Wind Beneath Your Wings
by Taansen Fairmont
“It is often easier to make big money than it is to make small money.” ~ Mark Victor Hansen
Those who oversee projects and organizations that are bringing light, love, compassion, and improvement in the world, know the challenges of fund raising. Thousands of foundations and philanthropists are giving billions of dollars away, but there are millions of recipients competing for it. With world consciousness as low as it is, the majority of the givers haven’t always made the most intelligent choices. Causes that could really uplift mankind in massive ways, transforming the quality of life on Earth at its roots, often go unfunded for lack of sufficient vision in the benefactors.
Another approach is to look beyond the field of philanthropy and into the world of investments, which is millions of times larger. There is vastly more money in the investment world. But if a project is designed to benefit the world in subtle ways, which do not necessarily generate a quick and visible profit, OR which appear to the investors to excessively threaten existing vested interests, then the investors are not typically attracted to put any money into it.
However, there is a way to solve this dilemma. It involves combining the project fund raising with certain kinds of secure investments, which produce attractive rewards sufficient to both please the investor and provide plenty of funding for the project. To explain this, let’s first look at the mind of the investors.
The biggest problem in attracting investors to anything is twofold – – one, the security on their money; and two, the return. Naturally every investor or lender wants to know their money is safe and secure, that it is extremely unlikely to be lost; and that they will get a good return on it in a reasonable amount of time.
There is an element that could be added to a project fund raising plan to provide both of these things to any potential capital source. It is a secure, low risk, high yield investment. Those who have done a study of the secured investment field have found certain investments whose risk is so low that it is virtually zero. At the same time, the yield is high enough to furnish both the investor and the humanitarian project plenty of funds, enough to satisfy both.
We’re talking about Bank Instruments Investment Programs (BIIPs) or Private Placement Platforms (PPPs). Both terms apply interchangeably, depending on with whom one is speaking. For this article, we will refer to the more commonly used term PPPs.
There are three ways that this can fund a new noble venture, even for founders of startups who don’t have the required participation capital:
- By incorporating the PPP into one’s business plan to make one’s venture zero risk;
- By creating a joint venture whereby the startup general partner introduces the owner of the capital to the PPP on the prearranged condition that the owner will either donate or invest a percentage of the gains into the startup; or
- By serving as a commissioned intermediary for the PPP.
We will review the pros and cons of all three of these options in a few minutes, but first, let’s give you a crystal clear picture of what the PPP is.
The Rarified Private Placements Field
There is a private industry involving highly advanced financial instruments. If an investor has preferably a minimum of $100M ($100,000,000) USD, but an absolute minimum of $1M ($1,000,000) USD, then by submitting the right documents, s/he may be invited into a zero risk high yield (ZRHY) series of transactions. It is by invitation only. The invitations are given to investors who have the requisite capital and are not blacklisted for a variety of reasons. It is thus NOT a public market.
The preferred type of PPP is one that features the Reserve Account, or Non-Depletion Account. This is where the investor’s capital stays in his own account, and no block, lien, or encumbrance is ever placed on it. It is “tear sheet” only – – in which a report is emailed from the investor’s bank to the trading bank once a week, confirming his funds are still there. That’s it. He is free to move the funds at any time, but if he does, that will exit him from the program and he will probably not be invited back in to a future program.
In this relationship, the investor never makes any investment at all. Therefore, we may call him or her simply the “client”, since the act of investing never needs to take place at all. Neither is the owner of the capital asked to make a loan, a donation, or any other kind of transfer of his or her funds to anyone else at any time. If we were to imagine that the capital owner is a woman, we can say that she stays in full control of her capital at all times.
No lien is ever placed on her funds, no encumbrance, no block, and no assignment. Yet, by a special arrangement, a reflection line of credit is created at the trading bank, and this line of credit is used in trading special financial instruments, generating large profits. Further, the capital owner has no legal liability for what happens in the trading. The capital owner does nothing but watch and observe, and collect the profit payments.
The yield from the program is high. It is so high that it is not permitted to publicize in written documents for general distribution. All that we are allowed to say is that it is “well in excess of 100% per year”. They are usually paid weekly or biweekly. Those who are familiar with this private industry know that the returns are the highest in the world.
