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CircleUp is an online investment platform that connects accredited investors with innovative consumer product and retail companies.

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2014 CircleUp25: The 25 Most Innovative Consumer and Retail Brands

2014 CircleUp25: The 25 Most Innovative Consumer and Retail Brands

This article originally appeared on Entrepreneur

While we often hear about innovations in technology, we hear less about innovations in the consumer industry. Why? It comprises more than 20 percent of the U.S. economy, and touches nearly every aspect of our lives, influencing what we eat, wear, and increasingly, reflecting what we believe. (I believe in sustainability, therefore I buy from sustainable brands.)

Good companies create products. Great companies create identities. We work with consumer companies day in and day out at CircleUp -- we've reviewed more than 4,500 in the past two years alone -- and we're excited ...

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July 29, 2014

CircleUp25: A Look At Where The 2013 Winners Are Now

CircleUp25: A Look At Where The 2013 Winners Are Now

With the 2014 CircleUp25 now live, we want to look back at the winners from 2013 and share where they are now. As great consumer brands, the 2013 winners are affecting how we live our lives—influencing what we eat, what we wear, and what products we use. In some cases, they are also receiving large investments and showing strong growth. Listed below are some highlights that demonstrate the caliber of the 2013 class of winners:

Chobani, maker of Greek yogurt, received a $750 million investment from private-equity firm TPG.  Chobani is the leader in the $2 billion U ...

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June 24, 2014

The Importance Of Secondaries In Angel Investing

Ryan Caldbeck, CircleUp CEO

This article originally appeared in Ryan's Forbes Blog

When you invest in a private equity fund or make an angel investment, you are told in big bold letters that this is an illiquid investment and you should not expect to touch that money again for at least 5 to 10 years.

Now that may be changing. A number of factors in the private equity world — including a hot IPO market and investors’ growing appetite for private equity — have converged to create early exit opportunities for private equity investors.

Recently there has been a rise ...

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June 11, 2014

How Circles Align Incentives

Recently we announced the launch of Circles, our latest product designed to help our investors access great deal flow. Circles are diversified funds that provide investors access to a set of companies with no fees and come in two flavors – investor-led and thematic. Investor-led funds allow individual members of our community with deep industry expertise to manage sector-focused Circles.

A common question we have received about Circles is one of incentives—that is, what’s in it (economically speaking) for me as the investor, what’s in it for CircleUp and what’s in it for the Circle lead? The ...

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June 3, 2014

I Don't Crowdfund, I Invest

Ryan Caldbeck, CircleUp CEO

This article originally appeared in Ryan's Forbes Blog

I don’t crowdfund. I invest in consumer products companies. For true investors and those who focus on maximizing returns and managing risk — this is an important distinction that I think many people overlook in enthusiasm for crowdfunding. Not all platforms are created equal. From my years as a private equity investor and as the founder and CEO of an accredited investor crowdfunding platform, I think recognizing the difference between investing and crowdfunding is crucial.

At last count, according to crowdsourcing.org, there were around 400 ...

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May 30, 2014

Why You Should Consider Circles

Why You Should Consider Circles

At CircleUp, we’re constantly striving to find innovative ways to help our investors access investment opportunities in innovative private companies. Last week we announced the launch of Circles, our latest product designed to help our investors access deal flow they otherwise would have difficulty finding. Circles are diversified funds that provide investors access to a set of companies with no fees and come in two flavors – investor led and thematic. Investor led funds allow individual members of our community with deep industry expertise to manage sector-focused Circles. These funds operate with no fees for investors. The Lead Investor earns ...

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May 15, 2014

Investing in Natural & Organic Sector Companies

Many of the accredited investors that we work with at CircleUp express interest in investing in businesses in the natural & organic category.  These businesses focus on creating or selling an Organic Certified product, or a product made with natural ingredients.

Increased consumer awareness of the risks associated with products containing GMO’s, high levels of pesticides, preservatives, and other additives have helped to drive the growth of the natural & organic product sector.  Organic food sales more than doubled between 2004-2011 from $11 billion to $25 billion accounting for over 3.5% of food sales in 2008. Organic ...

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May 12, 2014

Investing in B Corporations

At CircleUp, we often hear from investors that they are interested in investing in companies with a mission to make the world a better place.  We listened to our community and created the first ever investment vehicle focused exclusively on investing in B Corporations. B Corporations are certified by the nonprofit B Lab to meet rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency. 

The B Corp Declaration states that it strives to harness the power of private enterprise to create public benefit through the creation of B Corporations, which are purpose-driven, and aspire to benefit all. The B in B Corp stands for Benefit, and ...

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May 9, 2014

Investing Tips from Brad Feld

This post is by Katie Fitzgerald, Business Development Manager at CircleUp. 

I had the pleasure of interviewing Brad Feld, Co-Founder of Foundry Group and Techstars, recently.  Brad is an experienced investor and incredibly interesting person and I felt the insights shared with our CircleUp community during this call were worth sharing more broadly.

While Brad’s professional ventures focus on technology investments, personally, Brad is an active angel investor in the consumer products sector.  He also recently launched the Brad Feld Consumer Circle with us that will primarily invest in food and beverage companies. Brad’s delve into ...

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May 7, 2014

CircleUp Company Quality

At CircleUp, we believe it’s important to present you with quality opportunities.  We measure companies internally through a variety of metrics including revenue, growth rate, team strength, and valuation.  We’re happy to say that based on our statistics, our quality is going up—by almost every measurable dimension.  With our two-year anniversary upon us, we wanted to share this data with you, our community. 

In the first quarter of 2014, Reviewed companies were approximately 20% larger and growing significantly faster than the same period last year.  Last year, they were growing at 50% and now they are growing ...

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May 1, 2014

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