Vermont Evaporator Co. - The Capital Challenge
After a couple seasons of backyard maple sugaring, during which Kate and Justin McCabe spent a lot of money on propane to boil down (sometimes burn) sap on their erstwhile barbecue grill, they figured there must be a better way. Justin, an engineer and patent attorney by day, rigged up a 55 gallon drum with an exhaust stack, baffled tray and other gadgets to make an affordable, outdoor evaporator (no sugar shack required), that could handle sap from 5 to 50 taps.
It’s been a year since we launched our first Milk Money campaign. It was a great learning experience for Louisa and me, as well as for the Burlington Herb Clinic, and we’d like to share some of our insights as you consider raising money via Milk Money.
Our first client achieved a fully funded campaign without ever launching it on the Milk Money website. How can that be, you ask? I’ll tell you the story and then pose a question right back to you – can we truly call this success? Read on and please let me know what you think.
Had a lot of fun talking with Carl Etnier on his radio program, Relocalizing Vermont, which airs every Thursday morning 9-10:30am on WGDR, Goddard College Community Radio. On the show, we explored how to strengthen Vermont’s local economy through local investment opportunities.
I remember when Jericho Settlers Farm was just Christa Alexander & Mark Fasching sitting under a pop-up canopy with a card table loaded with vegetables on Christa’s mom’s front yard. That was 2002 and on summer weekends I’d make sure to stuff a grocery bag in the back pocket of my bike jersey so I could stop on my way home from a ride to load up on their fresh local produce.
Joe Wallin is an attorney in Seattle, WA, who does a lot of work with start-ups and played a key part in the creation of Washington State’s equity crowdfunding law. We met Joe at ComCap2016 in Portland, OR, last April, and had a great conversation over dinner (and a few of Portland’s finest brews) about the state of equity crowdfunding and where it could go in the future. He was so intrigued by what’s going on in Vermont that he invited us to continue the conversation on his podcast, The Law of Startups.
Jim Verzino is Entrepreneur in Residence with Windham Grows, a program of Strolling of the Heifers helping to build the food and agriculture business sector in Windham County, Vermont. We met Jim at the Slow Living Summit in June where he participated in the session we led with John Hamilton to explore “New Ways for Local People to Invest in Your Business.”
We take the conversation further on Jim’s podcast, Greater Good Entrepreneur.
When I was single and in my early 30’s living in Boston, I got into cycling. For no other reason than a friend saying, “Hey I’m doing a bike ride out in Concord this weekend, I’ve got an extra bike, why don’t you come too?” So I did, and after 40 miles of pedaling my friend’s too-big-for-me mountain bike around the beautiful suburbs and countryside outside Boston, I was hooked. Got my hands on a used road bike (actually, a pretty sweet old Specialized racing bike that still hangs proudly in my basement) and I started riding.
Under the VSBO regulation, only Vermonters may see the offering documents and may invest in Vermont companies. More specifically, the verification of Vermont residency is a protection for the issuer (the entrepreneur) to ensure they are properly using the intra-state exemption (i.e. VSBO), which requires that both the offer and sale of securities be within the state of Vermont.
How do we prove you're a Vermonter? By looking at your drivers license. And you have 2 choices of how you get your drivers license to us:
1. Upload an image of it when you're filling out your Investor Submission or
Our second investor event took place last week in Burlington at the BCHC. even though it snowed more than 20 people ventured out to learn more about Milk Money and meet 4 Vermont entrepreneurs.
Jack Gilbert from Gringo Jack's down in southern Vermont made the trip and told us more about his flakey chips, salsas, new BBQ sauces and his growth potential. Of course, there were plenty of samples, which were all gone by the end of the evening. You can learn more about Gringo Jack's click here.
This is a redux of a blog post I wrote on July 31, 2010, when I was deep in the process of raising capital for my company, TrueBody Products. Still applicable today.
For anyone who’s tried to raise investment capital for a start-up business, “Friends and Family” is the first place you’re told to look. It usually has a third “F word” tacked on the end: Fools.