By Myra Landsburg (Brand Champion, Grow VC)
When we started building what is now the Grow VCM platform, we had a vision for the future of entrepreneurship and investments, where anyone could participate in startup funding and be part of new innovations. We saw that entrepreneurs could gain the backing of larger global communities to create tomorrow’s innovations and participate in the journey from early on. Today, looking back, we’re delighted to see how far we have come as not just an organization but as a larger community in shaping the future of innovation. We’ve seen the global community reach over ten thousand members from two hundred countries and we’ve witnessed some inspirational stories of entrepreneurs successfully connecting with the right audience and raising seed capital for their ventures anywhere between thousands and close to $5 million. It’s true, it’s not just about the money, it’s about having a nurturing ecosystem that will make efforts count. We’ve witnessed great success with the help of a global community of supporters. There is a true community of entrepreneurs and investors that empowers startups with transparent tools to unleash these newest innovations onto the world. We’ve seen the early days of what we believe to be the future. Investing in startups is often about doing good, all the while doing well. We are seeing global linkages emerge, where people give back to their ecosystems that they want to support and see thrive. We see people invest in areas where they believe their investment can make a real impact and contribution on the lives of others. These linkages are also increasingly cross border, which makes us all the more excited about their global potential. Naturally we are still early on with the larger global community, but we’re seeing strong evidence that more and more people share the way we see the future every day. Even though we’re all an integral part of the crowdfunding or micro finance market, we see ourselves as part of a much larger development, of an efficient and effective ecosystem that spans the entire globe. And embarking on this long-term mission for the future, we realize that we are not going to do it alone. As a part of this mission to democratize startup funding, we have now launched a new addition to this micro finance ecosystem that will revolutionize the entire field. Today we are announcing the “Networks” functionality, where anyone can now launch their own startup, investor or crowdfunding network in minutes. Partners can decide what functionality they want to enable, ranging from matchmaking functions with startup and investor profiles, all the way to crowdfunding functionality with the backend functions provided. We’ve wanted to employ a ‘no gatekeepers’ approach, as we recognize that each partner is different and different ecosystems have different needs. Therefore we strongly believe in empowering our partners and giving them the tools and resources, to make the most of themselves. Partners can sign up and start exploring the functionality for free. Later this year, Grow VC will enable a self-service model, where users can set up networks directly from the website itself. When we started out on this adventure, the world was vastly different. Now looking at the future, we are thrilled to have the support of governments and larger institutions that see the future the way we do. We’ve been operating an exclusive Alpha phase with over 40 partners representing a variety of different kinds of startup, investment or incubator organizations, but also including universities, networks focused on local markets and niche specific networks. These partners are all around the world in the US, Latin America, Africa, Europe, Asia and Australia. We believe we are on the verge of a shift in the way the financial markets function and we are not alone in this belief. Many recognize the challenges faced by traditional models and the importance of empowering entrepreneurs is growing day by day, as all our ecosystems cry out for more employers. Watching this new online ecosystem grow and flourish day by day, we grow more and more optimistic that it can meet the challenges the world faces today. One thing is certain, it is not a replacement by any means, it is a complement that requires all of us to work together to democratize startup funding and empower entrepreneurs on their collective journeys to make our world better, one day at a time.
Editor's note: Got a question for our guest blogger? Leave a message in the comments below. About the guest blogger: Myra Landsburg is an entrepreneurial marketing and communications professional with extensive experience leading and managing complex multinational brands. With Grow VC Myra is focused on articulating and communicating its impact on the future of entrepreneurship. Myra has worked with a wide range of companies and has had her own business since 2003 where she acts as a change agent, leading and managing positive sustainable brand change.