Tag Archives: Crowdfunding

0315 2013 PeoplesAlly Foundation’s crowdfunding project on Indiegogo

Please help support PeoplesAlly Foundation’s crowdfunding project on Indiegogo. Contributions are tax deductible.

http://igg.me/at/PeoplesAlly/x/2666771

PeoplesAlly Foundation is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization headquartered in Southern California that focuses on providing portable housing affordability to low income working families and helping regular middle class home seeking Americans to own homes without the use of debt.

Its main service is an innovative creation of a new home co-ownership structure called FARJHO (Flexible And Reversible Joint Home Ownership). PeoplesAlly Foundation helps educate the public and promote the awareness of the availability of alternative free market choices for consumers to own homes without incurring debt.

Through its affiliation with the online home equity crowdfunding portal site http://farjho.com as well as the offline FARJHO Funds, it aims to ultimately conduct FARJHO matching services in conjunction with the efforts of the state and local housing agencies. A dedicated website http://wehomeowners.org will be set up to serve as the portal for the foundation’s members.

 

 

1001 2012 Obama’s HARP, Romney’s housing plan, Bernanke’s QEs or the new equity sharing FARJHO under JOBS Act? – with lyrics from Loca People

It is presidential election season again, so we have started to hear more about the candidates’ economic plans. Nothing attracts more attention from the public than the housing issues. Within the past weeks, we have Romney having revealed his housing plans, Obama having pushed again for his HARP, but  none of them has anything economically new to offer other than using it as another chance to repeat the partisan ideological preaching and the fight over whether government led programs vs. the presumed free market ways to let our country’s housing finance problem heal itself may work better than their political rival’s plan. It seems that they only care more about a simple old fashion plan that appears to work better than the other’s plan rather than supporting an innovative plan that will indeed work but that may incur political risks to introduce.

Disappointed, without getting a satisfactory answer in both of their plans, so I went to the Federal Reserve again. There I found out that Chairman Bernanke and his cohorts were still pumping out nothing but even more and more QEs. All day, all night … All day, all night … All day, all night … Nothing but more QEs to push for more loans, more leveraging and more easier credit, hoping not only to bring us back but to further turbo-charge us to where we had started this whole financial mess from to begin with over a decade ago … I can almost hear Bernanke dancing and chanting at the Fed, Viva la Hipoteca! Viva le Prestamo, Viva los QEs! What the Beep!

So I called up my friend Johnny. I said to him, “Johnny, La gente esta muy loca!”

Well, jokes aside, what we really like to do is to ask those politicians with a real workable housing plan please stand up. For the right, it is easy to just say let the free market heal itself. Free market solutions without the government leadership or competition without rules would indeed simply lead to either a crony capitalism or a ruthless predatory free-for-all anarchy. For the left, once they have replaced the crony capitalism and they’ll easily end up with even worse power hungry crony socialists.

What we need is perhaps not yet another round of old ideological political debate now, but rather some educated rational thinking and technically competent debates of what the new and economically innovative ways may be to own homes without piling up more debts as well as what the new technologically efficient and productivity enhancing ways are to deliver these new economic benefits to the consumers without being misguided and fleeced by unscrupulous financial middlemen yet again. These real stuffs to fix our faulty housing finance system may seem to be what the politicians need to focus on in order to bring the real tangible benefits to our country.

This is the 6th year since I have been researching, publishing and blogging on the various economic benefits of using property equity sharing or cash flow sharing concepts and methods to offer many new alternatives to our current faulty exclusively mortgaged home ownership centric housing finance system. Many of these new findings and creations are available to my personal academic research web site, http://swaprent.com.

More detailed info on the SwapRent original creation process in 2006 is available at https://www.box.com/s/437c60e4d8931365b9e4 and on SwapRent application in the 2009 JHFI (Journal of Housing Finance International) by IUHF (International Union of Housing Finance) paper at https://www.box.com/s/feae725ede7042c53412. For the much simpler FARJHO solution, here again is the link to the FARJHO white paper, https://www.box.com/s/cc0de069ab5c3fd3007e.

