Category: Awaiting Moderation

The Promise of Crowd Investing

The Promise of Crowdinvesting

Crowdinvesting provides the best opportunity to transform our communities in the shortest amount of time. Crowdinvesting, just like regular equity investment, allows entrepreneurs to sell shares of their business to private shareholders, shares that can potentially be sold later at a much higher price per share. That’s how you attract real investment capital, and that is why crowdinvesting will eclipse venture capital funding as the leading source of startup capital by 2020.

Today, black entrepreneurs and real estate developers can tap the $1.3 trillion in spending power in the community and transform the average African-American into an investor and consumer that allows money to circulate in our communities building individual wealth and accumulated community wealth.  The process of locavesting and crowdinvesting will create jobs and wealth in the black community.

Locavesting, Crowdinvesting, and Recycling Community Dollars

Locavesting is a term that I came across in my work as a crowd investing consultant. I will state for the record that my interest in crowdinvesting learn much more toward local real estate development and local business development than towards the tech startups. I believe that underserved communities must consolidate and recycle their wealth through real estate development and local business development that provides job creation and wealth generation in their community first. According to a Locavestor blog post written by Amy Cortese “Small businesses—which by definition are locally owned—create two out of every three jobs in the U.S., employ half the private workforce and generate half of private GDP.” “They create local wealth by keeping money circulating locally—that’s called the local multiplier effect.  They provide the foundation for a healthy and diversified local tax base, and contribute to the health and well-being of their communities.”

Access to Capital

Access to capital is the number one issue facing many local businesses no matter the size or type of business, but in communities of color accessing capital through traditional methods is almost impossible. Even when the owners have the education and experience accessing business capital is highly unlikely. Big banks, which dominate the market, approve just 2 out of 10 small business loan requests. The odds are worse for women and minority-owned firms: Just $1 out of every $23 in small business bank loans goes to women-owned businesses, for example, even though they represent 30% of all small firms. In the equity space, less than 1% of all businesses receive venture capital funding—and most of that is invested in just three states.

The Convergence of Locavesting and Crowdinvesting

When we look into the investment portfolios of most individual investors we will find stocks and bonds of large multinational companies that very often send jobs and profits overseas. The new retail investor class that crowdinvesting creates is very cash rich and rarely finds itself being invested in local businesses that as stated above are the economic drivers of our local communities. How do we change that dynamic? How do we channel more capital to productive use—to the small businesses that create jobs, spur innovation and build strong local economies? Well, crowdinvesting is the vehicle that will be able to transfer this capital to small local businesses and real estate development.

From Consumer to Investor

There is latent potential capital that is being used only as consumer dollars that are leaving the black community within six hours of being earned. The vast majority of that money is not being saved or invested only spent as quickly as it is being earned. One solution is the junction between crowdinvesting and locavesting where community members are willing to invest as little as $100 in local businesses and real estate development. Then become customers and brand advocates for the businesses that they have invested in and have a financial interest in being successful. Crowdinvesting and locavesting provide a platform to increase the viability of community based business enterprises. The successful business owners can organize themselves into the next generation of investors and developers as a local investment group.

Alternative Finance in The Black Community

Impact Investing from Corporate and Philanthropic Foundations

“Philanthropy is commendable,” said Martin Luther King, “but it must not cause the philanthropist to overlook the circumstances of economic injustice, which make philanthropy necessary.” Philanthropists and philanthropic advisors who champion equality must work to shift from a framework that grounds giving in “charity” to one that grounds giving in “justice.”                  

Dr. Dorian Burton

As mentioned in the above section making local place based investments makes a lot of sense for investors because the benefits that locavesting bring to both the investor and the community where they live. So, let’s take the next logical step and examine why more philanthropic and corporate foundations don’t look to the local market to make impact investments along with the tiny percentage of their endowment that they use to make grants.

