Crowdfunding FOSS Companies

Fred Trotter (, Ashish Patel (Not Only Dev), Rick Trotter (Not Only Dev), Renee DiResta (New Knowledge), Clayton Trotter (University of Alaska)
Location: F151 Level: Novice
Average rating: ***..
(3.50, 2 ratings)

The SEC has not written the specific regulations on how the JOBS act will be implemented, but what we do know seems very “friendly” the Open Source community.

We know that only relatively small amounts of money can me raised, under $4 Million in total. Which limits this financial option to those seeking angel or seed “round” financing. But Open Source projects have been developing methods to “do a lot with a little” for years. Our community of open hardware, software and bioware has provided low cost methods for technology startups. Leveraging the cloud, hackerspaces and 3D printing techniques it is possible to launch a technology startup at a fraction of what it took even 10 years ago.

Even so, angel and seed investors avoid technology investments that do not have “break out” potential. In many cases, Open Source licensing prevents outlandish profit margins. Red Hat CEO has famously stated that in order for his company to make 5 Billion dollars, it had to replace $50 billion in revenue in a given software industry.

Investors would rather invest in the company that might have the capacity to make $50 billion dollars rather than the company that will settle for 10% in the same marketplace. But if freedom-respecting companies can start, its very hard to compete with a company that charges 1/10th of the price. Now the Open Source community has a new way to “start” these kinds of companies.

In this session, we plan on giving a quick tutorial on the contents of the JOBS Act, some thinking about how Open Source licenses and JOBS act financing might intertwine and how “users as investors” might impact the management of Open Source projects.

Photo of Fred Trotter

Fred Trotter

Fred Trotter data journalist focused on Healthcare. He successfull crowdfunded a new open data set called DocGraph. DocGraph is a direct, weighted social connections data set that shows how doctors and hospitals work together to provide healthcare.

In recognition of his role within the Open Source Health Informatics community, Trotter was the only Open Source representative invited by the NCVHS to testify on the definition of ‘meaningful use’.

Fred Trotter has contributed to multiple articles on Health Information Technology in several print and online journals, including WIRED, U.S. News, GigaOM, zdnet, Government Health IT, Modern Healthcare Online, Linux Journal and Free Software Magazine.

Trotter has a B.S in Computer Science, a B.A in psychology and a B.A in philosophy from Trinity University. Trotter minored in Business Administration, Cognitive Science, and Management Information Systems. Before working directly on health software, Trotter passed the CISSP certification and consulted for VeriSign on HIPAA security for major hospitals and health institutions. Trotter was originally trained in information security at the Air Force Information Warfare Center.

Ashish Patel

Not Only Dev

Ashish Patel is one of the founders of Not Only Development, and a data journalist with the DocGraph project.

Ashish comes from a career as an information security expert and industrial engineering, focused on healthcare IT.

Rick Trotter

Not Only Dev

Rick Trotter is a founder of Not Only Development and a data journalist for the DocGraph journal.

Photo of Renee DiResta

Renee DiResta

New Knowledge

Renee DiResta is an Associate at O’Reilly AlphaTech Ventures. In her past life, she was a trader at Jane Street Capital. She spends time thinking about inefficient markets, apps that solve problems, and what to eat for dinner. She is also a swing dancer and likes to make things.

Photo of Clayton Trotter

Clayton Trotter

University of Alaska

Born 1950 and lived in Houston. College and Law at U of Texas. Clerked for Judge John H Wood, Jr. Attended Oxford. Law professor for 21 years. Presently professor at U of Alaska Anchorage. Writes on Business Legal topics and Ethics.


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