Activist Investor Questions Perry Ellis Acquisition Deal

The battle for Perry Ellis International might be heating up again.
On Thursday, Water Island Capital disclosed a 5.5 percent ownership stake in the company and in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing said it “does not believe that the merger consideration” by Feldenkreis Holdings LLC “represents fair value to the Issuer’s shareholders.” It went on to say that it is “considering various options and remedies to maximize the value of its shares in connection with the merger.”
As reported, in mid-August, the Perry Ellis Special Committee ended discussions with Randa Accessories which had submitted a higher $ 444 million offer for the company and reiterated a commitment to a $ 437 million transaction it inked with former chief executive officer George Feldenkreis to take the company private. Randa had offered $ 28.90 a share to Feldenkreis’ $ 27.50.
The special committee said the decision was a response to news that an inbound licensor would not approve a change in control of the license to Randa should it buy the company. It said the inbound licensor was the company’s largest, leaving speculation that it was Nike Inc., which has a business with Perry Ellis valued at more than $ 100 million.
Randa’s expertise is in accessories while Perry Ellis manufactures

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Mehgan James Stumbles Through Her Investor Pitch | Mind Your Business with Mahisha | OWN

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SPECIAL NEWS BULLETIN:

http://www.acrx.org -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.-American Consultants Rx -Pharmacy Discount Network News

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SEC bans energy investor from public boards over ICO flap

Federal regulators barred an energy investor from serving on public companies’ boards on Monday after he pushed an initial coin offering that misled investors. The Securities and Exchange Commission permanently barred David T. Laurence, who was convicted in 1993 of mail fraud in a penny stock scheme, after he tried to get investors to buy…
Business | New York Post

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Cigna’s acquisition of Express Scripts get vote of confidence from investor advisor ISS

Famed activist investor Carl Icahn published a searing letter Tuesday opposing Cigna's $ 54 billion acquisition of pharmacy benefit manager Express Scripts. 
Health and Science

U.S.HEALTHCARE UPDATE:

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Virtual doctor start-up American Well is raising over $300 million and Philips is a new investor

American Well is raising over $ 300 million for telemedicine, and Philips is a new investor
Health Care

U.S.HEALTHCARE UPDATE:

Click today to request your free ACRX discount prescription card and save up to 80% off of your medicine!

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A longtime Google investor drew a simple chart on a napkin to explain everything in health tech

Krishna Yeshwant is a venture capitalist and doctor who has a crafty way to think through his health-tech investments.
Health Care

U.S.HEALTHCARE UPDATE:

Click today to request your free ACRX discount prescription card and save up to 80% off of your medicine!

SPECIAL DONATION REQUEST UPDATE:

Please help American Consultants Rx achieve it’s biggest goal yet of donating over 30 million discount prescription cards to over 50k organizations in an effort to assist millions of Americans in need. Please click here to donate today!

Want to Be an Investor? Cross Culture Ventures is Looking for a Summer Associate

Cross Culture Ventures (CCV) has teamed up with Silicon Valley Bank to provide a unique opportunity. This summer, the venture firm is hiring a Summer Associate to join their investment team for two months between June and August. According to a recent post, the ideal candidate is an MBA student going into their second year with a keen interest in learning about venture capital and a passion for technology and startup companies. Previous venture capital or early-stage startup experience will also give you a boost in the application process. Additionally, due to the massive underrepresentation of women in the space, female minorities are highly encouraged to apply.

“Black and Latina women are significantly underrepresented in VC. Let’s change that,” said CCV Managing Partner Marlon Nichols.

Managing Partner, Marlon Nichols (Image: Cross Culture Ventures)

CCV Managing Partner Marlon Nichols (Image: Cross Culture Ventures)

 

So what will you gain? The post states that the Summer Associate can expect to gain hands-on experience in all areas of venture capital, including financial analysis, due diligence, deal execution, and portfolio support. Also, they didn’t fail to mention that the pay is competitive.

And what exactly will you be doing? Some of your tasks will include reviewing pitch decks and meeting with entrepreneurs; analyzing investment opportunities; researching market trends; performing company financial analysis, due diligence, and author investment memos used by partners and investment committees in investment decisions; and leading various internal market and technology research projects.

Cross Culture Ventures is an early-stage venture capital firm based in Los Angeles that invests in entrepreneurs creating next-generation technology and consumer products. Through their strategic partnership with Atom Factory, they work together to discover, invest in, and develop companies that fuel shifts in cultural trends and behaviors within an increasingly diverse global marketplace. CCV has over 20 companies in its portfolio, which includes Gimlet Media, Thrive Market, Blavity, Fair.com, and Mayvenn.
For more information on the opportunity, click here. All applications are due, Friday, April 27, at 5 p.m. PST.

 

The post Want to Be an Investor? Cross Culture Ventures is Looking for a Summer Associate appeared first on Black Enterprise.

