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January 21, 2010 in funding | Tags: Cause Global, Design, Doug Powell, Entrepreneurship, Marcia Stepanek, peer-to-peer lending, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Social entrepreneurship, Stanford Social Innovation Review, Thrust Fund | Leave a comment
Thanks to Ann Christiano of Robert Wood Johnson Foundation for forwarding this article entitled “Three Social Entrepreneurs Sell Shares in Selves to Scale” from the Stanford Social Innovation Review, which dovetails nicely with my previous post about funding for social impact start ups. The article is written by Marcia Stepanek who writes a very interesting blog called Cause Global, discussing the use of social media for social change initiatives.
Stepanek’s article profiles three young entrepreneurs in the social innovation sector who have taken the idea of peer-to-peer lending a step further by offering “shares” in their own future earnings in exchange for funding their start up ventures. The trio have formed an entity called The Thrust Fund to facilitate their bold proposal. They announced their offering in a recent blog post, “we are going to offer equity in our life’s earnings for an unrestricted infusion of cash today.”
The three are offering between 100 and 200 shares in themselves at $3,000 each in an effort to raise between $300,000-600,000 in unrestricted start up funding. The ROI will be 3-6% of the individual’s lifetime earnings.
“If the market were up to speed on the scalable potential of social entrepreneurship with engaged funders like the more advanced VC community that the exclusively for-profit sector looks to for scale, this discussion would be lame,” the trio wrote on the Thrust Fund blog. “But it’s not and we are raising money hand-to-mouth when we know for sure that a modest infusion of capital would scale our social enterprises.”
While the peer-to-peer lending model is being replicated in many ways, the idea of investing in an individual and their potential for lifelong earning is really quite radical. Whether this is merely a novel publicity stunt, or a truly innovative funding model is yet to be seen. Regardless, though, it is another example of a creative approach to the problem of the underfunding of new business ventures that don’t fit within the—fairly tight—parameters of the traditional venture capital box.
July 24, 2009 in General Post | Tags: Cle, Cleveland Clinic, David Armano, Design, Doug Powell, Entrepreneurship, General Electric Health Visualizer, HartungKemp, Harvard Business School, HealthSimple, Joan Barlow, North Carolina State University College of Textiles, Online Social Media, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation | Leave a comment
I will be on vacation on the shores of Potato Lake—and not blogging—for the week of July 27-31. Before I leave, here are a few items that I’ve been meaning to follow up on in the last month:
More on Hospital Gowns
It seems like every time I blog or speak about design and healthcare I get more responses and comments than on any other topic. My post about Cleveland Clinic a few weeks back (Redesigning the Patient Experience, June 24) generated a flurry of activity, including a call from my good friend Joan Barlow, Design Manager at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, who alerted me that RWJF has been involved in a hospital gown design project as well. The project is featured in this recent article from the Wall Street Journal. RWJF, a philanthropic institution dedicated to health and healthcare—which also happens to have an impressively forward-thinking approach to design—funded the project through the College of Textiles at North Carolina State University.
Taking a New Look at Health
Joan Barlow also tipped me off on this amazing visualization of health trends and statistical data created by, of all sources, General Electric. Using the Health Visualizer you can determine whether you or your loved ones might be at risk of disease. It is also an interactive tool that can be used to show the positive effects of a healthy lifestyle. It’s impressive from an information design and user experience perspective; the data, which in its raw form is dense and intimidating, is refreshingly accessible and engaging. It reminds me of the work Lisa and I have done in collaboration with design agency HartungKemp on the HealthSimple brand.
Yes, Your Social Media Strategy Needs Design
I’ve been interested recently to see online social media getting more attention from the “traditional” business research and education communities. I blogged about this earlier this week (New Research on Online Social Media, July 22), and shortly after I published that post, Twitter fed me this article from the granddaddy of the business research and education family, Harvard Business School. The article was authored by David Armano of Dachis Corporation, an Austin based start-up delivering social business design services. Armano emphasizes the point I made in my post, that, given the rapid evolution of this category, a sound social media strategy is going to be an absolute must—and design thinking is a key to that process. My favorite line: “The current state of “social media” for many businesses looks more like an episode of MacGyver than Apple’s design process. Duct tape and bubble gum hold together fragile tactics such as Twitter accounts run by the summer college intern (nothing against college interns) or agency-generated Facebook fan pages that have few actual fans.” Click here to follow David Armano on Twitter.