So many of the problems and issues that plague inner-city communities are poverty based and many of them stem from government policies such as redlining and urban renewal. If foundations change their relationships in these communities from charity and began the process of providing location based impact investment into these communities to fund local businesses, real estate development, and wealth building initiatives based on market principles many of the poverty based issues would be eliminated.  

Rewards Crowdfunding

Crowdfunding is a new and evolving fundraising alternative that connects social media with an accounting and finance mechanism to aggregate capital on a single platform. Crowdfunding provides a platform for entrepreneurs reach out to the “crowd”—which could include their friends, customers, neighbors, supporters and social network—for funding. The idea is that lots of smaller sums of money can take the place of one or two large investors or patrons, and that technology can help streamline the process.


Crowdinvesting is the truly revolutionary centerpiece of the JOBS Act of 2012. It became legal on May 16th 2016. Crowdinvesting provides a platform for small real estate developers and small companies to raise money from the general public—wealthy, not wealthy, friend or stranger—as long as the investment takes place on a web site operated by a traditional broker-dealer or an S.E.C.-sanctioned crowdfunding portal, and certain other requirements are met.

Specifically, the law allows companies to raise up to $1 million in a 12-month period from the public. Investors are capped at the greater of $2,000 or 5% of their income, if their annual income or net worth is less than $100,000. The final rules also impose a limit on how much those with an income or net worth greater than $100,000 can make: they are limited to $10,000 per year or 10% of their income or net worth.

Alternative Finance

There are many new and emerging forms of alternative finance that provides the democratization of capital in underserved communities of color. Many of the communities find themselves to be isolated in urban centers and are areas of concentrated poverty. These area of concentrated poverty tend to be places that lack hope and many residents become trapped in the despair and hopelessness of the environment. But just like policy created these community’s policy and the commitment of investors that want to see their communities changed are able to use their dollars to vote!

Understanding Crowd Investing

Securing capital for businesses and real estate development for communities of color has always be a very daunting task and in some cases it has been flatly denied by government policy such as “Redlining”. Since the “Great Recession” it has been increasingly difficult for businesses and real estate developers to secure finance through traditional channels. As a result, more and more businesses are turning to crowdinvesting to raise the necessary funds.Online investors have been quick to respond to the growing number of investment opportunities and offers and, as a result, crowd investing is growing by leaps and bounds. The process has been slower in communities of color for a number of reasons, but Buy the Block has a mission to provide the needed education and platforms that will position our communities to take full advantage of this President Obama era law.  

Recreating Black Wall Street Through Crowdinvesting and Locavesting

Black Wall Street

Black Wall Street is a story that is often told in the politically and economically progressive circles of African-American communities. In the early 1900’s the oil boom provided African-Americans like other Americans the hope and promise of economic prosperity. But segregation, an American reality, that had very little to do with region and was quite simply an entrenched American policy and fact caused many of the black migrants to settle in the northern end of town under the strict lash of residential segregation.

The African-American community again demonstrating a strength and resilience not their own, began to build in the face of stark and sometime brutal government and nongovernmental social, political, and economic oppression. The black entrepreneurial spirit again raised its head and these leaders began to take advantage of the entrepreneurial opportunities that strict segregation provide them.  They created an impressive business ecosystem “that included banks, hotels, cafes, clothiers, movie theaters, and contemporary homes.  Greenwood residents enjoyed many luxuries that their white neighbors did not, including indoor plumbing and a remarkable school system that superiorly educated Black children.”

This community was destroyed by pure evil intent in the form of racial terrorism. The vast majority of black economically prosperous business centers located in every major city with substantial black population, were not destroyed by mob violence, but by government policies that drove private business decision making using urban renewal and redlining policies to systematically build wealth for working and middle class whites and to deny and starve black working and middle class residents of capital. Let’s be clear the government built the “Hood.”

Understanding Redlining

In 1933, faced with a housing shortage, the federal government began a program explicitly designed to increase — and segregate — America’s housing stock. Author Richard Rothstein says, “the housing programs begun under the New Deal were tantamount to a “state-sponsored system of segregation.” The government’s efforts were “primarily designed to provide housing to white, middle-class, lower-middle-class families,” he says. African-Americans and other people of color were left out of the new suburban communities — and pushed instead into urban housing projects.

