During a month when we celebrate the historical achievements of women, only a few days after International Women's Day, after a year in which we've watched an unprecedented attack by state legislatures on women's rights and as Sheryl Sandberg and celebrity friends virally request that we #BanBossy, I've stumbled across what I think and hope is the future.
It can be found in an office in the Flat Iron District in New York City, where the company Crowdnetic produces a Nasdaq-ish real-time data infrastructure where private companies seeking start-up funding and accredited investors can fall in love. It is here, on most days, you will find CEO Luan Cox, representative of America's demographic future as well as The Next Big Thing.
Cox, who is half Vietnamese and lives with her wife and small son in Brooklyn, has put together quite a juggernaut with her crowd-funded securities startup. But she couldn't have done it without important changes to the law that have helped democratize the manner in which ideas and capital can do the lambada, so that now one can, among other conveniences, subscribe to Crowdnetic's real-time market hub, Crowdwatch, that aggregates data from other platforms throughout the world for one-stop shopping.
On September 23rd of last year, the Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) Act changed the law to end an 80 year ban on the public advertising by private entrepreneurs that they were raising capital. That's where this crowd finance model, and Cox, come in.
In a recently released report on private issuers publicly raising--or PIRRs--Crowdnetic reported that almost 2,600 PIRRS have raised $116 million between September 23rd, 2013 and February 28th, 2014. Crowdnetic itself, has raised $1.6 million in seed capital, benefitting from the very phenomenon it so ably chronicles.
True to who Cox is and the manner in which she, and other strong but non-bossy women have led the charge into what was once a male domain, a key part of this report specifically tracks women-led and women-owned PIRRs.
When you hear the comparisons to Bloomberg, Nasdaq and Thomson Reuters, in terms of the services and data Crowdnetic is providing, you start to get a sense of where the company is headed. It is already a "Microsoft Startup", was chosen as one of only 10 companies in Springboard's (founded by USA Network founder Kay Koplovitz to encourage investment in woman-led "high growth" companies) Class of 2013 and Cox is currently being profiled in 2 books on women in finance and entrepreneurship, one book commissioned by Dell profiling how 10 women are growing their companies by Geri Stengel, and a second one by Susan Coleman (Professor of Finance at The University of Hartford) and Alicia Robb of The Kauffman Foundation.
Who knows where this story will end up, but it's comforting to know that as we look back over women's history, and cringe at a more recent history replete with backlash against gains long past due, there is a bigger picture that would seem to include a strong future for talented women and their creative ideas, often working together to succeed. Bossy need not apply.