Award-winning journalist Amy Cortese was the keynote speaker at the 2012 Invest Local Conference. She is also author of Locavesting: The Revolution in Local Investing and How to Profit From It. Go here for details on the lineup for the 2013 Invest Local Conference on September 26.
Seeking Capital, Some Companies Turn to ‘Do-It-Yourself I.P.O.’s’
Published July 31, 2013 in the New York Times.
By Amy Cortese
Flying back to California, empty-handed, after one last investor pitch in late 2011, Brahm Ahmadi was ready to call it quits. Despite a track record, a clear market opportunity and a loan pledge, he had not been able to attract a single investor. He called his lawyer and told her, “We hit a wall.”
Mr. Ahmadi , the founder ofPeople’s Grocery, a nonprofit focused on food justice issues, hoped to open a commercial grocery store that would offer fresh produce in West Oakland, Calif., a so-called food desert, meaning its 25,000 residents have few healthy food options. A public-private loan fund, California FreshWorks Fund, had issued a letter of intent to lend Mr. Ahmadi two-thirds of the $3.6 million he needed to open the People’s Community Market. There was just one condition — he would first have to raise the remaining $1.2 million from investors. Mr. Ahmadi spent a year pitching to angels, social investors and private equity firms, but most were looking for double-digit returns and a clear exit strategy....