The term “redlining” comes from the development by the New Deal, by the federal government of maps of every metropolitan area in the country. And those maps were color-coded by first the Home Owners Loan Corp. and then the Federal Housing Administration and then adopted by the Veterans Administration, and these color codes were designed to indicate where it was safe to insure mortgages. And anywhere where African-Americans lived, anywhere where African-Americans lived nearby were colored red to indicate to appraisers that these neighborhoods were too risky to insure mortgages.

The Current Impact of Redlining

Today African-American income on average are about 60 percent of average white income. But African-American wealth is about 5 percent of white wealth. Most middle-class families in this country gain their wealth from the equity they have in their homes. So this enormous difference between a 60 percent income ratio and a 5 percent wealth ratio is almost entirely attributable to federal housing policy redlining implemented through the 20th century.

In 1968 the Fair Housing Act was passed that allowed African-Americans to effectively purchase homes anywhere in the United States, but this law was an empty promise the damage had been done. Those homes are no longer affordable to the families that could have afforded them when whites were buying into those suburbs and gaining the equity and the wealth that followed from the government sponsored policy of “Redlining”.

Alternative Finance for Underserved Communities of Color

Are acutely aware that most small businesses and startups struggle to get access to capital and underserved communities of color receive extremely small amounts of funding from traditional funding sources. So, instead of protesting and complaining maybe small businesses and small real estate developers should begin to implement different methods of finding and deploying capital. We are going talk about 6 different types of investing alternatives that are on the cutting edge of new capital formation for underserved communities of color.

Local Investment Clubs

A traditional investment club is a small group of individual investors who come together to learn, share investing experiences, and help each other become more successful investors. Clubs provide education, camaraderie and buying power, plus the confidence of knowing you don’t have to go it alone. Clubs can also choose not to pool investment dollars and instead simply come together to discuss investment ideas and analysis.

Local investment clubs will have a focus on investing in local businesses and local real estate development in underserved communities using crowdinvesting to allow the club members the ultimate reward derived from local crowdinvesting to be owner, customer and brand advocate all at the same time. Again this is a way to build wealth in underserved communities.

Community Capital and The Black Community

Financial. Capital. Environmental. Capital. Social Capital.

Community Capital and How It Impacts the Black Community

Community Capital solves a fundamental problem — our economy doesn’t work for everybody, it works great for a very small group of very well connected, wealthy, and powerful people, but works very poorly for the rest of the people especially the Black community. How do regular and ordinary people take back the economy and make it work for them? Community Capital is a way to take back the economy and make it work for everybody. The winner takes it all economic paradigm is on the collapse and community capital is one emerging paradigm to replace the old economy.

Community Capital provides an opportunity for every group of people to invest, to profit, to own, and to engage in the civic discourse of their community they live in and become socially, politically, and economically empowered! The goal is to have everyone participate in the economy as investors and not just workers and consumers. If your role in the economy is simply as a worker you are feeding labor into the machine or if you are only a consumer then you are not getting a benefit for your input.  The only way to fully be invested in the economy is as an investor or business owner.

Buy The Block Crowd Investing

In this age of wealth inequality, runaway development and gentrification, it’s easy for communities to feel powerless in the face of rapid change. Linda P. Smith founded Buy The Block, a real estate crowdfunding portal and the first portal that is African American-owned, to help change that dynamic. A revolution in early stage finance is changing the way inner-city African-American communities relate to capital formation, real estate development, entrepreneurship, and job creation.

The JOBS Act, is transforming how early stage investing and community economic development works. Buy The Block has created the infrastructure for the African-American community to shift some of the $1.3 trillion we have in purchasing power to small Black-owned businesses, inner-city real estate development, and tech businesses that lack access to capital to grow and prosper.”

