One Spark – ‘And Now For Something Entirely Different’

by Rick Carlton Special From CFG

One Spark ups the ante on equity crowdfunding; will the DPO return via Festival Funding?

Although there has been a fair amount of commercial activity in the wake of last year’s launch of the JOBS Act, completed-transaction cycles have largely followed a traditional path; deliberate and somewhat glacial. But, now, in the second quarter of the second year ‘After Crowdfunding’ (ACf), new funding methods are emerging, centered on streamlining the commercial ‘coffee house to boardroom’ evolution including what many now refer to as ‘Venue or Festival Funding.’

I live in the Austin Metroplex, where SXSW has always been understood to be an egalitarian environment where music, film and art attracted the bees, while the ‘South-By’ community created honey. In my view, therefore, the premise of ‘Festival Funding’ makes perfect sense for crowdfunding given the many legal and regulatory constraints currently associated with today’s ACf business challenge. Now, however, One Spark has taken the SXSW paradigm a step further, by creating an ‘all crowdfunding all the time’ event where the ACf community has an opportunity to vet and vote on projects in realtime, resulting in near-immediate launch funding for a number of promising startups.

Consequently, CFG thought it would be a good idea to take a look at some of the entries in this week’s Jacksonville event, with an eye toward three launch projects harboring a promise of commercial (and ultimate equity) value over time:

Renewable Energy
Tech, Invention, Robotics, Bio Engineering, Science Entry #86
Insite Solar Shutters

This Jacksonville startup, offers a very clever and practical, near-term solution to the challenges of solar energy development for residential or commercial small-footprint buildings.

Why you should invest:

If you live in an area where bright sunlight is the rule rather than the exception, Insite’s simple solar-generating window application should easily be seen as a valuable commercial product. Founders Wyatt Saunders, Michaeal Aiello and Mark Mccombs have crafted a simple, yet entirely viable product line that nearly anyone can take advantage of. The startup is not just a pretty face either; the team has done its homework by taking the time to create a complete go-forward business plan, in addition to securing patents on several of the company’s proprietary systems and process designs.

Energy Conversion
Tech, Invention Entry #433
EZ-DC thermovolt power generator

An interesting thermo-electrical design, the EZ-DC is able to directly convert combustible fuel to electrical energy.

Why you should invest:

Although this design prototype is not ready for prime time, the stage-one value is promising for a host or reasons. For example, had folks caught up in last year’s Sandy Hurricane been able to access this technology, many who experienced complete power loss could have at least been afforded an ability to charge battery-powered cell phones, radios or televisions, while at the same time doing some small-scale heated food preparation. Consequently, should this design be entirely proven and productized, one could easily see multiple instances where its use could be commercially applied including emergency services, military, law enforcement, school and residential/commercial disaster recovery.

Healthcare Support
Tech, Invention, Medical Entry #470
Call Bell System

With the press of a button, this simple electronic device integrates several types of patient requests.

Why you should invest:

Patient care efficiency is going to become critical to hospitals, as more and more folks enter the healthcare system due to an aging population. In this case, MedGenius has developed a common device that allows a patient to electronically announce a series of specific staff care requests on the basis of a matrix of individual push buttons. Given the product’s simple approach, full deployment of the device will undoubtedly streamline and simultanteously enhance patient care, save money, and produce significant commercial value over time.

Although One Spark’s concept of direct, localized, community-driven value is working its way through the marketplace methodically, the initial Jacksonville effort offers obvious advantages for the Festival promoter, the project originator, the potential investor and the community as a whole. In the end of the day, then, one can only hope that the One Spark team continues to keep keeping on, since this innovative approach to capital development could get big very quickly.

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