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Wilmington-based Bloom Launches Crowdfunding Campaign

By Johanna Cano, posted Mar 19, 2019
Wilmington-based Bloom Inc. is the first company in Wilmington and second in the state to use the NC PACES Act to launch a North Carolina public offering.

Bloom received a certificate of compliance from the N.C. Secretary of State’s office to conduct a crowdfunding campaign, which started last week, said Pete Hexter, CEO of Bloom.

The company, which provides a platform for nonprofits to help their members raise money, has a goal to raise $300,000.

“I saw an innovative way here to take advantage of this new platform and use it to enhance the relationships that we've established and to bring on two more key executives that would be involved with specific national relationships we maintain,” Hexter said about how the company plans on using the money if it meets the goal.

Bloom is working with INVESTinNC, a Wilmington organization that educates companies and investors on crowdfunding. The organization has also partnered with companies offering crowdfunding platforms and services like Cardinal Crowdfund Solutions and LogicBay Corp, both Wilmington-based.

“We met these folks at INVESTinNC and I was pretty impressed with the concept and decided that because we were at the stage where we wanted to scale Bloom to be able to take it to the next level, that we committed to using this platform,” Hexter said.

Hexter decided to launch a crowdfunding campaign for Bloom because he was familiar with crowdfunding; he previously has raised money for other businesses and nonprofits.

“So, having understood how the process works and the fact that this is a Wilmington-based company that supports startup companies like ours, I felt that there was a really great synergy here, versus going with a traditional campaign,” he said.

The NC PACES Act created a crowdfunding exemption in the state allowing companies to raise up to $2 million in funds from a group of individuals.

Three companies in the state have launched crowdfunding campaigns. Raleigh-based Hush Buddy was the first to file for an NCPO. DIYtiny and 180 Float Spa carried out a limited public offering, which is a more flexible offering for companies wanting to raise up to $250,000.

Of those three, only 180 Float Spa reached its minimum crowdfunding goal, according to a news release from the N.C. Secretary of State’s office Monday. So far, the Boone-based company has raised $20,000 of its $35,000 goal.

To reach the company’s crowdfunding goal, Hexter plans on connecting with investors.

“I've been involved in fundraising and have a pretty good idea of what's required in order to move an audience,” Hexter said. “We have come up with a very innovative return on investment for the investor that isn't necessarily a debt scenario. They lend us the money and are not converting into equity. They're getting a percentage back that is about 1.8 times their actual investments,” he said.

INVESTinNC representatives will travel around the state and hold events to inform interested investors about the crowdfunding opportunities, Hexter said.

Bloom started in 2016 and has three full-time employees, contractors and an office on Eastwood Road. The company has partnered with youth nonprofits including 4-H, an organization with 6.5 million members; PGA Jr. League and Future Farmers of America.

It provides tools for families and individuals wanting to raise money for their organizations, including a personalized online fundraising page, marketing emails and social media posts for members to use, as well as a savings card that they can sell.

“I'm excited for Wilmington and the entrepreneurial community to have a resource like this,” Hexter said about the crowdfunding opportunity. “We are moving forward and as rapidly as we can to expand our capabilities and be able to deliver our products on a national basis.” 
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