2016 was a tough year for the Board of Directors of Bluenose Gopher Brewery. We had planned to set up our investment structure to raise the needed $200,000 in capital at the beginning of 2016. But we ran into road blocks and found it difficult and time consuming to set up the structure we originally identified. We started a capital campaign in late summer without actually having the structure to accept investment dollars, because we wanted to get a campaign started. During the second month of the campaign, we fortunately came across a new Minnesota securities law called MNvest. This changed everything!
We knew that the decision to pursue MNvest as our investment structure would add more time to our timeline, but we felt it was worth the additional time. A crowdfunding structure fit our cooperative model so perfectly, that we knew it was the right decision.
- We successfully completed most of our building's interior first floor demolition thanks to some of our amazing member-owners. This effort was completely volunteer-led and saved us $11,400 (estimate cost of demo from architectural plans). All utilities have been turned off to save money and to make demolition safer.
- We completed a review of our financials by our accountant (yes, we finally have an accountant!). Unexpectedly, it took us a few months to find an accountant that could work with us. The reviewed financials was a document we had to complete before forming our investment structure. You can view the reviewed financials here.
- Worked with our lawyer to figure out how we should set up our investment structure. This step took us a lot longer than we expected. We went down a path over the summer and early fall until we found out about MNvest, which was signed into law in June 2015 and after the finalization of accompanying Rules, became effective on June 20, 2016. When we learned more about MNvest, we knew it was the perfect investment structure to form under.
- We amended our bylaws to issue 500 Investor Class (or nonpatron) Membership Units at $500/Unit. Click here to learn more.
- We set out to become the first MNvest Issuer in Minnesota. We got right to work and met with officials at the Department of Commerce in-person, asked a lot of questions, did a lot of reading and interpretation of the new MNvest law, created our own MNvest Portal, completed our Disclosure Documents, opened up an Escrow Account at the Granite Falls Bank, revised our business plan, and submitted both a MNvest Portal application and MNvest Issuer application.
- Our MNvest Portal was approved on Dec. 21, 2016. See us listed as a Portal Operator on the Department of Commerce website here.
- We successfully became the first MNvest Issuer under MNvest Investment Crowdfunding on Dec. 28, 2016. See us listed on the Department of Commerce website here.
- We received our first member loan! We can now process and approve member loans with a 3% interest rate in the amounts of $1,000 or more. Contact us if you'd like to enter into a member loan agreement with the brewery.
- We grew our membership to over 200 member-owners and ended 2016 with 205 member-owners!
Our 2017 resolution is to open our doors by the end of this year! We believe we can if we work together to make it happen.