During this week's roundtable, I spotted yet another trend. We had two crowdsourced funding ventures, peerbackers and Ekjaa. When two out of four pitches in a session are from the same category, it most certainly makes me take notice.
Earlier, of course, we covered AngelList at length, also a crowd sourcing venture in the angel financing space, and this week, we have covered SecondMarket, which is powering Facebook's private market capital raising.
Today, Andrew Rachmell from Boca Raton, Florida, discussed peerbackers, a crowdsourced fund raising platform to help very early stage entrepreneurs raise small denomination funding ($50, $100) from friends, family, and peers to help finance the prototype development phase with about $25,000 in seed financing.
My first reaction is that raising $25,000 in $50 to $100 chunks will be very, very difficult. I suggested that Andrew tap into some family offices and corporate CSR programs to inject some liquidity to the exchange, otherwise entrepreneurs would not engage.
Andrew also asked how he could partner with the 1M/1M program. Well, we have a well-developed affiliate program, and I encouraged him to join.
The 1M/1M philosophy is to strengthen the entire entrepreneurial ecosystem. Today, many quality advocates and providers to the ecosystem are either underpaid or not paid at all. The 1M/1M affiliate program will create additional revenues for some, and for some, this could be their first decent revenue option.
At 1M/1M, we value quality partnerships, so we offer generous affiliate commission structures (10% of a $1,000 annual 1M/1M Premium Membership fee) with an extended cookie duration (12 months). That means, for every new entrepreneur you refer to the 1M/1M program, we'll share with you $100, if the sale occurs at any time within 12 months.
Next, Michael Issa, from the San Francisco, CA, pitched Quipu Applications, which is a cloud based business plan financial modeling application. Michael has almost 90,000 free users and is looking for a way to be in the deal flow of people looking for business plan software. That customer is typically searching on Google, and Michael needs to orchestrate his SEO, blogging, and guerrilla p.r. efforts to get them. Meanwhile, he can start monetizing his 90,000 user base also with the 1M/1M affiliate program discussed above.
Then Nadia Ahmad from Centennial, Colorado, presented Endeavour Press, a concept-stage e-publishing venture for the legal industry. Nadia's idea is rather nebulous yet, and I advised her to go through the 1M/1M curriculum to get it into a more concrete framework.
Nadia's situation is one that we're starting to see often these days. She doesn't have any background in business, and has a concept that she has started developing. This is a perfect stage to join 1M/1M and follow the methodology. By doing so, she can prevent herself from making a lot of avoidable mistakes and would have a direct path to validation or invalidation of her idea without wasting valuable months and years of her life on unworthy projects.
Ekjaa FoundationFinally, Harsha Mukherjee from Hyderabad, India, pitched Ekjaa Foundation, yet another crowd sourced funding exchange for NGO and social entrepreneurship. Harsha is facing a question whether or not to cast her venture as a non-profit. My advice is to use the for-profit model.
You can select the business you like best of those discussed today through a poll on the 1M/1M Facebook page.
I would very much like to hear about your business, so let me invite you to come and pitch at one of our free 1M/1M public roundtables. We will be holding future roundtables at 8:00 a.m. PDT on the following dates:
And if you want a deeper relationship with me, you are very welcome to join the 1M/1M premium program. If you have any questions about the program, please, first study the website, especially What to expect from the 1M/1M premium program and the FAQs. You can also take the 1M/1M self assessment test here. If you have additional questions, please email me, and I would be very happy to respond. Please note, that I work exclusively with 1M/1M entrepreneurs.
I also invite you to join the 1M/1M mailing list for ease and convenience of getting updates. This way we can stay in touch and it will help you to decide if 1M/1M is a program for you.
About Sramana Mitra
Sramana Mitra is the founder of the One Million by One Million (1M/1M) initiative, an educational, business development and incubation program that aims to help one million entrepreneurs globally to reach $1 million in revenue and beyond. She is a Silicon Valley entrepreneur and strategy consultant. She writes the blog Sramana Mitra On Strategy and is author of the Entrepreneur Journeys book series and Vision India 2020. From 2008 to 2010, Mitra was a columnist for Forbes. As an entrepreneur CEO, she ran three companies: DAIS, Intarka, and Uuma. She has a master's degree in electrical engineering and computer science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Money photo by epSos