Wunderground is my third startup, it’s my opus. It’s everything I’ve learned from my prior ventures and the culmination of my passions as an entrepreneur: it’s about coffee, connection, wellness, and creating a product that’s an antidote to the new normal of stress and worry. Wunderground’s aim is to add wellness–without compromise on taste–to the ritual of coffee: to help us feel and perform better.
A core thesis of every business I’ve built is human connection and fostering community. When it came to raising the last bit of angel money (non-institutional) before big capital investment, I was compelled to explore Equity Crowdfunding. One of my advisors, a private equity manager in consumer products, had a company in his portfolio that exclusively raised equity crowdfunding after their firm’s institutional investment. The founder of that company never looked back. My advisor thought that Wunderground is as much a product as it is a movement and thought we’d be a great fit so he hooked me up a leading SEC Attorney that is an expert in the space, and here we are. I’m so glad we’ve launched an Equity Crowdfunding round.
An extra honor for Wunderground is that we’re among the first to launch on the NEW Coca-Cola backed platform called RISE UP, a platform that raises money exclusively for women and minority owned & founded businesses.
Let’s get back to the reasons why I chose Equity Crowdfunding:
Reason # 1: Anyone can invest from anywhere in the world–regardless of whether they are wealthy or well-connected.
When the JOBS Act passed in 2012, it allowed everyday humans to invest in early stage companies and participate in their success. In my prior companies (and prior to the JOBS Act), I could only take funds from venture capital or accredited investors of high net worth. It felt a bit unfair - why is this opportunity only an option for the wealthy? I understand that there are risks in investing, but if someone knows you and your passion and has seen you succeed before, they should have the opportunity to invest.
Equity Crowdfunding allows our best customers and biggest fans to participate in ownership of our early stage company. This gives real people who have experienced our products and benefits and really care about what we do a chance to potentially benefit financially down the line through an early stage investment in our private company that almost anyone can afford - an opportunity that used to only be available only to legal angel investors and venture capitalists.
Reason # 2: Build Community.
Central to our mission is connection & community - after all, at its core, coffee is community. As a society, we are starving for community. I want to invite our customers into our business and connect with them on their ideas to help us grow. The crowdfunding community of investors is attractive to me as a founder. Great ideas come from everywhere - not just the CEO.
Reason # 3: Built in Sales Force, Advocates, Revenue Growth.
Our investment community will help us grow by serving as evangelists all around the country (and the world) who have incentive to promote the brand and products – such as getting our coffees added to their workplace, or inviting their favorite espresso cafe to carry our Brain Wash Adaptogenic SuperBoost as a wellness add-in to their cafe menu, or to simply promote the delicious taste and benefits they feel to their friends and family. Our brand was built on the notion that everyone is an influencer–meaning we wanted it to be a brand you wanted to share with others. I think that’s even more meaningful if you’re also an owner. It’s old school word-of-mouth marketing and we’re here for it. Win Win Win.
I’d love to know if other entrepreneurs are considering equity crowdfunding from their community. If you’d like to discuss this further - let’s meet over coffee–IRL at our Seattle cafe or over a video call. I’m happy to share my experience and learn from yours.
If you want to learn more about our equity crowdfunding offering - head over to Rise Up and check out the opportunity. I hope you’ll consider joining our investor community!