities.

Eyal Feder is CEO of ZenCity, an Artificial Intelligence-based analytics dashboard which tracks social media, municipal platforms and 411 telephone lines to provide city governments with real-time, actionable insights about citizens and municipal services to improve citizen experience of the city.

Grégoire Landel is CEO of CityTaps. City Taps partners with local utility companies by leveraging the Internet of Things and smart water meters to guarantee water access to households, including the urban poor, allowing users to use mobile money to pre-pay for water and secure access directly in their home.

Teo Lee is the CEO of Alt-A which seeks to make spaces shared by human and vehicle traffic safer and smarter. Using 3D mapping, real-time data collection, and intelligent sensor technologies, their alert system increases safety for pedestrians and vehicles alike.

Euwyn Poon is co-founder and President of Spin whose mission is to help people move around cities. Their first product reimagines Bikeshare. Spin’s GPS-equipped smart bikes are unlocked via a mobile app, and can be dropped off at any bike parking spot. By offering a convenient, affordable, and environmentally-friendly mode of transport, Spin aims to reduce congestion and improve last mile transportation in cities.

Victor Splittgerber is CTO of Green City Solutions, the creators of CityTree.  City Tree combines a vertically installed moss culture with Internet of Things technology to address air pollution in cities. Each CityTree has the environmental equivalent of 275 urban trees, at a fraction of the space and maintenance costs.

Kalpana Viswanath is co-founder of Safetipin, a map-based mobile application that works to make cities safer, with a focus on women’s safety. The app collects and disseminates safety-related information to both users and city decision-makers on a large scale through crowdsourcing and geospatial analysis.

It is amazing to be associated with such incredibly innovative people.

My Presentation as a Global Urban Innovator

I was delighted to be one of only eight Global Urban Innovators invited to give a presentation this year at the New Cities Summit: Thriving Cities in Songdo, South Korea. This was a fantastic forum to present Small Change and to explain how our crowdfunding platform works. Watch the video to see how Small Change connects developers with investors and how these projects bring about change in communities.