Florence Hardy is CEO of truCrowd Illinois, a state-level equity crowdfunding platform allowing Illinois residents to invest in startups. She is also COO of Fundanna-an equity crowdfunding platform for the cannabis industry, and truCrowd’s national equity crowdfunding platform.
(Florence Hardy in a picture from her website, smallbizflo.com)
Hardy is one of the only black, brown, or female executives in the equity crowdfunding arena.
After interviewing black entrepreneurs running equity crowdfunding campaigns, including WhoseYourLandlord and Jetpack, Black Enterprise contributor Brandon Andrews sat down with Florence to get the perspective of an executive in the space. She shares her thoughts on equity crowdfunding and the opportunities for black founders and investors.
Brandon Andrews: You run truCrowd Illinois, a state-level equity crowdfunding platform in Illinois. You are also COO of the national truCrowd platform and COO of Fundanna, an equity crowdfunding platform for the cannabis industry. Let’s talk about truCrowd Illinois first. What opportunity do you see in the state-level approach?
Florence Hardy: I think there is a great opportunity to both support local business and build livable communities by focusing on the state level. It provides an opportunity for small businesses, the ones that have the hardest time finding funding, to get investments from those likely to patronize them: local residents. It puts business owners in a place to create a different narrative about their business and who they serve, while allowing them to focus their marketing and fundraising effort in a concentrated area, saving time and money.
Additionally, state-based laws are more progressive than those at the federal level, allowing business owners to raise more funds while allowing residents an opportunity to invest more per campaign.