Is Title III Equity Crowdfunding Going to Work?

I was invited to appear on HuffPost TV the other day, to talk about crowdfunding.

The conversation quickly turned into a discussion of the potential negatives of crowdfunding, and the risks.

Then there was this article in Salon, with the subtitle: “Equity crowdfunding was supposed to be an economic boon. Instead it’s a disaster waiting to happen.”

I actually agree with the article of the Salon piece, at least in part. Because of the way Congress wrote the equity crowdfunding rules, Title III equity crowdfunding is going to be very expensive. This is going to reduce its attractiveness as a fundraising alternative. This is too bad. But the answer is not to scrap the experiment. But to revise the rules to make experiment workable.


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How to Design for Humans

How to design for humans

by Bryce Merrill, SVP Fast Pitch Marketing Team

The first SVP Fast Pitch Jumpstart Workshop, “How to Design for Humans” took place at Impact Hub Seattle on Wednesday, June 11.

The Jumpstart Workshop series is designed to help social innovators refine their business plans and practices. This guides them toward determining if they should apply to Fast Pitch and further prepare for the upcoming competition.

SVP Seattle

Photography by Bryce Merrill

University of Washington Professor Beth Kolkos and Shift Labs, a healthcare technology start-up, taught thirty-one attendees how to design products or services with a focus on consumers and users.

“I think that this workshop gave me more insight on how I should be listening,” said Jon Madamba of RaaSIO, a robotics group that intends to build an easy-to-use widespread robotics platform as well as form an organization called “Spin,” which connects students to robotics in Washington state.

Key lessons on designing for humans identified at the workshop were:

  • Proactively garner user feedback and input throughout the entire design process to shift from traditional trial and error methods to a more efficient and streamlined design process.
  • Design a product or service that  users can seamlessly incorporate into their typical daily routines rather than attempting to “reinvent the wheel”.
  • Reverse Innovate and take into account what people want, not simply what they need –by necessity in low-resource countries — and then apply the same innovation in high-resource areas, where it would be considered a convenience or a want. A perfect example of these two concepts working in conjunction is mobile banking in African countries that is also gaining popularity in more developed countries.

Jumpstart Workshop Attendees

SVP Seattle

Photography by Bryce Merrill

The attendees represented a wide variety of SVP Fast Pitch applicants, organizations not yet mature enough to apply, and even individuals who came in search of personal education.

“We came to this workshop because we’d like to find out how our organization can reach more people,” said a representative from The Borgen Project, a national campaign to fight global poverty.

In attendance were some local established nonprofits such as TAF (Technology Access Foundation), which provides students of color with technology- and science-focused education, and The Edge Foundation, which currently provides social emotional learning opportunities to children in seven school districts.

Future Events

Please check for future SVP Fast Pitch events. Save the Date for the SVP Fast Pitch Showdown on October 28 at McCaw Hall.

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Come Meet Dan Levitan of Maveron

Dan LevitanSeattle is privileged to have a number of outstanding VCs. In the select group that have put our community on the national/global map for venture capital is Dan Levitan. If you are not familiar with Dan, he’s the guy who co-founded venture capital firm Maveron with Howard Schultz.

Dan has led many Maveron investments, including Seattle-based companies zulily, Trupanion and Cranium.  He has directed a number of successful exits, including eBay (NASDAQ: EBAY),  Potbelly (NASDAQ:PBPB), Auctionpay (acquired by Global Payments Inc. NASDAQ: GPN), Capella Education Company (NASDAQ: CPLA), Cranium (acquired by Hasbro NASDAQ: HAS), Quellos (acquired by Blackrock NASDAQ: BLK), Good Technology (acquired by Motorola NASDAQ: MOT), and Shutterfly (NASDAQ: SFLY). Forbes recently named him to its Midas List—the magazine’s annual ranking of the top 100 venture capitalists in the world.

If there was ever a time to explore the mind of an explosively successful venture capitalist, this is it.

We don’t limit ourselves to breakfast here – come join us for a chat with Dan in the afternoon, 4:30-6 PM.


Thursday, July 24th, 2014
4:30 – 6:00 PM

Davis Wright Tremaine LLP
1201 Third Avenue, Suite 2200
Seattle, WA 98101

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