Five Growing Businesses will be highlighted at our November 4th Showcase

We had an amazing summer in the Northwest! Long sunny days means a good harvest, and this fall’s Food Investor Network Showcase was no exception. We have far more businesses seeking funding than we are able to include in the Showcase, so we decided to focus primarily on those innovative businesses engaged in developing business models that are more profitable and sustainable. Where are the rest? Contact us directly to find out how you can join our network and access exciting deals and support our sustainable regional food system.

You can also join us on our Gust space, which gives you access to time-sensitive opportunities, longer term investment strategies, and a forum to discuss investments securely, all without running afoul of SEC regulations. Please remember that per Securities and Exchange Commission Rules, these meetings are not open to the public.


Earth Equity Logo

Earth Equity Farms develops sustainable Organic and Fair Trade agriculture to supply the growing demand for quality food that is good for you and the world. Their supply chains are certified sustainable and fully integrated from seed to shelf to return more to the land, our farming communities and stakeholders. More info … 


Pinfeather Farms

Pinfeather Farm aims to bring high quality poultry products raised in a conscious manner to a wider audience in the Puget Sound region while creating a financially sound business model that can serve as inspiration to other aspiring farmers. The farmers have over 10 years of experience in organic farming, pastured poultry production, and small business operation.



Our Table
Our Table Cooperative is a cooperative of farms and producers working together to create handcrafted, thoughtful and delicious food for the local community. They are a model multi-stakeholder cooperative that runs a 58-acre farm located in Sherwood, Oregon, about 15 miles south of Portland. More info …


Farmstr logo

Farmstr is a direct online farmer-to-consumer marketplace that aims to enable the success of game-changing famers and provide a viable and non-conventional choice for consumers to spend their food dollars. Farmers can promote their farm and products, manage customer relationships, and track sales and logistics. More info …


Viva Farms Logo

Viva Farms is a farm incubator in the Skagit Valley that is growing the next generation of organic farmers by providing access to bilingual education, land, equipment, loans, and markets.  They have successfully launched 15 new farm businesses and have received national media attention for their pioneering model.  More info …

 


OPCBlogo

Thank you to One PacificCoast Bank for sponsoring with this event, and for all the work they do developing regional food and farm businesses.

 

 

Food Investor Network Businesses – Spring 2013

We are pleased to announce a spring harvest of exciting businesses that will be making presentations to accredited investors at our Spring Food Investor Network Showcase on May 20th in Seattle.  Per Securities and Exchange Commission Rules, these meetings are not open to the public.  Please contact us directly for more information about our showcase events and to learn about investing in local farm and food businesses.

AST

Advanced Symbiotic Technologies is a potential game-changing startup. AST has created an organic-grade natural seed coating to improve crop yields in drought conditions. They are in field studies and with patents pending. More info …

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BetterBean

Better Bean has been producing and selling ready-to-eat premium refrigerated beans since 2010.  They have received much acclaim and press for their exciting new product line and rolled out to high-end and regional groceries in select markets across the country. More info …

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BrittsPickles

Kansha Natural Foods is a Seattle based producer of handmade and live cultured, naturally fermented foods including pickles, kimchi and kraut sold through the Britt’s Pickles brand.  Britt’s has sold through select grocery chains in the Seattle area since opening a year ago and in September 2012 inaugurated a retail store in the historic Pike’s Place Market. More info …

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farm raiser_next

Say goodbye to candy bars, cookie dough and other unhealthy, mass-produced products that kids are asked to sell each year.  Say hello to a new way to boost your local economy, where wholesome food comes direct from the farm or local business to you.  Farmraiser is reinventing the school fundraiser by connecting schools with local farms and healthy food products using an innovative online storytelling platform.  More info …

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Suncrest-Logo

Suncrest Farms is a clean tech, Seattle-based company that grows lettuce that is
“Always Local. Always Fresh.™” To do this Suncrest uses advanced hydroponic
technology that decreases water consumption by 90%, reduces greenhouse
energy consumption by 50% and has a “zero” long-haul distribution footprint. More info …

Why Does SMNW only do Accredited Investor Only meetings?

