Our social purpose is to create tools for human communities to reconnect with the natural world. The dominant models of home and community development are based upon templates designed decades ago, to meet the needs of a radically different era. Our entire civilization is built upon a dualistic world-view that pits people against each other and disconnects us from the natural world. Thankfully, human consciousness is evolving from this dualistic reality to one of connection and interdependence.
Our construction technology and cooperative village building model is deeply rooted in the new paradigm for a thriving world. Geoship social purpose objectives are all centered around building strong healthy relationships among our team, the communities in which we operate, our customers, our investors, and the ecosystems we are part of.
Social Purpose Actions Taken in 2020
Equity-Based Community Financing
Traditional corporations are privately funded by the richest 1%, and have a fiduciary responsibility to maximize profits at the exclusion of all else. These early private investors might see returns of 10,000% or 100,000% or more. Returns like this are incomprehensible for most public investors. After growth slows down, corporations then offer shares to the public, and returns are orders of magnitude less. This uneven playing field continually widens the gap between the wealthiest 1% and everyday people. Thankfully, the regulations have changed, and it’s now possible for everyone to invest early in the giant companies of tomorrow.
At the beginning of 2020 we launched a Regulation Crowdfunding campaign to raise our first round of capital. We had 1,780 public investors who invested an average of $601. We raised the maximum allowable for a RegCF campaign – $1.07M.
Debt-Based Community Financing
In addition to our RegCF fundraise, we raised an additional $1M in debt capital from a future customer. This is a 10 year loan with friendly terms, from an investor-customer whose primary goal is to build villages that support the evolution of human consciousness. This additional funding is for a combination of capital and operational expenditures. Raising debt financing from future village builders also aligns with our social purpose. These deeply aligned investors are investing in our mission rather than exclusively for a financial return.
Land for Prototyping and Manufacturing
We purchased 108 acres of land with business park zoning in Nevada City, CA. Our building plans for a manufacturing facility and design campus have been pre-approved by the county. We’re working with our partners at Communitecture and Nevada City Engineering, while we look forward to beginning construction of phase 1 within the next year.
Relocating to Rural California
We relocated Geoship from Whidbey Island Washington to Nevada City California. This area is central to the raw materials we need for production, and is only 2 hours outside Silicon Valley. Nevada City is a small town and a creative hub, featured on the cover of Sunset magazine as best value places to live. It’s also in the heart of fire country, which may be one of the most urgent markets for fireproof ceramic architecture.
Future Planned Social Purpose Actions
When Geoship transitions fully into a Multi-Stakeholder Cooperative, ownership benefits will be distributed to people and planet stakeholders (while protecting investor interests), and a purpose-driven trust will be established. We like to call this a Profit-For-All Cooperative model, which 1) addresses the externalities of resource extraction 2) serves as a strategic advantage in sales 3) creates a barrier to entry for competitors 4) is a fundamental way we operate integrally with our social purpose.
Multi-stakeholder ownership is not a new concept. The early silicon valley technology corporations were among the first to bring employees into co-ownership through employee stock options. Now nearly all high growth companies recognize the need to ensure employees have a seat at the table. Recently, companies like Airbnb have announced that they are distributing shares to a host endowment. Likewise many companies have taken pledges to address climate change.
We plan to establish a trust or endowment that will hold customer shares. The dividends from the Trust will be managed democratically by the customers, with a primary focus on building healthy relationships within and around the Geoship homes and villages. Wherever there is a Geoship home, there will be a ripple effect that positively influences the surrounding community.
We plan to establish another trust that will hold Earth shares. The dividends from the trust will be used for ecosystem restoration projects around the Geoship communities, and to offset any damage that is done through resource extraction. Wherever there is a Geoship community, there will be another positive ripple effect on the local ecology.
We’re at the beginning of our journey. Our focus over the next few years will be on beginning production. We plan to establish metrics for measuring our social purpose (the health of our relationships) after we begin production.
Here’s to a more equitable geodesic world.