Exit to Community (E2C) is an effort to develop alternatives to the standard model of the startup "exit." Rather than simply aiming for an acquisition by a more established company or a public stock offering, could startups aim to mature into ownership by their community of stakeholders? Through policy research, popular education, and partnership with interested startups, MEDLab is exploring pathways for making the answer a yes.

This work occurs in partnership with Zebras Unite and MEDLab community fellow Danny Spitzberg, with support from the Open Society Foundations.

Read the Pamphlet

The E2C zine, Exit to Community: A Community Primer, is now available for free, digitally and in print. Get a copy here.




Artwork by Marcos Osorio, via Stocksy

Now We Know: Exit to Community Is Possible

Jan. 3, 2024

Back in 2019, I made a plea: “ Startups Need a New Option: Exit to Community .” In some circles, at least, the argument quickly caught on. This is because, for startup companies, an exit through an acquisition or public offering is the goal that all else points toward. It...

Cover of the book "Wealth Supremacy" by Marjorie Kelly

Where I Went Wrong: Marjorie Kelly on Why Advancing Ethical Business Isn't Enough

October 30, 2023, 11 a.m. to noon Mountain Time. In this webinar, Kelly draws on the lessons of her career—including her mistakes—to call for a movement that refuses to take the current system for granted.

Illustration by Sita Magnuson

Introducing the Exit to Community Collective

Feb. 16, 2022

The Exit to Community Collective (E2CC) is working to further the implementation of Exit to Community (E2C) initiatives—efforts to enable startups and other organizations to evolve toward ownership and control by their closest stakeholders. Since 2019, MEDLab has been advancing the E2C idea , particularly in collaboration with Zebras Unite...

Video still from YouTube with the words "Exit to Community"

A New Option for the Startups We Love—the E2C video

June 29, 2021

Getting acquired or going public often pits startup founders and investors against the health of their community. We believe businesses need a new option with long-term benefits for all: an "Exit to Community." Start your E2C journey at https://www.e2c.how . Thanks to those who came together to make this happen:...

Illustration by Sita Magnuson of Dpict

Exit to Community: Two Startup Journeys to User-Ownership

May 12, 2021 9 a.m. Mountain Time Boulder Startup Week webinar Watch Collaborative notes How can startups transition from community engagement to community ownership? This session features two startups that are figuring it out. Hacker Noon, a tech publishing platform based in rural Colorado, moved from Medium to its own...

Drawing of people in a field with coins over their heads, via Cambiatus.com

Exit to Community: Designing Crypto for Social Good

Thursday, April 29, 2021 10-11 a.m. Mountain Time Free webinar Watch Notes As blockchain and cryptocurrency takes another step toward mainstream adoption—think Bitcoin, NFTs, and Coinbase—communities are questioning conventional economic models, and exploring how this technology can enable new alternatives. This webinar will feature blockchain platforms designing solutions that empower...

Bufficorn mascot

Exit to Community: Emerging Crypto

Friday, February 26, 2021 2-3:30 p.m. Mountain Time Free webinar Watch Collaborative Notes New blockchain-based tokens offer tantalizing possibilities for community ownership. Can these innovations make it easier for startups to become owned by their core stakeholders, in an "ownership economy"? In this webinar, we'll hear from projects that are...

Vision, Asks, Process, Connections

Meet the Exit to Community Cohort

Dec. 8, 2020

During the fall of 2020, MEDLab and Zebras Unite organized a cohort of more than two dozen startup founders working toward an " exit to community ." It was led by Sheeza Shah of Zebras Unite and MEDLab Community Fellow Danny Spitzberg. At today's public, online showcase, we heard from...

Drawing by Sita Magnuson

Exit to Community: Peer Learning Cohort

Sept. 2, 2020

Our next initiative is a peer learning cohort—but first, we need to hear your story so we can serve you and your community! Fill out this survey We're doing research because we don't know yet what people need in practice to successfully Exit to Community. Why a cohort? People told...

Exit to Community: A Community Primer

Exit to Community: A Community Primer

Aug. 31, 2020

DOWNLOAD: SCREEN / BOOKLET What is a startup for? Who are startups for? The usual answers begin sounding strange the more you think about them. A startup is kind of like a child, some say. Founders pour themselves and their resources and energy into the thing—but then, unlike a child,...