The Origin of Fledge

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Twelve years ago TechStars was born. Eight years ago, we discovered Bainbridge Graduate Institute. A few months later, we were introduced to the co-founder of what today is Impact Hub Seattle.

Without the existence of these three organizations, Fledge never have been founded.

The mashup in hindsight is obvious. TechStars taught us how to efficiently help startups. BGI taught us that it is possible for business to solve the real problems of the world. Hub Seattle (later rebranded) was the physical place to put those two ideas together, the place for impact investors to discover and fund Fledge, and the global network to grow Fledge beyond a tiny program in Seattle.

In hindsight it work and works well. Eight years ago we were still meeting at the prototype Hub, a tiny space nearly impossible for the first dozen members to find. We were debating whether it was possible to find enough socially conscious entrepreneurs to make an accelerator work, and how on earth to fund those entrepreneurs to make investors back their money.

Our big breakthrough came a month later, when we were introduced to the team at the months-old Startup Weekend, created the first #SocEnt Weekend event, and in three days learned that the ideas, people, and opportunities were all more plentiful and quality than we had imagined.

Then the final piece of the puzzle was revenue-based equity, solving the issue of how to invest in these companies without having them to ever sell-out (a.k.a. be acquired). Investing in zebras years before that terms was coined.

So thank you too to Lighter Capital, for you were the inspiration to look at revenue-based investing to solve the problem of exits. And with that tool, Fledge has been able to work with and invest in companies all around the world. That wasn’t even a hope or dream eight years ago. Now we aim to help entrepreneurs everywhere.

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