EarlyShares sparked a great conversation in the Gainesville startup community this February. We were invited to host a small networking event (for potential Investors, Entrepreneurs, and interested parties in general) by GAIN, the Gainesville Area Innovation Network, on February 13th. The event had a great turnout and our VC Relations - Jason Burmer, who was the guest speaker, is sharing his experience below:
I went to the Florida State University, but nobody that attended the event last night knew that… Nobody, except for my buddy, Chad Corbitt. I’ve known Chad since back in the undergrad student government days at Florida State. We’ve kept in touch and have passively followed each other’s career paths through social media channels. Since undergrad, Chad has been building his Y Combinator funded company based out of Gainesville called, “Study Edge.” Incredible progress and potential behind that brand and that team so check out what they do in the link above.
Anyways, I told Chad about EarlyShares and what we do. He spoke with Lee May over at the Gainesville Area Innovation Network about hosting an event and the rest is history (props to Lee for logistics!). Chad knew that his friends in the Gainesville entrepreneurial community would stand to benefit from learning about the opportunities that Equity Based Crowdfunding can offer. As a Florida State Seminole, I joked about my apprehension to present to a room full of Gators, but I knew that the community there has potential. Like all other communities throughout the US, Gainesville can stand to benefit from the Equity Based Crowdfunding industry. There certainly is demand for the industry, but that demand cannot materialize and be acted upon until the carriers of that demand (future market participants in the space) become aware of the opportunity presented by Equity Based Crowdfunding.
Like Tallahassee and many other college towns, retention of top-talent graduates is an ongoing battle. Many students in towns where the college/university is the hub of the town tend to migrate elsewhere for work. The reasons are many, but local initiatives have yet to find the solution. I’m not saying that Equity Based Crowdfunding is the solution, but it certainly has promise to become a part of a feasible solution. College campuses are where the entrepreneurial spirit is cultivated, and in most cases, wilts and gradually subsides due to economic realities and taking a job that offers more security. If these entrepreneurs are able to fund their ideas/ventures with inexpensive capital (via Equity Based Crowdfunding), the opportunity to remain in their college community would be more readily available.
Our PR manager will surely appreciate the digression and tangential verbosity in this post (this was supposed to be a quick, one paragraph overview)… Back to the event. The turnout was impressive. The community was engaged and a lot of them were already familiar with crowdfunding (making my job a bit easier). Attendees included entrepreneurs, potential investors, business consultants, financial planners, and a handful of other interested parties.
I always appreciate the value of the knowledge I gain from these presentations because I am able to gauge the pulse of the market. Many of the most intriguing viewpoints on the industry are from people who have just learned about crowdfunding. Their minds are unrestricted by the preconceived notions that come with months of research and concept iteration. I believe this same concept will hold true for investors who provide feedback to crowdfunded companies in Gainesville and throughout the US.
To find out about future events EarlyShares will be attending or hosting, please visit our events page. Also, we would really appreciate your tips for any future events below.