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Episode 62: Driving Community Investment for Sustainable Agriculture with Rebecca Busansky

Episode 62: Driving Community Investment for Sustainable Agriculture with Rebecca Busansky

In this episode of the Capital Insight Podcast, hosts Jenny and Michelle chat with Rebecca Busansky, Senior Program Manager at Franklin County Community Development Corporation, about her role in supporting local investing in farms and agricultural businesses in Western Massachusetts.

The PVGrows Investment Fund pools investments from community residents and supportive institutions to provide low-cost loans to farmers and food entrepreneurs in the Pioneer Valley.

In this podcast episode, Rebecca shares how the PVGrows Investment Fund is democratizing impact investing in regenerative agriculture.

Since the fund’s launch in 2015, it has raised over 2.2 million dollars, helping finance 55 farms and food system entrepreneurs with zero defaults. Listen to the episode to learn more.

Rebecca Busansky is a Senior Program Manager at the Franklin County Community Development Corporation where she manages the PVGrows Investment Fund (PVGIF) and Mass Food Trust Program (MFTP). PVGIF provides financing and technical assistance to farmers and local food entrepreneurs through community investments. MFTP provides healthy food financing to underserved communities. Rebecca joined the Franklin County Community Development Corporation team in 2015 to launch PVGIF, with a focus on developing and maintaining relationships with local food system entrepreneurs, community investors, and collaborators. Rebecca has an undergraduate degree from Brown University in American Civilization and has worked in the community economic development field for more than 25 years.

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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

Episode 61: Gaining Confidence to Ask for an Investment

Episode 61: Gaining Confidence to Ask for an Investment

In this episode of the Capital Insight Podcast, cohosts Jenny Kassan and Michelle Thimesch share a method to boost your confidence to ask for investment.

If you’re an entrepreneur looking for investors to fund your business, you may be struggling with making an ask. If you feel anxious about asking for money, know you’re not alone. These feelings are very common and can be addressed with an amazing and effective exercise that helps you step back from limiting beliefs. Says Michelle, “It’s your thoughts around this asking; that is the limitation.”

Self-doubt can have physical and mental ramifications that keep you from building connections and developing relationships with potential investors. These limiting beliefs “can impact how we’re showing up, and what energy we’re bringing to a situation.” In the episode, Jenny and Michelle offer an exercise to control these types of fears to keep you calm and focused when promoting your business and asking for an investment.

According to Jenny, “The best way to get over that fear is just to keep believing you can get the words out and then continue to learn from that process of doing it over again.” If you keep practicing, you’re sure to get more comfortable and improve. Practice and perseverance are key to making the ask. Listen to the full episode for more insights!

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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

Episode 60: Raising Capital Step Two: Identify the Right Investors

Episode 60: Raising Capital Step Two: Identify the Right Investors

In this episode of the Capital Insight Podcast, cohosts Jenny Kassan and Michelle Thimesch explore the second step of designing your strategy to raise capital on your terms: identifying the right investors for your business.

According to Jenny Kassan, “This step requires the biggest shift in perspective for many people.” When you’re raising capital for your business, you don’t need to go the traditional route of “professional investors.” At the end of the day, anyone can be an investor. Shifting your mindset on this can help you raise the money you need — from investors who align with your business goals — more quickly and efficiently.

Jenny and Michelle recommend keeping an open mind when developing your capital-raising approach to help diversify your potential investor pool. When searching for potential investors, it’s important to consider that they likely share your values. “Your ideal investors probably have a lot in common with you,’ says Jenny. “They value a lot of the same things. That’s what’s going to make them want to invest.”

Once you start the work of thinking outside the box about who your ideal investors might be, opportunities will begin to present themselves. Listen to the full conversation below!

Curious to learn more? Sign up for our free email series and discover the 6 steps to finding values-aligned investors to help you achieve your goals! Sign up here!

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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

Episode 59: Convertible Income Share Agreements with Will Stringer

Episode 59: Convertible Income Share Agreements with Will Stringer

In this episode of the Capital Insight Podcast, hosts Jenny and Michelle chat with Will Stringer, Founder of Chisos Capital, about the innovative tool he’s developed to help entrepreneurs raise capital.

When starting an investment company in 2019, Will wanted to present a creative new way for entrepreneurs to get funding and for investors to contribute. He pioneered Convertible Income Share Agreements (CISA) and launched Chisos Capital. These unique terms are designed for companies that need more flexibility than what the venture capital model allows.

In this episode, he shares with Jenny and Michelle how people initially reacted to this new innovative investment model and how he adjusted the marketing for it to appeal to investors. “We had to hone in our story to be this debt-equity hybrid that is totally different. We started leading with, ‘You’ve probably never heard of anything like this: we’re investing in people.’”

According to Will, at least 70% of the investments his company has made are in underrepresented business owners. You don’t have to be on the venture capital path to receive an investment. Listen to the episode to learn more.

Will Stringer is co-founder and CEO of Chisos, an early-stage alternative investment company utilizing a Convertible Income Share Agreement to invest at the earliest stages of business ideation and formation. Will is responsible for the creation of the Convertible Income Share Agreement, development of the underwriting and diligence criteria, fundraising, financial planning and general operations of the company. Will is an angel investor and advisor to multiple early-stage companies. From October 2018 to January 2020, Will was an advisor to a global payments company working to digitize gold and bring transparency to the gold supply chain. From 2015-2019, Will worked on the investment team at Cockrell Interests, a single-family office based in Texas. He managed all phases of illiquid investment execution including sourcing, diligence and ongoing portfolio management. Prior to Cockrell, Will was an Analyst in the Energy Investment Banking Group of Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

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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

Episode 58: Raising Capital for Co-ops with Greg Brodsky

Episode 58: Raising Capital for Co-ops with Greg Brodsky

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