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Fledge Accelerator Announces the First Accelerator Focused On Shared Ownership Models

BOSTON- Fledge, the global network of conscious company accelerators, is excited to announce the addition of Start.coop, a Boston based program, uniquely focused on scalable co-ops and other businesses with shared ownership models.

Start.coop is led by Greg Brodsky, a 41-year-old Boston-based entrepreneur who has built national purchasing co-ops in both the bicycle and craft beer industries.

Luni Libes, the Fledge founder, and a veteran tech entrepreneur himself said, “we are excited to bring the accelerator model to co-operative companies. I’ve long been a fan of co-ops, and through Start.coop they will finally have a better chance to scale. The unique co-ownership structure of co-ops makes them incompatible with most existing accelerators and venture capital deals, but at Fledge, we invest in future revenues rather than “exits” and love to see entrepreneurs sharing their equity with their employees and customers, as well as their investors. The Fledge model seemed the perfect fit and we welcome Start.coop to the network.”

Co-ops use a shared ownership model that surprisingly widespread in the U.S. economy, including businesses like REI, Ace Hardware, Ocean Spray, and Cabot, but nonetheless a model that is not often taught in business school nor widely understood. Brodsky said, “The applicability of the co-op business model is vast. Distributed ownership shares profits back to a broader pool of owners. Co-ops have particular potential to create economies of scale for economically disadvantaged groups such as women, minorities, immigrants, family businesses, and veterans.”
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Start.coop Launches Co-op Accelerator

A group of veteran entrepreneurs launched Start.coop this week, the first US-based accelerator for cooperatively owned startups looking to scale. The group plans to raise over $2.5 million to help startups use distributed ownership models to create economies of scale, whether through well-established group purchasing models or through newer tech based “platform co-ops.” The accelerator is accepting applications for its first class starting this July.

The unique co-ownership structure of co-ops makes them incompatible with most existing accelerators and venture capital deals. Rather than looking to sell equity to investors, these entrepreneurs are looking to share their equity with their employees, customers, or users. Entrepreneurs from a wide range of sectors have already expressed an interest in applying to the accelerator. Possible participants include a team launching a driver-owned competitor to Uber, a purchasing co-op for local energy dealers, and a tech start-up in which patients own the profits on health research. Through Start.coop, each startup will receive an initial $10,000 in cash, and will have the chance to learn best practices from established mentors.
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