Exit to Community: A New Option for Startups?


December 11, 2019, 10-11:30 a.m. Mountain Time

What if startups could transition to ownership by the people who rely on them most?

Pricing table for startup exit options

When a startup company takes early investment, typically the expectation is that everyone is working toward one of two “exit” events: selling the company to the investor-owners of a bigger company or selling to stock-market investors in an initial public offering. What if there were a third option, an “exit to community,” in which a startup transitions to ownership by the people who rely on it most?

Those people might be users, workers, customers, participant organizations, or a combination of such stakeholder groups. The mechanism for co-ownership might be a cooperative, a trust, or even crypto-tokens. The community might own the whole company when the process is over, or just a substantial-enough part of it to make a difference. These kinds of outcomes could help prevent the accountability crises that now beset today’s most successful venture-backed startups.

In this participatory webinar, we’ll hear from entrepreneurs, investors, and activists who are working to make exit-to-community a viable option in the startup economy. We will also work together to devise some plausible pathways for how such exits might become a reality.

REGISTER HERE to receive participation details. Registrants will receive a Zoom link before the event. There is no cost to register.

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Hosted by the Media Enterprise Design Lab at the University of Colorado Boulder, with support from the Open Society Foundations, which are not responsible for the content.


  • Camille Canon (Purpose Network)
  • Bruno Haid (founder, Roam)
  • Scott Heiferman (founder, Meetup)
  • Arielle Jordan (founder, Curafied)
  • Jonathan Moore (founder, RowdyOrb.it)
  • Modupe Odele (attorney, Tiphub)
  • Mara Zepeda (founder, Switchboard and Zebras Unite)


Source: Exit to Community: A New Option for Startups?

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