Hoop Fund

Occupy your supply chain - can crowdsourcing be a game changer for sustainable brands?

Sustainable Life Media

Sustainable brands have the opportunity to take advantage of this new level of connectivity with producers and consumers to do what their profit-only competitors cannot: build passionate, engaged customers around real stories of impact.

My team at the Hoop and I just had great piece published by Sustainable Life Media where we discuss how crowdsourcing is the key to unlocking massive customer engagement opportunities that only sustainable brands can master.

Millions of people across the globe have been inspired by the recent "occupy" movement that has ignited in Wall Street, a movement that at its heart is about the rights to participate, share, and have a voice in global forces shaping our lives. We believe that sustainable brands and companies investing in sustainable supply chains are a phenomenal foundation for everyday people to start participating in supply chains of products that come through our lives every day.

These companies not only have the impact that inspire real participation, but stories that can - and should - be owned and shared by everyone involved across the whole value chain: from producer, to brand, to retailer, to customer. Crowdsourcing is a unique and powerful way to enable that mass ownership.

Check out the article!

The Hoop Fund in Forbes, the Wall Street Journal, and more

The Hoop in the Wall Street Journal

We had a great summer in terms of press coverage at the Hoop Fund, with stories in the Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Reuters, Triple Pundit, and Fair Trade USA.

Below are couple of excerpts from Forbes and the Wall Street Journal.

Forbes - Greed has gone good

By Elimra Bayrasli

Patrick Donohue, Co-Founder & CEO of the Hoop Fund, an e-Bay meets Kiva crowd funding platform that allows individuals to purchase “ethically” products and to invest in the farmers and artisans behind them, is hoping for the same. “We are looking for partners and investors to help us take the Hoop to the next level,” says Donohue. They just kicked off a new seed round of $350k, of which they’ve raised $75k from Hub Ventures and First Light Ventures.” Donohue notes that both are “pioneers in the SOCAP community.”

Community caught my eye. It’s not a term you’d find flowing from Wall Street’s lips. Donohue believes that’s changing.

“When the market’s crashed in 2008, I think a lot of people realized just how much we need community. Not only did out of control money put us in a bad situation, but we realized that we can’t rely 100% on 401ks and the market to take care of us. Trying to make so much money so that you don’t need anyone is a ridiculous and lonely pursuit. So impact investing not only helps build the types of community infrastructure we need to thrive, but it also forces us to view our financial returns along side the society we’re building and what we’re doing to our ecosystems. It keeps us connected. That’s a very good thing.”

Hub Ventures - Accelerating Social Enterprises

Hub Ventures Spring 2011 Cohort

What happens when you put 16 up & coming social entrepreneurs together for 12 weeks to work out which 3 should split a $225,000 pot?

A whole lot of collaboration and stronger social enterprises.

Hub Ventures is a 12-week evening program in the SF Bay Area that provides funding and mentorship to a community of 16 entrepreneurs building solutions for a better world. My company, the Hoop Fund, was one of the 16 ventures accepted to the program, which is being built as a kind of Y-Combinator for social ventures.

The overarching goal of Hub Ventures is to make each of our ventures ready for our next stage of growth, and to match us with investors that will get us there.

At the heart of the program is a peer-review "Village Capital" process that leverages collective intelligence for success and empowers participating entrepreneurs to think like investors. In addition to the $225k in funding from Hub Ventures itself, the 16 of us have been meeting each week to get our ventures ready for Investor Day on June 16, where we'll all pitch to room full of investors looking to invest in social enterprises.

Some of the other ventures include:

  • Smart Markets: pioneering a system enabling households to "Save & Trade" unused energy & water.
  • NextDrop: winner of this year's Global Social Venture Challenge, is building a "lite" smart grid in South Asia that enables families to know when they're water is being turned on, saving thousands of lost hours waiting for water.
  • enabling families in South Asia know when they're water's coming,
  • LoudSauce - the world’s first crowdfunded media buying platform, where users promote ideas that matter through mainstream advertising channels like TV, billboards, and more.
  • Zamzee - an online rewards program for teens powered by their physical activity and a pocketsize Zamzee device that tracks their daily movement.

The Hoop at SOCAP10

Kartika and Maia at the Hoop Booth at SOCAP10

When we started working together on the Hoop Fund back in March we knew we wanted to use SOCAP as a launching point. The Social Capital conference, in its third year, is a pioneering conference that brings together investors, entrepreneurs, advocates and more at the intersection of money and meaning. And of course since the Hoop is about everyday people becoming social capitalists and creating personal meaning in what they buy, we were pretty sure that SOCAP10 would be a great fit for us.

We were right.

SOCAP10, hosted last week at the Fort Mason Center here in San Francisco, brought the Hoop close to 250 new lenders and another 250 advocates who picked up a laptop sleeve made by our producer partners at XS: a phenomenal organization based in Indonesia that works with trash pickers and local sewers.

We offered attendees the opportunity to pick up a laptop sleeve, dedicate a SOCAP-funded loan to help XS’s pickers and sewers improve their market access, or do both by funding a loan themselves. A huge number of people chose the third option, putting up their own money to fund the loan while also enjoying and showing off the bag, which was designed from Mitsubishi seat-cover material that XS diverted from a landfill. More people stepped up to also fund our other loans too, with our project with the Acopagro Chocolate Cooperative in Peru almost being filled by Day 3...

[Read more at JoinTheHoop.com]

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