Buy The Block offers an alternative financing source for developers and entrepreneurs and allow the community to be the financiers for these deals. As investors, we don’t always necessarily get access to these deals XYZ developer that we’ve never seen or heard of before comes in and before you know it, the whole neighborhood gets turned around. Buy The Block, allows individuals to play a role in their community. They can actually see their money being put to work, and potentially get a return or interest. Even a single $100 or $500 investment in an apartment complex in Detroit, for example, can help to turn a block and a community around. There is empowerment in it.

Robin Hood and Community Capital

A group of researchers in France and Spain may have solved one preliminary puzzle toward getting us to that point. In the paper “Crowdsourcing the Robin Hood Effect in Cities,” published in June 2018, in the journal Applied Network Science, the researchers describe a computer algorithm they created that attempts to “rewire” the complex network of commercial transactions and shopping trips people take part in every day. The goal is to redirect more money to poorer neighborhoods so that the wealth differences between rich and poor parts of a city are evened out.

The study used data from 150,000 people and 95,000 businesses in Barcelona and Madrid, and on the surface the pattern of transactions and the money spent revealed that some neighborhoods were up to five times wealthier than others. But researchers were shocked to find that if as few as 5 percent of commercial transactions were changed—so that capital flowed from richer to poorer neighborhoods—income inequality in those cities was drastically reduced, up to 80 percent.

Buy Black Economics

At Buy Black Economics, we are not only looking to level the “financial capital” playing field but by empowering aspiring African-American business owners  and real estate developers through crowd investment and community capital. But, we’re also trying to level the “social capital” playing field by connecting these same business owners and developers to the crowd.

Our goal, at Buy Black Economics, is to create a new paradigm where investors become customers and brand advocates for the local businesses and real estate development where they invest their  time, talent, and treasure. We want to create investors that become customers of the businesses they have invested in and promote their brands on social media, provide business advice, or make valuable connections to potential suppliers, customers, or business partners. We are excited about the potential of crowd investing and community capital to significantly strengthen our entrepreneurs and developers social capital over time.

Buy Black Economics is creating an economy where everybody has the opportunity to invest on a level playing field. Ownership is core to power and when everybody has the opportunity to invest and own something in their community they are empowered and will become more civically engaged in their community.

The Buy Black Imperative

Businesses drive our communities and the economies of those communities, which is why supporting local establishments is so important. Black people overwhelmingly do not support Black-owned businesses, which in turn don’t support the communities where Black-owned businesses and Black people reside. Unlike other races and cultures such as the Jewish, Hispanic and Asian communities, which vigorously support one another’s businesses Black-owned business don’t get the same support within our community. Crowd investing allows all people but especially Black people of the United States to invest in our own businesses to increase the longevity and influence within our community.

Supporting black-owned businesses will create jobs, build wealth, build up communities and provide economic prosperity. In turn, this can help decrease crime by infusing money into communities, which can then support schools, libraries and community centers. The children of that community — and of all communities — who grow up seeing businesses owned by all races will understand there is a level playing field in the world of entrepreneurship and that everyone has access to the American dream. Don’t our children deserve to live in a world of diversity shown in every facet of our communities?

Understanding Black Wall Street

Understanding Black Wall Street


Black Wall Street has a special place in American history that demonstrated that  Black communities and Black-owned businesses could thrive economically. Recent history documents a time when Black men and women were not allowed to own property, faced violence, and many social and economic restrictions, and endured many forms of racial segregation and race-based legislation. Despite this, a sense of community and faith existed and flourished among Black neighborhoods. Black people gave each other a place for community, safety, and economic support. Across the country driven by “Jim Crow” or strict racial segregation, Black communities were thriving economically across the country. Black Wall Street, located in the Greenwood neighborhood of Tulsa, Oklahoma was the perfect example of this Black economic empowerment resulting from cooperative economics.