To date Slow Money NW has been one of the most sure successful regional chapters in the national Slow Money efforts. Part of that success is because we have have tried to ensure that our efforts were legal and targeted towards what businesses and investors said they needed. Since opening its doors our  in 2010, we have provided business development assistance to 40 WA and OR based businesses and successfully helped 7 businesses secure investments of  about $5  million. We now have a track record that is attracting financial contributions to do more work, but not yet enough to do all that we want to do.

Gearing up for another accredited investor meeting is always fun and challenging because on the one hand we are directly connecting investors with businesses, and on the other hand excluding people who are not accredited investors. The fun and excitement comes from knowing that good people have good businesses worth hearing, and that good people want to help and invest in good businesses working to grow our regional food economy.

There are two federal legal restrictions on public access to private business investment opportunities: that investors be aware of the risks and resilient to the potential losses; and that we only invite investors with whom we have an existing relationship.

First, accred-only events are exclusionary. The SEC has a clear definition of who is, and therefore who is not, an accredited investor. The quick and simplified reason for these classifications basically dates back to the 1920’s when ‘snake oil’ salesman sold uninformed investors items that sounded really good but cost people their life savings, their retirement, their homes. Rules were set in place during the Depression to make sure that people who invested directly in private businesses (compared to public stock exchange listed companies and mutual funds) understood the risks and could afford to make them. Second, violations of these restrictions include public announcement of the investment opportunities, such as posting the details of the companies presenting on our web site. This is why you do not see our current presentation meetings on our website, and why it is only seen through our direct email invitation. For more information about who may receive invitations and attend events, please contact us directly.

For those that do not meet the SEC definition above, and do not have an existing relationship with Slow Money NW, and want to help transform the regional food system, see our post Beyond Accredited Investor Options on ways that you can get involved. Thanks for your patience as we build out what we have started and continue to create innovative, safe, and legal opportunities for people to connect to the businesses we all want to grow.

Quarterly Update

SMNW was recently asked to prepare an program overview for a regional proposal. This seems to be a perfect way to share what we have accomplised to date. Please contact us with any questions.

Slow Money Northwest (SMNW) catalyzes investment and business development opportunities to strengthen the Pacific Northwest’s sustainable food economy. SMNW focuses on connecting investors interested in food and farming with food and farm businesses seeking investment. Since opening it’s doors in 2010 SMNW has provided business development assistance to 34 WA and OR based businesses and successfully helped 7 businesses secure investments of just under $4 million.

SMNW works from the understanding that funding and financing may be available for low-risk and established businesses as well as high-flying tech startups but not for small businesses and social enterprises the local markets are demanding. SMNW has identified various gaps within the finance continuum for businesses trying to engage in the healthy regional food market segment: business development services; microloans and lines of credit below $20,000; risk tolerance to fund new and small enterprises; opportunities for investors to meet businesses seeking financing; an overarching strategy that better matches supply to demand for healthier food produced close to regional markets; ability for businesses to safely crowdfund from the large, non-accredited investor community.

SMNW has developed projects that directly address these gaps and collaborates with foundations, regional CDFIs, community banks, credit unions, and business development programs where appropriate. Engaged businesses are screened for traditional indicators of jobs, revenue, management team, cashflow, and quality of plan. We also screen for sustainability metrics including sustainable acreage under production, source of ingredients, fair labor practices, and target markets.

The longest running project of SMNW is our Food Investor Network that directly connects investors with food and farm businesses, with regular meetings now occurring in Seattle and Portland. SMNW reviews business plans and makes comments with the goal of preparing businesses for a presentation meeting to an audience of accredited impact investors who understand that a financial investment yields more than just a financial return. The reality is that most businesses reviewed need technical and business development assistance as much as they do financing.

Concurrent to developing these meetings SMNW discovered people in the community eager to help but who were not capable of investing. These individuals now make up the SMNW Angel Professional network that connects professionals to businesses needing finance, legal, accounting, marketing, and business plan development assistance.

