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Wefunder Blog

Wefunder is a Public Benefit Corporation

on Nov 1 2016
Founder & CEO @ Wefunder

As of today, Wefunder is a Public Benefit Corporation.

I’m proud that over 200 Wefunder shareholders signed our Charter. This is akin to our new Constitution.

What is a Public Benefit Corporation?

A PBC is a new form of company that 31 states have enacted since 2010. The most well-known —Kickstarter — became one in 2015.

A PBC is still a for-profit company. However, public benefit corporations are required — by force of law — to pursue goals that relate to their mission. Shareholders can sue if they fail to adhere to their charter.

Put simply, a public benefit corporation does not single-mindedly maximize share value at all costs. Decisions must be balanced between all stakeholders, such as investors, employees, and the impact on society.

Personally, I see PBC’s as similar to standard corporations as they were commonly understood a few decades ago… until it became fashionable to seek short-term profits above all else. PBC’s are correcting that trend.

Why is Wefunder a PBC?

I believe the motivation to seek profits is — by far — the best way to create more wealth, faster, raising all of our living standards. Thanks to capitalism, those living in extreme poverty fell from 94% in 1820 to 44% in 1980 to 9.6% in 2015. That’s a remarkable achievement.

Yet, unless continually corrected, unfettered capitalism sows the seeds of its own destruction. Wealth accumulates in the hands of a few. Eventually, the rewards of capitalism are not felt equally by everyone, and the powerful use their power to defend “their” turf, limiting the opportunity of others. Or, sometimes the cycle swings too far the other way, and overly burdensome regulation stifles the freedom of potential entrepreneurs.

Achieving the right balance is a never-ending struggle. Every generation must fight this battle anew.

Wefunder is becoming a PBC to fight on the side of increased opportunity, for everyone, over generations. Our goal is for Wefunder to fight the good fight — as proscribed in our charter — long after the founding team has died.We will never become a soulless finance company focused on moving little green pieces of paper around; we focus on creating real wealth for our entire country by building relationships between founders and investors.

Our Charter: Defend the American Dream

The American Dream is an ideal our country has always strived to reach: that anyone — no matter how low they start — can rise as high as their talents allow, with hard work. No barriers. Just opportunity.

To get closer to this ideal, we’ve made a number of commitments in our Charter that aim to increase economic growth, increase social mobility, and reduce wealth disparity. For one, we commit to donating 5% of our profits to programs that mentor more first-time entrepreneurs.

Overall, we seek to balance protecting investors with turbo-charging the amount of capital that funds startups and small businesses. In doing so, we hope to ensure that everyone, with hard work, can reach their potential.

This Charter was drafted with feedback from the entire founding team. It is inspiring to work alongside them on this mission. Onwards!