Thanks to the democratic power of the Internet, SwapRent and FARJHO have conceptually and academically been gaining momentum and endorsement day by day with a world-wide audience. We are currently preparing to solidify these new innovative ideas and beta launch these new consumer services at the transaction oriented http://farjho.com and a broader social networking portal for home owners, http://wehomeowners.com as our free market based solutions to our country’s housing finance problems. The purpose is perhaps much more mission driven than financial. Since these new services could also be offered on a not-for-profit basis, i.e. through PeoplesAlly Foundation (http://peoplesally.org), we do need many supporters from the crowd to come on board to help us make these new consumer services a reality.

As explained in earlier blog posts, due to the recent breakthrough by a few visionary law makers with their innovative regulatory provisions of crowdfunding and the relaxed marketing rules of private placement funds contained in the JOBS Act, we may finally see the light at the end of the tunnel in bringing these new inventions to life as new free market based consumer services soon.

Viva la Innovation, Viva la JOBS Act, Viva la FARJHO!

(Quoted lyric above from “Loca People” by Sak Noel)

0901 2012 New non-debt financing alternatives for homeowners and small businesses as an economic stimulus tool – the crowdfunding of a FARJHO homeownership structure or a SwapRent contract

This is a topic that I have published and blogged about (see historical blogs on these issues at http://swaprent.com/blog) many times before within the past 6 years since the creation of SwapRent in 2006 and FARJHO in 2009. The more I blogged about it each time through the years, the more it seems that it has carried on much more new meaning as our country’s economic situation evolves. With the recent fast paced development of the crowdfunding movement, the potential crowdsourcing availability of the funding for the new FARJHO homeownership structure and the SwapRent home financing method have become more and more relevant.

Let me start out by repeating the urgent need of developing a few new non-debt based financing alternatives, not only just to reform our country’s housing finance system for the sake of increasing affordable home ownership, but also to help create economic stimulus and create jobs for middle class Americans on Main Street.

Debt should not be the only way to finance home ownership but unfortunately mortgaged homeownership seems to have been the only consumer choice made available to the American people for centuries until today. We will need to educate the public, the academic, the government agencies and the lawmakers alike to help create the conducive regulatory structure, make available and foster the growth of the free market, non-debt based financing alternatives for both homeowners and property owning small business proprietors.

Without going into technical details, both the SwapRent and FARJHO business methods were simply created to realize the common economic concept of property equity sharing or property appreciation sharing. SwapRent took one step further by not only being just a new method to implement an old concept, but also introducing a new economic concept altogether. Instead of sharing up-front equity to realize sharing appreciation profit potential and the associated downside risks, SwapRent uses a cash flow sharing concept and method to let investors share potential upside appreciation in property value and the downside risks of losses with the property owners directly via a online portal marketplace REIDeX.com.

More detailed info on the SwapRent original creation process in 2006 is available at https://www.box.com/s/437c60e4d8931365b9e4 and on SwapRent application in the 2009 JHFI (Journal of Housing Finance International) by IUHF (International Union of Housing Finance) paper at https://www.box.com/s/feae725ede7042c53412 .

Within the past few years, the current administration has repeatedly called for the creation of green jobs to help revitalize the national economy while the opposition party plans to create the same old black jobs by trying to do more fracking of we homeowners’ backyards. Irrespective of the debate outcomes on what kind of green, black, pink or blue jobs to create, the 64 thousand dollar question is still on how to come up with additional money to fund new jobs creation via creating new economic stimulus. It is really the greenback, not the green jobs, that is going to get us out of the current economic dilemmas.

While the Monetarists at our Federal Reserve Board propose we continue to print more greenback, Keynesian economists believe we could continue to shanghai the Chinese to cough up more money to finance our national debt in order for the policy makers to conduct more conventional government led fiscal stimulus projects, Solyndra included.

Perhaps, it is time for these policy makers to think outside the box now. What if, just what if, we could create a new free market based business method that could provide fresh new capital into our economy by encouraging free market investors to voluntarily pump their own money into the system, not for charity, but for the potential possibility of making financial profits from the long run recovery of the US economy, materialized through the increased property value of homes and real estate properties throughout the country that they got to “partially” own when they voluntarily agreed to pump their money into our economic system.