Career | Black Enterprise

EMPLOYMENT UPDATE:

Barriers to entering the pharmaceutical industry are too high even for Amazon: Billionaire investor

Barriers to entering the pharmaceutical industry are too high even for Amazon, says billionaire investor Larry Robbins.
Health Care

U.S.HEALTHCARE UPDATE:

Click today to request your free ACRX discount prescription card and save up to 80% off of your medicine!

SPECIAL DONATION REQUEST UPDATE:

Please help American Consultants Rx achieve it’s biggest goal yet of donating over 30 million discount prescription cards to over 50k organizations in an effort to assist millions of Americans in need. Please click here to donate today!

Activist investor takes aim at Taubman Centers again

If at first you don’t succeed, try again. At least, that’s according to activist investor Jonathan Litt who is making a second bid to get on the board Taubman Centers, owner of the posh Mall at Short Hills in New Jersey. “A true shareholder representative with a deep knowledge of REITs and regional shopping malls…
Business | New York Post

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Investor wants Amazon to build headquarters in the Hudson

Could the Hudson River soon be renamed the Amazon? That’s the dream of real estate investor Charles J. Urstadt, who’s best known as the Battery Park City Authority’s first chairman, from 1968 to 1969. In an ad in The Post on Friday, Urstadt asks the city and state to sell Jeff Bezos’ online retailing giant…
Tech | New York Post

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What You as an Investor Need to Know About the Stock Market Plunge

On Monday, the Dow plunged more than 1,500 points throughout the day, finally losing 1,175.21 points, placing the stock market in correction territory. According to CNN, the drop in the market made it the single worst day ever for the Dow since August 2011.

The Dow lost approximately 4.6% in value and impacted the stock markets around the globe, causing many global markets to decline.

Reason for the Drop

There is not one single reason, but a few things rolled into one.

First things to consider, the economy is strong and healthy. A recent jobs report indicated wages have increased approximately 2.9%, up from the previous year and more than 200,000 jobs were added to the workforce. In addition, the unemployment rate has remained steady overall (although black unemployment went up to 7.7%).

Because of the healthy economy, the Federal Reserve is expected to raise interest rates throughout the year. When interest rates increase, the cost of borrowing increases as well. As rates rise, stock prices begin to fall.

Also, bond yields have risen, which could be disturbing news for stocks. Investors are likely to pull money out of risky investments such as stocks and bonds when there is turbulence in the market.

Lastly, the Federal Reserve has just sworn in the new chairman, Jerome Powell, to replace Janet Yellen. This also brings slight uncertainty to the market.

What Should Black Investors do?

Stick to your retirement goals. You have to understand your long-term purpose. If you are investing in the stock market for retirement and it will be several years or more before you will need the money, then you should stay put and keep the money invested. The market has seen corrections and declines before, therefore it is important to stay the course.

Make certain you are well diversified – The next thing to keep in mind is to make certain you are well diversified, meaning that you don’t have all of your eggs in one basket. And, of course, this will depend on your risk tolerance, but if you are a younger investor, you should consider investing in a portfolio that consists of a higher percentage of stocks and a smaller percentage of bonds. However, if you are moving toward retirement, it may be a good time to review your portfolio to ensure you are not investing too aggressively, since you may need your money soon.

Finally, this is a great time to meet with your financial adviser. Discuss any concerns you have regarding your investments and what steps you should take.

The post What You as an Investor Need to Know About the Stock Market Plunge appeared first on Black Enterprise.

Money | Black Enterprise

FASHION DEAL UPDATE:

Shop select Free People sale and clearance items at Bloomingdales.com!

Spendwith is Allowing You To Become An Investor

So many new startups seek Venture Capital to finance their companies but, Spendwith, a social impact company focused on increasing commerce within cultures, is taking a different approach.  Not only is the company allowing its users to spend with culturally relevant companies, but it is also allowing you to spend with it by investing in the company itself. That’s what you call a multiprong approach, keeping the dollars in the community.

 

Black Enterprise caught up with the founder, C. Jibril Sulaiman II to talk about why he started Spendwith, how he compares to the competition and why he decided to use equity crowdfunding to raise his “Friends and Family” round.

(Image: C. Jibril Sulaiman II)

(Image: C. Jibril Sulaiman II)

Tell me about your background.

I’m a 16-year entrepreneur that previously ran an Inc 5000 ranked tech company for 6 years.  Before that, I owned several “mom & pop” wireless stores for 10 years.  The technology behind my tech company was based on a problem I personally experienced in accepting prepaid wireless payments as a wireless store owner.

Why did you decide to start Spendwith?

I actually started the first iteration of Spendwith in 2015 after serving with a local African American Chamber of commerce.  I wanted a way to curate the commerce of Black Business, after unsuccessfully launching a local black business directory.  So I began working on a “Black Amazon” or a version of a black e-commerce site.  Because the growth of my tech company was occurring at the same time, I wasn’t able to fully commit the time needed to finish Spendwith.  Over the next few years, my perspective began to evolve on the type of platform needed and who the technology needed to also serve. After the decline of my tech company in 2016 and consequently filing for personal bankruptcy, I sought out for a job in web development. However, the lure of entrepreneurship was still strong, and I decided to bring a previous idea back to life, in a new form.  That’s the version of the Spendwith App we have today, one that encourages spending with the seller and businesses associated with 8 different cultural groups, with more to come.

