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Affinity and Cause Investors: Case Histories

Annie’s Homegrown:
$3.6 million raised in a DPO in 12 months

Like coupons, the natural and organic food company put “tombstone” notices in boxes of macaroni and cheese to let customers know they were raising money to expand the company. Customers or prospects responded by requesting a prospectus by telephone, mail, e-mail and on Annie’s website. The company raised $3.6 million at $6 per share in a year, and created an army of goodwill ambassadors, among customers.

Ben & Jerry’s Homemade Ice Cream:
$750,000 raised in DPO in 60 days—Offering was oversubscribed

Ben & Jerry’s used a DPO to invite local Vermont residents to fund their expansion. They used local newspapers to launch the stock offering under the headline “Get A Scoop Of The Action.” Ads were run in the “A” section of the paper rather than the financial section.  An 800 number was included for people to get a copy of the prospectus. When they called, they were told when a sales presentation would be done in their town.

Ben, Jerry, and the CEO Chico Lager traveled around the state holding informational meetings about the stock offering where potential investors would hear about the company, ask questions of the founders, sample ice cream and potentially invest.

Mirenco, Inc.:
$650,000 raised in 90 days

The fuel conservation company, Mirenco, Inc., raised $650,000 using word-of-mouth alone with a DPO. A subsequent intrastate public offering brought in $10 million in under a year. The first $340,000 came from existing shareholders, which was used to launch a 90-day newspaper and radio campaign throughout Iowa to raise the balance.

Portland Brewing:
$7 million raised in four Direct Public Offerings

The Portland, Ore., brewery raised about $7 million in four Direct Public Offerings, promising shareholders a free pint of beer a day for qualified investments. Only Oregon residents were eligible to invest in the first offering, for $500,000, which sold out in three days based on a newspaper ad at Christmas time. A second offering for $500,000 was extended to Washington residents. The company followed with two additional offerings, using both print ads and radio to effectively spread the word. The president and CEO of the company made personal calls, introducing himself as president of the company, to sell shares. The company’s mailing lists were also used to advertise offerings.

Real Goods:
$4.6 million raised in two Direct Public Offerings

Real Goods, a Ukiah, Calif. catalog direct marketing company selling alternative energy products, tapped its customers twice, raising $4.6 million through two Direct Public Offerings. In both instances, the offerings were oversubscribed and numerous investors were turned down.

Z-Tech, Inc.:
$2.5 million raised in a DPO

ZapWorld.com, a California maker of electric bikes and scooters, raised $2.5 million with a Direct Public Offering. Loyal customers invested in this socially responsible company. A company newsletter and web site was used to pitch the deal, which took a year to complete.