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In this Capital Insight Podcast episode, hosts Jenny and Michelle chat with Greg Brodsky, Founder and Co-Director of Start.coop, an accelerator for shared ownership companies. Greg shares his journey raising capital for co-ops and his focus on promoting socially just business funding.

Greg shares what he loves about the co-op model: “People are able to tackle really unique social problems, and do it through a cooperative solution that expands voice to people who typically don’t have a voice, and expands financial return to people who might be coming from disadvantaged backgrounds.”

His extensive experience in the space has helped him identify a key challenge for these businesses: struggling to raise capital. “For cooperatives, it’s a real missing gap in the ecosystem,” says Greg. “Some of the business models we see are fantastic. If they were just a regular corporation looking for investors in Silicon Valley, it might be really easy for them. But because cooperatives are not designed to IPO or to sell in five years to Google or Amazon, it’s harder to raise the capital.”

To address this challenge, Greg’s company created the Equitable Economy Fund, a small impact fund available to accelerator participants. “We may not be able to cut the biggest check, but if we can act like the lead investor and work with the entrepreneur to come up with the right term sheet, then it’s easier for them to go out to other people and say, ‘Look, now we have a structure and our first investor.’ We’re giving them a little bit of guidance and the confidence that there are people that want to invest in these models.”

His company also works to educate investors on the benefit of working with these unique businesses. He emphasizes the importance of connecting with potential investors on a personal level, ensuring they understand not just the monetary value, but the social return of their investment. Listen to the full episode below to learn more about Greg’s work.

Greg is the Founder and Co-Director of Start.coop, which is the nation’s premier accelerator for shared ownership companies. Greg brings a powerful background of financial strategy, tech, and entrepreneurship. Greg’s work has ranged from business development to strategic planning for multiple cooperatives. Prior to launching Start.coop, Greg founded and led the Bike Cooperative, a division of CCA Global Partners, and also helped to launch the nation’s only purchasing co-op for craft breweries. Greg also previously served on the board of the Cooperative Development Institute for 10 years and was board chair for 3 years. Greg also convenes the Equitable Economy Fund, an impact fund convening angel investors who are interested in shared ownership.

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The Capital Insight podcast intro and outro is voiced by Marina Verlaine. She can be contacted at reel.peach.vo@gmail.com