MBA News: Two Stanford MBAs “Disrupt” Funding Market and Help Small Companies Grow

An article in the New York Times’ Sunday Business section this week looks at a novel option for entrepreneurs seeking to grow companies that may be too small for conventional private equity investors or venture capitalists. Ryan Caldbeck and Rory Eakin, former classmates at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, have attempted to meet the demand for smaller-scale investments with their crowdfunding company CircleUp. Focusing on small environmentally and socially conscientious consumer products companies that earn between $1M and $10M in revenue, the two MBAs have themselves already attracted some impressive investments, as much as $1.5M. Included among some of their high-profile supporters is Clayton Christensen, a famed Harvard Business School professor. Christensen views crowdsourcing initiatives—following the success of sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo—as a potentially “disruptive” innovation, making financing available to companies that would otherwise struggle to grow. Featured among CircleUp’s growing list of entrepreneurs is Alison Bailey Vercruysse, an MBA from DePaul, whose granola company, 18 Rabbits, managed to raise $500K in investment money. Another business school graduate, Meg Carlson, who earned her MBA from Washington State University, earned $1M to fund her company, Prosperity Organic Foods.

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