Rob Grosshandler was having dinner with his 23-year-old daughter and her friends when they began expressing worries familiar to many millennials:
Am I going to get a job after graduation? Am I going to earn enough money to live comfortably?
Like any good parent, Grosshandler tried to think of a solution to his daughter’s concerns.
Then, this serial entrepreneur actually brought his innovative idea to life.
He started a company that gives power back to the consumer. It allows his daughter, her friends and people like you and me to invest in a startup — without spending any extra money.
And, he plans to give away half his company in the next two years.
Want a piece? Here’s how you can get involved…
Why (and How) Grosshandler is Giving Away Half His Company
The company Grosshandler and his co-founder started is called iConsumer. It’s a cash-back shopping platform… but with a twist.
When you make an online purchase at one of its 1,700 partner retailers, you’ll not only earn cash back — you’ll also earn shares in the actual company.
For each cash-back dollar you earn, you’ll receive $1 in iConsumer shares.
A “share” is a unit of ownership in a company. A collection of shares is generally referred to as “stock.”
More shares = more stock = more ownership.
In the next two years, Grosshandler hopes to give away 200 million shares of iConsumer — which means half the company will be owned by users like you.
His thinking: You’re helping to build the company, so why shouldn’t you get a part of it?
“I created iConsumer to give everyone, including these worried millennials, the chance to own something, learn from it and then leverage this learning to open new doors for themselves in the future,” he explains.
How Do These Shares Work?
The cash-back is pretty straightforward, but you’re probably wondering how the heck the other half of this equation works.
Let’s make one thing clear: The iConsumer shares you earn aren’t worth anything — yet.
First, the company must become qualified by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), which it hopes to achieve this spring.
Once this happens, iConsumer plans to sell $500,000 of its stock at $.045 a share, and $1.5 million of its stock at $0.09 per share.
When it hits 50,000 members, it plans to sell more shares and raise the price. “This is subject to change and is not a promise,” the company’s site says.
Even then, your shares will only be worth the amount people want to pay for them, which still could be nothing.
“The stock you earn could end up worthless,” iConsumer explains, “but you can’t lose any more than the amount you invest.”
And since your investment is made by shopping online like you already do, some figure it’s worth a shot.
One such person is David Bauerle, an IT consultant living outside Denver, Colorado. He’s been using iConsumer for three months.
“It’s intriguing; I don’t know how [the shares] will play out,” he says. “It could be worth nothing; it could be worth something interesting.”
Unless another shopping portal is offering a higher cash-back percentage, Bauerle chooses to shop through iConsumer.
“It’s like a little lottery ticket you get with it,” he says. “So why not?”
How You Can Invest in a Startup Without Spending Extra Money
To help you decide if iConsumer is the right shopping portal for you, we’ve broken down the process step-by-step:
1. Sign up for iConsumer
Create your free iConsumer account, which automatically earns you 100 shares.
If you usually shop on your mobile device, you can also download the app.
2. Shop Online Through the Platform
The next time you need to buy something online, log onto iConsumer.
Compare cash-back percentages at different retailers, as well as special offers like free shipping.
Then complete your online shopping as usual.
“If people aren’t shopping and getting cash back via shopping online, they need to be,” Baurle says. “And it looks like iConsumer has some of the best cash-back percentages.”
From now through February 28, 2016, iConsumer has a special offer: double cash back on every purchase at over 1,700 retailers.
3. Earn Cash Back and Shares
After the retailer reports your purchase to the platform, iConsumer sends you an email detailing how much cash back you’ve earned.
You can also check your cash back, as well as your number of earned shares, in the site’s dashboard.
Once you’ve earned $25 in cash back, iConsumer will send you a check (after a 90-day waiting period to account for returns).
4. Refer Friends
If you’d like to earn more iConsumer shares, invite friends to join the platform.
For every friend who signs up and makes a purchase, you’ll both earn 100 extra shares.
We don’t have a crystal ball, so we have no idea what these shares will be worth one day — but if you already shop online, this sounds like an interesting way to invest in a startup while also earning cash back.
Your Turn: Do you shop online? Have you ever invested in stocks or a startup?
Sponsorship Disclosure: A huge thanks to iConsumer for working with us to bring you this content. It’s rare that we have the opportunity to share something so awesome and get paid for it!