Spendwiths mission is to increase commerce with cultures and across cultures. In short, I wanted to create a platform that gave people a way to feel good about targeting their spending towards multiple cultures. Until now, no platform like this existed.

Spendwith (Image: C. Jibril Sulaiman II)

Spendwith (Image: C. Jibril Sulaiman II)

How does your company compare to other competitors in the market?

There are some mainstream competitors like Facebook Marketplace, Letgo, Offerup and 5miles.  They offer the ability for any user to list a product or service.  But none offer the ability to associate with a culture or demographic.  This factor is important for those who want to target their support of local businesses.  There’s definitely validity in what we are doing.  Facebook alone has over 40,000 cultural groups.  These groups host posting from 16+ million users.  They post things for sale, offer services, and discuss new business ventures. These groups are described in various ways, some are called “networking” others are called, “marketplaces”, “online flea markets”, “buy/sell/trade” groups and more.  On Instagram and Twitter, users hashtag business related posts under “#blackbusiness”, “#womeninbusiness” and more.  Our goal is to organize and display this culture/demographic related activity in our app in addition to the organic listings that will be posted.

I see that you are currently fundraising, how much have you raised so far and what number are you aiming to hit?

Yes, we are raising under the 1-year-old Title III, Regulation CF rules, that formed as a result of the 2012 JOBS Act. These rules allow a private company to raise money from non-wealthy investors by selling shares.  This is important because black founders of businesses get about 1% of the private equity investments that are made.  This means we have to find alternative ways to raise the capital needed to fund our companies. Regulation CF is the future of fundraising for many of the businesses with Black and Brown founders.  In our offering, we are raising a minimum goal of $ 10,000 and a Maximum goal of $ 500,000.  One of the catches with Regulation CF offerings and the new SEC rules, is I’m not allowed to discuss most of the details of the offering, only to say that you can view it on our StartEngine.com page.  Start Engine is a company that hosts Regulation CF offerings.  They sent our company through a rigorous due diligence process and vetted the company before we were able to launch the offering.

What are some of the challenges that you are experiencing fundraising?

Raising under Regulation CF is similar to the “friends and family” round that most startups begin with.  This important money that is vital to getting the startup off the ground. However, as a black founder, my ability to raise is only as strong as the net worth of my network.  Statics shows that the average net worth of a Black family is less than $ 10,000, versus $ 150,000 for a white family.  This adversely affects startups during the crucial “friends and family” round, it also affects a Regulation CF offering depending on diverse your online network is.

Another challenge is false promises.  I’ve had many people say they would invest, however for unknown reasons they’ve not done so.  I can’t and I don’t let those people subdue my optimism.  For the first time in 80 years, many average working people have the opportunity to buy early shares in a startup.  Some may not understand the gravity the opportunity and that’s why education about   Regulation CF so powerful, is important.  This is not a Kickstarter or GofundMe guys, these are real shares in an early startup!

How are you getting past those challenges?

I get through these challenges with, faith, perseverance, and technology.  I have faith that the story behind our startup and the interest this unique idea will grow.  I also have faith that, through some act of God,  the people who are meant to see our offering will see it, believe in our story, believe in our mission and believe that I and our other founders will create something great.  I’ll say that technology enables my ability to persevere. I’ve leveraged my LinkedIn contacts by sending out email blasts, used Instagram and Twitter for daily postings to old and new followers, and utilized programs like FB Virtual assistant (a software created by another Black founder) to send automated messages to my Facebook friends about the Spendwith offering.  I reach out beyond my network to even wealthy investors using platforms like Angel.co, Gust.com, and F6S.com

How do people access your platform?

Users can post their business, sell, or find businesses/sellers by downloading the app at https://spendwith.in/dl

If investors are interested, how do they gain access to your round?

Because of our type of offering, anyone can be an investor.  Interested investors can see our offering at https://spendwith.in/invest

The post Spendwith is Allowing You To Become An Investor appeared first on Black Enterprise.

Money | Black Enterprise

FASHION DEAL UPDATE:

Shop select Free People sale and clearance items at Bloomingdales.com!

Spendwidth is Allowing You To Become An Investor

So many new startups seek Venture Capital to finance their companies but, Spendwith, a social impact company focused on increasing commerce within cultures, is taking a different approach.  Not only is the company allowing its users to spend with culturally relevant companies, but it is also allowing you to spend with it by investing in the company itself. That’s what you call a multiprong approach, keeping the dollars in the community.

 

Black Enterprise caught up with the founder, C. Jibril Sulaiman II to talk about why he started Spendwith, how he compares to the competition and why he decided to use equity crowdfunding to raise his “Friends and Family” round.

