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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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IMG-20130611-00199Like many players in the New York impact investing space, Mission Markets spends a lot of time flying from JFK to SFO for major events. The SOCAP event series, the de-facto gold standard for such events since its launch way back in the late noughties, is the best – but far from only – example of social capital happenings happening on the “other” coast.

The party line is that the success of these events is what matters, which makes whining about their locale seem petty… and while I toe the party line, as someone who not just works in New York but was born here, it irks me that NYC isn’t a bigger hub (pun intended) for the wheels that keep social capital spinning.

Which is why I’m so glad that I – along with MM colleague Rebecca Orlowitz – attended Able Made’s  AMP IT UP! event at the Red Rooster in Harlem, NYC on Tuesday, June 11: it restored my faith in NYC as a bona fide center of the social capital solar system.

For starters, the attendees – from the organizers to the featured entrepreneurs to the venue staff – were all great examples of what success looks like when focusing on both social and financial bottom lines.

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SOCAP12 Reconnects Impact Investing Leaders and Highlights New Social Entrepreneurs in SF

Last week our very own Jeff Tuller and Eleanor Horowitz traveled to the West Coast and joined over 1600 attendees for SOCAP12 at San Francisco’s Fort Mason. This was the fifth annual weeklong conference hosted by Social Capital Markets (and Jeff’s fifth time in attendance) and this year’s theme was Making Meaning Matter.

For those who have yet to experience it, SOCAP is a conference dedicated to increasing the flow of capital to social good and convenes social entrepreneurs, impact investors, intermediaries, students, government officials and more.

“We are here because we are about investing in a new way that supports businesses doing business in a new way; a way that creates positive good, measurable good, and impact, while it makes a profit,” wrote convener Kevin Jones.

At SOCAP, we caught up with friends and business partners and were energized to meet so many entrepreneurs new to SOCAP12 like Julia Sevilla, the founder of Kape Maria, a coffee company supporting local farmers and communities in the Philippines, Debbie Sterling, the founder of GoldieBlox, a toy company that sets out to inspire girls to become engineers, and Tonee Ndungu from Kenya who founded Kytabu, a textbook subscription app for tablets providing access to low-cost schoolbooks for low and middle income families.

A few of our favorite highlights:

Majora Carter speaking at Wednesday’s opening plenary at SOCAP12

  • Mission Markets was an active part of the conversation on Jed Emerson’s panel on impact investing platforms. What really defines a platform anyways?
  • Jeff Raikes, CEO of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, announced the launch of the Markets for Good initiative in partnership with LiquidNet, which will be tasked with improving data collection for impact investing. It is great to see some heavy hitters reinvigorating the conversation around impact measurement.
  • Majora Carter of Sustainable South Bronx spoke at Wednesday’s morning plenary about the importance of building and investing in sustainable local communities
  • Jenny Kassan of Cutting Edge Capital and Amy Pearl of Change XChange led a panel on Direct Public Offerings, something Mission Markets will be partnering with Jenny and Amy to offer. At last year’s SOCAP, the JOBS act and crowdfunding were all the buzz, but sometimes people forget that DPOs also enable the democratization of impact investing
  • Impact Assets launched the IA50, a resource of 50 investment opportunities that value both financial and environmental returns and includes Iroquois Valley Farms and Brazil’s first impact investing fund Vox Capital
  • And of course we loved the view…

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Reporting from SOCAP Europe: Mission Markets Goes International

Greetings from old Amsterdam! I am sitting with Steve Rocco (Mission Markets Co-Founder) in the foyer of a building that was built when New York was New Amsterdam, and the wireless internet is faster than in our offices in Soho.  SOCAP picked a great spot for its inaugural European conference.

The conference is sold out (again, that makes three years running!) which bodes well for the social capital markets in general, but it makes for an awful lot to absorb in just three days.

I presented Mission Markets to a global audience of impact investors (yes that’s me in the photo) yesterday, and am pleased to report it went smashingly well.

We were already pleasantly surprised how well-known Mission Markets was here on The Continent before our session, and afterwards it only got better.  We may not be a household name yet, but within this admittedly small pond, we’re pretty big fish and it feels terrific.

Timing our announcement of Mission Markets’ partnership with Impact Investment Exchange Asia with SOCAP worked out nicely – no surprise that news played well to this international audience.  I plugged the partnership in the presentation too, in addition to HubCulture, the brains behind the Ven digital social currency.

The conference is winding down now, there’s an oddly dressed man informing us the final session is about to begin by gently banging a gong as he wanders the room (sounds tacky but here it works) and so I will end here.  I’ll have more to say about the experience after giving it a while to soak in… dag!

