Friday, August 30, 2013

SoCap and CoCap

By now you've heard of the SoCap conference. Started in 2008 (the very week Lehman Brothers went belly up) SoCAP is all about social finance, impact investing, social returns - everything related to social capital markets. From somewhat humble beginnings it's grown into pretty much a "must attend" for social investors, social enterprises, and lots of philanthropists.

So they're launching something new. This year the CoCAP conference precedes SoCAP. What's CoCAP you ask? Community Capital. Tongue-in-cheek it's social capital for the 99%. Or, as the organizers put it:
"A hundred years ago, individuals invested in their own community. It was really common for you as a businessperson to own an interest in 5-10 businesses in your town," says John Katovich, President of Cutting Edge Capital. "It was a strengthening of common bonds - a vote of confidence in each other. But slowly we lost that. We're bringing it back."

The problem faced by ordinary investors is what financial reformers call "Investment Apartheid." Under the law, companies can only easily offer investment opportunities to "accredited investors" - those with a net worth beyond a million dollars and $200,000 in annual income. To offer the same investment to someone with less than a million dollars in net worth is illegal.

But pioneers of the Community Capital movement are bringing together both non-accredited investors, who demand the right to invest, and entrepreneurs, who are seeking new ways of raising funds. Financial innovators are using old and new laws that are giving everyone more financial freedom."
The conference will feature the launch of a new "online investment platform called CuttingEdgeX (CEX)" and includes breakout discussions on:
  • Beyond Crowdfunding: The Entrepreneur's Guide to Raising Community Capital
  • Main Street Markets: The Investor's Playbook for Local Opportunities
  • Capital for Communities: A Leader's Roadmap to Growing Local Economies
The event is hosted by
Cutting Edge Capital, the Local Investing Resource Center, HUB Oakland, Sustainable Business Alliance (a network of BALLE - Business Alliance for Local Living Economies), and Springboard Innovation. (That any investors are holding a conference on Labor Day is perhaps more than a little ironic, but maybe that's just me) I can't be there but am eager to hear how it goes. Drop me a comment if you attend.

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