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Our New Online Crowdfunding Portal to Support Sustainable Organizations

Earlier this week we were excited to announce the addition of a crowdfunding platform, Mission Crowdfund, as part of our core offerings. Crowdfunding allows people to collectively pool their money via digital portals to support an organization or project. The launch of Mission Crowdfund goes a step further by also being the first platform to offer voluntary funding of environmental and wildlife habitat credits.

Mission Markets’ experience in sustainable capital markets and our portal platforms for impact and sustainable investments is further enhanced by the addition of the new donation-based crowdfunding platform. With the launch of Mission Crowdfund, organizations in the impact space are able to raise funds for projects that support their social or environmental objectives. Mission Crowdfund is exemplary of Mission Markets’ focus on fostering an entire ecosystem around financing for sustainable impact.

“Mission-driven organizations struggle to raise funding needed to address their communities’ most challenging problems. Often financing solutions are limited to sophisticated investors,” says Ken Marienau, CEO of Mission Markets. “We are pleased that our new platform, Mission Crowdfund, enables everyone to donate to projects close to their hearts.”

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What We’re Reading – A Roundup of the Latest Impact Investing News

Impact Investment News

G8 Leaders Embrace Impact Investing With New Funds – Businessweek

Can Impact Investing Move From Niche To Mainstream? – FA Mag

Investors Want to Package Efficiency Securities Like Mortgages – Greentech Media

What Makes Solar Energy a Good Investment? – TriplePundit

Over $2 Billion in Green Bonds, A Good Start – Sustainable Business

 Sustainability News

European demand for voluntary offsets surges in private sector – GreenBiz

Sustainability Needs to Find Its ‘Reality Distortion Field’ – Bloomberg

Sustainability: An Investment Perspective – CFA Institute

Crowdfunding News

Universities explore crowdfunding, social media to raise money – USA Today

Small Businesses the Next Big Borrower in Peer to Peer Lending – P2P Lending News

New Tool Lets Intermediaries Become P2B Lenders – Bridging Distributor


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Sustainable Capital and Securities Crowd Funding

This post is part of a series called “Mission Markets Musings” where team members share their thoughts on the latest developments within the impact and sustainability sectors. 

There already has been much debate, conversation and rhetoric around the topic of securities and what most people are calling “Equity Crowd funding”.

The prospect of investors, regardless of their accreditation status, having the ability to invest in private placement offerings and supporting exciting impact investment opportunities is likely to have a positive influence on the capital injection process for sustainable businesses.

In my opinion, Securities Crowd Funding is best suited towards direct investments in support of local businesses that can improve the health of local communities and economies.  I am referring to businesses such as retail outlets, restaurants, local food systems and renewable energy developers. I think that local direct investment and lending by community members can serve as a new form of a “Community Banker.”

These types of investments can offer:

  • Opportunity for revenue sharing arrangements
  • Cash flow and fixed income returns,
  • In some cases potential for equity returns.

They also offer the benefit of having a direct stake in the growth of your local economy as a local investor. This can possibly connect hundreds of local investors with local businesses and substantially increase their chances of success. In turn these local investors become advocates of their local businesses and can see their investment put to work, creating a positive feedback loop.

When the SEC does approve Securities Crowd Funding, it has the potential to spark local economic activity and become an integral tool for creating deep and lasting connections within local economies and their stakeholders.

mvpMichael Van Patten

Founder & President, Mission Markets


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On the Future of Angel Investing and Crowdfunding

This blog post was originally written by Marissa Feinberg for Forbes.com published on 6/13/2012


Green Spaces is New York City’s sustainable coworking space for startups, entrepreneurs, and others who like to work happily while improving the world. Members and guests from diverse and overlapping fields make us NYC’s networking hotspot for the eco and socially minded. I’m Marissa Feinberg, Green Spaces co-founder, PR and marketing media whisperer, and rapid dot connector. See my recent interview about Green Spaces on Mashable.

