[Please pardon the commercial interruption. As I explain below, I think there’s a deeper meaning to this.]
Special: Pitching SlingFin
Announcement - SlingFin’s capital campaign is closing 12/19.
Their initial target of $100k is nearly met and they’re hoping to hit their stretch goal.
Many of you have expressed an interest in participating. Thanks to those that have!
If not, now is the time!
Here’s SlingFin’s Wefunder page. Investing takes 5-10 minutes. I’ve built a walk-through Powerpoint to help.
|The long version:
As some of you know, I’m a strong supporter of Martin Zemitis’s company SlingFin.
SlingFin is raising funds in a novel manner as one of the very first companies to utilize the JOBS Act and raise capital from folks like us rather than “accredited”, i.e. wealthy, investors.
230+ people have invested amounts between $100 and $6,000. These investors expressed a variety of reasons they participated:
1) Gear Nerds liked the premiums / equity combo.
2) Mini-Moguls liked adding Angel Investing to their portfolio mix.
3) Patrons liked supporting what they like.
All those are good reasons. More on each below. First, I’d like to suggest another…my reason:
4) I’m an Activist. I want to change the game.
This centers on my Outdoor Industry pet peeve:
The folks that created value have not generally been the folks that harvested that value!
(Early TNF was a great example.)
- Tech funding has an ecosystem of angels, VC firms, incubators and advisers.
- The Outdoor Biz traditionally hasn’t had anything similar.
- Outdoor Biz founders are much as they’ve alway been - outdoor nerds with a vision. The early employees of these companies are generally from the same cloth.
- Founders have hit the shallows when they confront the inevitable capital crunch.
- The price of capital (either through acquistion or by taking on VC money) is most often getting homogenized into something focused on Quarterly Reports and not on staying the course and creating long term value.
To prevent that, we need an ecosystem of our own...one that’s infused with our core values while not ignoring the need for investors to gain a reasonable return and folks in the biz to get reasonable salaries.
We have a chance to create that ecosystem now. One that lets future folks like ourselves make better gear and outdoor experiences while gaining a much bigger share of the pie that results.
I strongly believe that a combination of Kickstater/Indiegogo and Wefunder’s Crowdfunding Equity Platform can provide that...perhaps with a little B-Corp and ‘1% for the Planet’ and some outdoor focused investment groups thrown in)
How do we do it?
We do it by using the Internet trick of getting small contributions from lots of folks. Start-ups can fund themselves from their natural community!
This has the potential to head off a whole world of pain.
If this sounds appealing to you, I urge you to join me in supporting SlingFin and making history.
PS, A look at Wefunder shows this isn't just a pipe dream. In a industry similar to ours with dedicated fans and a large capital component, Hops & Grain brewery in Austin, TX, successfully raised $1M to open a second brew pub. Another, Haint Blue, is off to a strong start. Finally, check out one of Peak Designs' Kickstarter campaigns. They've managed to avoid taking in investment money at all!
What SlingFin found polling investors.
Gear Nerds: SlingFin tailored the offering to these folks, i.e. us. You can get full return on dollars invested using discounts on gear…plus any later return on investment from the stock. SlingFin thought this would be the primary constituency and it is a strong second.
(Btw, they’re extending the gear discount starting now even before the offering closes so that folks can snag product for Xmas.)
Mini-Mogul: this was, surprisingly, the main block of investors. SlingFin was featured in investing newsletters; other folks simply looked through all the Wefunder companies and picked some they liked. Generally, this is part of an investing strategy that sees folks devoting a percent of their total portfolio to angel investments. The small minimums lets them buy a basket of startups.
Patron: a certain number of folks have kicked in a small amount as a patron. This is the equivalent of donating $100 to a friends kid’s soccer team. Except there’s a premium in both stock and gear.
(The investment via Wefunder will turn into the same type of stock that has made up the bulk of SlingFin salaries over the last years…so company management has a definite interest in making it something of high value.)