(Image: C. Jibril Sulaiman II)

(Image: C. Jibril Sulaiman II)

Tell me about your background.

I’m a 16-year entrepreneur that previously ran an Inc 5000 ranked tech company for 6 years.  Before that, I owned several “mom & pop” wireless stores for 10 years.  The technology behind my tech company was based on a problem I personally experienced in accepting prepaid wireless payments as a wireless store owner.

Why did you decide to start Spendwith?

I actually started the first iteration of Spendwith in 2015 after serving with a local African American Chamber of commerce.  I wanted a way to curate the commerce of Black Business, after unsuccessfully launching a local black business directory.  So I began working on a “Black Amazon” or a version of a black e-commerce site.  Because the growth of my tech company was occurring at the same time, I wasn’t able to fully commit the time needed to finish Spendwith.  Over the next few years, my perspective began to evolve on the type of platform needed and who the technology needed to also serve. After the decline of my tech company in 2016 and consequently filing for personal bankruptcy, I sought out for a job in web development. However, the lure of entrepreneurship was still strong, and I decided to bring a previous idea back to life, in a new form.  That’s the version of the Spendwith App we have today, one that encourages spending with the seller and businesses associated with 8 different cultural groups, with more to come.

Spendwiths mission is to increase commerce with cultures and across cultures. In short, I wanted to create a platform that gave people a way to feel good about targeting their spending towards multiple cultures. Until now, no platform like this existed.

Spendwith (Image: C. Jibril Sulaiman II)

Spendwith (Image: C. Jibril Sulaiman II)

How does your company compare to other competitors in the market?

There are some mainstream competitors like Facebook Marketplace, Letgo, Offerup and 5miles.  They offer the ability for any user to list a product or service.  But none offer the ability to associate with a culture or demographic.  This factor is important for those who want to target their support of local businesses.  There’s definitely validity in what we are doing.  Facebook alone has over 40,000 cultural groups.  These groups host posting from 16+ million users.  They post things for sale, offer services, and discuss new business ventures. These groups are described in various ways, some are called “networking” others are called, “marketplaces”, “online flea markets”, “buy/sell/trade” groups and more.  On Instagram and Twitter, users hashtag business related posts under “#blackbusiness”, “#womeninbusiness” and more.  Our goal is to organize and display this culture/demographic related activity in our app in addition to the organic listings that will be posted.

I see that you are currently fundraising, how much have you raised so far and what number are you aiming to hit?

Yes, we are raising under the 1-year-old Title III, Regulation CF rules, that formed as a result of the 2012 JOBS Act. These rules allow a private company to raise money from non-wealthy investors by selling shares.  This is important because black founders of businesses get about 1% of the private equity investments that are made.  This means we have to find alternative ways to raise the capital needed to fund our companies. Regulation CF is the future of fundraising for many of the businesses with Black and Brown founders.  In our offering, we are raising a minimum goal of $ 10,000 and a Maximum goal of $ 500,000.  One of the catches with Regulation CF offerings and the new SEC rules, is I’m not allowed to discuss most of the details of the offering, only to say that you can view it on our StartEngine.com page.  Start Engine is a company that hosts Regulation CF offerings.  They sent our company through a rigorous due diligence process and vetted the company before we were able to launch the offering.

What are some of the challenges that you are experiencing fundraising?

Raising under Regulation CF is similar to the “friends and family” round that most startups begin with.  This important money that is vital to getting the startup off the ground. However, as a black founder, my ability to raise is only as strong as the net worth of my network.  Statics shows that the average net worth of a Black family is less than $ 10,000, versus $ 150,000 for a white family.  This adversely affects startups during the crucial “friends and family” round, it also affects a Regulation CF offering depending on diverse your online network is.

Another challenge is false promises.  I’ve had many people say they would invest, however for unknown reasons they’ve not done so.  I can’t and I don’t let those people subdue my optimism.  For the first time in 80 years, many average working people have the opportunity to buy early shares in a startup.  Some may not understand the gravity the opportunity and that’s why education about   Regulation CF so powerful, is important.  This is not a Kickstarter or GofundMe guys, these are real shares in an early startup!

How are you getting past those challenges?

I get through these challenges with, faith, perseverance, and technology.  I have faith that the story behind our startup and the interest this unique idea will grow.  I also have faith that, through some act of God,  the people who are meant to see our offering will see it, believe in our story, believe in our mission and believe that I and our other founders will create something great.  I’ll say that technology enables my ability to persevere. I’ve leveraged my LinkedIn contacts by sending out email blasts, used Instagram and Twitter for daily postings to old and new followers, and utilized programs like FB Virtual assistant (a software created by another Black founder) to send automated messages to my Facebook friends about the Spendwith offering.  I reach out beyond my network to even wealthy investors using platforms like Angel.co, Gust.com, and F6S.com

How do people access your platform?

Users can post their business, sell, or find businesses/sellers by downloading the app at https://spendwith.in/dl

If investors are interested, how do they gain access to your round?

