@mattcropp Always good to meet another nerd! I see the tag in your profile and I'm curious if you've stumbled across any way to participate in P2P lending to help develop cooperatives. Something like LendingClub but for patient, modest-rate lending to new coops.

@funwhilelost Geek out on it pretty hard, tbh. :)

A few things maybe of interest:

- We've got a little network of them in Minneapolis, Vermont, Boston, Colorada & NYC. Wanna start one where you are?

- investing w/ retirement funds by & hacking them and funneling the $ out of index funds & into co-ops.

- crypto-based microlending to co-ops in Brazil, with international aspirations

@mattcropp How is that network structured? Do you just share opportunities with a group? I'm curious if there is something where you can spread out your exposure to risk among smaller "bonds" to help fund initiatives like this.

@funwhilelost Each club is a localized llc, and at the moment we just share deal leads, but have aspirations to create a "club of clubs" that each club might put a % of their assets into that would pursue larger-scale opportunities.

@mattcropp That's very cool! How do you handle risk-assessment or help people understand what their repayment structure will look like? (Sorry if I'm in the weeds already, maybe there's something on the interwebs I can check out)

@funwhilelost There is a diversity of practices, but in our club we have members review the documentation and rate the investment on a matrix on a variety of factors. Then the club votes on whether to add the investment to the "Approved Investments List," and then members dot-vote the AIL to allocate the available liquid funds.

Members invest $20-200 monthly, and the expectation is the funds are illiquid, but they can be liquidated on a case by case basis under certain circumstances.

@mattcropp Sounds great. I'm sure there are lots of challenges in evaluating these types of investments since they don't fit the long-running paradigms. Are these matrices something you share publicly?

@funwhilelost @mattcropp Eavesdropping on this thread. I talked with @mattcropp about this in person recently, and also @Matt_Noyes online, plus I have a call scheduled for tomorrow with the USFWC on the same topic.

@Steve @mattcropp Small world! I was just on a web chat with @Matt_Noyes last week and he got my interest piqued. If building an "investment platform coop" is something that's coming up I'd love to talk about how our members could help build it.

@funwhilelost @mattcropp @Matt_Noyes If it was a webchat with a whole bunch of people from assorted countries, then I was on it.

An investment platform co-op is a great idea, but it remains to be seen whether it would be legal. As Matt (Cropp) mentioned, the investment clubs have to be LLCs, for reasons I'm still not entirely clear on. That said, there's lots of precedence for LLCs being internally structured as co-ops.

@Steve @mattcropp @Matt_Noyes That's right! I didn't think to scribble down the attendees in my notes until it was too late.

Our co-op is an LLC structured with an operating agreement that's co-operative. We modeled it after the one shared publicly by Feel Train and then modified it with a law firm's help in Seattle. It appears to hold up fairly well. It specifically calls out some things as "will be defined by the members" which we collected in a book of procedures. Seems to work for now.

@funwhilelost @mattcropp @Matt_Noyes If there were a platform co-op that was a second-tier co-op made up of investment clubs, that might be the best of all worlds.

@funwhilelost are you familiar with #SavingsPools?:

In #Aotearoa savings pools have helped people clear interest-bearing debt, including in some cases paying off mortgates. We use P2P relationships between many smaller pools to raise the savings necessary for larger loans. In one case our pool funded publication of a kid's book written by a member. In principle, savings pools could lend startup and expansion funds to coops.

@strypey @mattcropp Thanks for the heads up and interesting link. Consensus decision-making means this fits small groups well. I really like the "being part of a group" aspect and how it dovetails with tool loans, worker bees, etc. For orchestrating larger loans (from multiple pools or individuals) I think that's where "Investment Clubs" come in and I'm excited to see how those develop.

> Consensus decision-making means this fits small groups well.

This seems to be a common assumption, but with good facilitation, I've seen consensus process can be used effectively with live meeting of hundreds of people. When online tools like #Loomio are used, allowing people to participate when they have time, it can also work with large organizations.

> I think that's where "Investment Clubs" come in

How would this work differently from savings pools?
The pool we're in has financed loans of as much as NZ$20,000. Loans made between the pools are facilitated by a Savings Pool Association, which sets the protocols and provides legal templates for such arrangements. The largest loan we know of so far made by a pool of pools is NZ$130,000. The system has been built up over about a decade and is still growing steadily.

@strypey @mattcropp I think they're synonymous with the "Savings Pool Association" in that they have just enough structure to satisfy any regulatory and legal hurdles. At least that's how I perceive the current ones.

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