The 21st annual Pittsburgh Technology Council‘s Tech 50 Awards finalists for “Start-Up of the Year” have been announced and Small Change has been nominated. What an honor!

The Pittsburgh Technology Council (PTC) annual awards recognize “southwestern Pennsylvania’s most successful, innovative, and thought-leading technology companies, which have become the backbone of Pittsburgh’s innovation economy. The awards represent transformative tech companies at all stages of growth.”

We created Small Change to allow everyday people to invest in real estate projects that change cities and neighborhoods for the better. Through the power of crowdfunding – the new community banking –  we’ve so far offered successful real estate projects in Washington DC, Los Angeles, our hometown of Pittsburgh and New Orleans which was the first offering allowing anyone over the age of 18 to invest.

To be nominated by the PTC for this work is recognition that we’re on the right path.

Tech 50 winners will be announced on October 12, 2017 at the Wyndham Grand Pittsburgh. Can’t wait! For more information check the Tech 50 site or follow Tech 50 on Twitter @pghtech and #pghtech50.

The Future of Raising Capital?

HIVE stands for Housing, Innovation, Vision and Economics. I’ll be one of the keynote speakers at the HIVE Conference in Los Angeles this December. The conference will focus on looking at new ways to design, finance and deliver housing in creative and cost-efficient ways to communities. This HIVE article and the video below give an insight into what I’ll be bringing to the conference.

Fem-preneurs and Equity Crowdfunding

It’s 2017, and just 17% of startups have female founders. But with equity crowdfunding at play, things are beginning to shift.

As a gender-neutral platform, crowdfunding has the potential to be a catalyst for change in the venture ecosystem. Crowdfunding allows female entrepreneurs like me (and you?) to compete more equitably in funding our ventures and seeing them through to success. In fact, a recent study by consultancy firm PwC and The Crowdfunding Center found that over the past two years, female-led crowdfunding campaigns around the world were 32% more successful at reaching their funding targets than male-led campaigns. This report suggests that the main reason women are leading the way is because crowdfunding itself attracts more women backers than traditional venture capital, where just 7% of partners at the top 100 firms globally are women.

We’re just starting to see how equity crowdfunding is influencing female entrepreneurship. There are still very few funding portals with female founders, but Small Change is helping lead the way.

We may soon see an industry full of Women Women, disrupting the status quo and making the world a better place through innovation.

Songdo Wrap-Up

From June 7-9 this year I attended the New Cities Summit. It was held in Songdo, a smart city built on 600 hectares of reclaimed land southwest of Seoul, South Korea and connected to Incheon International Airport by a 12.3-km (7.6 mile) reinforced concrete highway bridge.


The theme Thriving Cities: The Building Blocks of Urban Wellbeing brought together an amazing mix of business leaders, policymakers, entrepreneurs, and innovators, from all over the world, as well as thought leaders in research, science, the civic sector, the arts, and the media who share a passion for urban innovation.

There were eight of us GUIs (Global Urban Innovators) and each of us gave a short presentation. My fellow GUI’s are really astounding – Devin de Vries, Co-Founder of WhereIsMyTransport; Eyal Feder, Chief Executive Officer of ZenCity; Grégoire Landel, CEO of CityTaps; Teo Lee, Chief Executive Officer of Alt-A, which uses various technologies to make spaces shared by human and vehicle traffic safer and smarter; Euwyn Poon, Co-founder and President of Spin; Victor Splittgerber, CTO of GreenCitySolutions; and Kalpana Viswanath, Co-Founder of Safetipin. It’s worth your time to check out these amazing people and their astounding companies.  For me, they were the absolute highlight of the conference.

I also took part in a Breakout Panel – The Crowdsourced City, which focused on citizen involvement in decision-making as a key to building community and promoting empowerment, ownership, inclusion, and pride in cities. The other participants were Christopher Cabaldon, Mayor of West Sacramento; Chris Gourlay, Founder & CEO of Spacehive; Hyungsoo Kim, Founder and CEO of Tree Planet; and Mizah Rahman, Director and Co-founder of Participate In Design. The panel was moderated by Neal Gorenflo, Co-Founder of Shareable, who also hosted the Round Table Discussion I was invited to join.


And then there was the networking.  Amongst attendees from 50 countries, here are just some of the incredible people I met:

  • Chris Gourlay, Founder and CEO of Spacehive – I’ve been following them for years and it was delightful to finally meet Chris!
  • Jonathan Andrews, Editor of Cities Today
  • Dr. Cheryl Matherly, Vice Provost of Lehigh University, Pennsylvania
  • Alfredo Rodriguez, Strategy Manager at World Design Organization, Montreal
  • Natalie Voland, Presidente, and Vanessa Mueggler,  Directrice des projects at Quo Vadis, Montreal –  2 kickass women. Natalie runs the company of 32 with only one male employee.
  • Frances Pisani, journalist and author at Le Monde
  • Vera Baboun, Mayor of Bethlehem, Israel
  • Sergei Kamalov, Ph.D. in Economics, Associate Professor, MGIMO University, Moscow
  • And of course Adam and Olivia from the New Cities Foundation, who were such wonderful hosts.