SMNW recently launched its Farmer Reserve Fund, a loan loss reserve program that combines the lending infrastructure of an existing credit union, the hands-on experience of a farm incubator, and a limited impact investment to extend credit to beginning farmers who are good risks, but not qualified on paper. Our goal is to replicate this program in King County once we secure a networked due diligence partner who can provide a non-financial review of fund applicants.

SMNW has been contracted to develop a Washington State Beginning Farmer and Rancher Individual Development Account project geared towards incentivizing financial education and building assets for new farm businesses. The project is under development and will launch this winter.

SMNW is helping lead conversations among regional foundations, banks, and investors interested in a more strategic approach to investing in the businesses we need. Current discussions include a tiered investment fund with the potential for a larger, regional meeting in early 2013.

SMNW is closely following the developing crowdfunding regulations with the goal of engaging more people safely in community investment strategies.

Growth of Slow Money NW is constrained by deal flow (ability to connect with aligned businesses truly ready for investment), funding to provide a more formal technical assistance program for small businesses that are not yet ready for investment, and general operating support.

Willapa Hills Cheese Secures Funds

600 Gallon Double O Cheese Vat/Pasteurizer

At our last Food Investor Network Meeting Willapa Hills Cheese met an investor who was impressed with their business, financials, and plan. After some followup meetings he stepped in and, with Whole Foods, helped the Hueffeds secure enough funding to move forward on their expansion plans. Yes! For more information see their Christmas newsletter.

Stephen sent us this wonderful note:
” On a personal note I wanted to offer a heartfelt thanks to you for your patience during a very challenging chapter in our business and family when many would not give us the time of day.  I will never forget your openness and support and hope that we will collaborate many times in the years ahead supporting local food and family farms.”

Thanks to you, Stephen. Happy Holidays and cheesemaking to you and your family.

Northwest Food Investor Meeting

(Note: this event has already occurred)

Slow Money NW actively connects investors and professionals interested in food and farming with the food and farming businesses seeking investment and business development assistance. We are proud to hold another Food and Farm Investor Meeting Oct. 10th 6:30-9 pm at emmer&rye.

If you are an accredited investor and attending the Slow Money National Gathering you can attend this local event for free and enjoy Chef Seth’s wonderful fall food fare on us.

We have one startup and two growth businesses this round:

Hot Cakes Confections
Autumn Martin, former Pastry Chef of Canlis Restaurant and former Head Chocolatier for Theo Chocolate, has her own line of award-winning desserts that she already sells at farmers markets and regional stores. Her take-home Molten Lava Chocolate Cake is to die for. Autumn will present her plan to open her own cakery in Seattle.

Farm Power Northwest
Farm Power has already been successful in launching community anaerobic manure digesters, currently operating in Skagit and Whatcom counties. Their business relies upon the success of regional dairy producers while reducing the costs of those dairies. Come hear Kevin Mass present their plans to expand to new products and new regions.

Willapa Hills Cheese
Located on the banks of the Chehalis River three generations of Hueffeds (and others) work this farm to produce a variety of fresh and aged sheep milk, cow milk and sheep/cow milk blend cheeses and dairy products. Their products are currently available in regional stores including PCC Natural Markets, Metropolitan Markets, Whole Foods, Town & Country/Central Market, New Season’s, and Market of Choice.  Come hear Stephen Hueffed present their expansion plans.

During the meeting we will sample regional cuisine by celebrated chef Seth Caswell, owner of emmer&rye. 


WHEN AND WHERE
Monday, October 10, 2010 6:30-9 pm
emmer&rye
1825 Queen Anne Ave N, Seattle
Purchase tickets now

WHAT CAN I EXPECT
Slow Money NW update, growth stage and startup investment deals, networking with similar investors, peer-to-peer knowledge sharing, great food and beverages.

WHO SHOULD ATTEND
State and federal securities laws require that this event is open only to accredited investors. Please contact Tim Crosby with any questions about attending (206-300-9860).

Space is limited. Last year we sold out this event. Tickets are $35 per person, include food and some wine or beer.

This announcement is neither made on behalf of any issuer of a security nor constitutes an offer on behalf of any issuer to sell securities in the state of Washington.