Will it turn investors off if you tell them about your mission?

Will it turn investors off if you tell them about your mission?

I’ve talked to many entrepreneurs who have told me they deemphasize the mission of their business when talking to investors.  They assume that investors care most about financial returns, and they worry that talking about their mission could get in the way of getting funding.

This is a terrible idea!  Most investors actually want very much to invest in mission-driven businesses that are values-aligned.  If your mission is important to you, you need to say it loud and proud. Furthermore, any investor who does not like the fact that your company is mission-driven is not a good fit for you, and you should not waste time with them.

More and more investors are coming to understand that, in the long run, mission-driven businesses are likely to be more profitable and successful.  When talking to potential investors, if you sense a lack of values alignment, it’s best to move on. Always seek out investors who are focused on your business’ long-term success, not on making a quick buck.

If you stay true to what matters most, you can and will find investors who share your vision and want to support you on your terms.

Interested in learning more? Get in touch!

If you are interested in working together, send us an inquiry and we will get back to you as soon as we can!

Sign Up For Our Newsletter

As a thank you for subscribing to our email newsletter, you will receive a free copy of my tip sheet: How to Talk to Investors.

  • Email

Do you have to give up control of your company if you raise capital?

Do you have to give up control of your company if you raise capital?

So many of us have heard horror stories of founders giving up control to investors and then being pushed to do things with their business they didn’t want to do or even getting fired from their own company!  

The good news is that it is absolutely possible to raise money AND maintain control of your business.  I’ve been helping clients raise money for over 10 years, and I have never had a client who gave up control to investors!

Every business and business owner is unique — ideally, investment terms should be tailored to each situation. Unfortunately, most lawyers and finance professionals are unwilling or unable to be creative.  

You live and breathe your business, and you have a vision of what the business will look like when it has reached its ideal size and level of impact. This vision is what should inform the terms on which you accept investment. If you accept terms that are dictated by an investor, you risk sacrificing your vision, goals, and values in the name of complying with whatever the legal documents dictate.

If you structure the investment offering in a way that reflects what you value most, you will attract investors who support you, believe in your vision, and trust you to lead the business in a healthy and sustainable direction—all while YOU maintain control of YOUR business.

Interested in learning more? Get in touch!

If you are interested in working together, send us an inquiry and we will get back to you as soon as we can!

Sign Up For Our Newsletter

As a thank you for subscribing to our email newsletter, you will receive a free copy of my tip sheet: How to Talk to Investors.

  • Email

Video: The Death of Venture Capitalism & rise of the #WeEconomy

Video: The Death of Venture Capitalism & rise of the #WeEconomy

Attorney & Creative Capital Queen Jenny Kassan talks about why Venture Capital models are not the right way for 99% of businesses to grow. Join the #WeEconomy and find investors for your business who love you, believe in what you give to your community, and want to see you be successful!

Interested in learning more? Get in touch!

If you are interested in working together, send us an inquiry and we will get back to you as soon as we can!

Sign Up For Our Newsletter

As a thank you for subscribing to our email newsletter, you will receive a free copy of my tip sheet: How to Talk to Investors.

  • Email

How to fairly split the equity pie

How to fairly split the equity pie

You’ve founded a company and you want to bring on some helpers and compensate them with equity. How much equity should you give them?

Most founders pull a number out of a hat when making this decision and hope for the best. This can lead to lots of problems, especially when you give different amounts to different people. Someone who gets less than someone else might feel undervalued and lose motivation. Hurt feelings and resentments can poison the company culture.

One of my clients recently told me about an approach to this issue called Slicing Pie. Slicing Pie works by tracking everyone’s contributions of time, money, resources, etc. and does not split the equity until a trigger event, such as raising money from investors, occurs. This means that the equity you receive reflects the actual contributions you made to the company.

I recently drafted a legal agreement for Slicing Pie. The way it works is that all early company helpers receive an equal amount of equity, but the equity doesn’t vest (i.e. become truly owned by the shareholder) until a trigger event. The amount of equity that vests depends on how much time, money, and resources each helper ACTUALLY contributed before the trigger event.

This method of dividing equity makes so much more sense because everyone understands up front what they need to do to earn more equity – there is nothing arbitrary or unfair about it. It also serves as a great motivator for contribution.

To your success!

Interested in learning more? Get in touch!

If you are interested in working together, send us an inquiry and we will get back to you as soon as we can!

