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.
The company is Vermont Chevon, an operation that buys newborn male goats from goat dairies where they are basically useless (males don’t produce milk, of course) and often end up on the compost pile. The company then raises them for their meat. Vermont Chevon’s founder, Shirley Richardson, a retired educator and long-time goat farmer, first started raising cashmere goats as a hobby. When she learned about what was happening with the unwanted male goats at a nearby goat dairy, she recognized an opportunity. She started buying them, raising them, and selling the goat meat in local restaurants and markets that served Vermont’s growing New American population for which goat meat is a staple of their diet.
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.
Seeing my enthusiasm, this same friend talked me into doing the Pan Mass Challenge with her a few months later.
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.
In October 2011 I started a blog called Moogle Vermont that promotes Vermont “one cool thing at a time”. There are so many great things happening in this state that I thought it was important to highlight all these businesses and ideas in one place that would be marketed to Vermonters and tourists alike. Vermont is much more than leaves, mountains and maple syrup. There are a lot of amazing companies doing incredible things and most Vermonters don’t even know about them.
The concept for Milk Money popped into my head way before anyone was using the term crowdfunding. Back then in 2007, I called it my “million moms” idea: I figured lots of moms across the country would want my all-natural, affordably-priced soap for their families and would love to help a mom entrepreneur get her company started. So why not get small investments from a lot of people (e.g. $1 from a million moms = $1 million) to raise capital for my first entrepreneurial venture, TrueBody Products.