Because of our type of offering, anyone can be an investor.  Interested investors can see our offering at https://spendwith.in/invest

The post Spendwidth is Allowing You To Become An Investor appeared first on Black Enterprise.

Money | Black Enterprise

FASHION DEAL UPDATE:

Shop select Free People sale and clearance items at Bloomingdales.com!

A surge in investor demand confronts the ‘buyback effect’

With markets at historic highs and investor interest growing, some are wondering if there are enough shares to go buy.
Top News & Analysis

COMMUNITY NEWS UPDATE:

Click today to request your free ACRX discount prescription card and save up to 80% off off of your medicine!

SPECIAL DONATION REQUEST UPDATE:

Please help American Consultants Rx achieve it’s biggest goal yet of donating over 30 million discount prescription cards to over 50k organizations in an effort to assist millions of Americans in need. Please click here to donate today!

Investor bets gamers will spend big on virtual bling

Former hedgie Mike Novogratz is betting that gamers have way too much time — and money — on their hands. The former Fortress Investment Group bigwig has poured about $ 3.6 million into an online exchange that allows gamers to purchase virtual bling for their digital characters — a controversial $ 50 billion market that’s facilitated online…
Tech | New York Post

SPECIAL SHOE DISCOUNT:

Spendwith Is Allowing You to Become An Investor

Spendwith (Image: C. Jibril Sulaiman II)

So many new startups seek venture capital to finance their companies but Spendwith, a social impact company focused on increasing commerce within cultures, is taking a different approach. Not only is the company allowing its users to spend with culturally relevant companies, but it is also allowing you to spend by investing in the company itself. That’s what you call a multipronged approach, keeping the dollars in the community.

 

Black Enterprise caught up with the founder, C. Jibril Sulaiman II to talk about why he started Spendwith, how he compares to the competition, and why he decided to use equity crowdfunding to raise his “Friends and Family” round.

(Image: C. Jibril Sulaiman II) (Image: C. Jibril Sulaiman II)

Tell me about your background.

I’m a 16-year entrepreneur that previously ran an Inc 5000 ranked tech company for six years. Before that, I owned several “mom & pop” wireless stores for 10 years. The technology behind my tech company was based on a problem I personally experienced in accepting prepaid wireless payments as a wireless store owner.

Why did you decide to start Spendwith?

I actually started the first iteration of Spendwith in 2015 after serving with a local African American chamber of commerce. I wanted a way to curate the commerce of black business, after unsuccessfully launching a local black business directory. So I began working on a “Black Amazon” or a version of a black e-commerce site. Because the growth of my tech company was occurring at the same time, I wasn’t able to fully commit the time needed to finish Spendwith. Over the next few years, my perspective began to evolve on the type of platform needed and who the technology needed to also serve. After the decline of my tech company in 2016 and consequently filing for personal bankruptcy, I sought out a job in web development. However, the lure of entrepreneurship was still strong, and I decided to bring a previous idea back to life, in a new form. That’s the version of the Spendwith app we have today, one that encourages spending with the seller and businesses associated with eight different cultural groups, with more to come.

Spendwith’s mission is to increase commerce with cultures and across cultures. In short, I wanted to create a platform that gave people a way to feel good about targeting their spending toward multiple cultures. Until now, no platform like this existed.

Spendwith (Image: C. Jibril Sulaiman II) (Spendwith app. Image: C. Jibril Sulaiman II)

How does your company compare to other competitors in the market?

There are some mainstream competitors like Facebook Marketplace, Letgo, OfferUp, and 5miles. They offer the ability for any user to list a product or service. But none offer the ability to associate with a culture or demographic. This factor is important for those who want to target their support of local businesses. There’s definitely validity in what we are doing. Facebook alone has over 40,000 cultural groups. These groups host posting from 16+ million users. They post things for sale, offer services, and discuss new business ventures. These groups are described in various ways, some are called “networking” others are called, “marketplaces,” “online flea markets,” “buy/sell/trade” groups, and more. On Instagram and Twitter, users hashtag business-related posts under “#blackbusiness,” “#womeninbusiness,” and more. Our goal is to organize and display this culture/demographic-related activity in our app in addition to the organic listings that will be posted.

I see that you are currently fundraising. How much have you raised so far and what number are you aiming to hit?

Yes, we are raising under the 1-year-old Title III, Regulation CF rules, that formed as a result of the 2012 JOBS Act. These rules allow a private company to raise money from non-wealthy investors by selling shares. This is important because black founders of businesses get about 1% of the private equity investments that are made. This means we have to find alternative ways to raise the capital needed to fund our companies. Regulation CF is the future of fundraising for many of the businesses with black and brown founders.  In our offering, we are raising a minimum goal of $ 10,000 and a maximum goal of $ 500,000. One of the catches with Regulation CF offerings and the new SEC rules is I’m not allowed to discuss most of the details of the offering, only to say that you can view it on our StartEngine.com page. Start Engine is a company that hosts Regulation CF offerings.  They sent our company through a rigorous due diligence process and vetted the company before we were able to launch the offering.

