StreetShares Partners With Farm Bureau Bank to Provide Small Business Lending Services

Financing small businesses lender StreetShares announced on Wednesday it has teamed up with Farm Bureau Bank (FBB) to provide small business lending to FBB’s members. StreetShares reported that by using its Lending-as-a-Service (LaaS) platform services, the bank may now offer small business loans with a digital experience, which includes a decision in minutes and funding within 24 hours.

Speaking about the partnership, Bob Baker, Director of National Accounts at Farm Bureau Bank, stated:

“We’re excited to partner with StreetShares to enhance our lending capabilities. Since implementing the business lending platform, we have been able to expand our offerings and provide our members an innovative solution that meets their unique needs and helps them better manage and grow their businesses.  Using StreetShares’ platform, the entire process is incredibly easy, enabling members to apply from the comfort of their own home or office and get a decision in a matter of minutes, and funding in a matter of hours. This integration positions us for continued growth while helping us create long-lasting relationships.”

Mark L. Rockefeller, CEO of StreetShares, also commented:

“By implementing LaaS, the bank can provide a better customer experience and expand its business lines. We look forward to our continued collaboration in bringing small business lending to more qualified entrepreneurs across the country.”

StreetShares went on to claim that by using the LaaS platform, Farm Bureau now offers unsecured lines of credit to make its loans “faster and more competitive.” The lender added:

“The bank can provide instant approvals and 24-hour funding. Additionally, the bank does not have to integrate the platform with its core banking software, allowing for a seamless transition to attract and retain new small business deposit accounts.”

Aon, Oxfam, & Etherisc Collaborate to Launch Blockchain-Based Agricultural Insurance Policies in Sri Lanka

Aon plc, a UK-based global professional services firm providing a broad range of risk, retirement and health solutions, announced on Monday it has partnered with Oxfam in Sri Lanka, the organization working to alleviate poverty; and Etherisc, the insurtech startup developing a protocol for decentralized insurance applications, to launch a blockchain-based agricultural insurance policies for smallholder farmers in Sri Lanka.

According to Anon, almost 200 farmers have already enrolled in the solution that delivers micro-insurance to smallholder paddy field farmers in Sri Lanka, who are at risk of losing their crops due to extreme weather. While sharing more details, Bojan Kolundzija, the Country Director of Oxfam in Sri Lanka, stated;

“Oxfam in Sri Lanka expertise in climate-smart agriculture and our long-standing engagement with farmer communities, provides us with in-depth knowledge about the opportunities and challenges that farmers have to climate and weather events. Allowing farmers to access the blockchain platform is an important milestone that is bringing an effective and affordable risk transfer mechanism to a large portion of the Sri Lanka economy.”

Hugo Wegbrans, the Global Chief Broking Officer for Aon, also commented:

“Strong collaboration, such as this initiative with Oxfam and Etherisc, allows us to broaden the potential positive impact we can have on people, families and small businesses around the globe. At the heart of our work is a mission to empower economic and human possibility – and that is exactly what we are doing here.”

 Michiel Berende, the Chief Inclusive Officer at Etherisc, then added:

“Farmers represent a third of the workforce and account for almost 20 percent of the economy, yet very few have insurance. This made Sri Lanka a perfect candidate to feel the benefits of decentralized, collaborative and automated insurance. This alliance is really a cooperation between all and showcases blockchain for social good.”

Pesticide-Free Hydroponic Farming Brand Element Farms Now Seeking Funding on WeFunder

Element Farms, an indoor hydroponic farming company capable of growing safe, pesticide-free spinach at scale year-round, has launched its investment round on equity crowdfunding platform WeFunder

Founded in 2016, Element Farms describes itself as a produce company driven by technology. The company uses “cutting-edge,” proprietary technology in our greenhouse to seed, grow, and harvest some of the safest, purest, and best-tasting leafy greens for city dwellers on the east coast.

“Element Farms combines age-old farming wisdom with cutting-edge proprietary technology to produce leafy greens at a higher yield and lower cost than its competitors. The company designed and built the machines that automate many of its processes; uses a proprietary growing system and nutrient mix for optimal greens health; and supplies high-capacity intelligent lighting and supplemental carbon dioxide to speed growth. The greens grow so quickly–from seed to store in just 16 days–that there’s no need for pesticides; pests do not have time to integrate into the plant canopy.”

While sharing more details about the company’s funding round, Element Farms’ Founder and CEO, Serdar Mizrakci, stated:

“As soon as customers experienced the flavor, freshness, and tenderness of our greens, they asked how they could get involved and support our mission,” said  “With equity crowdfunding through WeFunder, we can welcome them in–at any level of investment–and include more people in our growth, success, and the overall future of farming.”

The funding round is currently set to close later this spring.

Crowdfunding Platform Barnraiser Announces New Partnership with Baby Food Plum Organic

Barnraiser, a crowdfunding platform that is dedicated to powering the good food movement, is inviting sustainable food artisans, farmers, educators, community leaders and others to launch projects that reshape our food systems.

