News

“Meet the new startup: It’s a coop, keen to spread that model”

Photo by Nathan Klima for the Boston Globe

Andy Rosen for the Boston Globe writes a piece in their business section featuring Start.coop and how the shared ownership model can help businesses “grow quickly while attacking the growing social problem of economic inequality.”
See the Boston Globe article here

The article reads:

The term “co-op” might bring to mind a small-town natural-foods store, a commonly owned apartment building, or maybe the bookstores at Harvard and MIT. A start-up? Not so much.

But a Boston program for entrepreneurs is pushing young companies to consider cooperative ownership, nurturing a handful of promising firms with the goal of showing that the model can help them grow quickly while attacking the growing social problem of economic inequality.

Start.coop, based in the Back Bay, says it is the only accelerator in the United States focused on startups that are controlled not by investors, but by customers and employees. Co-ops generally share their profits with members, much as conventional companies distribute dividends.

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“Start.coop: Accelerating co-op businesses to expand ownership for workers and customers”

Photo from ImpactAlpha — Greg Brodsky and the Start.coop cohort | Photo credit: Jen Horonjeff

Liz Enochs of ImpactAlpha interviews Greg Brodsky, founder of Start.coop about the journey and the cohort. Read the article on ImpactAlpha

ImpactAlpha, May 30 – Greg Brodsky grew up watching his father build a local carpet store into a 2,000-store chain that buys and sells floor coverings on par with Home Depot and Lowes. A key difference: the stores were cooperatively owned by local independent carpet dealers. Later, Brodsky used the same model to create a purchasing co-op for bicycle stores.

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“This is how one Bay Area bakery is taking the affordable housing crisis head-on”

Carpenter Todd Hindmarsh, of Oakland — Arizmendi Bakery cooperative’s construction business. Photo taken by Doug Duran/Bay Area News Group

Erin Baldassari writes about Arizmendi Roots & Return in a Mercury News article. See the article on Mercury News.

The article reads:

BERKELEY — Behind a spacious Victorian in Berkeley, a remodeled, two-story granny unit is rising.

With vaulted ceilings and a chic reclaimed wood and corrugated metal exterior, it’s not the sort of product you’d expect, coming from Arizmendi, an association of worker cooperatives best known for its bakeries in the East Bay, San Francisco and San Rafael.

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“This Accelerator is Bringing the Co-op Model to Tech Startups:”

Rowan Walrath from the BOSTINNO writes about Start.coop’s program to help bring the co-op model to tech startups. See the article on BOSTINNO.

Rowan Writes:

A new Boston accelerator is kick-starting an old model: Collectively owned cooperatives.

Start.coop calls itself “the first accelerator program designed to help scale cooperatively-owned startups and cooperative tech platforms.” In essence, it’s operating as an accelerator that only accepts co-ops, a.k.a. companies that are owned entirely by their workers, users, or consumers.

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Start.coop, First U.S. Co-op Accelerator, Launches its Inaugural Cohort of Startups

Graduating Cohort Invited to San Francisco; Will be Featured in Three Conferences

BOSTON—May 17, 2019 — Start.coop, the first accelerator program designed to help scale cooperatively-owned startups and cooperative tech platforms, will celebrate the graduation of its inaugural cohort May 20-24 in San Francisco. The five startup teams are traveling from across the United States to present their companies at a series of Bay-area events, including:

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Start.coop Launch Party Photos

From worker owned staffing to patient owned health data — Start.coop announces inaugural cohort of shared ownership models

After receiving 82 applications around the world, Start.coop’s has announced its inaugural cohort of 6 winning  “shared ownership” teams. The selection comes along with a $10,000 cash investment, curriculum, services and ongoing mentorship from a community of experts.  Start.coop brings together an eco-system of strategic support designed to increase the entrepreneurs’ likelihood of economic and social impact.
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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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