What are some of the challenges that you are experiencing fundraising?

Raising under Regulation CF is similar to the “friends and family” round that most startups begin with. This is important money that is vital to getting the startup off the ground. However, as a black founder, my ability to raise is only as strong as the net worth of my network. Statics shows that the average net worth of a black family is less than $ 10,000, versus $ 150,000 for a white family. This adversely affects startups during the crucial “friends and family” round, it also affects a Regulation CF offering depending on how diverse your online network is.

Another challenge is false promises. I’ve had many people say they would invest, however for unknown reasons they’ve not done so. I can’t and I don’t let those people subdue my optimism. For the first time in 80 years, many average working people have the opportunity to buy early shares in a startup. Some may not understand the gravity of the opportunity and that’s why education about Regulation CF is so powerful, so important.  This is not a Kickstarter or GoFundMe guys, these are real shares in an early startup!

How are you getting past those challenges?

I get through these challenges with, faith, perseverance, and technology. I have faith that the story behind our startup and the interest for this unique idea will grow. I also have faith that, through some act of God,  the people who are meant to see our offering will see it, believe in our story, believe in our mission, and believe that I and our other founders will create something great. I’ll say that technology enables my ability to persevere. I’ve leveraged my LinkedIn contacts by sending out email blasts, used Instagram and Twitter for daily postings to old and new followers, and utilized programs like FB Virtual Assistant (a software created by another black founder) to send automated messages to my Facebook friends about the Spendwith offering. I reach out beyond my network to even wealthy investors using platforms like Angel.co, Gust.com, and F6S.com

How do people access your platform?

Users can post their business, sell, or find businesses/sellers by downloading the app at https://spendwith.in/dl.

If investors are interested, how do they gain access to your round?

Because of our type of offering, anyone can be an investor. Interested investors can see our offering at https://spendwith.in/invest.

Money – Black Enterprise

FASHION DEAL UPDATE:

Shop select Free People sale and clearance items at Bloomingdales.com!

Spendwidth Is Allowing You to Become An Investor

Spendwith (Image: C. Jibril Sulaiman II)

So many new startups seek venture capital to finance their companies but Spendwith, a social impact company focused on increasing commerce within cultures, is taking a different approach. Not only is the company allowing its users to spend with culturally relevant companies, but it is also allowing you to spend by investing in the company itself. That’s what you call a multipronged approach, keeping the dollars in the community.

 

Black Enterprise caught up with the founder, C. Jibril Sulaiman II to talk about why he started Spendwith, how he compares to the competition, and why he decided to use equity crowdfunding to raise his “Friends and Family” round.

(Image: C. Jibril Sulaiman II) (Image: C. Jibril Sulaiman II)

Tell me about your background.

I’m a 16-year entrepreneur that previously ran an Inc 5000 ranked tech company for six years. Before that, I owned several “mom & pop” wireless stores for 10 years. The technology behind my tech company was based on a problem I personally experienced in accepting prepaid wireless payments as a wireless store owner.

Why did you decide to start Spendwith?

I actually started the first iteration of Spendwith in 2015 after serving with a local African American chamber of commerce. I wanted a way to curate the commerce of black business, after unsuccessfully launching a local black business directory. So I began working on a “Black Amazon” or a version of a black e-commerce site. Because the growth of my tech company was occurring at the same time, I wasn’t able to fully commit the time needed to finish Spendwith. Over the next few years, my perspective began to evolve on the type of platform needed and who the technology needed to also serve. After the decline of my tech company in 2016 and consequently filing for personal bankruptcy, I sought out a job in web development. However, the lure of entrepreneurship was still strong, and I decided to bring a previous idea back to life, in a new form. That’s the version of the Spendwith app we have today, one that encourages spending with the seller and businesses associated with eight different cultural groups, with more to come.

Spendwith’s mission is to increase commerce with cultures and across cultures. In short, I wanted to create a platform that gave people a way to feel good about targeting their spending toward multiple cultures. Until now, no platform like this existed.

Spendwith (Image: C. Jibril Sulaiman II) (Spendwith app. Image: C. Jibril Sulaiman II)

How does your company compare to other competitors in the market?

There are some mainstream competitors like Facebook Marketplace, Letgo, OfferUp, and 5miles. They offer the ability for any user to list a product or service. But none offer the ability to associate with a culture or demographic. This factor is important for those who want to target their support of local businesses. There’s definitely validity in what we are doing. Facebook alone has over 40,000 cultural groups. These groups host posting from 16+ million users. They post things for sale, offer services, and discuss new business ventures. These groups are described in various ways, some are called “networking” others are called, “marketplaces,” “online flea markets,” “buy/sell/trade” groups, and more. On Instagram and Twitter, users hashtag business-related posts under “#blackbusiness,” “#womeninbusiness,” and more. Our goal is to organize and display this culture/demographic-related activity in our app in addition to the organic listings that will be posted.

I see that you are currently fundraising. How much have you raised so far and what number are you aiming to hit?