Black Wall Street was a thriving community in Greenwood in the early 1900s. This was a community that had bustling Black-owned businesses, theaters, schools, social health, and a strong distribution of wealth among its middle and upper classes. It is estimated that the community had more than 10,000 African American residents, and most of them were thriving socially and economically. Black Wall Street was the epitome of a self-sustaining economically empowered Black community. Black people supported each other, which allowed for easier access to resources, savings, housing, jobs, education, and health. It is imperative to understand that Black Wall Street was just one of many economically thriving Black communities in the United States.

The residents of Black Wall Street owned their homes and over 40 acres of land was purchased and sold only to Black people to increase homeownership. Today the Black dollar remains in the Black community only a dismal 6 hours, but in Black Wall Street neighborhood it spent months circulating and building wealth for the Black community.   

Jim Crow and Black Entrepreneurship

“Jim Crow” laws were first enacted in the 1880s by angry and resentful Southern whites against freed Blacks these laws separated blacks from whites in all aspects of daily life. Favoring whites and repressing Blacks, these laws became an institutionalized form of inequality. In the Plessy v. Ferguson case of 1896, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that states had the legal power to require segregation between blacks and whites.  Jim Crow laws existed across the South and in the North and Midwest, segregation became equally entrenched through informal customs and practices.

The Black church, self-help organizations, and men’s and women’s clubs offered refuge, support, and protection, while the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) provided potential legal assistance. But out of the demeaning, social, political, and economic degradation of Jim Crow arose the opportunity for Blacks to establish their own businesses.  The more cut off that black communities became from white communities and the more that white businessmen refused to cater to Black customers, the more possible it became for enterprising Black entrepreneurs to create viable businesses of their own.

Most of these businesses were local, small-scale, and family-run.  Many black entrepreneurs followed the tenets of Booker T. Washington, who had established the National Business League in 1900 to promote economic self-help. The Jim Crow Era provided the impetus for a number of Black businesses to grow and flourish, instilling a sense of pride within Black communities, serving as symbols of racial progress, and promising safe places to do business and socialize.  The conversation and ideas that flowed freely in black business establishments also helped raise consciousness and establish a sense of solidarity within Black neighborhoods.

When the Civil Rights movement gained momentum offering an end to the indignities and disenfranchisement of Jim Crow, many black entrepreneurs did what they could to support the movement financially. After the Civil Rights Act passed in 1964, and segregation was declared illegal, Black entrepreneurs could take pride in the role they had played in the Civil Rights movement despite the fact that the future viability of their segregated businesses were now in jeopardy.

Situation Analysis

Black communities are the only communities in America where other ethnic groups can set up business and thrive economically. Out of the $1.3 in Black Purchasing power only 2% goes to Black businesses. If middle class Black families, families making $75,000 or more, would increase spending at Black owned business from  2% to 10% Black businesses could create 1 million new jobs. Using our collective economic power to make social change through community capital, crowd investing, banking Black, and supporting Black Businesses.

Nielsen and Essence estimates that Black buying power will reach $1.3 trillion in 2019, yet only 2 percent of that money is spent at black-owned businesses. According to A new report from the Institute of Policy Studies indicates a bleak future for the wealth of Black Americans. Yet Blacks spend less money in black-owned businesses than other racial and ethnic groups spend in businesses owned by members of their groups, including Hispanics and Asians. According to Dr. Amos N. Wilson the longest boycott in history has been the Black communities boycott of Black owned businesses.
African-Americans are 12 percent of the U.S. population and, only 2 percent of SBA loan volume and less than 1 percent of VC funding goes to African-American entrepreneurs.  If we want to get entrepreneurial activity going again in Black America, we have to enhance microbusinesses’ access to expertise and insights in innovation, management and technical talent, market intelligence, policy and regulatory affairs, business development, and marketing and brand-building.

