This post by Andrew Ward was originally posted on LinkedIn

The crowd funding campaign for the startup of platform cooperative has now been launched – you can learn more and support it here.

There’s problems with traditional incubators that no-one in “startup land” wants to admit. The problem is simple: incubators serve investors, not incubatee’s. That’s why we created – it addresses a real-world economic failure. Incubators can’t find enough fee’s from a target market that by definition is cash and resource poor. So incubators serve their investors as a deal-flow mechanism. They do not serve startups. In Australia, Pollenizer, the first startup incubator shuttered after just 9-years of business and after several pivots. The rest will follow if they don’t serve up good deal flow.

The quest for a better incubator leads to a better form of business

The future – according to those that hang out in the Co-Op sector – belongs to collective endeavours. It belongs to Platform CoOps not Venture-Backed 2-sided marketplaces.

The future is not a new AGL powered by wind and solar. The future belongs to hundreds if not thousands of community-level energy co-ops.

Introducing at the New Economy Conference

Short-fallings of Conventional Incubators

  1. Conventional Incubators are not viable in themselves. Instead they act as a business development tool for “side-car” investors trying to pick winners. We think you need an incubator that exists to serve its incubatees.
  2. Conventional Incubators look for a 1-in-1000 unicorn to repay their many wrong bets. We think you need an incubator that creates businesses of value that go the distance.
  3. Conventional Incubators looks for exceptional talent. We think you need an incubator for collective endeavours.
  4. Conventional Incubators function with a top-down approach. We think you need an incubator that harnesses the wisdom of the crowd.
  5. Conventional Incubators promote returns for the 1%. We think you need an incubator where 1 Member = 1 Vote.
  6. Conventional Incubators run for 6-months. We think you need an incubator that supports the whole period of development from formation through to operation.

Crowd Is Key

In the future, every business will continue to live and die by its service to the group of stakeholders a company may refer to as ‘shareholders, customers, employees and community’. But, in the future we’ll call these stakeholders the “crowd”.

The strength of the “crowd” will determine success more than historically as transparency, block-chain and social-media mean traditional market barriers become obsolete.

Crowdsource Instead of Top-Down

A crowd needs a place to develop ideas of mutual interest. This harnesses the wisdom of the crowd.

Given a bit of guidance and time crowd-sweat can bring ideas to the stage of maturity, where a crowd-fund campaign can test “product-market fit” whilst qualifying future customers and investors.

The best ideas will attract a crowd and develop. The ones without a crowd won’t develop. This is somewhat Darwinian on purpose. We think it’s better to put startup ideas through a ‘natural selection’ process than a ‘VC selection’ process.


We believe crowdfunding is an essential role in new venture development. So we are running our own through this soft launch phase until November 1, 2017.


Photo by Thad Zajdowicz

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