Fund and Fuel Your Dreams!

On Friday, April 21, I’m bringing Jenny Kassan, the Bay Area-based social entrepreneur and financial innovator, to Pittsburgh for a one-day workshop for women entrepreneurs. It’s an event for women who want to raise the right money from the right investors. Jenny will show you how to raise capital on your own terms. I can’t wait!

This event is for you if:

  • You want to take your business to the next level so you can have more impact in the world doing what you love
  • You’ve heard horror stories about what happens when you bring on the wrong investors and you want to avoid the pitfalls and stay in control
  • You’re tired of wasting time with non-productive capital raising strategies
  • You want to find investors that are the exact right fit for you
  • You find the whole capital-raising process intimidating and overwhelming and you want clarity and support

This event is NOT about how to raise money in the Silicon Valley style where your investors will expect you to grow as fast as possible at any cost so that the company can be acquired in 5-7 years and the investors make a killing. We will not waste your time teaching you how to make yourself more appealing to this kind of investor! Why? Because in our opinion, that model is wrong for 99.9% of businesses – especially woman-owned and mission-driven businesses.

This event IS about designing a capital raising strategy customized to your unique situation, values, structure, and goals. It’s an approach that works for companies at any stage, any size and in any industry.

The workshop will be at The Shop (where else?) and you can buy tickets here. $99 for an early bird ticket is amazing value. And best at all, at the end of the day we’ll invite investors to mingle with you at an investor reception!  You might have imagined that investors look a certain way.  But they come in all shapes and sizes and we’ll be hosting them all.  See you there?

#PGH Doer Adam Paulisick Talks ‘The Shop’

Adam Paulisick is the epitome of a doer. I’ve always admired his nonstop energy, whether he’s building entrepreneurial communities through Fygment, helping entrepreneurs get “Unstuck” every Monday morning, teaching at the Tepper School of Business at Carnegie Mellon, or crisscrossing the country with his many other ventures. And if all of that is not enough, his latest venture, called The Shop, unleashes a “neighborhood workspace” in Homewood.

The Shop is a coworking space with a twist. “We want The Shop to be a gathering spot for entrepreneurs to work, create and network,” says Adam. “But instead of paying us a monthly fee, members will donate 5-10 hours of their time per month to Homewood.”  Members of The Shop will act as mentors to neighborhood residents aspiring to work on their own projects, start their own businesses and make their own difference in the community.

“And when it’s not acting as a gathering place for members” says Adam “we’ll be putting it to good use with community programming.”

Learn more via The Shop’s Facebook page.  Or even better, visit, plan or attend an event there. We’re planning our own really soon.

Change Maker: An Interview with Jorge Newbery

Jorge Newbery

Jorge Newbery was one of the first people I met when I joined the crowdfunding world. I heard him speak forcefully about how he used the trials of his past to bring about massive change in his personal life and to create a business that could change other lives too.  That business is American Homeowner Preservation, a crowdfunding platform that pools underperforming mortgages into investment vehicles while allowing financially at-risk tenants to stay in their homes. It’s like a neighborhood stabilization program wrapped up in a crowdfunding website. Jorge and I recently spoke about his work.

EP: What gets you up every morning?

Jorge: 76% of Americans live paycheck to paycheck. 43% of Americans spend more than they make. In 2013, the average net worth of America’s 400 richest rose by $800 million each, while the median net worth of African-American families dropped to $4,995, poorer than the average household in India. For the sake of everyone, rich and poor, we must correct this situation. The rising income and net worth gaps in our country must be reversed. American Homeowner Preservation helps mitigate this situation. At this point, our impact is very, very modest. There are millions of families in need and we help just thousands. We need to attract more capital and strengthen our infrastructure and processes in order to help many more families.

What do you love about what you do?

AHP is a market solution to a social problem. With Wall Street’s often-predatory financial products, there is typically a winner (Wall Street) and a loser (consumer). AHP generates strong returns for our investors, but it’s not off the backs off consumers – it’s by sharing the discounts we negotiate with the banks and hedge funds which sell us non-performing mortgages. The only perceived “loser” is the banks and hedge funds, but they are selling to us at prices they would sell to someone else for, so even the banks and hedge funds “win.” To answer directly, I love that we can deliver transformative financial solutions to struggling families and generate strong returns for investors.

How did you happen on crowdfunding? What does it solve for you?

I saw an Angel List listing for RealtyMogul in early 2013 and made an investment in their first online offering: that was my introduction to equity crowdfunding. The ability to share our offerings was the biggest for me. Now, with Regulation A+, we also have the ability to accept non-accredited investors with investments as small as $100, which ties in perfectly with our social mission: it’s no longer just the rich helping the poor, but now just about anyone can participate.

Fund Your Dreams

I first met Jenny Kassan at last year’s SoCap conference in San Francisco. I liked the unusual stance Jenny has taken as an SEC attorney.  She helps women find the right sort of money for their businesses, not just any money.  And I love that she doesn’t just wear an attorney hat.  She’s put herself right into the middle of things by leading a Regulation Crowdfunding raise with a group of like-minded people on WeFunder.  Together they raised over $400,000 for The Force for the Food Accelerator Fund. Wow!

Jenny makes me feel like there must be an army of women out there like me, building up businesses that seek to do good while searching out the right tools and the right money.
And Jenny is providing those tools. Later this spring, she’s hosting “Fund and Fuel Your Dreams,” an event in Oakland, CA. Beginning on March 30, Jenny will be convening a three-day meeting for women looking to connect with socially conscious investors and to prepare their businesses for long-term, sustainable growth by connecting with the right money.

I’m going.  Want to join me?  Jenny’s offering my friends a discount here –  just use the code “IMAGINE2017.”