Barnraiser 1“We are thrilled to offer Barnraiser to anyone serious about making a positive impact on the way we farm and eat,” said Eileen Gordon Chiarello, Barnraiser founder and CEO, who with her husband, celebrity chef Michael Chiarello, has created award-winning restaurants, sustainably farmed wines and food-focused media properties. “Now is the time for us to exert our influence as passionate consumers. Funding these innovators is a powerful way to build the food future we want.”

Over 41 million Americans and their global counterparts make decisions based on health and sustainability. Barnraiser empowers these people to connect with innovators, share their inspirational stories, and collectively fund their success. From heirloom fruit orchards, savory snack bars, and school gardens to mobile foraging apps, sustainable bees and responsible chicken farms, Barnraiser welcomes the wide range of sustainable and organic food innovators.

Barnraiser’s automated tools assist project creators in successfully executing their campaign throughout its duration. The Butcher’s Guild raised 162% of its funding goal and their co-founder, Marissa Guggiana, has shared her  “8 Secrets for Barnraiser Success” for future “Barnraisers.”

Barnraiser also welcomes other leaders in the movement to join forces with the innovators and their funders, and Wednesday (September 10th) announced its partnership with organic baby food company, Plum Organics. Plum’s commitment to fighting early childhood hunger through its program The Full Effect makes the partnership during Hunger Action Month even timelier. Plum Organics has pledged to support their non-profit partner Conscious Alliance by matching the first $5000 raised on their Barnraiser “1 Dollar, 1 Meal” campaign.

Neil GrimmerCo-founder and CEO of Plum Organics, Neil Grimmer, stated, “As a leading national brand, we’re thrilled to partner with Barnraiser to help other great entrepreneurs and innovators transform food systems in America. We remain passionately committed to working with partners like Conscious Alliance who fight early childhood malnutrition in communities across America. Every little one deserves the right to be nourished. Barnraiser’s platform makes it even easier for each of us to help feed a child.”

Brief: Deal on AgFunder Gets Closer to Funding Goal

OnFarm LogoAgFunder, an equity crowdfunding platform that targets the global agriculture industry, launched their first investment opportunity last month with big data company OnFarm.  In a recent update, AgFunder has shared that funding has now surpassed the halfway mark standing at 58% having raised $230,000 on a goal of raising $400,000 in a convertible note.  There are still 80 days left in this funding round so there is plenty of time.  Investment participation has come from private individuals and institutions including Launch Capital.

AgFunderWith big data demand expected to reach $20 billion by 2020 the space OnFarm occupies is pretty appealing. The OnFarm software is a data integration device that takes multiple variables so farmers may make better planning and planting decisions.  The small company has projected revenues to hit $1 million for all of 2014.


Farmable Wants to Aid Smallholder Farmers One Cow at a Time

Farmable MissionFarmable has a vision to create a crowdfunding platform that empowers small holder farmers, fight hunger, and create a sustainable business one cow at a time and they are starting in Ghana.
Without reliance on external aid or charity, Farmable wants to provide a path from poverty to self sufficiency with their new online business.  So much of third world assistance comes in the form of international grants and programs which frequently are inefficient.  So much of the funds end up in the hands of those that do not need the aid while so many struggle just to survive.
farmable-logo-mobileCo-founded by Kamal Yakub, Damian Brennan and Luis Grolez, the Farmable team and their “crowdfarming” approach is currently in 80% completed now but the founders expect the site to be completed in the next few weeks .  Damian recently described their concept to Crowdfund Insider;
Farmable is revolutionary on a number of fronts. The company is tackling a tricky problem by providing food security in the form of capacity building activities for farmers. The beauty is in the way the company is structured – an online business unit, which is a crowdfunding platform that will generate funds for capacity building; a social business unit, which manages the capacity building of partner farmers; and, a commercial unit, that will purchase the improved cattle stock from the smallholder farmers and distribute the beef into the local markets. The company will be both self sustaining and profitable. At the same time it provides a path out of poverty for small holder farmers by helping them manage their herd better, while at the same time providing a profit center in the form of guaranteed sales at above market prices.
Farmable CowShareThe platform encompasses three vertical described below:
  • Farmable Online – A crowdfunding platform (in beta testing) that links global online funders to local Smallholder farmers in Ghana. Customers will fund cows for farms to help farmers called ‘crowdfarming’. These social investors will be termed CowBackers.
  • Farmable on the Ground – A field operation with strategic partners including NGOs and Universities, that will work together to improve the capacity of Smallholder cattle farmers and the health of their herds.
  • Enterprise Business Unit – (Ghana Beef Company) A value adding operation that will buy the health cattle from Small Holder Farmers at the best market rate, and sell the cattle as beef back into the domestic market.
The Farmable crowdfunding platform will be used to channel funding from social investors around the world to fund the capacity building activities of smallholder farmers. By investing in a cow through the Farmable website, online funders become ‘CowBackers’. In return they get the unique experience of being connected to their own cow on a real farm in Ghana. Every cow costs $500 and is made up of ‘cowshares’. ‘CowBackers’ can choose to fund a full cow or invite friends and family to share a cow, also known as ‘CowSharing’.
Social investors can expect to experience a fun and interactive experience on the site.  To incentive funding, ‘CowBackers’ can name their cow and earn a range of unique rewards based on their level of funding. These rewards range from small tokens of appreciation to personalized gifts; such as a one-off, custom illustrated t-shirt featuring their cow.
The model they are attempting to perfect is something the founders hope to replicate in other emerging markets around the world.  In their first market, Ghana, the Farmable team hopes to partner with 250 small farmers over the next few years.