Sign Up For Our Newsletter

As a thank you for subscribing to our email newsletter, you will receive a free copy of my tip sheet: How to Talk to Investors.

  • Email

You’ve founded a company and you want to bring on some helpers and compensate them with equity. How much equity should you give them?

Most founders pull a number out of a hat when making this decision and hope for the best. This can lead to lots of problems, especially when you give different amounts to different people. Someone who gets less than someone else might feel undervalued and lose motivation. Hurt feelings and resentments can poison the company culture.

One of my clients recently told me about an approach to this issue called Slicing Pie. Slicing Pie works by tracking everyone’s contributions of time, money, resources, etc. and does not split the equity until a trigger event, such as raising money from investors, occurs. This means that the equity you receive reflects the actual contributions you made to the company.

I recently drafted a legal agreement for Slicing Pie. The way it works is that all early company helpers receive an equal amount of equity, but the equity doesn’t vest (i.e. become truly owned by the shareholder) until a trigger event. The amount of equity that vests depends on how much time, money, and resources each helper ACTUALLY contributed before the trigger event.

This method of dividing equity makes so much more sense because everyone understands up front what they need to do to earn more equity – there is nothing arbitrary or unfair about it. It also serves as a great motivator for contribution.

To your success!

Bridging the Gap Between Philanthropy and Impact Investing

Bridging the Gap Between Philanthropy and Impact Investing

Many philanthropists would like to dip a toe into impact investing, but they’re not sure where to start.  Below are a few organizations and projects that combine the best of nonprofits and social enterprise.  Many can accept both donations and investments (not all are currently accepting investments).

  1. Impact Assets – make a tax-deductible charitable donation and they will invest your donation in the social enterprise of your choice – investment returns grow the pool of investable assets
  2. SheEO – make a tax-deductible charitable donation and then help choose women entrepreneurs that will receive investment out of the the donated funds
  3. Force for Good Fund – 501(c)(3) investment fund offering eight-year revenue sharing notes – investing in social enterprises with a focus on women and people of color
  4. Economic Development and Financing Corporation – a nonprofit CDFI in Mendocino that raised money from the general public in California to invest in a start up wool mill
  5. RSF Social Finance – nonprofit offering investment notes to the general public – considered very low risk
  6. Nia House, a school in Berkeley – offered notes to the families it serves to build an addition; used community notes to leverage grants and institutional loans
  7. Beneficial State Bank is a for-profit bank whose stock is owned by a nonprofit foundation – bank profits go to the foundation so that it can make community grants – a great place to park your money!

Please share your examples!

Interested in learning more? Get in touch!

If you are interested in working together, send us an inquiry and we will get back to you as soon as we can!

Sign Up For Our Newsletter

As a thank you for subscribing to our email newsletter, you will receive a free copy of my tip sheet: How to Talk to Investors.

  • Email

Jenny Kassan Consulting is now a Certified B Corp!

Jenny Kassan Consulting is now a Certified B Corp!

My company was recently certified as a B Corp.

Certified B Corporations are leaders of a global movement of people using business as a force for good. They meet the highest standards of overall social and environmental performance, transparency and accountability and aspire to use the power of business to solve social and environmental problems. There are almost 2,000 Certified B Corporations in over 130 industries and 50 countries with 1 unifying goal – to redefine success in business.

I chose to become a B Corp because I believe that businesses working for positive change in the world is what we need to create a just and prosperous world for all.

In order to become a B Corp, I worked with my friend Carolina Miranda of Cultivating Capital who helped me complete the assessment process and gather materials like supplier and charitable donation policies.

One of my favorite parts of the B Corp movement is the “Declaration of Interdependence” that all B Corps sign.

The declaration says in part “We are each dependent upon one another and thus responsible for each other and future generations.”

I just love being part of a movement of businesses that recognizes that we are all in this together and must care for each other.

I did a little research and learned that others have also written declarations of interdependence starting as early as the 1930’s.  Here is an excerpt from a recent one from David Suzuki: “At this turning point in our relationship with Earth, we work for an evolution from dominance to partnership; from fragmentation to connection; from insecurity to interdependence.”  Amen!

Interested in learning more? Get in touch!

If you are interested in working together, send us an inquiry and we will get back to you as soon as we can!

Sign Up For Our Newsletter

As a thank you for subscribing to our email newsletter, you will receive a free copy of my tip sheet: How to Talk to Investors.

  • Email