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One Spark CEO & co-founder resigns

Elton Rivas sent email saying he's stepping down

One Spark festival in downtown Jacksonville
One Spark festival in downtown Jacksonville

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Elton Rivas, one of the co-founders of the crowdfunding festival One Spark, has resigned as CEO of the annual Downtown event.

In an email sent Monday morning, Rivas thanked supporters and said, "It has been an honor to lead this journey from idea to reality."

Rivas' resignation comes just days after the festival announced the new jurists for the 2016 festival.

One Spark is also in a state of transition.

The Jacksonville crowdfunding festival has grown quickly in its first three years, with attendance jumping from 130,000 the first year to 320,000 last year. Prize money has increased, as have potential capital investment funding and sponsorships.

At the same time, the nonprofit has struggled financially, according to tax documents reviewed by the Financial News and Daily Record. One Spark reported deficits of about $200,000 from July 1, 2012 to June 30, 2013 and more than $1 million July 1, 2013 to June 30, 2014.

In June, One Spark announced six of its employees had been laid off. The cuts left Rivas and three administrative and technical staff as the only employees.

In September, One Spark announced the World's Largest Crowdfunding festival would be reduced to three days, running from April 7-9. 

One Spark will have several significant changes to its format this year, including a jury selection process for its creators, which is designed to improve the quality and likelihood of success for creator projects. The jury will select the top 50 creator applicants to showcase in each district, which will be announced on Feb. 24.

Rivas did not give a reason for his resignation.