Raising Capital

15.8.1798 Campaign launched:

Hi, Celia here, I’ve made a breakthrough in my study of xenolife protein sequencing.  Now, if you have followed me for a while you might remember that sequencing proteins from even a single specimen is tedious work, each test takes up to an hour, sometimes even two and often one needs to perform several hundred tests on every protein in the specimen.  To obtain test results in any reasonable amount of time I needed to run several tests on different set-ups in parallel.  But after a couple decades of this work I developed a few tricks for running several different tests from a single root experiment and by this point I believe that it may be possible to miniaturize a testing kit capable of determining whether a specimen of xenoflora or xenofauna is compatible with parahuman biology in minutes.

Unfortunately, performing efficacy tests on this kit will be expensive.  Running tests on any new product takes a considerable investment of time and resources, even more so when the product involves exostellar material such as xenoflora proteins.  As you know, there are few planets with natural ecosystems in the Federation, and since most of them are former outworlds even fewer have a gate connection, meaning that xeno specimens need to be shipped at STL speeds over distances of many lightyears.  Now, a while back I put out an open order on the quantum for new specimens and recently I heard back from a trader who can provide a dozen different Cyreteen organisms that the natives supplement their diets with, they have data on which organisms are mildly toxic and which might be safe to consume, making them ideal for this test.  However, they’re asking a minimum price of eighteen thousand Production Credits for the samples, I’m hoping I can negotiate them down based on the future utility of the kits to their profession, but to be safe and to cover the actual testing costs I am asking for loans totalling twenty-two thousand.

The trader will arrive in a little less than eight years, I have set up an escrow account with links to all the major crowdfunding sites: Hitstarter, Kira, Indcom, feel free to use any of them or send crypto directly to the escrow as detailed below.

Campaign ends: 15.6.1806

15.9.1798 Update:

First month done and we’re nearly to 8% funding, that’s amazing considering how little time has passed and how long we still have before the ship with the samples arrives.

However, most of the material I’ve read on how to run a successful crowdfunding campaign says that you tend to get the majority of funds during the first month to a year on long-running campaigns.  Something about how the novelty of a new idea wears off fairly quickly or something.

So, keep on spreading the word!

15.14.1798 Update:

Okay, six months since the funding campaign began.  We’ve made it to sixteen percent, about double what we were five months ago.  I guess this is what the books meant by losing momentum.

However, the books and advice columns do also mention that one might be able to pull off a sort of “second wind” when the campaign starts to come closer to a close.  Playing on people’s sense of urgency you know.

1.9.1799 Update:

Gah! I meant to post this on the one year anniversary of the launch six days ago.  Not that it’s been going too well, just under 18% funded with seven years to go.  I may have to suck it up and start begging from the government for funds at this rate.

I’m also considering revising the rewards as written, maybe something like this “capital shares” concept I see from a few Outworlds.

10.6.1800 Update:

Okay, so I asked a few barristers and they said that it would actually be illegal to issue capital stock.  The whole thing is a bit hard to grasp, but I’ll try to rephrase what they told me.

On Old Terra and a few still independent Outworlds there was a concept called a “corporation”, it was like a person, yet not.  There wouldn’t be any actual parahuman, but contracts could be made with corporations as if they were humans, they could own property known as “corporate assets”, and they paid taxes independent of those working for the corporation, often at higher or lower rates than real people.  Income brought in by the employees of a corporation would go into the corporation’s accounts just like a parahuman employer, but after paying the employees and any expenses incurred the profits made by the people working for the corporation would be distributed among people who owned stock in the corporation.

Oh yes, stock, people could buy and sell pieces of corporations as if they were actual commodities.  These pieces were known as “shares”, not to be confused with the profit-sharing we do with our Houses and friends, though profits incurred by a corporation would be distributed among the stockholders in a similar manner.  The difference is that while House sharing distributes the income members contribute evenly among all the people of the House, and individuals may divert their income to friends as they wish, corporate profits were distributed to the shares and a person could own multiple shares in a corporation.  Meaning that if a corporation issued 200 shares someone could own 1 share and get 0.5% of the profits and someone who had 2 shares would get 1%, and it would easily be possible for one to buy 100 shares and be entitled to fully half the profits.  In addition, owning shares allowed one to vote on major decisions for the corporation, with each share granting its owner one vote, that owner of 100 shares would have as much say in running the corporation as 100 owners of one share apiece put together.  

