“We have always wanted to be media moguls, and now we ARE!” wrote one Berkeley couple after signing up to become Berkeleyside founding investors. Another reader wrote, “My investment in Berkeleyside comes from a place of wanting to feel like an active part of the community.”
When Berkeleyside announced in early November that we were embarking on the equivalent of a Series A capital raising round – but doing so through the innovative mechanism of a direct public offering – we had little idea what the response would be. As far as we know, there is no precedent: we are the first news organization in the country to invite our readers to become shareholders. Just like the Green Bay Packers are the only NFL team to be owned by their fans, we believed there was a strong argument for the community that depends on us for its local news coverage to be invested in us, literally.
The idea seems to have struck a chord.
As of today, we have raised just over $331,000 in investments, putting us firmly on the path to achieving our goal of $800,000 by March 2017.
What is particularly satisfying is that it is not just a few individuals who have helped us reach that total. In fact, as of today, 105 people have so far become founding investors, and they come from all corners of the city, many becoming shareholders at the minimum $1,000 level. We know we will need a number of big-ticket investors to make our target, and we appreciate those who have, and will continue to, come in at the higher levels. But we also love the fact that a DPO makes possible a wide spread of investors — embracing far more than the top 1%. (For those who can’t invest but want to support their local news source, we point you to our membership program — even $10 a month goes a long way to helping us keep the lights on!)
Supporting independent journalism is more important than ever. Berkeleyside will continue to bear witness and hold the powerful accountable during these uncertain times, and keep you informed about everything that’s going on in the city. In the past few months our tiny team reported 167 stories on the Berkeley elections; we brought you heartbreaking portraits of the Berkeley-related victims of Oakland’s Ghost Ship fire; we unveiled serious mail delivery problems in the city; we kept you up-to-speed during a recent major power outage; and we brought you an extraordinary story of recovery with Emilie Raguso’s in-depth piece on Meg Schwarzman, the cyclist and young mother who miraculously survived a crash in February and went on to run in the Berkeley Half Marathon less than 10 months later.
Our goal is to reach the halfway mark by Dec. 31. If just 69 of our readers invest in the next two weeks at the minimum $1,000 level, we will reach $400,000 by year-end. There are perks as well as benefits for investors, including gourmet Berkeley food and wine baskets, custom T-shirts, and an annual investors’ cocktail party.
We look forward to being able to tell the world that Berkeley residents understand and support the need for an independent press, and have shown so in a pioneering move by becoming, if not media moguls, founding investors in their community news site.
This is not an offer to sell any securities. Offers to sell are made only pursuant to authorized offering materials. The offering is limited to California residents that meet certain suitability requirements. You must verify that you are a California resident in order to receive the authorized offering materials, and you must verify that you meet the suitability requirements in order to subscribe for the securities.
A new goal as readers step up to invest in Berkeleyside (11.30.16)
If there’s a time to support journalism it’s now (11.10.16)
An invitation to our readers: Invest in Berkeleyside, help ensure the future of an independent press in Berkeley (11.03.16)