Helping to curve gentrification …thank y’all!
$1.8M invested to convert a hotel to living space in Albemarle, NC (outside of Charlotte)
It is almost like there as a massive telepathy event and we were all thinking the same thing at the same time.
Not only do Albemarle and other citizens get to shape the future of Albemarle, assuming property values rise, guess who shares in the downstream rewards of this …a broader and more diverse community!
History repeated itself
About 100 years ago, in 1921, Dr. W.C. Fitzgerald raised capital from the citizens of Albemarle to begin work on the original hotel. It’s a good thing he did this before the 30's.
- In the 1930’s the Security and Exchange Commission was formed to protect investors after the stock market collapse. They shut down access to all but the wealthy (‘accredited investors’) to invest in projects like this.
- 80+ years later (in 2016), it finally became legal for non-accredited citizens to invest in private businesses again.
That’s right, if Albemarle citizens wanted to invest and bring this project to life before May 16, 2016, this hotel to apartment conversion would have probably been owned by a select few individuals who were part of some outside-of-the-area developer group.
Instead thanks to rule changes in 2016, now individuals, families, existing investors— anyone — can (co)invest together in founders they believe will build successful businesses …like those who were able to invest as little as $1K to bring this hotel back to life in new form.
…I find that powerful.
Call me an investing nut. Maybe I am…
I didn’t start out that way. I was the Science Olympiad geek in High School who ended up going to school for Aerospace / Aeronautical Engineering, shut down streets to (co)organize events raising money for charity, while trying to grow hops commercially in NC…and about 209849832 things I was passionate about and could explore with others.
Then I married my smart and gorgeous bride, followed her to Midlothian, VA, and during her journey as a minister, I had my stent in corporate & consulting. We had our 2 children and my heart melted for them. I wanted to remove every barrier in their way of being able to find what they were called to do.
Then Elizabeth and I found this ‘Reg CF’ / ‘Investment Crowdfunding’ world which created a more level playing field for anyone to invest in startups / small businesses / commercial real estate.
To me, I saw this as access to invest in the creation of sustainable communities.
e.g. Look at what will happen to real estate value and the prices of everything around Albemarle if the apartment is successful…and to think that between the 1930’s and 2016, only a few who had access were able to be 1st in line to gain from these upward trends. Sure one might be able to buy a house close by and see it go up in value, but that was the extent of one’s access.
I saw the massive potential returns* that had been locked out to the majority of society and the world Investment Crowdfunding unlocked (A to Z) was unlocked in an instant.
- *It is not uncommon for a ‘private market investor’ to have access to opportunities which can consistently double their money every 3 to 4 years (compared to every 7 to 12 years is what is generally taught for the stock market)
- *…or to have access where a $1K investment can become $100K or more in <10 years (This is not typical, but at least people have access to take the risk.) For example, it’s estimated that every $1K in Uber’s 1st round returned $1.3 to $1.5M (after dilution) when they IPO’d on the stock market)
- …and we wonder why there is a wealth gap
More IMPORTANTLY, I saw the educational opportunity for our sweet children, their friends, and others …education from founders on the process of creating the ‘stuff’ we use everyday — from the tech that moves us, to the spaces businesses lease, to the companies saving lives…
…and 98% of the US didn’t even know they had been locked out to invest in this (yes the wealthy too…they are ~8.3% of the US population…but most of them didn’t even know they had access before the rule changes in 2016).
I saw this as the most massive ACCESS issue of our time. How as America did we ever let this type of disparity …this injustice …these laws that created the largest education and wealth gap of all time, last for so long?
- Education Gap?? …yes …as society we train our children to go to school to learn to get into more school …to land a good comfortable job …to train their kids to go to school…
- What if your child is supposed to be a business owner / entrepreneur / founder? Where do they get training for that?
So I faced a dilemma, if my wife and I truly wanted to represent to our kiddos what we believed …the love we are supposed to share for our neighbors, how could we sit comfortably with my salaried / relatively predictable job and not share with others the knowledge and access we had gained through both new found education and law changes in 2016 that opened up access?
That’s why I started Incolo (formerly CrowdfundNC).
To help create a community of investable founders who wanted to build the new rising tide …founders focused on creating really successful businesses while finding ways to strategically grow with their ‘crowds’ …their ‘communities’ of (co)builders, new found sales & marketing agents, brand advocates, supply chain channel partners, others to grow through, investors …and yes …also just the citizen who wants to support the next cool thing or the potential growth of their local region with their investment $.
Thanks to a community of 1,000’s of people in the industry who are dedicated to this broader, transcendent shift occurring and whom I’m eternally grateful to, we have the ‘Investment Gospel’ …one that ‘preaches’ the message of how to level the playing field for all who want access.
Incolo’s model has evolved a bit since 2019. At 1st I thought we were just going to be a funding platform hosting Investment Crowdfunding offerings (which we are not), but then we discovered there are other ways we could help founders scale by applying similar principals for going after funding to go after other traction points rapidly …revenue channels, team development, etc. As a result, we’ve had more founders in our Incolo Traction Studio grow through revenue than those who choose to raise investment capital.
Now our (society’s) children won’t have as large of an an access to capital problem. They will still have to work their tails off to grow any business they want to build. However, hopefully capital will become more readily available and vision aligned. They can focus on being the innovators we all need them to be.
Disclaimer: This article is for educational purposes ONLY and NOT a solicitation to invest. Investing in small and mid-sized businesses is risky. Returns aren’t guaranteed, and you could lose your entire investment. Never invest more than you are willing to lose. This article is not meant to provide investment, legal, or tax advice and no party listed is an investment advisor, attorney or tax advisor.