Every community-led startup is going to launch a community round
Words of Wisdom
Community Round Tweet thread
What are you working on?
Word of Wisdom
“What works good is better than what looks good, because what works good lasts.”
- Ray Eames
What Ray and Charles Eames would create with the infamous Eames lounge chair is a thing of beauty and comfort. They obsessed over function more than anything and used design as a vehicle to do good in the world. Their chairs are known the world over. I’ve been reading this quote over and over all week. There’s a code of greatness in it, don’t you think?
I’ve been an entrepreneur my whole life and for the past 10 years, I’ve been building companies that required either effort of bootstrapping or fundraising. Never did I ever consider that a day would arrive when my customers, members, partners, fans, and community could actually invest and share ownership in my companies. This prestige always belonged to institutional, accredited investors; Venture Capitalists (VC) and angel investors, or companies that reach IPO (public status).
If you haven’t been paying attention women have a really tough time raising institutional money from VCs. In 2021 it plummeted to only 2% of all venture funding going to women-only-led startups. So, we usually resort to bootstrapping, revenue models from day one, crowdfunding, friends and family rounds, and angel investors. Lots of angel investors. For instance, the first $100,000 I ever raised was on Kickstarter, a rewards-based crowdfunding platform.
Over the past 10 years while I’ve been launching startups and building companies, another startup called Wefunder has been slowly laying the bricks for what I’m eager to introduce to you today. But first a little bit about Wefunder.
After I left Undock and shared publicly that I’m a free agent, a few people convinced me to meet with the founders of Wefunder. Nick and Greg, based in San Francisco coined the idea to build a platform to be able to invest in their startup friends, and so their journey began. There were literally no laws that supported everyday people having the right to invest in private companies. Kind of crazy if you think about it. So, they set out to change that.
In 2012 they got Congress to legalize Regulation Crowdfunding (Reg CF) in the JOBS Act and watched President Barack Obama sign it into law.
Not so fast.
Sidenote with this ambition they get into Y Combinator in 2013, still widely known as the Harvard of startup accelerators.
It would then take until May 2016 for the laws to actually pass.
Yeah — 4 years later.
And then another 3 years would go by where Wefunder would survive and improve the law because there was a cap of $1m fundraising with a Reg CF.
Phew, take a breath — you still with me?
By September 2019 Wefunder who had now survived every challenge under the sun as a startup would finally hit their $100m investment volume. Hot damn! December 2020 they hit $200m. Sometimes you just need to survive long enough to be able to break on through to the other side. And the story continues …
It would only be in March 2021 that the SEC rolled out reforms to the law which would enable Wefunder to truly accelerate how founders can raise money from their fans and customers. Introducing a $5m cap fundraise ability on a Special Purpose Vehicle, known as an SPV, to help founders raise money from their community in a super simple way and with only one line item on their cap table (presenting the lead investor).
They did all that.
This then brought us to April 5, 2022 - exactly 10 years after the 2012 JOBS Act was initiated by this climb from the Wefunder founders — to introduce yet again something new and awesome.
After that long journey the industry was accustomed to equity crowdfunding and as Nick puts it, “I’ve always hated that phrase. Since we created this industry, we have the right to rename it.” (Nick’s announcement)
So, finally! Announcing Community Round.
We created billboards. Read about that here.
A Community Round is when a startup lets thousands of its customers, users, and fans invest alongside VCs and angel investors.
This is the future of fundraising.
This brings us full circle to where I came into this extraordinary moment in time for Wefunder and most of all for startups, founders, and everyday people.
I joined Wefunder on March 1, 2022 as a Founder in Residence, and one week in learned we need to take Community Round to market. Like in typical startup fashion we had to ship fast and break things and boy, did we?
But with the brilliance of the community round team; engineers, designers, marketers, and a team of 10 a stellar MVP has shipped,and I’m terribly excited to have successfully launched. Evidently, we’re trying to change how the industry thinks about founders who want to give back to their loyal customers and customer ownership.
Watch the Community Round Announcement video. And meet Classic. I hired him on a small scale while I was building Undock and Wefunder was smart enough to snag him as a storyteller.
April 5th was a blast.
Community Round is live and people can learn all about the incredible startups who have successfully launched a community round. You can also petition your favorite startup, like Space X, soona, Discord, House of Wise, Notion, Stripe — and thousands of other privately held companies, and tell them you want to invest.
If you want to learn more about whether you should launch a community round, please complete the “get more info” on communityround.com and our team is on standby to chat away.
I’ll keep you posted on how this turns out.
What are you working on?
Leave a comment and let’s get into it. I’m always building community and would love to know how we can help each other connect and grow. Magic happens when you’re connected to opportunity.
There’s one universal language I know we all speak and it’s music.
Today’s track is not new but while I was editing this post this cover by Miley Cyrus came on and man, she’s one talented artist. A Cranberries original of course, I think Deloros would be proud.
Feast your ears on Zombie, Live, Miley Cyrus.
Thanks for reading.
As always — Keep Climbing.
Until next time,
New to this newsletter? Check out the archives
Keep up the great work, Lizelle! Big fan of the team at Wefunder and of everything you're doing!
Keep up the great work, Lizelle! Big fan of the team at Wefunder and of you!