Since neither the new alternative housing finance system of SwapRent or the new home ownership structure of FARJHO are based on a lending concept but rather a tradable co-ownership equity financing concept to help our nation de-leverage, it does not have to rely on a low interest rate environment to be effective to create jobs and to stimulate our nation’s economic growth. It is in fact neutral to the interest rate levels and it has its own dimension in influencing the macro-economic activities so to speak.

Therefore, once a SwapRent or a FARJHO market has been established, the Fed or central banks in other countries could raise interest rates at any time, as they see fit, in order to prevent growing further asset bubbles, to fight potential inflation or to save the value of the national currency from potential devaluation without having to worry about its potential impact on hurting the chances of an economic recovery.

The relevance of SwapRent or FARJHO to job creations is based on how entrepreneurs and local small businessmen could create new monthly income cash flows by willingly giving up partial future property value appreciation of their own homes or other properties that they own. This potential appreciation may or may not even be realized by the horizon date (e.g. 2, 3, 5, 8 or 10 years from now) given the current economic situation. Through property equity sharing or appreciation sharing to attract fresh capital injection into the local economy, the potential appreciation in property value could actually be artificially created via a self-fulfilling prophecy as more money could chase up the property prices.

The local entrepreneurs could then pool these new monthly cash flows obtained directly from these new programs to say open a new local restaurant together and hire more people to create jobs or to make any other new investments directly right at the grassroots level on Main Street. They would not have to worry about getting this new found fresh capital injection into the local community to be fleeced on Wall Street first or being diverted by some smart bankers to invest in and stimulate other foreign country’s economies altogether simply for personal gains.

These additional monthly income cash flows would become the local home owners discretionary disposable income that would make them the ideal consumers with a new found consumption power to purchase the goods and services from the small business owners in the local communities.

For the existing home or property owners, a 100% ownership of a future zero appreciation scenario by horizon date is still zero, a partial shared 50% ownership of a future 20% or 30% appreciation scenario of their own properties driven by the new fresh capital injection into local communities induced by the SwapRent program or the FARJHO new homeownership structure will translate into a 10% or 15% (one half of the 20% or 30% total appreciation) gain for themselves.

It would seem a much better deal to co-prosper rather than being left poor alone. Meanwhile with the new swapped current monthly income streams they could enjoy perhaps an additional flat screen TVs purchased at local malls for their family, leasing another new electric hybrid car from local car dealers or eating out more at the local restaurants that the local entrepreneurs had just opened by using the new cash flows obtained through these same SwapRent programs. Wouldn’t this be the American way as usual on a pure free market basis without having to pile up any more debts or to raise citizen’s taxes?

In terms of helping reduce the current foreclosure rate, the homeowners who see the signs of an imminent swift recovery of the local property market will think twice about their earlier plans to walk away from their distressed homes. The only way for homeowners to feel that they should not purposely make a strategic default and walk away from their properties seems to be to somehow make them feel that they might be missing out on a swift recovery if they do walk away, another free market decision making process.

The key new economic concept for these proposed programs to work well is for the policy makers to change from a socialist oriented ideological focus on preferential rescue treatments for distressed homeowners that may most likely cause moral hazards, to “a free market based reversible exchange transaction of a part of future appreciation potential of the properties that they own for a perhaps very generous current monthly income cash flow now” offer which is open to all property owners and may be expediently targeted at a few specific high concentration foreclosure-infected neighborhoods that the banks may have exposures to for the best initial pilot project demonstration effect.

In a sense, the more participation by local property owners and free market investors to the SwapRent program or the FARJHO method the more additional fresh new capital would be injected into the local community through the new third party economic landlord investors. That is exactly the reason why these new innovative programs will have to be open to all property owners to participate without discrimination for the long haul, not just for the distressed homeowners on a short term rescuing mentality. Open up more innovative ways to let the free market forces rein and the economic prosperity will happen at its own swift pace.

If the government wants to take a token leadership, all the government policy and lawmakers need to do is to create law and order to become a good game keeper of these new proposed housing finance system and business methods, no tax payer’s money would ever need to be involved.

