From April 7-12, 2015 Jacksonville Florida will turn into the land of opportunity for hundreds of creators. These creators are artists, founders, musicians and startups. They will all converge on downtown Jacksonville along with a few hundred thousand supporters, fans and curious onlookers for the third annual OneSpark crowdfunding festival.
I personally remember sitting down with festival co-founder Elton Rivas in a bar in Memphis Tennessee in late 2012 listening to him talk about how this would be the biggest festival ever of it’s kind. Most year one festival and conference creators say the same thing. Rivas, his partners and the city of Jacksonville delivered with over 100,000 coming to OneSpark in 2013. The number nearly doubled last year and they expect even more people this year.
The festival itself is free and the venue is all of downtown Jacksonville. Manny attendees have likened OneSpark to taking Kickstarter or Indiegogo offline and putting the creators in venues across the city. There, curious potential investors, onlookers and fans can learn about each creator, artist, musician and founder and back them if they want to using the OneSpark app.
In addition to the money pledged via the OneSpark app and collected from the people, venture capital firms from across Florida are participating in OneSpark by offering up to an additional $3.5 million dollars in venture investment opportunity.
This year’s private investors list has expanded to include some returning venture partners as well new participants. The 2015 list includes: Arsenal Ventures Partners, based in Orlando, Fla., GuideWell, based in Jacksonville, Fla., MountainStar Capital, based in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., PS27 Ventures, based in Jacksonville, and Swamp Rabbit Angels, based in Greenville, S.C. One Spark 2015 creator projects are independently selected for investment by participating angel investors and venture capitalists. For more information, visit onespark.com.
“As a returning capital partner, we know first-hand the opportunities One Spark offers investors to connect live and in-person with quality investment opportunities,” said Jim Stallings, managing partner at PS27 Ventures. “That’s why we’re proud to be a venture partner again this year, and excited to see what the creators present during the festival. The human validation One Spark gives to creators is something that investors look closely at when making an investment determination.”
“One Spark is designed to connect creators with the resources they need to bring their ideas to life and from the start I have continued to be amazed at the response we have received from the creative world, the investor world and the Jacksonville community,” said Peter Rummell, One Spark’s Board chair and leading patron. “I have met people who are ready for market, have an interesting prototype or even a design on a napkin – and the thing that binds them all is the desire to have their idea presented and validated so that they can move to the next stage. Great creations come from interesting places and in April Jacksonville is the place to be to see them all in one festival style event – a party with a purpose.”