Return On Crowd


Though funding is often the main goal of a crowdinvesting, it can also a fantastic way to gain visibility and grow your investor base. Crowdinvesting benefits extend far beyond the capital that can be raised. Crowdinvesting is all about the building an excited and engaged crowd. Without this crowd you will not be able to raise any fund for you project or offer. I am going to talk about the value of the crowd. Many people in the crowdinvesting realm are always looking for the return on investment. The return on Crowd is vital to receive a return on investment, but the return on crowd is even larger than the return on investment based only on dollars. The return on crowd is about the return on relationships.


The Brand is the single most important element to a business or project. Your brand is the position that has been carefully established as a set of investor promises and overall experiences based on communication and service to your investors. A positive brand experience will reduce competitiveness, customer confusion and dissatisfaction. A brand will show its form in all investor touch points which is vital for a great brand experience.

Crowd Building

Building an excited and engaged crowd will require unique messaging that will engage investors at the emotional level and then resonate with them enough to elicit an emotional response. Remember in today’s online world that moves at the speed of internet grabbing information is like taking a drink out of a fire hydrant, your campaign must quickly establish a unique brand voice that can cut through all of the fast paced noise and connect at an emotional level. Once this unique messaging voice is found your campaign will achieve its two major objectives increasing brand awareness and raising the capital for the campaign. If the emotional connection is not made the campaign may be dead on arrival.

Market Validation

Market validation is the process of determining whether your product is of interest to a given target market. Market validation involves a series of interviews with people in your target market, but in the world of crowdinvesting this happens online and comes with an immense amount of data. The market validation process is expanded and the cost is reduced by being online.  there is an undeniable need and significant opportunity for social entrepreneurs to leverage online platforms to access investors, and for investors to access greater dealflow.

Social Proof

When potential clients show interest in your startup’s product or service, you’ve generated social proof. This is essentially showing that other people believe in what you’re doing. Social proof can influence people to take actions and make decisions differently than they would if they had relied solely upon their own judgment. This will bring investor to you offer based on the other people that are investing in the project.


Media coverage could include a feature on your company in a popular news station, blog, or print publication. Press coverage will generate more eyes on your campaign and create brand awareness for your offer. It’s also a great way to bring in investors outside of your personal network. Throughout the course of your crowdinvesting offer, you’ll have the opportunity to engage supporters and grow your audience.


The value of data to businesses is tremendous and very expensive, but through crowdinvesting developers are able to collect a lot of data that you will be able to use in their business and in future campaigns. With each crowdinvesting offer you are able to collect a lot of data. This data is invaluable.

Investor Interest

Investors are interested in ambitious developers whose ideas have garnered traction and social proof. Whether they read about your new offer on a popular blog, or hear about your innovative campaign from a friend, a successful crowdinvesting offer is a great way to capture investor interest.


Crowdinvesting is a great way to raise funds for you offer, but you may find that in the process of running your successful campaign you are able to grow your brand reach and brand awareness, receive an immense marketing and PR benefit along with the other benefits mentioned in the above post. Before you overlook the new kid on the block take a long and hard look at crowdinvesting your next real estate development.  

A Blogger’s Role in Crowdfunding


The objective of this post is to define the role of bloggers in the crowdfunding industry, explain the need for a blogger outreach strategy, and provide guidance for implementing an effective blogger outreach strategy. Bloggers are the new journalist of the digital media age. The days prior to the emergence of the Internet your Public Relations strategy could be built on relationships with a few journalists, but in today’s new global communications ecosystem there are new rules of engagement and our goal is to touch on the essential tactics needed to build these vital relationships.

Bloggers Are People

The first and most important rule to remember is that bloggers are people and as such must be treated accordingly. They are not tools to be used and placed back on the shelf until the next time the need arises. Bloggers are writers that unlike their predecessors, journalist, are not constrained by the traditional media business models. Bloggers are usually personal writers that have a passion for writing about a niche market or subject. They have a much broader range of freedom to pick topics and they have the ability to inject there opinion into their writing.

Blogging is Social Media

Blogging is social media driven and what that means is that any digital technology that provides a means to engage in dialogue is social media. Bloggers want to provide high-quality content to educate its readers, and bloggers expect high-quality engagement from its readers and followers. Bloggers love comments and from these comments relationships are developed. These transparent interactions on the blog and on social media platforms build trust that is the foundation of online relationships.

