Material Commons Funding and Investment Mechanisms
- Towards a Material Commons]
- Podcast conversation: Bauwens, Kleiner, Restakis on Cooperative, Commons-Based Venture Funding
Compiled by Bob Haugen:
- Dmytri Kleiner's Venture Commons Fund,
- Sensorica's financial contributions (which tend to be for particular purposes rather than a fund)
- Enspiral's CoBudget, which I think is more of a fund, but then gets allocated by a democratic procedure?
- the Ethos group system ?
Joshua Vial, Enspiral
"We've funded everything pretty much off our services businesses. This has been the financial backbone of enspiral and is how most people earn their livelihoods.
Loomio ran a crowdfunding campaign but the biggest value of that was the awareness and relationships and some of the businesses have raised investment but they are relative small amounts compared to the revenue from the service businesses.
As the businesses are growing we are able to resource larger projects through our internal crowdfunding and self-finance more interesting projects."
Tiberius Brastaviceanu, Sensorica
"We've supported ourselves mostly from grants and loans. Most of that was recycled through Canadian R&D tax credits (paying ourselves salaries and claiming it back from the government at the end of the year through this program).
We are starting now to generate revenue from projects.
More on Revenue page: http://www.sensorica.co/home/building-sensorica/revenues
How SENSORICA spends money? You can see the figures here http://www.sensorica.co/home/what-we-do/working-space/dashboard "
Robert Pye, Ethos VO
"Value Recognition Within Ethos
Total about £1.5M+ turnover. Pre tax profit £400k Annuity (fairly predictable, every year): 40% Project based work 60% By type of revenue: Commercial: 50%, Gov Grants 40%, Local Gov 10% By “business line”: Sport: 50% Smart: 30% Skills 20% Consulting: 10%
Costs Categorisation Monthly about £20k fixed costs. People based and expenses (£10k salaries), £10k expenses. No materials or CAPEX really. People (FTE 18) currently - these figures are remarkable! Partner Account Debt (PAD): This is a fantom company (managed by clearbooks SAAS) that is used to record value acknowledged by Ethos where cash is not extracted at this point. It exists outside of the Ethos VO balance sheet as a private agreement amongst the partners of Ethos. It currently records £1,183,330 of debt that will be repaid when the individuals VED is evidenced through Ethos VO dividends. This is the primary cash extraction mechanism in Ethos. So far the PAD has been topped up with notional rates of about 75% of a median market rate where Partner input is valued. This is also topped up as a function of output as well as input.
Everyone needs cash to pay their bills. Until such times as Bitcoin and alternative economies take off, that is! Each partner has a value exchange which sets out the basis for exchange in the broadest sense. Every individual has their own story about how their proposition works and develops. I would like to capture the value exchange of every person in Ethos and build stories for everyone.
My own story has been a long running one between corporates and entrepreneurship. In 2010 I had a pot of about £250k of savings to buffer the start of Ethos. For the tax year ending April 2010 I earned a salary of just less than £500k. This included a “farewell” package from my previous employer. My outgoings are pretty high as I have three kids in private school here in the UK so Ethos is not a hobby for me it is a professional interest as well as so many other things.
Our first project was Team Army and that took a very long time to get up and running. For the remainder of 2010 and for the tax year to April 2011, I went without any salary or income whatsoever. For the 2012 Year my income and business expenses totalled £47,586 in 2013 they were £55,639 and for 2014 they were £65,439. If my income grows by at least 20% (up to say £150-£200k) I will be able to “afford” to continue the Ethos experiment indefinitely. I am pleased to say that we are on track currently. So as of August 2014, Clearbooks says that I have accumulated (520,461) in value. Of this I have received £182,000 in cash and this leaves £369,000 in my partner account which I will receive when this value has been monetised via dividends in Ethos...
If I represent the biggest investor, then everyone else operates somewhere else on the continuum between my extreme and operating purely on a service contract basis. The ultime other end of the scale is as a “wage slave” and I am proud to say that we dont have anyone at this extreme. Nor do we ever want anyone here. The closest we have is (say) a contractual relationship with a partner. As an example we have a technical resource whom we chage out at £450 per day and pay them £375 per day."
this link is open for general comment."
Another funding mechanism we have introduced is convertible
See slide 16 which shows debt-> equity rates.
Open only for Ethos Partners (we want more than money, it's the people behind the money that interest us). Partners can lend Ethos money and receive no interest but their loan will automatically convert to shares at some point in the future. This is a recent scheme that has had near 100% success from the new partners we have recruited.
I think I will produce a diagram with this information on.