Based on pure free market principles, the more people there are in the “targeted neighborhoods” to sign on to this new program the more likely the local property markets and the local economic prosperity will indeed recover and the more likely free market based investors will step on each other’s shoulder to rush to inject fresh new fund into the local communities directly through this new free market mechanism. As a result the more the SwapRent contracts or FARJHO co-ownership member interests will indeed appreciate in value due to the property market recovery that will hence reward the initial SwapRent monthly cash flows or FARJHO up-front equity providers. This new economic concept of a farming approach to wealth creation is indeed a self-fulfilling prophecy in the true spirit of capitalism. The more you sow, the more you might reap.

Wealth creation by enhancing property value in this equity based manner is by no way creating malignant asset bubbles again. Low interest rates will. Malignant asset bubbles are formed when buying interests were created from using borrowed money (or OPM, other people’s money) where owners have an on-going obligation to service debts. The SwapRent or FARJHO approach by nature is based on a tradable economic version of the shared equity financing concept. Equity financing means that owners do not have to service any interest burden of debts. Therefore the benign asset wealth value created this way is not like leveraging created malignant asset bubbles made up of hot air that are usually doomed to burst. The analogy could be more like igneous rocks cooled from molten lava for equity based asset bubbles. This is simply the inherent more stable nature of equity financing vs. debt financing.

When these new alternative tradable equity based home financing objectives have been met, residential real estate properties or homes ownership will soon join corporations to become the dual engines of economic growth of our capitalism society, one for small business and the other for big business. Home financing through debt alone can not make that dream happen, as has been clearly illustrated by the current housing led financial crisis.

Without the stabilization factor of equity, debt financing only creates boom and bust cycles. Therefore instead of a policy of continuing to push banks for more loose credit at this very moment to repeat what had brought us here to begin with, it may make better sense for our government to consider helping the private sector entrepreneurial entities look for new ways to increase the shared equity-based home financing by creating more conducive legal and regulatory framework to let free market forces help our economy prosper.

Crowdfunding of Home Equity at FARJHO.com – How crowdfunding could help solve our country’s housing finance problems

This blog post first appeared in Huffington Post on 8/7/2012. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ralph-liu/how-crowdfunding-could-he_b_1752633.html

Ever since the JOBS Act was signed into laws by President Obama on April 5th this year, the enthusiasm on crowdfunding has mushroomed in just about every corner of America. Many people with some technical Internet knowledge would rush in to start a crowdfunding portal to help American create more jobs through helping entrepreneurs raise equity financing. Many more are anxiously waiting to utilize the new found channel to raise money for their own business start-ups from regular investors over the Internet.

At InvestorsAlly’s FARJHO.com, we have coincidentally also been trying to provide the matching services between aspiring home owners and prospective joint property investors to co-own homes through a new innovation home ownership structure called FARJHO (Flexible And Reversible Joint Home Ownership) over the Internet within the past few years.

The concept of connecting consumers directly via Internet used be to called a Peer-to-Peer (P2P) method of matching individual consumers with similar desire to consummate a transaction of a common interest, be it a dating service or a financial transaction. Going back a little bit further to the 90’s, this matching of retail consumers directly through the power of the Internet used be more popularly categorized simply as the Consumer-to-Consumer (C2C) e-commerce. So crowdfunding appears to be nothing more than another jargon as the latest variation in the evolution spectrum of the Consumer Internet service, although technically speaking it is more a Business-to-Consumer (B2C) e-commerce since the relationship seems to migrate from a one-to-one to a one-to-many relationship. The new break-through to suddenly let out the pent-up interests in crowdfunding is really on the regulatory side. Kudos to those visionary law-makers!

As for the coincidental parallel innovation on the housing finance side, FARJHO is a new way to implement the old property equity sharing concept that has been around for more than 30 years, although primarily more popular in the UK. Those older equity sharing methods did have many growing pains and never made it to the mass consumer market. Inventions in social sciences would provide new economic values just as technology inventions do. The distinguishing features of FARJHO as a new business method to implement the equity sharing concept are three-fold:

First, FARJHO allows renter/home occupier and joint property investors to own only one home at a time in order to maintain the sanctity and the freedom of the single family residence ownership. This is in sharp contrast to many community oriented equity sharing methods of Co-ops, Land Trusts, Kibbutz or hippy-ish Commune types of older equity sharing methods.

