Two recent posts on the excellent Locavesting website zeroed in on the challenges and opportunities facing women entrepreneurs. The first looks at numbers suggesting that traditional channels of investment capital may be harder for women-led companies to access, due to a mis-match in goals and too much focus on fairy-tale Silicon Valley style venture capital channels. Author Jenny Kassen sees that women-led companies are more apt to be mission-driven, and suggests that they will benefit from pursuing sources of capital that are not so focused on making quick or exponential returns. This dovetails well with the second article, which summarizes a recent report, Stand out in the Crowd: How Women (and Men) Benefit from Equity Crowdfunding: “Women are achieving a higher success rate raising investment capital online than they are through traditional offline channels: 24% for online compared to 19% for offline.” Still, far fewer women-led companies even seek outside funding—and this represents a huge opportunity for those that pursue these channels. We highly recommend both articles for anyone who’s gearing up to raise funds for their business; keep reading for a few key quotes to whet your appetite.
Posts Tagged ‘financial assets’
We evolutionary types love to tout the disruptive and democratizing virtues of the “sharing economy.” From tool-sharing libraries to the “live like the locals” charm of AirBnB and the high tech click-and-ride dazzle of Uber, sharing taps into our practical, connective, and reinvent-the-economic-system desires. But wait, what’s this?
Over the past year, Uber built one of the largest and most successful lobbying forces in the country, with a presence in almost every statehouse. It has 250 lobbyists and 29 lobbying firms registered in capitols around the nation, at least a third more than Wal-Mart Stores. That doesn’t count municipal lobbyists. In Portland, the 28th-largest city in the U.S., 10 people would ultimately register to lobby on Uber’s behalf. They’d become a constant force in City Hall. City officials say they’d never seen anything on this scale.
A spate of recent headlines touted President Obama’s announcement that a new federal program had secured $4 billion in commitments from private equity investors to finance new clean energy projects. Four billion sounds great, but it’s a drop in the bucket of the International Energy Agency’s estimate of what’s needed to keep global warming under 2 degrees centigrade—the IEA says we’ll need $500 billion in the next five years and $1 trillion by 2030. And that’s the real goal of the DOE’s new Clean Energy Investment Center. Impact investors already have $46 billion in the bucket, and globally, we’re halfway to that near-term $500 billion target. The new federal initiatives aim to provide the information that foundations and other large investors need in order to get comfortable joining the green energy rush. The Guardian offered up a great overview of how this announcement is about way more than this initial $4 billion:
Three years ago, excitement ran high after congress authorized new rules to greatly expand the ability of small companies to raise investment capital via crowdfunding. While the SEC drags its feet on issuing the federal framework, state governments have seized the initiative; half the states have completed crowdfunding laws, and 11 more are working on it. “It’s exploded this year,” said crowdfunding advocate Anthony Zeoli in a recent NYT story. “People are clamoring for it, and those who see the power of it are pushing these agendas forward. I mean, who can say no to legislation designed to help open up capital for small and growing businesses?”
Success stories are coming in, though it’s also clear that businesses looking for capital are embracing the new funding platforms more rapidly than are investors. Click through for more details, and then consider looking for opportunities to support local businesses in your state.
For sixty years, the King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand has been expounding on a development philosophy he terms The Sufficiency Economy. It’s based on putting moderation and balance at the center of development strategy, emphasizing the Buddhist concept of ‘the middle path’ as a leading principle for appropriate conduct of people, businesses and government at all levels. As illustrated at the top of this post, it bears a striking resemblance to the three-tiered expansion of “self-interest” that fires what we call the invisible heart of resilience, which unleashes the real power and promise of resilient investing.
