Tue 1 Nov 2016 9:50PM

Livestream Co-op Finance Discussion: Panelist Suggestions Needed.

MC Matthew Cropp Public Seen by 124

First panel's banner image for sharing:

We just had a quick and productive hangout discussing pulling together a live-streamed & recorded "panel" on Google Hangouts on Air, and decided to move forward on two: one on finance and deal structure, followed by one on governance.

The call originated with this Loomio thread by @MairaSutton

~ Spreadsheet for tracking outreach and speakers ~

The plan is to start with the finance/deal structure discussion, and the idea is to have someone kick the conversation off with a bit of vision (Someone like Nathan or Trebor or, if we could get him, Doug Rushkoff?), and then proceed to a lightly moderated discussion with a group consisting of 2-3 people who have deep experience with co-op finance and 2-3 people with deep experience in converting for-profit businesses into co-ops. After introductions, these folks would start by engaging in a lightly moderated discussion with each other about how this might work in the case of twitter, and then we could bring in questions from those watching for the remainder of the session.

Our soft goal is to have all (or at least a good portion) of the line-up confirmed by the Thursday before the Platform Co-op conference, and if there are any gaps, we can hopefully fill them there.

As such, please use the comments section below to "nominate" individuals who you think might fit either the "Finance" or "Conversions" role well (please clearly indicate which you are nominating them for, and provide a 1 paragraph summary of why they might be a good fit), and, once we have a list, go back and "like" up to 3 from each category. Once we have nominations and likes tabulated, we can put out asks to those individuals, starting with the most "liked" nominations.


Matthew Cropp Tue 1 Nov 2016 9:54PM

[Finance] - Dan Fireside, Equal Exchange Capital Coordinator

Dan coordinates outside investment for equal exchange, a fair trade importer worker co-op that has raised $15m+ in non-voting preferred share investment. He's extremely well versed in co-op capital structures, and is generally game for sharing his knowledge with other co-ops. A google hangout I did with him a while back when my organization was helping a student with an independent study on co-ops can be viewed here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5TUoMhn-vgA


Matthew Cropp Tue 1 Nov 2016 10:01PM

[Finance w/ Significant Conversions Experience] Betsy Black, Cooperative Fund of NE

Betsy is the NW New England rep of the Cooperative Fund of New England, which is a loan fund that grew out of the 1970s food co-op movement and now funds all kinds of co-ops in the region. She has extensive co-op loan underwriting experience, and has been the lead source of financing on a number of co-op conversion deals, including several worker co-op conversions that my organization (Vermont Employee Ownership Center) worked on.


Chris Cook Tue 1 Nov 2016 10:01PM

If anyone is interested in complementary (eg LLCs, LLPs, prepay credit) methods for financing & funding Co-ops without using shares (of any type) or even debt then I'd happily contribute.


Matthew Cropp Tue 1 Nov 2016 10:37PM

[Conversions] Noemi Giszpenc - Cooperative Development Institute

Noemi is the ED of CDI, which supports co-op development in the US northeast, and she is also founder of the Data Commons co-op, which she presented about at the 2015 Platform Co-op Conference. CDI has provided technical support to many co-op conversions (though none at this scale).


greg brodsky Tue 1 Nov 2016 11:50PM

Jerry Stritzke, President and CEO of REI - A consumer owned co-op, operating at scale! https://www.rei.com/about-rei/officers.html


greg brodsky Tue 1 Nov 2016 11:54PM

Adam Schwartz, former president of NCBA, and founder of "The Cooperative Way" http://cdsconsulting.coop/consultants/adam-schwartz


greg brodsky Tue 1 Nov 2016 11:55PM

David Hammer, Executive Director of the ICA Group. Technical expert and amazing thinker re converting co-ops at scale. http://ica-group.org/ica-staff/


greg brodsky Wed 2 Nov 2016 12:02AM

Walden Swanson Founder and Chair at CoopMetrics. Co-op metrics is a co-op focused tech company that was formed by Walden as a multi stake holder co-op of employees and outside investors. (very similar to how a twitter conversion could be structured).


john gieryn Wed 2 Nov 2016 3:12PM

I'm happy to reach out to Douglas Rushkoff, unless someone else feels they've got a direct line to him (I'd say I've a solid 2nd degree connection, and I hosted a panel discussion with him on it). Per our timeline, not-withstanding anyone else suggesting they'll take the action point or disagreement with him as speaker, I'll make this outreach early next week and then follow up at the Platform Co-op Conference.

I bet that @joshuavial, @alanna, or @keithtaylor1 might have suggestions here (or may be good picks for either the financial/structure session or the following governance session). Keith Taylor is the board-president of the Indiana Cooperative Development Center, Alanna works directly for a digital co-op (Loomio), and Joshua has lots of financial experience too- having developed an virtual banking app for the freelancer co-op that was/became Enspiral


Suresh Fernando Wed 2 Nov 2016 3:36PM

@matthewcropp I'm interested in supporting this but I think the timeline is pretty aggressive if you want the lineup confirmed by Thursday. What date were you thinking of having the actual panel?

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