A Literacy of the Imagination

a deeper look at innovation through the lenses of media, technology, venture investment and hyperculture

The Power of the Co-Op Investment Model

Following up on earlier posts regarding brand economics and ecosystemic investment, it's been interesting to witness (and advise on) some shifts in the startup investment landscape.

One such shift involves what can be coined as 'co-op investment'.

The basic premise of a co-op is to provide a structure that aligns various resources, operators and assets such that the investment itself has shared value. So, in the case of a corporation subsidizing a co-op investment, you would have entrepreneurs, marketers, researchers, lawyers and supply chain folks inhabiting the same space, sharing resources and making sure that their collective efforts produced demonstrable results.

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This has been the case with P&G's Cintrifuse project in Cincinnati. What started more or less as a $60mm write-down a little over a year ago, has blossomed into an ecosystem of 23 upstart companies and a funding mechanism that pairs up strategic partners with smart money, smart resources and tons of possibility for scale (a new form of a fund-of-funds).

A friend who is close to the project and I are developing ways to expand on the model, to see how this might scale in other markets around the country -- the idea being that we can develop new civic infrastructures, create new jobs and right some of our inherent social ills such as income inequality, poor education and skills development, as well as urban decay.

More to come as this model evolves...