Idea Bounce goes digital 

Each Wednesday, members gather for the Green Spaces “IdeaBounce,” also known as “startup therapy with dumplings,” to share news and fun facts. Then, one person or company (sometimes a member, sometimes a guest) introduces a challenge they’re facing. The group bounces ideas, recommending strategies and contacts. I’ll be sharing some of what we come up with here on this blog.

Your dream is so big!

Pretty much every entrepreneur knows the struggle of crafting one sentence that makes people “get” what their business does. How could your dream possibly be capitulated into one, tiny utterance?! Well, here’s one startup with legit reason to stress about that.

Mission Markets is the hub connecting sustainability ventures and social enterprises to the money people. By money people I mean investors; also financial, legal, and business service providers; and issuers, the people who register and sell securities in money markets.

From the startup perspective, that means that environmental, social justice, etc. ventures can join Mission Markets to look for 1.) funders, and 2.) people to help them with their “business end” and become more attractive to said investors. Investors can find 1.) investment opportunities, and 2.) detailed financial information on companies they might invest in. Think investment bank, but with values in mind and great technology in development.

But wait, there’s more! Now Mission Markets is adding branded “Affinity Groups,” smaller networks within the Mission community, such as incubators, university groups, angel networks, and investor groups (ahem, Green Spaces calling!).

At last week’s Idea Bounce Olivia Frazao, Senior Business Developer of Mission Markets, guest presented. She wants to know how best to grow the Mission Markets community at large while simultaneously dividing it into Affinity Groups communities. Thus, our challenge for this week’s Idea Bounce.

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JOBS Act and Crowdfunding Legislation FAQs

These FAQs address questions about the crowdfunding intermediary provisions in Title III of the JOBS Act.  These are important to the members of Mission Markets as many of our Branded Portal partners are seeking to become approved crowdfunding portals or intermediaries.

Crowdfunding issuers. Title III of the JOBS Act amends Section 4 of the Securities Act to create a new exemption for offerings of “crowdfunded” securities. Specifically, the JOBS Act amends Section 4 of the Securities Act to exempt issuers from the requirements of Section 5 of that Act when they offer and sell up to $1 million in securities, provided that individual investments do not exceed certain thresholds and the issuer satisfies other conditions in the JOBS Act, some of which will require rulemaking by the SEC.

One of these conditions is that issuers use the services of an intermediary that is either a broker registered with the SEC or a “funding portal” registered with the SEC.

Funding portals. Title III of the JOBS Act adds new Section 3(h) to the Exchange Act which requires the SEC to exempt, conditionally or unconditionally, an intermediary operating a funding portal from the requirement to register with the SEC as a broker. The intermediary, though, would need to register with the SEC as a funding portal and would be subject to the SEC’s examination, enforcement, and rulemaking authority. The funding portal also must become a member of a national securities association that is registered under Section 15A of the Exchange Act.

A funding portal is defined as a crowdfunding intermediary that does not: (i) offer investment advice or recommendations; (ii) solicit purchases, sales, or offers to buy securities offered or displayed on its website or portal; (iii) compensate employees, agents, or others persons for such solicitation or based on the sale of securities displayed or referenced on its website or portal; (iv) hold, manage, possess, or otherwise handle investor funds or securities; or (v) engage in such other activities as the SEC, by rule, determines appropriate.

The JOBS Act directs the SEC to adopt rules to implement Title III within 270 days of enactment of the Act. The President signed the JOBS Act into law on April 5, 2012.

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Update on Crowdfunding

Since November 2011, the U.S. House of Representatives and now the U.S. Senate have been debating proposed legislation that is anticipated to increase access to capital for small companies. The most hotly debated are the so-called “Crowdfunding Bills” that propose allowing small companies to raise capital online or through similar forms of media from non-accredited investors without violating U.S securities laws regarding general solicitations or advertising. Companies could raise up to $2 million (with the provision of audited financial statements) and individuals would be limited to investments of $10,000 or 10% of their annual income (whichever is less).

It appears legislation may come to a vote shortly, and  Mission Markets is carefully studying the implications of these proposed new rules. We are excited to learn of the outcome, and we will keep our members and clients informed about how the changes will affect the impact investment and sustainability markets going forward. For a brief overview of the proposed legislation please refer to this summary.