Pressure was starting to mount from our current angel investors, and although it was starting to seem like all was about to be lost, proverbial lightning flashed. “Have you ever considered a co-op model for Curafied?” my first angel investor asked me. When I told her I wasn’t sure how it could apply, she introduced me to a literal angel: Rachel Meketon at Co-op Dayton. Rachel and her organization help businesses determine if and how the cooperative model is a viable one for their mission and goals, and provide them with the resources to move forward with the conversion.
Before we met in person, Rachel and I exchanged a series of emails and had a few phone calls that reignited my imagination of a world with Curafied in it. First, she explained to me that co-ops aren’t just for industrial workers or grocery store patrons, which were the only co-ops I had ever heard of before. She then gave me some examples of different types of cooperatives and how they serve to benefit those who contribute as members by giving them direct ownership in the company, including voting rights and a share of its profits.
MIND. BLOWN. This is exactly what was missing from Curafied’s current, VC-backable-unicorn-wannabe-fueled business model. In the midst of all the stress and setbacks that had mounted from the beginning of forming this company, I had lost sight of why I wanted to create Curafied in the first place: to give contributing content creators and curators more control over their financial affairs than current social and digital media platforms allow. Curafied as a platform co-op could actually give its contributors the most financially rewarding option that exists today. Through co-ownership, creators can be sure that the platform’s cut is really a reinvestment in their own work—and that they’ll see a cut, in return, when we’re profitable. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is not only how you disrupt an industry, but also how you do so with your users absolute best interest in mind. It’s a win-win.
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