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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. 

Start.coop is a new Boston based accelerator that invests in early stage entrepreneurs who are looking for scale and social impact using shared ownership models. Their inaugural cohort is a group of six teams ranging from a feminist, worker owned wine importer to a patient owned health data platform. 

The Staffing Co-op:  This revolutionary staffing firm is a multi-sector staffing company owned by its workers, and focused on people of color. The enterprise currently has two brands one for formerly incarcerated individuals, and one which is an on-demand labor platform for tech and creative workers.

Driver’s Seat Data Co-op: Drivers Seat is a platform co-op that helps rideshare drivers increase their earnings by collecting and analyzing their trip data. Driver’s Seat generates additional value for driver-members by marketing aggregated, anonymized data to industry and civic organizations.

Savvy Coop: Savvy believes that in order to improve health care, there must be a clear understanding of the patient experience. That’s why co-founders Jen Horonjeff and Ronnie Sharpe founded Savvy, the nation’s first patient-owned health data platform. Savvy’s platform co-op connects patients and companies to advance patient-centered care via patient surveys, studies, and other “gigs”.  Not only does Savvy share profits back with its patient owners, it also provides patients with voting rights to make sure the company never loses its accountability or focus.

RedHen Collective: RedHen is a worker owned & farmer first wine importer. Recently profiled in Forbes, RedHen Collective is a feminist, worker-owned wine importer and wholesaler who is looking to pay their farmers first, and also to share profits with their employees. RedHen embodies a new economy based on gratitude, transparency, collaboration, and regenerative ecology.  

Expert Collective: Expert Collective is a new platform enabling academic experts to build visibility towards industry, and hoping to capture a portion of the US $241 billion in consulting fees sold by management and technology advisory services firms in finance, biotech, healthcare, manufacturing, and software development. The platform is owned by the academic experts that it serves.

Arizmendi Roots & Return: Arizmendi has a well known history of creating scalable worker co-ops, having created a network of worker-owned bakery locations around California’s bay area, and more recently worker-owned construction and landscape design companies. This new affordable housing co-op is looking to accelerate affordable housing development, and to share profits with not just investors, but also workers, and homeowners as well.

Start.coop’s has a mission of creating ownership to create social change.  Start.coop invests in for-profit, scalable, distributed ownership models. Start.coop has already received investments from CCA Global Partners, Equal Exchange, Cabot Dairy Cooperative, National Co-op Bank, and Local Enterprise Assistance Fund, with additional grants from the Beyster Foundation. For more information or to reach the entrepreneurs listed, please contact greg@start.coop, or visit Start.coop.

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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