PEI potato-growers turn to crowd-funding to save family farm

David and Brian Best, father and son potato farmers on Prince Edward Island, are using the crowd-funding site Indiegogo to try to raise $200,000Save Best Acre Farm Indiegogo in a desperate attempt to save their family farm.

“This is like the last straw,” says Brian Best, 44, in the video posted on the website explaining their plight and plan. “And we are going to pull it because we are fighting for the family farm.”

For nearly 80 years, the Bests have farmed near Tryon on PEI. But this is the first spring in 55 years that David Best, 73, has not planted potatoes on the 400-acre farm. He started farming with his father, Jerald, when he was 18.

“When I see the weeds growing and we’re not planting, it’s kind of hard to take,” David said in an interview Tuesday. “It’s hard on the blood pressure.”

Read More at The Globe and Mail

Old MacDonald had a crowdfunded farm

Organic Salad Mix IndiegogoMore than anything, Rebecca Bloomfield wants her own organic farm. To accomplish this though, in a social media age — without much capital — she has to be something else first: a crowdfunding guru.

Just as she taught herself to grow organic food, she’s also taught herself how to organically raise money for her future farm in Ontario, Canada, via crowdfunding — soliciting donations over social media with a video she hopes will tug on heartstrings and wallets alike.

Even future farmers are turning to crowdfunding for cash. Just like other small-business owners who don’t want to — or can’t — take out a bank loan, there are new options for the social-media savvy. Crowdfunding is quickly becoming the go-to fundraising technique for entrepreneurs and small-business owners.

Reads More at USAToday

Why Crowdfunding Rules: Passionate About Maple Syrup

This is why I love crowdfunding.

We love maple syrup. We put it on everything. With pancakes, in our coffee, on our pizza. We put some in our hair when we’ve had a rough week. If you’ve had the chance to taste real maple syrup you know exactly what we are talking about. But that wasn’t enough for us. We wanted to make it better and started experimenting with infusing fresh berries handpicked from our family farm. What resulted blew us away! Our syrups exploded with rich, complex flavors that took the deliciousness that is maple syrup to a whole new level.

It is just 9 AM local time and I am all hyped up about maple syrup due to this impassioned pitch by Maple Farms in Lake Placid, New York. They’ve launched a Kickstarter for a variety of infused syrups, and to be fair fruit syrups are pretty standard. The liquor-infused ones caught my eye. They’re taking preorders for syrups infused with amaretto, spiced rum, irish cream, bourbon and brandy just to name a few. Don’t think they just toss some liquor in their syrup and ship it off. They actually age the syrup in the barrels for 4-6 months to impart the flavor.

They say you can use these to make “It’s 5 O’clock somewhere waffles.” Hilarious. Did I mention I love crowdfunding?

Our line of Liquor Maple Syrups are actually reverse infused, by barrel aging our 100% pure Adirondack Medium Amber syrup in oak casks previously used by some of the region’s most award winning small batch distillers including Berkshire Mountain Distillers, Finger Lakes Distillery, & New England Distilling. We’ve also mixed it up a bit and threw in some underground favorites like New Deal Distilling and Rogue Farms & Spirits.

You can preorder a 12.5 oz bottle for $25.

Organic Farm Uses Crowdfunding to Reach Out to Free Range Customers

Organic egg producer Vital Farms has big plans for the future. And judging from the response on the crowdfunding site, When You Wish, the hens are probably clucking with excitement.

In September, we gave readers a virtual tour of the Aurora, Texas-based enterprise, which has become known for its promotion of pastured-raised hens and its use of humane egg production. With 15 farms in its network and almost $5 million in annual sales, Vital Farms has had no problem in garnering a share of Whole Foods‘ organic customer base.

According to Aurora Porter, director of marketing and communications for the network, the $80,000 that it hopes to raise from crowdfunding will go toward the costs of adding a new organic farm to the network.

Read More at TriplePundit

Family Farm Crusades For Free-Range, Organic Farming

The largest producer of free-range eggs in the US is trying to expand ethical egg production by raising $80,000 through a crowdfunding campaign – enough money to transform a conventional chicken farm into a pasture-raised operation.

Vital Farms, founded in 2007, is a network of 15 family farms based in Austin, Texas – it’s the biggest supplier of organic eggs to Whole Foods, and more recently broiler chickens. It was just ranked by Inc. magazine as the fastest growing private food and beverage company in the US with about $5 million in sales for 2011.

They are trying to grow – and spread the practice – by adding more free-range farms to their network.

Read More at  SustainableBusiness