Crowdfunding comes in all shapes and sizes.
At the investment-proper end of the spectrum, you have the growth of serious crowd bonds with punchy interest rates and equity shares in strong businesses with tempting future profits. But it would be a shame to forget the original crowdfunds – the ones where small companies offered rewards (like t-shirts), for a little bit of backing (and possibly something more at some point but also maybe not).
More like charity giving, but with a tangible thank-you back, the bulk of the rewards for such crowdfunding is arguably the feel-good factor. But that’s not to say you won’t feel like you are getting your money’s worth. Some of the rewards can be pretty valuable in themselves – and if it is the sort of thing you would buy anyway, then why not?
Here’s our pick of three rewards-based crowdfunds raising now that are trying to offer something a bit more meaningful to their backers:
- FlyPOP. A new low cost airline flying to destinations in India, has launched a crowd fund to help fund its first flight from Stansted later this year. The social enterprise (POP stands for People Over Profit) plans to donate 51 per cent of its profits to charities in the UK and India.The £5 million target raise, which launched on June 1, closes on July 31 and supporters can offer a minimum of £500 for a “Gold Pass” once the airline is established, which can be redeemed for a flight worth at least £350. For the next five years, Gold Pass members will be entitled to a further eight VIP benefits.POP needs to pre-sell 7,000 Gold Passes to reach its first crowdfunding milestone of £3.5m, at which point the airline will be on its way to becoming a reality. The first 7,000 funders will have the option to have their names on the aircraft belly of POP’s fleet.
Plumen. Beautifully designed, energy efficient light bulbs. Raising on Crowdcube for just another week, it only has another £75,000 to reach the £500,000 target. For small amounts, you get decent discounts off lighting (£10 invested gets you 10% off a purchase, £100 gets 25% off). If you really want to go for it and invest £25,000, you get a bespoke chandelier installation. This one is eligible for Enterprise Investment Scheme relief (40% relief for higher rate taxpayers) too.
- Otter lovers (who isn’t?) would be more than happy, no doubt, to put £20 towards the £30,000 raise to support “the year of the Otter”, run by the International Otter Survival Fund here on buzzbnk.org. £20 gets you a car sticker, badge and World of Otters book. Otters have done so much for the internet (second only to cats). It’s surely time to give something back.