Woody Harrelson is of course best known for his many successful films and television characters including the recent mega-hit Hunger Games series. What many people do not know is that he is also an avid environmentalist and entrepreneur. Now you can add crowdfunder to Woody’s list of titles as he is campaigning for Prairie Paper Ventures, a company that is raising capital on the Ontario based ‘Optimize Capital Markets’ crowdfunding platform today. Woody is not just a paid spokesperson for the company, he is a co-founder and investor into the business which is looking to raise $5 Million for 20% equity. The offer for the Manitoba based Prairie Paper Ventures is expected to close this coming February.
Prairie Paper Ventures, and their Step Forward Paper, is a company that is making paper from agricultural waste. They have developed technology which produces tree free paper by utilizing “ag waste” left over from wheat straw and other fibers . The process produces up to 80% tree free paper today and they are targeting 100% tree free paper in the near future. Prairie believes the death of print is dramatically overstated and expect paper consumption to rise – and they want to be the company benefiting from this increase while producing paper that is not a product of trees. The Step Forward Paper is already available at major retailers including Staples.
The listing posted on Optimize Capital Markets came about when CEO Matthew McGrath met Prairie President and co-founder Jeff Golfman at a conference where he heard about the business and the involvement of Woody. The two clicked and the crowdfunding round was listed on Optimize just recently.
Optimize wants to build “the Largest Online Marketplace in North America where Accredited Investors and Institutions can discover and trade in Private Investment Opportunities”. Based in Toronto (with an office in New York City) the company is operated by McGrath who was formerly with RBC where he managed $150 million in assets for private clients. McGrath views crowdfunding as the next generation of corporate finance. His accredited investor only site wants to help finance companies that are a bit more evolved than the typical startup. Optimize targets companies that are already generating revenue but need additional capital to grow. Their investors are high net worth individuals and institutions who can carry a significant investment like the $500,000 minimum for the Prairie Paper Ventures offering.
McGrath indicates there are a lot of solid deals out in the market today and that Optimize Capital Markets is focusing on businesses in the technology, clean tech and life sciences space. McGrath states:
“It just just amazes me with the number of very solid companies that are in that space that need help raising capital.”
McGrath firmly believes there exists an incredibly large group of people out there who have access to capital and want to put it to work – but they just don’t have access to quality deals. It is this underserved market that Optimize is targeting.
Prior to the launch of their equity crowdfunding platform, McGrath has been focusing on traditional corporate finance. The crowdfunding portion of their business just launched this past August where McGrath says they have already closed five transactions.
With A list exposure from Woody Step Forward Paper is a high profile offer that can help boost exposure for Optimize as well as Prairie. This past November the product was used to produce a magazine distributed by The Globe and Mail in Canada as well as the Washington Post (now owned by famed entrepreneur Jeff Bezos). Prairie has also been racking up the Awards for their innovative product and environmental approach. Prairie boasts they have saved well over 9000 trees by to date as consumers have started to use their Step Forward Paper.
The Canadian company is committed to creating a sustainable future and a better planet. Prairie Paper’s long-term goal is to revolutionize the pulp and paper industry by building a first-of-its-kind state-of-the-art eco mill in Canada to make 100% tree-free chlorine-free paper from agricultural waste.
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