Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Financial Investors

So…what can you do if you are a financial investor??

Apparently, for a start up one of the biggest obstacles to implementation and even design is usually [lack of] official currency. I strongly believe that is not entirely true. The main constrains and frustrations in my experience have been polishing the ideas, exploring and reflecting on what I’m doing, iterating on people’s feedback and organizing ideas to mention a few. The inner struggle way overtakes the money constraints to a point where I realized that getting the money to start was not, in my case, the first priority.

Financial investors come to play as such at the implementation stage of the business model generation process. To be a financial investor you can be a person or an organization. You would have an investing account visible to the entire community (all community member’s accounts are completely visible). You can browse business models and find the ones you would like to follow up until they reach the implementation process, or you can browse those who are already in that stage. Business models ready for implementation will display a “budget pledge” page. In it, you’ll find the business model folder for that particular project, which will show you and explain in detail its canvas and all its building blocks, plus will specifically include an explanation on the use of the funds asked for. It will also tell you what sort of financial investment the project is looking for. The project may decide to accept individual and/or organizational crowdfunded investment, or it may expect to be entirely funded by one organization or kind of organizations to which its service is of particular interest. With this information you would know whether 1) you are interested in investing and/or 2) the idea investor(s) wants you to invest in that project.

Your investing account will show the community how much official currency you are happy to put available for investing, links to projects you have invested in previously and what projects you are looking for to invest in the future. Cells of the Earth will tell the community the total amount of financial investment available in the platform and, will provide an analytic tool that can give you information like, for example, the ten most desired project categories according to financial investors.

One of the big issues with current investment and financial system is that you don’t really know where your money is going to and what is done with it, not often are you aware of the reputation behind the projects and companies your money is supporting. Specially with government taxes that both individuals and organizations pay, the tax percentage and the use of your money is set up with very top to bottom approach, where citizens have very little space to voice their opinions. As a Financial Investor, you can think of your investments as a voluntary tax for the community, where you get to partly express your opinion with your investment behavior. By supporting some and no others you express your preferences. The government, which is to say, the community, presents you with opportunities and options of what they believe relevant to do by developing their business model, work investors partly express their opinion through engagement with the projects, you partly do it with your financial investment.

Another reason to think about your investment as a voluntary tax is because taxes, as I observe, are meant to be used for causes that would help the entire community. Currently, a government gets to decide most of those things that the community needs, how they need it, how they’ll get the money and how they’ll distribute it. In the Cells of the Earth platform, since the community is the government, it is the community who decides what the projects that require priority to get implemented are. You decide where to put your money and how much, and by doing so, you tell the community what is important to you. When the data from all types of investors is analyzed, the result is a true reflection of collective intelligence and social capacity to decide what is best for all at a particular moment. That is why, as a financial investor we ask you to consider investing without expecting financial returns, as when you pay tax, or donate. Our wish is that you're interested in bringing ideas to fruition because you need the materialization of such ideas for the betterment of society as a whole, rather than merely expecting the financial returns. We also expect you to visualize future returns by co-producing services with the help of the organization you helped to appear in this world. That visualization concept is mostly for financial investors who may become both work and/or idea investors in the future.

At this stage, I think you would not be asked any contributions directed to the Cells of the Earth organization because it would cut 5% on the funding amount pledged by idea investors, who have to provide a due date to achieve its funding goal. If by this date, the project does not receive the funds needed in its entirety, no money at all will be directed to them. Not reaching a funding goal by a certain date, means that the project requires refining to become a priority for the community. It is adapted from the Kickstarter approach.

I found this project particularly relevant for this topic, and also quite related to the Democratic Financial Redistribution Ideas

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