When the investor never makes an investment, but rather keeps her capital in her own account at all times, under her own full sole signatory control, not sharing the control with anyone else, then it can be said that the transaction is truly zero risk. For the fanatics who say that nothing in the world is zero risk, then we can surely say that it is as close to zero as anything in the financial world can be. The client’s own capital stays in her account if it is deemed large enough ($1M+), or if it is of a smaller sum, a financial instrument of equal value and liquidity might be arranged stay in her account. In any case, her capital or its equivalent in some acceptable form of zero risk security always stays in her control.
In other words, the risk of entering a program like this is the same as not entering it – – staying completely out of it and keeping one’s money where it already is right now. Thus, there is no need to conduct due diligence, no need to perform legal background checks, no need to trust anyone else, and no need to depend on promises or guarantees. When one’s capital or its equivalent always stays in one’s own control, then the only person one needs to trust is oneself.
This is a peace of mind arrangement, in which one can truly focus on the more important things, like one’s benevolence, the good that the gains will do in the world. The yield generated is more than sufficient to provide plenty both for the investor and for the humanitarian project to split. In fact, it is high enough that half of it could go to the project as a non-repayable grant, and the other half is still large enough that most investors would be satisfied without even owning any equity interest in the project.
So now let’s look at the three ways that those looking to raise capital for a startup project can use the PPP to do so.
- By incorporating the PPP into one’s business plan to make one’s venture zero risk
In this approach, the investor would indeed turn over control of his capital to the person or company that is directing the startup project. Then the director of the project would commit this capital to a PPP. It would have to be an absolute minimum of $1M.
The project director would guarantee that the investment is risk-free, and to make it so, s/he would commit 100% of the capital received to the type of PPP that places no block, no lien, no encumbrance, and no assignment on the investor’s funds.
The PPP, in turn, will not allow this project director into the deal unless the capital is free and clear – – so the capital cannot be borrowed. The original investor would need to turn over complete control of the capital with no lien or encumbrance against it.
Thus, this first approach is the least likely to happen. It could happen if the investor has a high degree of trust in the project director, but that is not a very common occurrence.
If it were to occur, then the profits from the PPP would fund both the project AND repay the investor. The exact percentages would be up to the two of them to agree on, but the profits would definitely be more than sufficient to quickly satisfy both.
- By creating a joint venture
In this approach, the startup director introduces the owner of the capital to the PPP on the prearranged condition that the owner will either donate or invest a percentage of the gains into the startup.
An example would be a 50/50 split. Here the investor stays in control of his principal capital at all times, and so his risk is zero. Plus he gets astronomical returns weekly or biweekly. By prior agreement, he turns over 50% of the gains to the project director who was seeking capital.
The idea of this being a donation, an outright grant, is not out of the question, because the investor’s returns will be so high. But even if the investor is not satisfied with such high returns, and wants equity in the project as well, that is possible too. It is all up to the two parties to negotiate.
The downside of this approach is the possibility of the investor breaching his contract. After signing the contract, the project director would introduce the investor to the PPP. Now he has fulfilled his side of the bargain. But if the investor gets greedy after getting into the PPP and receiving the returns, and decides to cut the project director out and violate the contract, there isn’t much the project director can do. He could sue in civil court, but good luck there.
- By serving as a commissioned intermediary for the PPP
Here is where the project director doesn’t need to negotiate anything with any investor. He therefore doesn’t need a business plan to raise capital. He would only need the business plan for his own planning and organizing purposes; not to present to potential investors.
He just simply introduces investors to the PPP and lets them keep 100% of their profits. In return, he receives commissions weekly or biweekly, every time the investor gets paid. Once the introducing intermediary has had one client starting to get paid, the word will spread, and more and more clients will step forward. So the intermediary’s commission income could quickly rise into high enough levels to approach the amounts he was originally wanting to raise to fund his project.
The great thing about this approach is it is his money. He can do with it what he wishes. He has turned over zero equity and zero control in his project to any investor. This enables him to be self-funding. The downside is that the commissions will be a lot smaller than a big lump sum of capital from approaches 1 and 2. The commissions are usually 5 points divided between all intermediaries, and there are usually at least two or three or more intermediaries. So let’s say it’s 1 point. That means 1% of the committed capital that the investor put up. If the investor put up $1M, that means the intermediary will be receiving $10K ($10,000) every week or every other week, whenever the investor client is getting paid. These programs usually run for 40 weeks or more, and then either get renewed or the investor can enter a new one, with the same intermediary getting paid again.
40 weeks X $10K = $400,000. So that’s a lot smaller than raising millions in one lump sum. But at least it is free and clear money . . . with no need to pay it back, and no need to give equity in one’s project to an investor.
For more information, see Private Placement Platforms