Yes, we are raising under the 1-year-old Title III, Regulation CF rules, that formed as a result of the 2012 JOBS Act. These rules allow a private company to raise money from non-wealthy investors by selling shares. This is important because black founders of businesses get about 1% of the private equity investments that are made. This means we have to find alternative ways to raise the capital needed to fund our companies. Regulation CF is the future of fundraising for many of the businesses with black and brown founders.  In our offering, we are raising a minimum goal of $ 10,000 and a maximum goal of $ 500,000. One of the catches with Regulation CF offerings and the new SEC rules is I’m not allowed to discuss most of the details of the offering, only to say that you can view it on our StartEngine.com page. Start Engine is a company that hosts Regulation CF offerings.  They sent our company through a rigorous due diligence process and vetted the company before we were able to launch the offering.

What are some of the challenges that you are experiencing fundraising?

Raising under Regulation CF is similar to the “friends and family” round that most startups begin with. This is important money that is vital to getting the startup off the ground. However, as a black founder, my ability to raise is only as strong as the net worth of my network. Statics shows that the average net worth of a black family is less than $ 10,000, versus $ 150,000 for a white family. This adversely affects startups during the crucial “friends and family” round, it also affects a Regulation CF offering depending on how diverse your online network is.

Another challenge is false promises. I’ve had many people say they would invest, however for unknown reasons they’ve not done so. I can’t and I don’t let those people subdue my optimism. For the first time in 80 years, many average working people have the opportunity to buy early shares in a startup. Some may not understand the gravity of the opportunity and that’s why education about Regulation CF is so powerful, so important.  This is not a Kickstarter or GoFundMe guys, these are real shares in an early startup!

How are you getting past those challenges?

I get through these challenges with, faith, perseverance, and technology. I have faith that the story behind our startup and the interest for this unique idea will grow. I also have faith that, through some act of God,  the people who are meant to see our offering will see it, believe in our story, believe in our mission, and believe that I and our other founders will create something great. I’ll say that technology enables my ability to persevere. I’ve leveraged my LinkedIn contacts by sending out email blasts, used Instagram and Twitter for daily postings to old and new followers, and utilized programs like FB Virtual Assistant (a software created by another black founder) to send automated messages to my Facebook friends about the Spendwith offering. I reach out beyond my network to even wealthy investors using platforms like Angel.co, Gust.com, and F6S.com

How do people access your platform?

Users can post their business, sell, or find businesses/sellers by downloading the app at https://spendwith.in/dl.

If investors are interested, how do they gain access to your round?

Because of our type of offering, anyone can be an investor. Interested investors can see our offering at https://spendwith.in/invest.

Money – Black Enterprise

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Million-Dollar Real Estate Broker and Investor Shares How to Build a Real Estate Empire

Kito Johnson

Kito J. Johnson, broker and CEO of Buy n Sell Inc., is a serial entrepreneur, seasoned investor, and accomplished real estate broker. Johnson has over 1,000 transactions under his belt and has established himself as an educator and mentor to both new and seasoned investors. With a passion for generational wealth, Johnson is also founder and host of The Generational Wealth Summit, which brings entrepreneurs and real estate professionals together from the local market and around the country for an all-day event.

Johnson sat down with Black Enterprise to discuss how he got started, his failed businesses, recovering from the 2008 economic crisis, and becoming a single dad.

(Image: Kito J. Johnson, CEO of Buy N Sell Inc.)

 

Black Enterprise: How did you get started in entrepreneurship?

“My dad is an entrepreneur and risk taker. He was always involved in some business endeavor. He had a general contracting company, concrete business, and even did residential construction. He was always involved in entrepreneurial pursuits, and from that, I guess I got the gene.

We were always on a roller coaster in my household. He would do well in business, and then he would go downhill and make some bad decisions. When I was 13, my dad was on another great streak in business and doing well. He had a new business partner, and he came home one day nearly in tears because he found out that his business partner had stolen $ 140,000 and disappeared.”

 

Black Enterprise: How did your family recover from that loss?

“My dad had struggled to recover from that $ 140,000 loss. We decided to fold his company, went bankrupt, and started another company. When I was 20, the company was doing great. We had about 22 people on staff and I had a payroll and managed about $ 20,000 a week. I ended up making some not-so-great decisions, and so we found ourselves heading downhill and ended up folding the company. I started a church and pastored for a while, but in the back of my mind, I was always very interested in real estate and came across Robert Kiyosaki’s book, Rich Dad Poor Dad.

At 22-years-old, I ended up marrying, and I moved from my parents’ house into a fixer-upper. I didn’t know anything about investing in real estate. I just had an eye for an opportunity. So, I bought the house. I put the house under contract and hoped to buy it before getting married. When I went to get the loan on the house, I found out I couldn’t get a loan, traditional mortgage, because it was in such disrepair that it didn’t qualify for a conventional mortgage. I ended up negotiating a lease purchase. I leased it from the owner for six months. During that six months, I renovated the house, got a mortgage, bought the house, and my wife and I lived there. Every two years we were moving and using the lease purchase strategy—we were buying something, selling something, and leasing something.”

