Brahm Ahmadi is a social entrepreneur working to build healthier and more equitable inner-city communities by bringing change and innovation to critical facets of the food system. When traditional fundraising methods proved an ill fit for his company, Brahm decided to look elsewhere to raise capital. In this interview, Brahm shares the unique challenges he and his team faced and how they targeted their messaging to attract investors that aligned with their mission and values.
Community Foods Market
Brahm Ahmadi is a social entrepreneur working to build healthier and more equitable inner-city communities by creating change and innovation to critical facets of the food system. In 2003, he co-founded People’s Grocery, a nonprofit organization that has attracted national attention for its effort to transform inner-city food systems through projects in food enterprise, urban agriculture, and nutrition education that include the nation’s first Mobile Market. In 2010, he founded Community Foods Market (formerly People’s Community Market) to create a fresh food retail business model that fosters health and social interaction in low-income communities. He has a B.A. in Sociology from the University of California and an MBA from the Presidio Graduate School. He’s a Food and Community Fellow at the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy and a Fellow at Food First: Institute for Food and Development Policy.
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3105 San Pablo Ave. Oakland, CA 94608
In this episode, hosts Jenny Kassan and Michelle Thimesch discuss the different skills and challenges they have seen entrepreneurs master during the fundraising process. Your hosts consider some of the mindset issues that could be holding you back from growth, including imposter syndrome, indecision, and over-attachment to one’s comfort zone. They also share suggestions you can utilize in order to overcome these mindset challenges so that you can successfully raise capital for your business.
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Kristin has been investing in many ways for many years. She has actually been involved in the world of finance from a very young age. She became an impact investor in 2007, and her mission has been directing money towards the economy sustainably and inclusively. In this episode, Kristin shares her method of evaluating an investment opportunity, what entrepreneurs can do to make themselves and their business compelling for potential investors, and how you can raise capital in a way that’s not cookie cutter.
Nia Impact Capital, Founder, CEO
Kristin is the founder and CEO of Nia Impact Capital, a women-led Registered Investment Advisor leading the charge to change the face of finance by hiring and training women and people of color in sustainable and transformative investing. Kristin founded Nia Global Solutions, a gender-lens portfolio of solutions-focused companies, in her efforts to bring impact investing into the public markets. An impact Investor since 2007, Kristin oversaw the investment process for the first family foundations as they moved their endowment assets into 100% alignment with their philanthropic mission. In 2010 Kristin went on to found Nia Community, a 100% mission-aligned impact investment fund focused on social change and environmental sustainability in her hometown of Oakland, California. Kristin is a co-founder of the North Oakland Community Charter School and served on the founding board of George Mark Children’s House. Prior to devoting her career to transforming our financial system, Kristin was a full-time educator, teaching bilingual classes in Oakland and San Francisco. She earned her Ph.D. in Education at the University of California, Berkeley, her Masters in Research in Bilingual Education from Stanford University, and her BA and teaching credentials from Tufts University.
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When Shaun started her first company, LVNGbook, she decided to try the bootstrap method to fund her company. Shaun knew that she wanted to grow her company slowly, so she chose from the beginning not to go the venture capital route. Instead, it was important to her to grow the company to align with her values and fit with her vision of the company culture she wanted to create. That led her to look for angel investors or individuals interested in the company and its mission.
Shaun Chavis, founder, and CEO of LVNGbook
Shaun Chavis is the founder and CEO of LVNGbook, a company that offers customizable cookbooks and wellness journals to help people eat to prevent or manage chronic conditions.
Shaun’s career includes 20 years as a journalist and media professional for organizations such as Time Inc. and ABC News / The Walt Disney Company. Her work has won two Luce Awards (Time Inc.’s highest honor), a James Beard Award, and made the New York Times Nonfiction Bestsellers list. She was co-founder of FoodBlogSouth, which became the largest food blogging conference in the Southeast US. She’s also helped develop a control label line of ice creams sold exclusively in Whole Foods Market stores in North America, and she owned her own boutique content marketing agency, Saltshaker Marketing. She has a culinary degree and a Master of Liberal Arts in Gastronomy from Boston University.
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lvngbook.com (Company Website)
When Darren started his business, there weren’t the same resources for non-technical founders trying to do technical things. After getting involved with some local organizations to help with the technical side, it became clear that revenue alone wouldn’t be enough to support the app to what they wanted it to be. That realization is what led them to try to raise capital. Darren has now been raising money on and off for several years, and he shares the challenges he faced, the tips and tricks he used along the way, and his advice for anyone looking to raise money for their business.
Traipse PBC, Founder/CEO
Darren is the founder of Traipse Inc. and is responsible for day-to-day operations and strategic planning. He holds an MA in Urban and Regional Planning from Virginia Tech. He has more than 15 years of experience in urban planning and economic development, including policy work, advocacy and technical assistance for a nonprofit, and grant-writing, making him familiar with the world of local economic development and tourism.
Darren has also designed individually or led design teams in developing interactive games and activities for training programs and public workshops, which provides expertise in how to shape the experience of Traipse app users and give them both educational and entertainment payoffs. Through past computer programming and application development endeavors in previous professional roles, he is familiar with relevant technologies and programs to guide the implementation of the Traipse vision.
Darren lives with his wife Caroline and son William in Washington, D.C. He enjoys playing board games and participating in group activities such as scavenger hunts. He also enjoys traveling and exploring new places with friends and family.
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