3 Steps to Blogger Outreach

Bloggers outreach should begin with a genuine desire to build a lasting trust based relationship with the blogger. Here are three ways we recommend building a trust based relationship with bloggers.

  1. Read old blog posts and comments to get a better feel and understanding of the blog and its culture.
  2. Read the current blog post and begin to comment where appropriate trying only to be helpful or to ask questions. (No promotion of product or service)
  3. Follow the blog on social media platforms and share high-quality content from the blog with you networks.

Key Takeaways

The power of the Internet has had an immense impact on communications. The Web and Social Media provide a medium of communication that in a matter of minutes information can reach millions of people with internet connections and search engines. Information can reach its audience directly and its reach can be expanded exponentially by influencers such as bloggers who pick up on it and write about it.

Branding Your Crowdfunding Campaign


Today there are a plethora of digital communication tools that can be used to engage our target audience. From social media, websites, and blogs to new IP targeting tools. It seems that the options are endless and more innovation is coming to the market daily. The marketing sector has more option than ever before, but as a crowdfunding campaign manager, how do you continue to innovate and grab the attention of the consumer, and engage them to most importantly keep their attention and engagement?  A digital presence is vital for any crowdfunding campaign, but it is also important to keep your brand tangible.

A Strong Brand

A strong brand presence is always the result of intelligent effort. Insights are not captured from holding an internal meeting with a company’s marketing team. Insights are not captured from solely speaking to a few employees. Insights do not come from guessing who the customers are and then mapping out what the team thinks they think. While these efforts contribute to the discovery process — alone they are not a rigorous approach.

The Value of Insights

Innovative strategic work transforms brands and shifts perceptions, quality work is grounded by insights. Insights derived from qualitative and quantitative research focused on the customer, the offering, and the crowdfunding campaign’s brand. Insights don’t just appear. They are sought out. They are discovered. They are revealed. It’s a process. It takes strategic business planning. Crowdfunding is a business strategy and must be approached as such.

What might not be clear is that while many crowdfunding campaigns use the words customer discovery, but not all discovery processes are the same. And neither are  the outcomes of this vital process. The objective of the discovery process is positioning the brand and articulating its value proposition — is to identify a brand’s unique point of difference before launching a crowdfunding campaign, but during the pre-launch phase of the campaign. Asking the questions over and over again What makes a brand special, better or different? The point of differentiation must be connected to data-based evidence, meaning it must be able to be defended, owned, and true.

Brand 101: A brand represents everything you are as a company. Everything that you say and do shows your prospective customer who you are. It’s your “dress,” the way you talk, your slogan, your signage, your messaging, your social media sites and so much more.

To figure out who you are as a brand, ask yourself these questions:

  • What is my positioning statement? (Where is my space in all of this clutter? What does my company offer that no one else does? Why are we special?)
  • What is my messaging platform? (Why should anyone care? What’s in it for my customers?)
  • What’s my brand persona? (Who is my target customer? Who is my company?)
  • Positioning and messaging are a huge–and often underplayed–part of a company’s brand.

It’s time to start working on the visual components of your brand. When creating your brand, it’s important to take its various components into consideration: logo type (the word), mark (commonly referred to as a ‘logo’,) and color scheme.

  • The logotype is a distinct font that represents your company. It should be meaningful to your brand.
  • Bold, curious, flirty, simple–fonts speak visually to your prospective consumer and should be an extension of your brand persona.
  • The logo, or the symbol, supplements the logo type. If your brand is edgy, be edgy! If your brand is laced up, be more formal. However, always remember that your logo should help you make your mark on all things visual.
  • It should work well in black and white, not just in color.
  • Additionally, you should be able to use this mark on any design work–print or online.
  • Think about how it will be displayed on social media, on eblasts, on brochures, on t-shirts, or on uniforms… just to name a few visual outlets.
  • The color scheme. It should use one or two primary colors, one accent color, or colors of differing value.
  • Creating a strong brand color scheme will facilitate your brand’s flexibility across print and online, and it will also help make your brand visually appealing.

