Venture Capital


By Caroline Smalley on Apr 20 2015, last modified on Apr 21 2015.

When posting a blog written by P2P Foundations founder, Michel Bauwens on Facebook, a friend asked me what I thought about Venture Funding.

Michel's Blog

“Here’s how venture capital works: you go to an investor, before you’ve even built the thing you’re building and you tell them how you’re going to…


So my friend Susana has been working on an idea which I characterise as Business Barter 2.0 I think it would need a million dollars to get to market. If properly executed it should be a viable business but there is a large risk of course. $1m is more than she is likely to be able to raise using her own networks, or even all of our networks put together. What other options are there?

Crowd funding is an extended network strategy. It depends on the vendors capacity to develop a following of like minded people, introduce the idea to them through targeted messaging, and then providing an offering that is seen as both intrinsically valuable and practically sustainable. Of course this is harder than it sounds. Citizens's Media is a great place to hang out, see who else is interested, then start to identify who your allies are. is an non-profit designed to support these initiatives, and supports Citizen's Media in it's efforts to educate and inform the pioneers in the new economy

Thanks Jack, love the way you position what we do. CM is being designed as a system that acts like a magnet for helping to facilitate collaboration as a new world that's possible unfolds. Being 100% transparent in everything we do is a must!

If people have ideas for contributing to the system, and would be interested in sharing more through an online hangout, we invite you to get in touch. More about hangout's here: /the-great-debate?id=1177

Matthew was in on our first hangout by the way :) /the-great-debate?id=1177

Now there's a million dollar question! lol. Building a system grounds up is a money pit for sure. What if the goals Susana seeks to achieve can be done through collaboration and re-investments of smaller contributions made along the way?

What's unique about Susan's offering? How can that be connected to the work of others? i.e. What's the minimal viable product that enables her unique offering to develop and be shared?

So many of us working on ways to change up the way we – society – connects and contributes. Our goal at The Citizens Media is to help solutions for the new economy unite: so bringing more to their collective market share; appreciation of sustainable values; awareness to what's possible, and; investment to make it so.

Our present sponsor is supporting us because they want to mitigate risk by seeing what's in the future. Solutions from the gift economy are finding ways to contribute that negates need for money at all. In other words, my advice would be to let go of assumption to how it will happen. Figure out what's important, keep repeating the mantra and follow intuition. I'm a great believer that we need to believe in the visions that drive us, and that letting go of the 'how' helps to build trust.

Thanks Matthew. Great comment. Guessing you must have thoughts on this too?

No I don't have thoughts on other ways to raise money Not to give too many details on Susana's idea I would characterise it as Business barter 2.0. A way for a club of businesses to grant credit to each other while reducing the chance of systemic abuse that so often happens in barter systems. The minimum viable product is some new accounting software with a user-friendly front end, and enough packaging and PR to build up a network of a useful size. If a useful size is say, 200 businesses in the same town, that's quite a lot of PR. Exchange networks simply don't work if they are not big enough. The solidarity economy needs more and better exchange networks. There is a perfectly viable business model involving membership fees and transaction taxes but unless we intend to bleed members dry, development capital is hard to come by.

Other peoples money is always hard to get. Good ideas are a dime a dozen. Money appears when the viability of an idea can be demonstrated, or underlined by the track record of the people involved.

It is really important to create the underpinning or foundation of any venture. People, knowledge, built networks, some sign of previous commitment to the process or product are all things that would attract capital - for the right project. It is important to return to the basics, even when on an esoteric project.

The other thing is to think and act globally, be able to be practical, creating tangibles, while seeing the funding, support and communications on a global scale.

AWESOME comment!!

Thanks Jack. Excited for what's to come – for all of us.

It's reminding me of Michael Linton (founder of LETS) Openmoney project:

For a quick grasp on the basics: and

Do you think Susana's work could compliment Openmoney, or is it another way of achieving the same thing?

Jack is right of course, but I'm not the comment was very helpful. It sounds like money is a law of nature and it has its own justice if you can just see it in the right way. Jack ignores a bias of the particular kind of money we have today, which is to flow more towards projects with a high return on investment, and towards projects with PR experts, and less towards projects with social or disruptive intentions. Susana's idea would need an accounting platform, of which OM is an example, but I think it would need to be specialised.

I think Jack's comments relate to the need to build trust and reputation, i.e. it's not something that comes overnight! CM doesn't speak about profit, it's business model is anything but conventional, its mission is to become something pretty much every investor in the world would say is "too big", too "out there", too "idealist. Yet financial support that can help us get going has at last come our way! People sponsoring us haven't come for financial return, but for the learning opportunity that emanates from those – like you, Matt – who have insight to another way of being and doing things.

I'm inspired by unity. Finding ways to unite the solutions, which can disrupt our present profit-dependent economy, and pave the way for a world that can prosper environmentally, socially and culturally too.

There are so many things we can do in the way to interconnect and exchange. It's our common values that unite us: our innate desire to feel acknowledged; to belong; to love, and to be loved.

As those of us working on solutions do more to unite what we do – working in ways our projects and initiatives intend to promote – so the journey to another world that's possible will gain momentum and take off.

The change has just begun. I'm looking forward to the ride!

Lets play a game.

You describe a real world issue that you want to have resourced. We will then figure out ten things we could do to create a project to address that issue. that includes scoping the issue, attaching it's relevance to that of other entities, providing a solution that is practical and based on people who will need it and steward it, then plugging it into a funding stream from organizations that also see that issue as an opportunity to make change.

I wonder who will come to play this game? Lets invite some people.

That could be useful Jack How about making an event for it? Maybe a webinar, maybe a citizen's media event? It could lose momentum in these comments

Could be an excellent way to think out of the box for sure. People are so tightly connected to conventional problem solving, it can be hard to see what's available. When we solve problems together, we all take ownership. Desire to contribute increases, and things we saw as impossible, no longer are.

We could get this going through a simple video blog, announcing proposed hangout. Suggest we come up with some issues, then use the video blog to invite anyone who'd like to take part, to vote on which issue they'd like to see solved.

What sort of issues are you thinking of Jack?