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Have you ever wanted to make a lasting investment in a small business, as opposed to just patronizing one or making a one-time crowdfunding contribution or product pre-purchase? Don’t we all want to strengthen our local economies? Many of us have had no other option than to invest in big businesses on Wall Street, lamenting the unfortunate reality that are few ways to keep our investment dollars on Main Street. That is, until now.

“For the first time in a long time, Main Street investment is open to all,” claims Cutting Edge X’s (CEX) company website. The new social enterprise is dedicated to building a new, healthier, more sustainable economy through its Direct Public Offerings (DPOs) marketplace. Unlike private offerings, the mainstream way of raising capital, DPOs are securities offerings open to all investors no matter their financial background or accreditation status. CEX gives everyone the opportunity to support social enterprises they believe in, while at the same time giving entrepreneurs a better way to raise capital from friends, neighbors, and colleagues who care about strengthening local economies.

As a form of crowdfunding, CEX joins the popular platforms Kickstarter and Indiegogo, but CEX takes the model to the next level by allowing crowdfunders to make long-term investments in companies, instead of giving one-time contributions. All three crowdfunding sites aggregate listings in one place, but people cannot invest directly through CEX’s website like they can on Kickstarter and Indiegogo. Investors must visit the website of the companies offering the DPOs instead.

Investors can rest assured that CEX only lists offerings that have completed the regulatory process with applicable securities regulators. The site’s first listings include DPOs from People’s Community Market based in Oakland, California, the nationwide company RSF Social Finance, and Quimper Mercantile, based in Port Townsend, Washington among others.

In an effort to amplify its ability to help communities connect around these investment opportunities, CEX is launching a partnership with Hylo, a social network that claims a commitment to “unlocking a higher level of creativity and collaboration among communities of purpose.” Hylo helps people connect, share resources, collaborate, and bring their visions into the world. The social network is currently in private beta but plans to welcome new users over the coming months as tools are tested and built.

Together, CEX and Hylo are tapping the power of collaboration to make Main Street investing possible—and increasing the pool of investors for small business from the 1% to the 100%.

Jessica Conrad


Jessica Conrad |

Content strategist

Things I share: I’m fascinated by the possibilities of a sharing-based life and have experimented appropriately: I’ve participated in crowdfunding campaigns, booked short-term stays in private homes, rented jewelry, belonged to co-ops, worked at co-working spaces in San Francisco and the Twin Cities, given bike sharing a whirl, and considered peer-to-peer lending options. In other words, if you can share it, I want to try it.