One of the challenging—and fun!—parts of being a resilient investor is staying abreast of the relentless river of innovation that courses through so many aspects of our lives these days. None of us can really take it all in, but hopefully we each have areas we follow more closely, areas of expertise that inform and guide us. It’s good to take the time to scan “headlines from the future” in other realms as well. One of our favorite sources for radically evolutionary news is Singularity University; their site (and feed or weekly email) is especially relevant to the Driver and Dreamer future forecast types among us. This week, they featured a series of posts from a conference on “Exponential Finance” that they cosponsored with CNBC. It’s all as mind-opening and exciting as we’ve come to expect from Singularity, and well worth a few minutes of your time as part of your continuing education, so you won’t be caught unaware by the this cresting wave that will be rolling on in not too far in the future.
Resilient investors are typically very attuned to the need and opportunities for investing in local, regional, and global farmland and habitat regeneration. Even recently, it was often difficult to find viable avenues for making these investments, but things are changing fast. See our Zone 6 resources for many tangible, evolutionary options; and here are two recent online articles that offer both practical advice and big-picture perspectives that may inspire you to dig into this zone more actively.
The first is a great overview from Don Shaffer of RSF Social Finance.
John Elkington, the long-time sustainability champion who coined the term “triple bottom line,” has released an intriguing—dare we even say entertaining?—new treatise on how companies and individuals can adapt to survive and thrive in the face of today’s growing confluence of social, environmental, and economic pressures.
The International Monetary Fund has released a report that tallies energy subsidies at $5.3 trillion dollars, or over 6% of global GDP; this is more than double their 2011 estimate. By this calculation, “classic” subsidies account for less than 10% of the total; over $3 trillion is in the form of local pollution, social, and health costs, and over a trillion is in the costs of global warming.
Citing global warming, environmental impacts, and the ongoing transition to lower-carbon energy, Bank of America has announced that it will “reduce its credit exposure” to coal extraction.
For two minutes on Wednesday, the dulcet tones of Hal’s voice went out over the NPR airwaves. He was featured on the Marketplace Morning Report, being interviewed from his home, which host David Brancaccio determined is “2001 miles from Wall Street.” The other stories, including floods in Texas and Greek economic ills, set the stage perfectly for his concise intro to The Resilient Investor, which offers a technicolor array of investment options in place of Wall Street’s shades of grey.
Listen here; the interview begins after the musical interlude, at about 3:45
With farmland and fresh water becoming increasingly scarce and valuable resources, there is an increasingly active market in buying and selling farmland across national borders. I suppose we’ve been trading bits of earth this way for centuries (in the form of minerals, food, etc.), but it was still a shock to see this extending to encompass actual soil, hills, and watersheds. This illustration, from an illuminating Vox “explainer,” is captioned “The color of the node shows to what extent a country is an importer (gray) or an exporter of land (red), and the size of the node represents the number of trading partners.”
Beyond the cognitive dissonance of the mere existence of “importing land” there are, of course, several deeper concerns; the most fundamental is the practice of new landowners shifting from food production for local farmers and their neighbors, shipping the fruits of the land into global supply chains instead (in particular, China is buying up lots of farmland to provide for its population’s needs). Compounding this is local powerbrokers muscling their poorer citizens off the land so that it can be sold. An ambiguous overlay a tendency to focus on how the new, distant owners may increase efficiency or otherwise increase the productivity of the land; again, such improvements may or may not serve local people and ecosystems, even if they appear beneficial for the global food production.
This wasn’t new to us, thanks to an article by our colleague James Frazier in the Natural Investment News last year. As he stressed:
About half of all US farmland is expected to change hands within the next twenty years. Consider how the ability of a new generation of young farmers to acquire and finance farmland stacks up against the ability of large institutions to top any bid and pay cash for the best properties, and you can understand how big of a deal this really is, potentially for decades to come. To top it off, the new institutional owners are apparently quite savvy about what to grow, selecting the most profitable crops to meet growing demand for meat, nuts, and other gourmet foods in emerging Asian markets, presumably leaving the more risky, lower margin crops to small farmers. Fortunately, responsible investors have the means to make their own positive impact on American farming.
Click through to his article to learn more; and of course the Resilient Investing Map focuses on this problem (and opportunity!) within the “tangible assets” realm in Zones 4 and 6, and as an evolutionary approach to financial assets in Zone 9.