Second, as a brand new concept, FARJHO introduces and allows only member level debt financing to eliminate the foreclosure possibility which exists with the conventional property level debt financing that are commonly used by a Shared Equity Mortgage (SEM), a Shared Appreciation Mortgage (SAM), a Shared Ownership Mortgage (SOM) or any other existing equity sharing schemes to date. In all those older business methods, the home occupiers could still get foreclosed whenever they lose their monthly income capability. The concept of FARJHO is to move people from a Pool-Borrow-Buy (PBB) method to a Borrow-Pool-Buy (BPB) method in joint home ownership.

Third, FARJHO provides a natural built-in buffer to conventional renting to avoid potential eviction when the tenants temporarily lose their monthly income capability. The equity stake of the renter/co-owner of the FARJHO structure could act as an optional voluntary collateral against missed monthly rent payments and therefore provides property investors with enhanced investment security through less credit risks and at the same time provides the tenants/co-owners with more home occupying stability during the rainy days in their working lives.

Although we at InvestorsAlly have received overwhelming positive response and a very strong market demand from home owners under our various educational test marketing programs conducted in Southern California within the past two years, due to the prior securities laws related regulatory concerns, we have not been able to officially market the FARJHO service freely in a massive scale. Now with the new crowdfunding provisions of the recently passed and signed JOBS Act to be enacted by the SEC by the end of the year, we have accordingly been preparing to position and may finally be able to launch our FARJHO.com as a dedicated crowdfunding portal site as the authoritative marketplace for crowdfunding of home equity, one home at a time, through the new home ownership structure of FARJHO. This will be a giant step towards realizing a stock market for home equities.

The reason why this new regulatory crowdfunding business opportunity development could be made possible to be applied to housing finance is that the proprietary new home ownership structure of FARJHO that we have coincidentally been working on for the past few years basically corporatizes each home in America one home at a time. Since each home will be treated as a business venture via a simple LLC legal structure under FARJHO, the new crowdfunding regulatory provisions could therefore be conveniently applied to housing finance for the first time. The reason why we have adopted the LLC legal structure is that using LLC to hold real estate properties is a tried and true method in commercial properties for many decades already, even though they have been used with an opposite purpose to FARJHO as far as leveraging is concerned.

The portal site will provide free membership to homeowners around the world similar to how Facebook does for individuals with all the social networking capabilities but our homeowner members will have a specific hope of selling their homes, buying another new home in whole or in part, investing a small part of a few other member’s home equities as an investment portfolio or simply obtaining occasional short term financing through selling fractional shared equity of their own homes through the new FARJHO home ownership structure.

There could be many more other free market based new consumer choices made available to solve our country’s current housing finance problems by this new FARJHO service to free people up from the current dominant mortgaged home ownership that often results in foreclosures and hence has created many financial problems and social instability to our economic societies. Furthermore, it may lay the proper free market foundation for further future benefits to grow upon with even more innovations that we could not even foresee at this moment.

For example, the use of property equity sharing as a temporary non-debt based financing alternative for small businesses to obtain funding to created jobs, the use of property equity sharing or cash flow sharing concepts and methods for the governments as a new third alternative economic policy management tool (vs the existing fiscal and monetary policies) to provide stimulus or to slow down an overheated economy, … etc. (more detailed policy tool examples are available in Chapter 6 of the SwapRent application paper at https://www.box.com/s/feae725ede7042c53412 )

FARJHO.com aspires to become the first entrepreneurial venture to bring new housing related economic benefits via crowdfunding to the American consumers under strictly free market principles by harnessing the power of social innovations, Internet technology advancements and the timely regulatory foresights.

A copy of the original FARJHO creation white paper could be downloaded through this following link. https://www.box.com/s/cc0de069ab5c3fd3007e

0701 2012 Shared appreciation methods could be used as a macro economic stimulus tool, not just narrowly be used to let distressed home owners hang on their homes only

While this very same topic has been repeated many times before, I still feel this is where the economic policy makers of our country need to understand most but have failed to do so thus far. Housing, housing finance professionals and mortgage experts may need to work together with the macro-economic policy makers for these new economic concepts’ potential implementation. Shared appreciation or equity sharing techniques and methods, when implemented in an isolated way to distressed home owners only, would not achieve the desired results because they may lack the normal free market incentives and motivations for free market investors’ participations.