It gets worse, in many cases it was possible for stockholders to sell their shares with no input from the other stockholders.  Corporations would issue shares and sell them to accumulate capital, then people would buy them and sell them to others when the “market” determined their shares had become more valuable, or they’d be persuaded to sell them during a bad time by someone who wanted to seize control of the corporation.  A lot of corporations would be bought by other corporations and assimilated or forced into a state of vassalage.

Now, despite these problems corporations had two advantages that made them very popular.  First, they’d allow an entrepreneuer to accumulate a great deal of capital rapidly, and second, they provided a legal buffer for the owners, if anything happened the corporation would take the fall instead of them.

But, probably because our ancestors were created and enslaved by corporations, they are illegal to create in Federation space.  Creating one would commit one of two crimes, in fact, fraud for fabricating a person who doesn’t actually exist, or enslavement for owning a person.  Eridani is a special case, their pre-Federation government was actually a corporation as described above, this resulted in the government being owned by an aristocratic caste of stockholders growing rich off the profits their employees earned.  As part of the terms of annexation however, they were required to introduce a few terms to their charter barring people who owned shares from buying or otherwise obtaining new ones or voting more than once.  This resulted in a gradual, but still not complete, shift of power from the oligarchs to the common people as they were suddenly the only people able to buy shares.

Anyways, no I cannot sell capital shares in my enterprise, however I could provide friend profit-sharing as a funding reward.  I got one of the barristers to write up a contract guaranteeing 1% of the profits for 100pc, with higher-level rewards attached to proportionally higher percentages.  Details are on the site.

5.12.1800 Update:

Whoever is responsible for that article accusing me of trying to reinstate slavery did not read the previous post very well.  However, my funding went up to 31% within hours of the attack so I suppose I have to thank them for it.

15.6.1803 Update:

This crowdfunding campaign has been running for almost five years now, with just three years to go before the deadline.  Yet, even with the five minutes of fame from the profit-share reward it is still less than halfway to meeting the goal of 22,000pc.

I have pitched my idea to both the Federal Guard and the Surveyors.  The Guard wasn’t particularly interested, claiming that it was easier to enforce discipline if the infantry was only eating their provided field rations.  Surveyors thought it might reduce mass requirements for landing craft significantly, but couldn’t provide more than 5k.  I’ve contacted every merchant in gated space but the most any was willing to part with was 1200pc if the test kit was going to be completed after they left.  I might have to see who’s in closer to the end date.

19.6.1805 Update:

Okay, as a last resort I went to my family for help.  Great-grandma Thessalia, senior of House Tardiin, was willing to fund my project entirely, on one condition.  That condition being that I enter a breeding contract with House Chelac.  You see, Tardiin is fairly large but our estates aren’t particularly bountiful, if I bear a few children for Chelac they’ll transfer a few square kilometers of land to our House.

Look, I may be two hundred years old already but I have things to do besides spend three decades raising the next generation of a family.  I’ll be busy enough with the testing, assuming I can muster the funds of course.

I asked Great-grandma if she’d be willing to wait until the ship, the Defiant I think, is within neutrino range.  With the last tracking data I have that will be sometime in month 3 of 1806.  So, please spread the word before then.

15.3.1806 Update:

Still only 60% funded, I was able to send a message by neutrino to the Defiant with details of my situation.  It’ll be a day or two before a reply arrives though.  I don’t know what I’m expecting really.

17.3.1806 Update:

Huh, I was not expecting a job offer.  Captain Terryn of the free trader Defiant said he was willing to take on a xenobiologist for the next voyage out with a 10,000pc advance on pay.  They think there might be some fauna and flora on the planet they just left that have commercial potential so it would help if they had the testing kits and someone skilled in their use with them when they set out.  I don’t know how much spacers usually make per trip but it can’t be worse than arranged parenthood.  Not to mention that I’d be able to do my work on board, no need to rent a lab and fabricators.

The downside, of course, is that it’ll be another thirty years or so before the product arrives to my backers, sorry.

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