Why Origin Ventures invested in pieFi
Someone I hold in high esteem once remarked to me, “Equity is like manure. If you pile it up, it just stinks. If you spread it around, it helps everything grow.”
Equity is a powerful incentive. Ownership aligns people with a vested interest in creating value. But in the private markets, true equity and ownership have traditionally only been available to the few—either those with large amounts of money or those who are willing to dedicate their time and risk their careers on a new company. Enter pieFi, a revolutionary new company that has updated an old legal structure to give everyone the opportunity to own a piece of the pie.
Origin Ventures participated in pieFi’s $4.6 million seed round in early 2022 alongside Kickstart Fund, and pieFi recently launched its main product, Upside.coop. This platform gives companies the tools they need to achieve a new level of authentic connectivity with their customers, fans and community, enabling them to share real equity ownership and participate in a brand’s upside.
With Upside.coop, brands can reward customers with ownership in the business through their purchases, referrals, social media posts, reviews, product input or other value-creating activities that a brand deems worthy. This new model gives customers building the brand a real “upside” and a vested interest in the company’s growth.
"With Upside.coop, brands can reward customers with ownership in the business through their purchases, referrals, social media posts, reviews, product input or other value-creating activities that a brand deems worthy."
“Brands spend endless time and cash chasing better customer experience and stronger customer relationships. What they’re chasing is a community that has an ownership mentality,” says Tyler Morrey, co-founder and CEO of pieFi. “That’s why we’re so passionate about Upside.coop. We give brands the tools and infrastructure they need to take their community straight to an ownership mentality. We make it as easy as flipping a switch.”
In one simple line of the cap table, brands can choose a certain amount of their overall equity that they want to share with their community, from 0.5 percent and up.
In conjunction with the launch of Upside.coop, pieFi has also released a white paper titled, “Cooperatives: An Ownership Model for Digital Networks,” which details the revolutionary new way private brands can offer equity to their community. Utilizing the co-op model will allow Web3 companies to achieve greater regulatory compliance. The white paper was co-authored by KPMG and Orrick.
pieFi is aligned with our firm’s “Connected Humans” investment theme, one of four within the digital native economy. Other investments aligned with this theme include Cameo, SoleSavy, and Most Days.
Ownership is an important value held by digital natives—a term that describes a person who has grown up in the information age—as this generation has fueled the rise of the crypto markets and Web3. Gen Z wants to see the democratization of financial services. pieFi recognizes that now is the time for companies to empower their community, align incentives and fuel growth in new and ownership-based ways, allowing everyone a piece of the pie and a chance to share in the “upside” of their favorite brands.