This relevant past blog post https://peoplesally.wordpress.com/2011/11/26/1126-2011-we-need-to-blow-up-a-home-equity-bubble-using-equity-sharing-methods-not-debt-like-how-silicon-valley-blew-up-tech-company-stock-market-bubbles/ may illustrate these big picture economic concepts well. For more detailed execution methodology by the policy makers and central banks, please refer to Chapter 6 of the my earlier SwapRent paper (http://www.box.net/shared/v24qtqip4hlgff5l1646 ) published in the December 2009 issue of the Journal of Housing Finance International (HFI) by the Brussels-based International Union of Housing Finance (IUHF).

I would like to emphasize again that equity sharing or shared appreciation methods could not only be used to assist home owners to hang on to their homes in a narrow way, they should better be utilized to facilitate economic stimulus to the masses at the grassroots level to create jobs and revitalize our country’s economy.

The key concept is that only when these new equity sharing and cash flow sharing services such as FARJHO and SwapRent or any other methods and concepts provided by other economists are made available and offered to the public in general, not restricted simply to distressed home owners only, so that the market will indeed have a chance to recover due to these new methods that could foster positive market investment sentiments and expectations.

Free market investors would then more likely participate voluntarily to provide capital in a stampede. If executed correctly, no arms twisting of these free market investors would be necessary for them to throw money voluntarily into the housing market, as long as they themselves see the profit making potential. The way for our country’s economic policy makers could get involved in these new equity sharing based economic policy management tools, would not be that much different in the Fed’s current role of jawboning to create investors’ expectation in the interest rate markets.

Let’s hope the economic team hired by the next Presidential Administration would get to see the light soon.

0603 2012 New non-debt financing alternatives for home owners and small businesses as stimulus to create economic activities at grassroots level

I was recently invited to submit a paper of my economic innovation research work by a government agency again. Here below are the gists of what I would like to present. It is a summary of only what FARJHO and SwapRent are about. The third leg of these related innovations, TARELV (http://www.tarelv.com) which is a new alternative currency pegging system based on real estate and land value, although much more interesting, still seems to be a bit ahead of its time and may remain an academic exercise for limited special interest groups at the moment.

So here below is a quick summary of what my current proposals are.

1.) The distinguishing features of FARJHO as a new business method for a new form of home ownership structure are three fold:

First, FARJHO allows home occupiers and property investors to own only one home at a time in order to maintain the sanctity and the freedom of the single family residence ownership. This is in sharp contrast to many community oriented equity sharing methods of Co-ops, Land Trusts, Kibbutz or Commune types of older equity sharing methods.

Second, as a brand new concept, FARJHO only allows individual member level debt financing to eliminate the foreclosure possibility which exists with conventional property level debt financing such as those in a SEM, a SAM or a Shared Ownership type of other existing equity sharing schemes. Home occupiers could still get foreclosed when they lose their monthly income capability under those older arrangements.

Third, FARJHO provides a natural built-in buffer to conventional renting to avoid potential eviction when the tenants temporarily lose their monthly income capability. The equity stake of the renter/co-owner of the FARJHO structure could act as an optional voluntary collateral against missed monthly rent payments and therefore provides property investors with enhanced investment security through less credit risks and at the same time provides the tenants/co-owners with more home occupying stability during the rainy days in their working lives.

All these new features were specifically designed to make the new home ownership structure of FARJHO more than simply an attractive financial investment vehicle for free market based property investors. Among its main goals is to also provide neighborhood stability and social harmony by eliminating the possibility of foreclosures and reducing the likelihood of eviction for home occupiers.

2.) The three features of SwapRent (http://www.swaprent.com) as a new non-debt financing alternatives for home owners and small businesses are:

It allows home owners or any property owners to share a part of the appreciation potential of their properties with other free market based investors through letting these investors share a part of the cash flow responsibilities in a real estate property ownership so that the current properties owners could obtain alternative temporary non-debt based either short term or long term financing that has never been made possible before.

These goals could be accomplished through the new economic owning, renting and own-rent switching concepts and business methods of SwapRent for managing real estate properties.

