Crowdfunding Is Now So Mainstream, You Could Use It to Do Anything
An update on our previous crowdfunding blog
As crowdfunding becomes more mainstream and ever more people look to the crowd to raise money for projects, it’s timely to have a look at just what people are hoping others will support.
The banks are having to accept that crowdfunding is the way forward. Investors like the flexibility of this kind of investment and those who seek funding like having all sorts of people willing to pay into enterprises great and good, bad and mad.
From business ideas that ought to work to pipe-dreams that will never see the light of day, crowdfunders underpin all sorts of ventures, sometimes in return for shares or glory or a sense of adventure.
Recent bids include arts centres, renovating derelict areas of towns, a company wants to put on a musical. Bedminster wanted money to light up the town for Christmas. The Green Party in Swindon wanted funding for the last election. An events company in Cornwall made a crowdfunding bid to pay for the Foo Fighters to visit Cornwall.
It seems that nothing is too ridiculous, ambitious, off the wall but that it will raise a few quid if not the full asking amount.
So how do you join the party?
The Best Sites for Crowdfunding
Kyle Caldwell laid out in The Daily Telegraph (November 2011) some of the ‘best’ crowdfunding sites at that time. For as little as a tenner, people can join in and invest in something that appeals to them. Some qualify for tax relief under various investment schemes.
He pointed out that there are risks. You could lose everything; it could be a scam. There is not the same protection and regulation enjoyed by other regulated forms of investment. But that will all change in the next few years. The Financial Conduct Authority is looking closely at crowdfunding.
One new site is Money&Co, set up by superwoman financial whizzkid of the 1990s, Nicola Horlick. Cutting out the middleman and putting investors and businesses in touch directly, she will vet businesses so that potential investors can see approval ratings before they part with cash.
Crowdcube.com has been around the longest and has raised more than £15m funding for over 400 companies from motor firms to pizza deliveries. Investors view a business plan and a video; businesses must offer three years of financial projections.
Seedrs.com focuses on start-ups and entrepreneurs looking for ‘their first seed capital.’ Caldwell said that these were the outfit looking for a quarter of a million to tour a stage around the UK called Happy Days, based on the 1970s sitcom and featuring The Fonz.
SyndicateRoom.com wants investors to top up what lead or ‘dragon’ investors have already committed (at least 25% of the demand).
InvestingZone.com is a newish entrant in the field and as Caldwell explained ‘only allows people to invest if they understand the risks they are taking on. Those that want to invest must pass a test on the crowdfunding market.’
He finished with a round-up of others – Unbound, MoolaHoop, Abundance Generation and Trillion Fund, specialising in renewable-energy start-ups.
Some of our related blogs:
The Sharing Economy Comes of Age, 15 June 2015
Young Techpreneurs Get help from Unlikely Duo, 20 October 2014
Even the Government Jumps on Crowd Bandwagon, 11 April 2012
Crowd-Sourcing Is Now the Business, 11 July 2011 http://blog.mailbigfile.com/tech/crowd-sourcing-is-now-the-business-2/
FOOTNOTE: Recent Bids
An 18-year old Frenchman Guillaume Rolland has designed the SensorWake olfactory alarm clock to do away with bells and buzzers. This one will time-release a selected smell to bring you from your slumber. familiar whiffs such as fresh coffee, tea tree extract or even banknotes! He has launched an appeal for crowdfunding to market it.
And finally, it had to happen. A 66-year old man, Roger Bailey, is hoping to raise £30,000 for his assisted suicide!
He is not terminally ill but is in constant pain from nerve damage. He argues that it is an investment as he’ll be saving the NHS a lot of money in treating him for years!!