– Jeff Tuller, CTO/Director of Social Metrics

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Guest Post: Slow Money NYC

Mission Markets + Slow Money NYC = Entrepreneur Showcase and Resource Exchange, this Saturday, May 14th in Brooklyn, NY.

A former boss of mine, whenever he heard a good idea, would look at his staff and say, “Let’s dream that into existence.”  He was directing a team of artists, and his words were our marching orders to transform our wildest thoughts into tangible work.

I was reminded of this when I read the book Inquiries into the Nature of Slow Money by Woody Tasch.  For a few years now, our country has been wading through tough economic times.  Yet, to give an example, we continue to search for signs of recovery in a higher GDP.  Considering that the GDP measures all economic activity — everything from car accidents to mountain-top removal included — it hardly seems a measure of improvement.  It’s time for kindred thinkers like those behind Mission Markets and the Slow Money movement to dream something new into existence.

With these lofty goals, I’m happy to announce tangible work right now:  This Saturday, May 14th, Slow Money NYC is proud to partner with Mission Markets for the first-ever Entrepreneur Showcase and Resource Exchange in Brooklyn, NY.  The event will be at The Commons, 388 Atlantic Avenue, from 1-6 pm.

Slow Money NYC is a network of food activists, investors and entrepreneurs.  We nurture a range of conversations in order to actively develop funding and investment channels for local and sustainable food enterprises.  Our work is based on the principles of collaborative knowledge sharing, mutually reinforcing relationships, community participation, fairness, diversity and non-violence.

Like Mission Markets, we want to see investment directed towards companies that restore our environment.  We believe that, in turn, will restore the economy.

On Saturday, May 14th the doors are open to all.  In addition to the presentations from the ten Slow Money NYC entrepreneur finalists, we’ll have a Resource Exchange with numerous exhibitors who offer a range of services for sustainable food and farming entrepreneurs.  And we’re delighted to host Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer as the Opening Speaker.

Why this and why now?  On page 116 of Slow Money, Tasch gives us the status quo:  “I would argue that an investor whose financial activity is predicated on extraction — on the linear take-make-waste methodologies of a world that had never seen the picture of the earth rising over the moon — is not really an investor at all.  He is not truly investing himself in that to which he is applying his capital.  Quite the opposite.  He is keeping himself completely out of it, denying any personal connection to or responsibility for that to which his capital is lending its energy.”

Later in the book, within pages 132-136, he writes, “…financial markets are man-made.  And we can remake them…We need to create a new market.  A new kind of market.  A market that will turn the market into a market or that market.”

Join Mission Markets and Slow Money NYC as we bring into existence new, sustainable food and farming markets for New York City this Saturday, May 14th.


Nicole Reed
Steering Committee
Slow Money NYC


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First Wetland Mitigation Project Financing listing on Mission Markets

We are very pleased to announce our first Wetland Mitigation Project Financing listing.  Located in Skagit County, Washington State, the 396 acre wetland mitigation bank will offer an estimated 242 “general wetland credits” over the next ten years as the bank matures.  The restored wetlands will be typical of bottom-land floodplain systems that provide fish, water quality, storm water storage, wildlife, and hydraulic and floodplain process functions, and endangered species habitat.

The mission of the Skagit Environmental Bank Project is to create and preserve 396 acres of critical habitat processes and functions in a way that contributes to achieving a net gain of those values and strengthens the integrity of those ecosystems, while successfully achieving economic and social development and increasing human health and well-being for our generation and for generations to come.

Here at Mission Markets we are promoting conservation finance as an investible sector to socially responsible impact investors. Conservation projects like wetland mitigation banking not only offer potential above market returns but also produce tangible social and environmental benefits. Specifically, this project conserves wetlands and the wildlife, allowing these vital ecosystems to continue to provide a wide range of critical environmental services.

This project is listed on our Sustainable Impact Investing Platform (SIIP).  Accredited investors can gain access to this listing by registering at

– The Mission Markets Team

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Mission Markets Musings: Rob Thomas

I realized Michael Van Patten was following me after the third conference.

Social Venture Network, Slow Money Gathering, and SRI In The Rockies are all conferences I have attended for quite some time.  The beauty of these conferences is the opportunity to network with like-minded members of our community.  Michael is the founder and president of Mission Markets, and we soon sat down together to learn more about each other’s business.

To say Michael is enthusiastic would be a gross understatement.  He radiates a passion for his work. Mission Markets is an active and robust community marketplace for impact investments of all kinds. I heard Michael out for an hour, and when he finally stopped for a breath I chimed in. I told him that Mission Markets is much like Social(k), in that we are both building investment products to fulfill a demand for conscientious investing–a demand that has reached critical mass. Our two businesses also took root in the same community of innovators who are looking for investments that make more than one kind of return.

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