It allows home owners to separate the investment value from the shelter value of owning a real estate property, i.e. the issue of the management of the financial investment aspect of owning a home away from the issue of the stability of a suitable shelter or a place to live in.

FARJHO and SwapRent could indeed be used either together or separately.

I would like to emphasize the importance of understanding that both FARJHO and the SwapRent contracts could be perfectly used as new non-debt based financing alternatives for both home owners and small businesses to revitalize the national economy at the grassroots level. These new proposed financing alternatives seem to be exactly what our country and many other countries in Western Europe urgently need at the present time.

Just try to think, when home owners and small business property owners who could not get conventional bank loan financing have run out of all other means, including perhaps items to bring to the pawnshops, wouldn’t it be nice for them to have a new way to get paid by letting other people share a part of the equity of the homes or other real estate properties that they own in the form of either shared equity ownership or simply shared appreciation rights rather than a collateralized or mortgaged debt that would need a steady income stream to service the monthly payments and/or a burden to repay at maturity date.

The delivery of these new innovative services could be performed under the Internet based crowdfunding portal sites such as http://www.farjho.com for FARJHO and/or http://www.reidex.com for SwapRent to bypass the Wall Street middlemen and get the economic benefits of these new services delivered directly to mom and pop small business folks on Main Street. More consumer choices is always a good thing under free market capitalism.

While old school economists like Paul Krugman could continue to bang their heads against the wall to convince governments to tax citizens more, issue more debts and print more money to inflate away the debt problems of the US and many Western European countries, they seem to genuinely naively have a blind faith that there will always be a greater fool to continue to be willing to lend more money or to be taxed more no matter how much worse the situation may get. Why can’t these people simply calm down and think outside the box for once?

Outside of debt financing there are many many other ways to finance economic activities. The equity sharing method should not be confined only at the corporate level in the form of either private equity participation or a stock market IPO.

Countries, sovereign entities at higher levels (e.g. using TARELV) and home owners, small businesses at the lower levels (e.g. using FARJHO and SwapRent) should all be seriously educated on how to take advantage of the new equity sharing concepts and methods made possible by these innovations and their current commercial availability beyond being simply academic theories now.

This also brings back my favorite academic side topic. Try to imagine, if a new Greek TARELV Drachma is backed by the total aggregate real estate and land value of Greece, wouldn’t that be a more attractive currency for foreigners to invest in and hold on to? If the Greek government fails to deliver to let the TARELV Drachma exchange back into other currencies later, you’d end up getting to own a Greek Island?

Germans would most probably vote ja ja with their feet and each individually rushes to pump money into Greece for the rescue of their fellow Europeans! Isn’t that how a free market is supposed to work? There just has to be more innovative free market choices of financing alternatives made available to avoid having to keep on beating the dead horse to pile up more and more debts and taxes to solve economic problems. Again, more info on TARELV is available at http://www.tarelv.com.

0301 2012 Crowdfunding – Capitalism for the 99%

We have recently started a new venture as an idea spin-off from our past venture www.reidex.com at REIDeX, Inc. and the current www.farjho.com at InvestorsAlly, Inc. The way both reidex.com and farjho.com have been trying to deliver the economic benefits of SwapRent and FARJHO to consumers are based on the power of Internet by eliminating the financial service middlemen and offer a service that is better, faster and cheaper than the conventional brick and mortar financial services businesses. This concept used to be called simply C2C e-commerce or later, peer-to-peer Internet matching service. Now, it is called crowdfunding.

Therefore it appears that we have been trying to provide the Internet-based crowdfunding services for real estate through both SwapRent and FARJHO as early as 2006 before the term of crowdfunding even emerged in the cyberspace. The reason why that InvestorsAlly has been offering crowdfunding service for home equity sharing is that FARJHO simply corporatizes single family homes and hence make it feasible to use this peer-to-peer matching concept for home owners to raise non-debt but equity based financing.

The use of C2C and peer-to-peer concepts could even be traced way back to the REIFO Exchange venture ( http://www.box.com/s/mnm7xhel0uhp9hkehad7 ) started in 2002 as chronicled in the Los Angeles Times article in 2003 ( http://www.box.com/s/qh42krrm2biiv55rkloj ). The ideas of the REIFO Exchange venture were later taken by CME (Chicago Mercantile Exchange) to let consumers trade futures and options contracts on a different real estate index. Details of this would not be released until 2014 when the 10-year NDA we had with CME expires.

