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What is People Powered Capital?

SOCAP Guest Writer August 2, 2011

*This Guest Blog is contributed by Rebecca Petzel, SOCAP11’s People Powered Track Curator
This is the first year SOCAP is dedicating an entire track to People Powered Capital – but what does this even mean?
People Powered Capital is a shift in how we consider our individual power to make an impact. We’ve seen the communication power of the web disrupting the way we create media, how we learn, and even the structure of revolutions. It’s time to really understand how these democratizing trends – both on and off-line –  are disrupting the capital markets, changing how we access capital, and the way we consider impact investing.
People Powered Capital works from the hypothesis that the democratizing effects of on-line tools create important new channels and opportunities for impact, largely through empowering so many of us to share financial (and non-financial) resources in unexpected ways. Who would have guessed 15 years ago it would be common practice to share your car and your apartment with perfect strangers – and that so many of the social enterprises in our space would be getting their start from crowdfunding instead of grants and investors?
To try and understand just what has happened with People Powered Capital, as well as scope out the future of this movement, we need to examine three distinct trends:
People Powered Institutions: The new financial institutions that are disrupting how we raise capital and share loans: The Hoop, Microplace, Village capital, Unreasonables, etc
Peer to Peer Crowd-Funding: How new technology platforms are allowing us to skip institutions all together and raise impact capital directly from our peers: Profounder, Indigogo, 33needs, etc
People Powered Marketplaces: Our propensity to share on-line has validated the market for off-line sharing, and new collaborative consumption start-ups are thriving by hosting people powered marketplaces (Airbnb, Grubly, Getaround, etc). We’ll work to understand this new ecosystem and size the market
On top of all this, we need to understand what mindsets are driving this behavior change, so we can continue to scale up the impact of all our work using people powered capital.

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