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Virgin Investors: Case Histories

AeroGrow International:
$2.5 million raised in a DPOs in less than 4 months

AeroGrow, International, (Michael Bissonnette was founder and CEO) also benefited from DPO funding. AeroGrow took an emerging  technology, aeroponics, and modified its use to create the world’s first organic kitchen garden—the AeroGarden

Advertisements in Boulder and Denver newspapers, direct mail postcards, and radio announcements filled investor seats at AeroGrow sales presentations. The number of investors allowed per meeting was limited to 8 and the amount that could be invested was also limited–to create scarcity and a reason to buy now, which investors did in sufficient numbers to oversubscribe the issue. An incentive was also given for a commitment in 5 working days( 85 % of those who invested made their decision within that time period).  The average closing rate of those who attended the presentations was 50%.  An incentive was also given for investments over $25.000. Overall, the average investment size for the entire offering was slightly over $25K.

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 conducted 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.

Mendocino Brewing Company:
$3.6 million raised in a DPO in six months

Hopland, Calif.’s Mendocino Brewing Company raised $3.6 million in six months for a new brewery through word-of-mouth and cards placed in six-pack containers of ale. In addition, they also placed newspaper ads in the food section of the paper every weekend for a couple of months and caught the attention of investors.

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 get the word out. 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.

Tully’s Coffee Corporation:
$4.5 million raised in two Direct Public Offerings in less than 12 months

The Seattle coffee company used radio, newspaper ads, and promotion through its retail stores to raise $1.5 million in its first Direct Public Offering and and its second DPO brought in an additional $3 million in less than a year.

Z-Tech, Inc.:
$3.6 million raised in a DPO less than 12 months

Z-Tech, Inc., an innovative shoe company, sent a mailing to their 10,000 customers, offering a free pair of shoes for a $250 investment, three free pair for a $500 investment and so on up to ten free pairs of shoes. The shoes retail for $150 a pair. They ran radio and newspaper ads and conducted investment preview evenings.  They raised $3.6 million in a DPO in under 12 months.