When a startup company takes early investment, typically the expectation is that everyone is working toward one of two “exit” events: selling the company to the investor-owners of a bigger company or selling to stock-market investors in an initial public offering. What if there were a third option, an “exit to community,” in which a startup transitions to ownership by the people who rely on it most?
Those people might be users, workers, customers, participant organizations, or a combination of such stakeholder groups. The mechanism for co-ownership might be a cooperative, a trust, or even crypto-tokens. The community might own the whole company when the process is over, or just a substantial-enough part of it to make a difference. These kinds of outcomes could help prevent the accountability crises that now beset today’s most successful venture-backed startups.
In this participatory webinar, we’ll hear from entrepreneurs, investors, and activists who are working to make exit-to-community a viable option in the startup economy. We will also work together to devise some plausible pathways for how such exits might become a reality.
- Camille Canon (Purpose Network)
- Bruno Haid (founder, Roam)
- Scott Heiferman (founder, Meetup)
- Arielle Jordan (founder, Curafied)
- Jonathan Moore (founder, RowdyOrb.it)
- Modupe Odele (attorney, Tiphub)
- Mara Zepeda (founder, Switchboard and Zebras Unite)
- “Startups Need a New Option: Exit to Community,” Hacker Noon (September 16, 2019)
- “Meetup to the People: How a Zebra could Rise from a Unicorn’s Fall,” @sexandstartups on Medium (November 5, 2019)