It has been just a little over a month since we launched our community investment campaign (known as a Direct Public Offering). And it has been going pretty well so far. We’re raising about $10,000 a week from selling our company shares, ranging from the $1,000 minimum investment to $10,000 or more. We’re getting an average of three “hits” a day, which we define as when people make an inquiry about our investment opportunity or take the questionnaire on our website (the first step in investing). We’ve seen a lot of traffic coming in other ways as well, such as people signing up for our events, info sessions, house parties, requesting a one-on-one conversation with us and signing up as a Champion to help spread the word.
We have secured about $200,000 so far. An initial wave of investments came from a handful of investors who we already knew and, in many cases, had already committed to investing in us even before we launched the campaign. Most of those investments have been in the $10,000 – $25,000 range.
Following this initial wave of larger investments, the majority of investments have been much smaller….in the range of $1,000 – $5,000. This shows that we’re attracting people of very diverse economic backgrounds and financial abilities. Since being inclusive and accessible is an important value to us, we’re very pleased to see that “average folks”, in addition to more affluent investors, are investing in us and becoming Shareholders.
In fact, it’s these “average folks” who are demonstrating the potential power of this community investment approach. While we’re grateful for the more affluent investors who have invested in us, we also recognize that, for many of them, making an investment doesn’t necessarily impact their current or future financial abilities. But we know that, for individuals and families who are stepping up to make an investment despite the fact that, in many cases, they don’t have a lot of money, the strain of making this investment is very real. These investors are making a big sacrifice out of their values and their desires to see this venture become real and for West Oakland to have a full-service grocery store.
We are absolutely blown away and profoundly humbled by the courage and commitment that these small investors have shown us and are deeply honored to have their trust and commitment. What we’ve learned in the last month, as dozens of stories unfold about average people investing in us, is that there’s a real upswell of local citizen action toward creating more thriving communities and local economies. Our theory in launching this community investment campaign was that lots of people are ready to participate in supporting alternative ways of creating locally-owned, mission-driven business. While we still have a way to go before we will know if this is going to be a lasting trend, so far our theory is being proven true.