Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Black Startup

Our platform is a new tool to generate financial resources to fund ideas and to address systemic social problems facing African-Americans on the local, national, and international level. Clearly, a platform that is operated by an honest broker will facilitate trust. But our platform will also lower transaction costs associated with raising capital. We will be the meeting place where those with good ideas can expose themselves to thousands/millions of potential investors at almost no monetary cost. Also, investors will have the opportunity to contribute to projects that they would have never known about without visiting our website. Finally, the affinity and commonality amongst the online community on our platform will lead to substantial activity and transactions on our platform as opposed to platforms that are not targeted towards a specific community.

Our crowdfunding platform specifically dedicated to the African-American community addresses the lack of African-Americans that are participating in the crowdfunding market because we can  market directly to the community. Furthermore, we can take advantage of established networks/groups  to build our online minority investing community. The idea is for our online community to be as reflective of the “on-ground” African-American community as possible.

Crowdfunding is beginning to move from a marketplace dominated by “one size fits all” style  platforms (indiegogo.com/wefunder.com) to more dedicated, topic-orieted/industry focused platforms. The idea is that by targeting the audience, the marketplace becomes more efficient because of group affinity. Essentially, crowdfunding works partially because it allows one to leverage social networking to get ideas funded through one’s existing relationships, one’s extended network, and the extended network of those one is connected to. Therefore, the more closely one is tied to the network of someone that is seeking funding, the more likely one is to give.

Our platform will be aligned with a network of people that already have a shared group identity, but it will additionally be able to tie into existing groups, organizations, and networks that already exist in the African-American community (both on the ground and online). This is what we mean when we assert that targeting can lead to increased activity and efficiency on a crowdfunding platform. Currently, there is a crowdfunding platform that is targeted to focus on ideas started by Jewish people or designed to advance Jewish interests. However, there is no platform for African-Americans. By focusing on a particular demographic group we will  benefit from the efficiency that targeting allows for.

Our platform/project can be used as a tool to increase education in the community on the benefits of investing, which addresses the over consumption of consumer goods and underuse of investing vehicles within the African-American community. To reach many of these goals, our group will benefit from partnerships with key organizations in the minority business landscape such as Black Enterprise magazine and the National Black MBA Association.

Finally, we address the unmet needs related to the changing dynamics of the regulation of the crowdfunding industry by designing an internet funding portal that can take advantage of the JOBS Act reforms.

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