The later over 10 year’s journey of transforming these sophisticated concepts to simpler new consumer-oriented products and services while keeping the similar economic benefits has not been an easy one. The new cash flow sharing concept and method of the SwapRent service through REIDeX seemed to be a bit complicated to the average consumers and the commercialization effort of SwapRent was perhaps a bit ahead of its time, no matter how powerful and useful the service could become to consumers and for our national economy.

To use an analogy again, it was almost like trying to convince people for a test drive by handing over the key of a new Hybrid SUV to people who are only used to riding horses. The shock and resistance to the new way of transportation were severe. Some people say that there is no traffic rules and if you launch it would create a lot of liability. Other people say that it is way too difficult for consumers ever to learn how to use it. Although the consumer acceptance may eventually take place but we could not wait that long to make a business venture commercially viable. So in 2010 we have pulled back the SUV and created a much simpler bicycle to offer to consumers through a new company InvestorsAlly, Inc. The bicycle analogy is the new FARJHO service. The FARJHO matching service is neither a derivative contract nor does it have anything to do with mortgages like what a SwapRent transaction would be, but rather a very simple new home ownership structure.

Through our marketing and educational effort the FARJHO idea seemed to have taken off and become viral in the Realtor community in Southern California since early 2010. Home owners and Realtors have begun to beat a path to our door for helping aspiring home owners with this new equity sharing FARJHO service to own homes since then but there is only one problem left – there have not been enough joint property investors in the current market to satisfy the demand from the aspiring home owners for the FARJHO transactions. Much more effort would be necessary to conduct more educational training under the current regulatory environment for potential investors. In the regard, I am glad to report that we have recently launched our first $20 million FARJHO Reg D private placement fund. More info is available upon request for qualified accredited investors in the US.

Nonetheless, we have yet again temporarily put aside the bicycle for more sophisticated users only and created another much simpler tricycle for the vast consumers for an even easier commercialization. Hence the Crowdfunders Choice (CFC) was born in January, 2012.

CFC simply focuses on introducing the peer-to-peer technology platform to help entrepreneurs raise equity financing. It is not a proprietary concept that we will need to sell again, which has always made launching new businesses much more difficult. It therefore seemed to be much easier to introduce these crowdfunding concept and method as there have already been many tried-and-true web sites offering similar platforms to conduct peer-to-peer micro-lending or to raise donations for creative projects or for political purposes.

The reason it is a much simpler tricycle vs. the bicycle of the equity crowdfunding business model of FARJHO is that the real estate component has been removed from the crowdfunding business model and therefore the new peer-to-peer matching services offered through CFC could be offered to a much broader audience, i.e. people would not have to have prior knowledge or experience with the real estate industry. In addition, people who would like to use the service no longer have to learn some new economic innovative concepts or methodologies any more. Sales calls would not turn into another economic lesson or a heated debate anymore!

As explained in the introduction at its web site ( http://www.CrowdfundersChoice.com ), our goal at CFC is to become the Crowdfunder’s Choice for helping entrepreneurs raise start-up equity financing with a special twist – we would like to make this new venture, crowd-sourced, crowd-funded and crowd-owned whenever permissible under securities regulation in order to act as a living proof that this new crowdsourcing business model would work under an unfettered free market capitalism.

Our target is to get the 99% of our population to have access to entrepreneurial start-up financing on Main Street in order to keep our free enterprise capitalism alive through promoting and maintaining a more democratic version of capitalism vs. the crony capitalism being practiced and abused by the privileged economic elites on Wall Street. The political image also seems to be a perfect match to the values of PeoplesAlly Foundation.

Hopefully through our new alternative funding services some of these entrepreneurs may get to rise up to become a member of the 1% one day. If not, even the top 10% or even top 30% will do, in the true spirit of capitalism. That indeed is our intention – wealth creation for the 99%. It is quite all right to take risk and work hard to become a member of the 1%, as long as they do not transform into a 1%’er or a member of the 10%’ers at the expense of the rest of the 99% or the 90%.

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