Local businesses are a vital component to building a more sustainable and healthy economy. By making direct investments in these entrepreneurs, we can help them succeed and improve the well being of all our communities. But making direct investments does pose certain challenges. New investors may be eager to help local businesses but their lack of experience with these types of investments may make them reluctant to move forward. Experienced investors are ready to help, but have limited time to deal with additional investments.
Vital Systems has developed our Local Investor Network, Knowledge & Support services specifically for these socially conscious investors. New investors can leverage our years of experience dealing with these types of investments as we help streamline the process for both them and the entrepreneurs. For experienced investors, we take over the tracking of their portfolio of direct investments so they can focus their time on working with entrepreneurs and helping them build their businesses. The services we provide include:
The following are just some of the portfolio companies our clients have invested in. We manage the small details (including repayments and financial reporting) so they can focus on the bigger investment vision. Let us handle the tracking of your portfolio so you can continue finding and cultivating new investment opportunities.
Note: If you are a LINKS client and would like some or all of your portfolio companies listed here for publicity purposes, please let us know. We only list companies here with express permission of the investors.
Point Reyes Composting Company
Located in Pt. Reyes, CA provides certified organic compost for home gardeners and urban farmers. The company develops naturally enriched nutritious soils and manure-based amendments for urban farmers and organic growers. They work with agricultural producers to find a useful purpose for their excess materials. They do this by adopting a process known as bio-mimicry. The company targets carbon sequestration and lower green house gas emissions while reducing the need for fertilizers, thus acting as an environmental solution to excess agricultural materials. Our client made an equity investment worth $30,000 and a royalty loan of $30,000 to the company.
The Capay Valley Farm Shop
Located in Esparto, CA, The Capay Valley Farm Shop offers 100% local, seasonal food. Known for its productive family farms, the land has been agriculturally vital for over a century. The shop brings together a diverse partnership of family farmers who share a passion for growing food and community. They aggregate high quality products including organic vegetables, fruits, nuts, meats, olive oil, wine, lavender, honey, flowers, etc. One of our client's with a strong focus on food and farming infrastructure chose to make an equity investment of $20,000 in Capay Valley Farm Shop (along with some Slow Money Northern California equity investors), specifically because it is an enterprise serving 30 local farms.
Wild and Radish
Located in El Sobrante, CA, Wild and Radish is a sustainable urban farm and eco-village. Their ten acre community will serve as a local foodshed by providing organic fruits and vegetables to the region, raise healthy families, and help others replicate this work through educational programs and strategic support. Seven acres of the ten acres will support a diverse permaculture farm, with over 2,500 fruit trees and an abundant understory of edible plants, berries, flowers, and herbs. Two acres will be restored with native species and preserved as a wilderness refuge to honor and nourish the freshwater spring and creek that runs through this special piece of land. The remaining one acre will serve as the site for a rental-based EcoVillage community. This housing will accommodate approximately 30 community members and a community education center. One of our clients along with two other investors provided them a loan for $25,300.
South Central Farmers Health & Education Fund
Located in Buttonwillow, CA and a part of the South Central Farmers organization, South Central Farmers has been fighting for 8 years to preserve 14 acres of what used to be open green space in the middle of south central Los Angeles. The farm was thought to be the largest community farm in the United States. In the first 14 years of its existence, thousands in the surrounding community benefited by having access to fresh and healthy produce. A majority of the products are not available in local or major produce markets. Additionally, the farm provides access to many Mesoamerican traditional plants used for medicinal purposes. The organization is fighting to preserve the farm and provide a model for healthy communities everywhere. The mission is to provide fresh food to the food desert that is South Central Los Angeles. In addition, the farm improves air quality, water quality and diversity of food. A client provided a $40,000 loan for irrigation and a $48,750 loan for a commercial kitchen.
People's Community Market
The People’s Community Market is located in West Oakland, CA. Over 25,000 residents in the neighborhood have no easy access to fresh foods, affordable groceries and a positive social setting. People’s Community Market is a new business that is emerging from and building on ten years of food enterprise experience of its sister nonprofit organization, People’s Grocery, which has operated numerous food projects in West Oakland including the Mobile Market and the Grub Box. The market will be a small-format, full-service neighborhood food store, health resource center and community hub that supports West Oakland families to attain healthier and more socially connected lives. Our client is a primary investor, who originally loaned the founder $50,000 to promote the Direct Public Offering and converted that loan into the first investment in the People’s Community Market.
Short for "edible credits", Credibles allows customers to fund their favorite food businesses by pre-paying for the food. The company, based out of San Francisco, CA is a Slow Money way to crowdfund small, sustainable, food-related businesses. The re-payment of the funding is in the food the business makes. If a customer is a fan of a particular food business, or likes what they offer, or is a regular, they can buy credibles in the business. The business basically gets funded by prepaying for what a customer intends to buy in the future. The company has been described as "a new investment model at the intersection of the Slow Food and Slow Money movements" by The New York Times. One of our client has made an equity investment of $25,000 in the company.
A specialty food producer creating unique, delicious products, inspired by regional foods. They create and package value-added products by working with local farmers, growers and wineries who have excess quality produce. They work with these select clients on their co-packaging projects and help create one-of-a-kind products for the market. Services include recipe and product development, batch-process development, production, lab analysis, nutritional analysis and organic product certification services through California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF). They also provide white labeling services. Our client made a $5,000 loan to them.
Located in Sebastopol, CA, Victorian Farmstead is a free range ranch and Christmas tree farm. Adam & Laura Parks (third generation owners of the farm) saw a need for a better way to get all the great meat raised in Sonoma and Marin counties to Bay Area communities. After a few different iterations, Victorian Farmstead has learned how to deliver the best of Sonoma and Marin to farmers markets throughout the Bay Area and now has their own butcher shop inside the Community Market at The Barlow in Sebastopol. The goal at Victorian Farmstead is to raise and procure all natural, pasture-fed meat, eggs and poultry. Our client provided them a loan of $5,000.