Crowdfunding platform seeks £1m to build people-led economy

Crowdfunder, the UK’s leading crowdfunding platform, believes that the economy is becoming increasingly people-led and as a result aims to raise £1 million to expand its support for social enterprises, charities, businesses and individuals

Crowdfunder has launched a share offer with a £1m target to enable it to work with over 150,000 projects in the next three years and empower people to be part of what it sees as a new direction for the economy.

“We see crowdfunding as a crucial part of the economy moving forward, but the economy will become much more people-led movement,” said Phil Geraghty, the company’s managing director. “As with some of the most powerful revolutions – rather than a top-down bank-led economy – we are driving grassroots change from the ground up.”

Within six hours the organisation, which has an online community of more than 350,000 people, had raised £450,000 through more than 240 investors.

Crowdfunder has worked with over 30,000 projects since launching two years ago. Recent projects to have hit their target on include Save Brixton Cycles – which now has a new ‘stretch target’ of £80,000 – and Action for Happiness, which raised over £100,000 towards expanding their programme of happiness courses.

“This investment also means we will be able to continue our expansion into community shares, so we can help even more projects like Positive News, who became owned by the crowd after raising £363,422 from 1526 investors earlier this year,” said Crowdfunder chairman Rob Love.

“As with some of the most powerful revolutions – rather than a top-down bank-led economy – we are driving grassroots change from the ground up.”

“Currently in the UK if you need funding for a great business, social enterprise, charity or individual project, it can be hard to find funding and engage with the community around you. Banks are cautious about lending, grants are hard to secure, and without proof your idea is a good one, it’s a challenge to get the money you need to develop and grow,” said Love.

Most Crowdfunder projects offer rewards to individuals who give money; ranging from thank you tweets to events, products or mementoes of the campaign. Businesses looking for a cash injection may offer equity to those investing, while local fundraisers – from pubs to swimming pools – may run community share offers. Individuals can invest alongside leading European venture capital firms, seasoned professional investors and the UK government.

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According to Crowdfunder, the organisation has grown by a factor of ten since 2012, raising more than £10 million for projects across the UK in the process.

“Although the equity platforms may fundraise for much bigger sums of money, we are working with many more projects, including more grass roots projects and startups,” Geraghty said. “We currently have 975 projects looking for £12.4 million on the site, this investment would enable us to turn more of those ideas into reality.”

Emily Mackay, CEO of Crowdsurfer – an independent organisation which gathers data on the crowd finance industry data, said “many business, individual, creative and philanthropic endeavours” are benefiting from such fundraising.

According to Crowdsurfer, Crowdfunder has seen 2,400 projects successfully completed so far in 2015 – more than double the combined figure for the next 21 most prominent UK rewards-based platforms.

The current share offer is being promoted on Twitter with the hashtag #JoinOurCrowd and saw an enthusiastic response in the hours after going live.

Last year Crowdfunder raised more than £500,000 in three hours from 367 investors, including the innovation charity Nesta, Creative England and founding investor, Plymouth University. Creative England, which supports film, TV, games and digital media, invested £150,000 alone and its chief executive Caroline Norbury MBE took a place on the Crowdfunder board. Current Crowdfunder partners include advertising company JCDecaux, the not-for-profit Virgin StartUp and the online creative sales platform Not on The High Street.

According to a Nesta report, the alternative finance market is now worth around £1.74 billion a year.

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Photo © Crowdfunder