 

Black Enterprise: Were you affected by the 2008 economic crisis?

“Just before the economic crisis, my wife and I had 17 properties. We were doing pretty well in real estate, and we still had the ministry thing going on the side. In 2008, I lost everything. I lost not only my houses, but I also lost my wife. And so I’m a single dad. My wife passed away in 2008. So, I had all of that hit me at one time.

I suddenly found myself pastoring a struggling church, houses gone, broke, and my wife just passed away and my daughter at the time was 1-years-old. I had to gather myself. For the next two years, I didn’t do anything. And then I decided, “Now, I’m not sure if I want the real estate thing anymore.” I decided to go back to school. I went to Kennesaw State to finish a degree that I never finished, I was 33 at the time; a full-time college student, on campus every day, and a single dad in the afternoon.”

 

Black Enterprise What helped you reignite your passion for real estate?

“I met a guy by the name of Mark Spain; he came across my résumé. Mark Spain is a well-known broker in Atlanta and wanted me to work on his team, with investors. Mark knew that I worked with investors in the past. When May rolled around, I graduated from Kennesaw State and joined his team, and all of my passion for real estate came back. Working with him for about a year, I sold 98 houses, about $ 14 million worth of real estate. I found my place again.”

 

Black Enterprise: Do you have any advice for those interested in real estate investing?

“It is possible to start wherever you are. Real estate investing starts very much so with one’s mind set and the first thing any individual has to know is that there’s opportunity available to them. And then you begin to build or discover a strategy around where you are. A lot of people fail with real estate investing because they don’t know where they stand. They hear that somebody is wholesaling and they say, “OK, that’s what I need to do.” Or they turn on HGTV, and they think that investing is buying a house and putting money in it and flipping it. Those are just one or two or three of many, many, many strategies. And the way you determine which strategy is best for you is, you first have to sit down and evaluate where you are time, money, and credit-wise.”

 

You can learn more about Johnson by visiting his website at kitojjohnson.com and following him on social media @kitojjohnson.

Small Business – Black Enterprise

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Foreclosure Turned This Woman From Stressed Buyer to Savvy Investor

Lisa Phillips

Real estate investor Lisa Phillips’ home foreclosed several years ago.  Because of that, she found an affordable real estate market niche and strategy. Determined, not to let a foreclosure dictate the results she will have in life, or future finances, she built a real estate empire on homes purchased for $ 35k and under. She uses creative financing to buy houses in working class communities without a traditional mortgage, and also teaches others how to invest in lower income properties, pushing them towards earning higher income.

Here is her advice on strategies to safely invest in homes, even with less than perfect or no credit:

What’s your real estate investment strategy?

LP: I focus on obtaining cash-flowing rental properties that cost under $ 50,000; this can be 20k with 15k in renovations, or 40k with 3k in renovations. However, all of them are in decent neighborhoods, with cash-flowing rents, and usually [located] within working class neighborhoods and communities. It’s affordable, bite-sized chunks of investing.

How did you finance your first ever deal?

LP: My first deal, I lucked up on. I had previously purchased a very overpriced, expensive home, so I decided to purchase a lower priced, decent condo for 35k. I was surprised, but accepted that the neighborhood was really nice—up to a B class or even A class neighborhood. With rent from a roommate, it completely covered the mortgage and all utilities. This was during the 2009 to 2011 recession, so it was a scary time and jobs were scarce. But, low-priced real estate made it so I was very comfortable and self-reliant; [it was] a powerful learning lesson.

Why are you interested in sub 30k market? What surprised you most, in a positive way, about this market?

LP: I was surprised (although, not really) that there were a lot of neighborhoods around the country that fit this description. The surprise came from all the “traditional” and cookie cutter advice from experienced investors, which only foretold doom, gloom, destruction, from this price range and the range of headaches from renting to “those types of people.” But, I was not so surprised, because I instinctively knew something they didn’t; I grew up in these types of neighborhoods, so sizing them up and being comfortable in them was as natural [to me] as being comfortable in a higher income neighborhood was for them…

Can someone really use credit cards to buy a house? How?

LP: You can. There are a variety of loan products I’ve used to purchase and renovate homes—from personal loans, to strategic credit card use, and even equity in big ticket items like your vehicle.

Note: If you have bad credit, this is NOT for you—you’re going to dig yourself in even deeper….

Tell us how you help others get financially independent through investing in real estate.

LP: I offer a variety of ways for new investors to get their feet wet, with specific knowledge; not cookie cutter advice that says you should spend hundreds of thousands of dollars in an A class neighborhood for your first investment in places like D.C., N.Y., and C.A., where it is literally 300-400k for your first rental. That is a big step, if you’ve NEVER done this before..

What else would you like to us to know?

LP: I had a foreclosure about seven years ago.

To find out more about Lisa Phillips’ work, click here.

Money – Black Enterprise

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