A long, long time ago, in a land, well, not so far away (in fact, we're talking about this link right here), we wrote about a new initiative in DC called Popularise. To summarize, the initial goal of this local Web start-up was to give the community a voice to reach investors and developers about what to do with empty storefronts. A fine goal on its own, this week it got event better. Meet Fundrise. Instead of just giving suggestions, now the community can actually make it happen. Yes, now we can all be venture capitalists! Kinda.
Here's how it works: think of it as a kind of Kickstarter on steroids. First, Fundrise procures a property then it finds a few partners to develop it. In this first go-around, the start-up's teamed up with two of DC's greatest and most successful creative minds—Erik Bruner-Yang, the owner of epic H Street ramen shop Toki Underground, and Will Sharp, owner and designer of streetwear label DURKL. The project they've come up with is called Maketto and the concept is simple: it'll combine fashion and food to make one of DC's coolest venues. With those details in place, Fundrise has now began offering shares to the public for $100 each.
While that may sound pricey, the payoff could be tremendous. To defer the initial cost, a few incentives are kicked in (just like in Kickstarter), such as invitations to the opening party, special discounts and more. But the main appeal here goes beyond those instant rewards—the real benefits are being able to have a hand in directly supporting a business idea you believe in, as well as getting to share in the profits when the business becomes successful. And, seriously, with the credentials and concept outlined above, the chances of success are greater than DC ever seeing another mayoral scandal again, which means it's all but guaranteed. Your Scoutmob editor has already made her investment.
Now it's your turn. Click here to find out more details about this one-of-a-kind project, Fundrise and to make your own move. Then, all that's left for us to do after that is hold our proverbial horses while we wait for this exciting project to come to fruition in 2013. Today's motto? DC, it gets better.—MP