The accelerator built for co-ops looking to scale

We believe that creating ownership changes lives. Our vision is to build a more inclusive and just economy through scalable, distributed ownership models.





 

Start.coop provides strategic tools, knowledge and investment that empowers entrepreneurs in building transformative, scaleable, cooperatively owned businesses. We measure our work through both our economic impact and our societal impact.

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CO-OPS WE LOVE: Up & Go

On-Demand Cleaning Service Owned By The Cleaners

Up & Go is a worker owned cleaning service that uses platform technology to increase living wages for its home cleaners. Featured in Fast Company, the platform connects worker-owned house cleaning companies with customers across New York City. The project, supported by the Robin Hood Foundation, Barclays and the Center for Family Life, is an outgrowth of the burgeoning so-called gig economy, where people work job-to-job as a contracted service provider. Up & Go helps customers to connect to local home cleaning businesses who pay living wages, while also making scheduling easier with a tech-savvy web app.

CO-OPS WE LOVE: Co-rise

A home-based child care owned by the providers

Co-rise cooperative is a provider-owned social enterprise with the mission of streamlining, strengthening, and elevating the business of child care. Most family child care providers run their small child care businesses out of their homes. Over 95% are women, and they are disproportionately people of color. Child care workers generally have low pay, averaging $14,999 with no benefits, extremely long hours and a very high burnout rate.
 
Co-rise aims to improve the take home pay for these child care providers, to save them time through easier administration, and to create a shared community of providers. Co-Rise is also working to increase access to care in child care deserts and for marginalized populations including immigrant communities and low income families.

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CO-OPS WE LOVE: The Veterinary Cooperative

A purchasing group owned by veterinarians

Started by 4 veterinarians from around the US to level the playing field in pricing, marketing and business techniques between independent vets and the growing corporate hospitals, big box stores, online providers that are encroaching on the independent animal hospital's ability to be profitable. These large corporations entering the veterinary industry are squeezing out the independents, as they have in most every other industry. Member owned cooperatives level the playing field as they have in many other industries ensuring independent business, in this case veterinary hospitals, remain competitive and profitable. The Veterinary Cooperative’s goal is to have the same purchasing power and marketing prowess as the big box stores by growing to 5,000 independent animal hospitals that would have sales and purchasing power equal or greater than these corporate competitors.

CO-OPS WE LOVE: Stocksy

A high-quality image platform owned by photographers

Stocksy United is a Victoria, British Columbia based platform cooperative for exceptionally high quality stock photography and stock video. Stocksy is an artist-owned cooperative founded on the principles of equality, respect, and fair distribution of profits. Contributing artists receive between 50%- 75% of every purchase – and every single co-op member receives a share of the company. Stocksy has an intense focus on quality of product, every artist, photo, and video on Stocksy is hand selected, their entire 100% exclusive collection is both stunning and relevant.
 
Stocksy is paying out over $5 million a year to its member owner photographers.

CO-OPS WE LOVE: Community Purchasing Alliance

A purchasing group owned by schools, churches and synagogues

Community Purchasing Alliance (CPA) is a social-purpose cooperative that leverages the buying power of community institutions to help lower operating costs, while also making investments in sustainability, worker equity, and community organizing. CPA works on behalf of its members to identify and negotiate services that maximize value and savings to its members. CPA offers its churches, synagogues, and schools group procurement, strategic sourcing, and advisory services in electricity, gas, solar, HVAC, janitorial, security, waste hauling, copier leasing, payroll services, supplies purchasing and more.
 
In 3 years, CPA has helped 160 community institutions save more than $7.9 million.

CO-OPS WE LOVE: SMart

A business services platform owned by freelancers

SMart is a platform cooperative dedicated to the needs of freelancers.There are over 14,000 full voting members of the co-op in Belgium, as well as 11,000 others using their online business management system. SMart provides business services such as financing, billing tools, legal advice, insurance, debt collection, project management, career development and even a mutual guarantee fund.
 
Together the 25,000 writers, musicians, artists, programmers and other freelancers who use Smart have a business volume of over $140 million with operations in 9 countries.

CO-OPS WE LOVE: Core Staffing

A staffing agency owned by returning citizens

Core Staffing is an innovative, social staffing firm that uniquely unlocks the economic potential of our returning citizens (previously incarcerated individuals) and also serves the needs of the labor market by delivering a reliable and affordable workforce. Core Staffing is a cooperative staffing agency for that uses temporary work, open occupational-focused education, and shared ownership to achieve the entrepreneurial, educational, and career goals of its members while delivering affordable talent to its clients. It provides part-time, full-time and per-project talent leasing solutions.

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Gain the tools to transform an industry

1. Knowledge & Training

From cooperative governance to digital marketing, access our exclusive content via virtual and in-person workshops and webinars over the 10 weeks. We use a unique blend of co-op knowledge, tech start-up experience and curriculum from our partners in the Fledge Accelerator program. Our cohort based approach helps co-ops save time and grow faster.

2. Strategic Mentorship

Connect to our growing mentor network made up of world class entrepreneurs, experts, and co-op developers. We are honored that our mentor network includes multiple co-op hall of fame inductees.

3. Platform Services

Ranging from human resources, member management software, marketing platforms, rebate tracking, accounting, and cloud services, our proven shared services and tools allow individual co-ops to benefit from the power of cooperation.

4. Investment

We believe enough in each participant that we hand them $10,000. In addition, we provide strategy on how to best use shareholder fundraising, co-op loan programs, social impact investors, and traditional investors.

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Our Cooperative Ownership Model

We believe enough in each participant that we hand them $10,000. In exchange for the cash, the program, and all the follow-up support, we require all graduates to Pay It Forward to future co-ops by sharing a small amount of their future revenue. This model, called revenue based financing, is a non-extractive investment model, and it has been proven out by dozens of start-ups in the Fledge Accelerator network. In line with our cooperative model, all Start.coop participants owners benefit from:

  • Patronage dividends (profit sharing)
  • Voting rights
  • Board representation

LEARN MORE

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Now accepting applications

As we work cooperatively to build a more just economy for all people, we are seeking a diverse cohort representing women, family businesses, veterans, minorities, immigrants and LGBTQ people. The Start.coop planning team will select our 2018 class using the following criteria.

  • Social impact (inclusive of race, ethnicity, gender, and socioeconomic)
  • Financial viability
  • Scalability
  • Industry expertise
  • Ability to execute
  • Passion & entrepreneurial spirit

Growing co-op startups into scalable, cooperatively-owned businesses

At the end of the 10-week program, participating teams have a chance to pitch to social impact and traditional investors, as well as pursue shareholder fundraising and co-op loan programs.

The goal of Start.coop is to build a more inclusive and just economy through scalable, distributed ownership models. The alignment of the Start.coop investment network ensures that viable, sustainable alternatives to economic consolidation are built to scale and grow into successful cooperative businesses.

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