Understanding Crowd Investing

Regulation Crowdfunding

On Monday, May 16th, 2016 Regulation Crowdfunding became legal. As a crowdfunding consultant that had worked many years on many reward based campaigns I thought the day had arrived and the floodgates of retail investment had finally opened and the tsunami of retail investment dollars would lift all boats. The democratization of capital formation was here in the world would be all good.

A Slow Start to the Process 

As we know that was not the reality of the Regulation Crowdfunding. It has come out of the starting gate much slower than most had expected. My vision of crowd investing has always been that it is a great tool for economic development at the neighborhood and community level. A way for small local businesses and small real estate developers to access the much needed capital that they are denied in the traditional funding ecosystems. Having spent most of my life living in inner-city areas and realizing the need for capital in these communities that hold billions of dollars of latent economic activity I embraced crowdfunding and now crowdinvesting vehemently.

The Crowd Is Paramount

Many of the rewards campaigns that I managed or consulted on were created by minorities and women, so I truly saw my value as someone that could help people raise capital and create a solid long term business for myself. I come to the crowdfunding world as a digital marketer and not from the world of finance, so my company was at once focused on building and engaged and excited crowd for campaigns. I realized the crowd was vital for a campaign to be successful and that if you did not build an excited and engaged crowd you would not receive the funding. This was my mantra that I preached to every client or potential client and in my blog posts.

A Global Perspective

I had the honor and opportunity to participate on the Marketing and PR panel at the 2017 Crowd Invest Summit the largest crowd investing event in the world and one of the glaring takeaways for me at that event was that crowd investing campaigns require an excited and engaged crowd of investors as much as rewards campaign needs it. I was on the stage with some of the leading PR and crowdfunding minds in the industry and the message was constant building the crowd through marketing and PR was vital for Regulation Crowdfunding campaigns.

Buy The Block

I returned to Louisville with a renewed desire to change the inner-city West Louisville community using crowd investing. I was very fortunate to meet Lynn P the founder and CEO of Buy The Block the first and only regulation crowdfunding platform founded by an African-American women. We had a vision that was very similar and we set off to change the world of inner-city access to capital for small businesses and real estate development through a collaboration. Along the way I have met some dynamic and passionate people that have helped me on this endeavor.

Lessons Learned

What I have found must take place is the building of a crowd and for me that has ment being as much a community organizer as a crowd investing consultant. Bringing together pastors and other community leaders and educating them on the economic opportunity and empowerment that exist in their communities through  crowd investing and other forms of community capital. Many of the neighborhood residents have never invested in any type of financial vehicle in their lives. No mutual fund, IRA, 401K, and many have never even owned a home, which is the major financial asset in the vast array of the American middle-class wealth arsonal.  

Educations is Vital 

Educating the community on crowd investing and how it works by providing workshops and other community training. Using social media to build interest in how crowd investing can be a game changer for each individual as they become investors and how that effort can change the dynamics of the entire community. Providing training for small developers to learn the skills needed to develop small infill real estate projects in their neighborhoods. Professing the principles of Locavesting and why it is such a powerful strategy for developing inner-city neighborhood at the grassroots level.


Like rewards crowdfunding, Regulation Crowdfunding, at the inner-city neighborhood economic development and wealth building level will require a focus on building an engaged and excited crowd. The crowd that must be developed will require a vast amount of education that focuses on the individual investor and their willingness to invest. We are literally creating a new retail investor class that has never had the opportunity to invest in a financial assets in their entire life. We are training and building a class of local investor that will become both customer and brand advocate for the same businesses where they have put investment dollars. This is an uphill battle, but we are working to tap an emerging domestic market worth billions and provide a social return that will benefit the United States’ as demographics continue to change.