New and innovative ways of raising capital for social enterprise start-ups have started to appear. The most recent one getting the ‘buzz’ is the Thrust Fund. Here three social enterprises are seeking to raise money. Interestingly it is the founders in particular who are pushing the agenda with a message of ‘Invest in Us’.
The three are Saul Garlick who is the founder of ThinkImpact, formerly called the Student Movement for Real Change, which is a early stage nonprofit that connects American students to rural villages in Africa to alleviate poverty. The second is Kjerstin Erickson who is the founder of FORGE which works with displaced communities in Africa. Thirdly there is Jon Gosier, who is the founder of Appfrica Labs which invests in African software start-ups that create jobs and grow their companies.
In a sense the website is a ‘matching’ site between social entrepreneurs and investors (called Thrustfunders) who are looking for social and financial returns.
According to the website it works like this:
It also states that the Thrustfunders ‘don’t acquire a portion of the Entrepreneur’s venture’. Financial returns terms by all three entrepreneurs are listed for prospective investors. It will be interesting to see how the model works in time and is only one of several funding models via the web that are starting to appear.
Also interesting to note that all three entrepreneurs are in their mid twenties.