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A Platform For Investing In Social Enterprises: An Interview with Josh Tetrick of 33Needs

A Platform For Investing In Social Enterprises: An Interview with Josh Tetrick of 33Needs

Josh Tetrick  is the CEO of 33Needs.  

For those who aren’t familiar can you tell us a little bit about what 33needs does, and how it differs from other for profit small business crowdfunding sites like Profounder.

Social investing in companies solving the world’s biggest needs. We’re turning the focus of crowdfunding entirely on companies with a social mission, and allowing ordinary people to invest, make a social impact, and earn financial rewards.

We’re the only platform in the world that enables ordinary people – you, neighbor Joe, Aunt Sally, and even your dog Jake (fine, maybe not Jake) – to invest in do-good companies (called social enterprises) and earn financial rewards. For example: 20,000 people could invest, not donate, $50 each in More than Me, Inc., one of the companies raising money on 33needs.

We’re different in two key ways 1. We don’t have a limit to the number of people that can invest in each social enterprise. For us, that’s the missing piece of existing models and is the key to unleashing something special; and, 2. All of the startups on 33needs are solving a social/environmental need, which is why we’re doing this in the first place.

Where does the name come from?

It’s been my athletic number all through my life; just sounds cool; we have a lot of needs; and it references a law that put a barrier between “wealthy” investors and everyone else: the 1933 Securities Law.

How is 33needs a product of your life experiences?

I worked with a venture capital program inside the United Nations called the UN Growing Sustainable Business Initiative. We invested UN capital into social enterprises – i.e, impact investing. I came back to states (that was in Kenya) and was inspired by the Obama campaign, how they raised money online – i.e. crowdfunding. I asked myself: Why not combine the two? I sat on the idea for too long, and then did it.

Can you highlight a success story on your platform?

Check this article as it highlights the successful raise of More than Me.

Why did you choose to make 33 needs about investing over just giving?

For me (and the team), it’s all about long-term sustainability and impact. Business (and self-interest) has the ability to take things to scale both quicker. I think in a lot of ways it can be a more sustainable and a more empowering approach than traditional giving.

What are the largest challenges you are currently facing with growing 33needs? Do you face compliance issues with the SEC?

We’re set it up in such a way to avoid SEC-related issues. Our biggest challenges is convincing people the business, not just non-profits, can be a powerful force for chance. There is still a lot of skepticism.

What is the vision for 33needs and are there things coming in the near future we should be excited about?

33Needs’ vision is to enable as many people as possible to invest in innovative ideas and companies that are working to solve the most urgent and pressing needs around the world.

We’ve got lots of needs: Today, like every other day, global-warming pollution is dumped by the 70 million ton truckloads into the sewer formerly known as our atmosphere. And tomorrow, billions live another day in the grinding no medicine, no light and no family type of poverty. Seventy billion animals — about the number of humans who’ve lived in all of history — suffer from cruel and inhumane treatment inside factory farm walls.

We want to continue creating a platform that chips away at these urgent problems. We’re also lining up some exciting partnerships with launch.org (NASA, NIKE, and USAID collaboration) and some other great organizations and universities.

How can our readers push forward 33needs’ mission and vision outside of investing in the companies on the platform?

Start their own! Start a company that is making a difference through just being a business. 

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Photo provided by Josh Tetrick

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45 comments

+ add your own
3:49AM PDT on Jul 11, 2011

Thanks for this article.

5:54AM PDT on Jul 10, 2011

Thank you for your vision.

11:03PM PDT on Jun 2, 2011

Excellent work Josh-but do keep politics out of it !!!!!!!!!!

11:59PM PDT on May 30, 2011

Good article,thank you

7:40PM PDT on May 30, 2011

thanks for the post.

8:51AM PDT on May 30, 2011

Thanks for sharing.

3:26AM PDT on May 30, 2011

Thanks for sharing

5:43PM PDT on May 29, 2011

thanks

7:39PM PDT on May 28, 2011

Large employers [including the US government] participate in the shared giving concept. The combined campaign programs of United Way, Easter Seals, the American Red Cross and Unicef have been successful in their opportations and service delivery for years. Chase Community Giving solicit public input [by vote] for its charity allocations.

8:34AM PDT on May 28, 2011

thanks for sharing

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