Last updated 7 January 2019
Crowdfunding can be an exciting way to get involved with funding environmental businesses with the hope of getting something back. The following platforms offer equity stakes in early-stage businesses in return for cash, often in the form of an an annual yield – like an interest rate.
Crowdfunding is higher risk, meaning you probably shouldn’t stake your pension on it, but there’s always the chance you’ll pick a winner for yourself and for the environment.
One of the orignal equity crowd funding sites onto the UK market, Crowdcube has raised close to £400 million for early stage British businesses since 2011. Some of its best known beneficiaries include leading challenger bank Monzo, which was back by more than 6,700 individual Crowdcube investors in 2017. As well as funky financiers, Crowdcube also supports a range of renewable energy and small social start-ups – from innovative plastic recycling firms to apps helping businesses reduce waste and energy efficient AI on farms. Fund the future here.
Investing doesn’t get more grass-roots impact than the projects funded by Ethex. Since inception, 13,000 investors using the platform have funneled £65 million into 70 environmental and social impact projects. This collective effort has, Ethex claims, funded the construction of nine new care facilities, given 50,000 homes access to affordable energy while saving 111,000 tonnes of Co2 emissions every year. Like Crowdcube and Seedrs, the site regularly features new offers, including bonds with Energise Africa – a project providing solar panels for rural communities throughout Africa. Ethex also offers an Innovative Finance ISA (IFISA) for eligible bonds.
Abundance is focussed on raising capital for larger-scale renewable energy infrastructure, having raised nearly £89 million for 36 projects since 2012, which have also paid out more than £18 million in returns for faithful investors. The platform features a range of projects – from biomass reactors to wind farms to tidal wave projects with many targeting annual returns in excess of 5 per cent. Timeframe’s vary, however projects can be very long term – up to 20 years, for example. Like all of the above options, only long term investors dedicated to doing good with their money should apply.
Triodos launched its peer-to-peer crowd-funding site, Triodos Crowdfunding, in February 2018, becoming the first bank to do so. The pioneering sustainable bank has already raised more than £152 million for more than 60 projects across 40 organisations. The website regularly features a handpicked selection of environmental and social impact projects from solar projects to wood recycling initiatives to local breweries. Like Ethex, Triodos also has its own IFISA wrapper, helping you to keep gains tax free – as well as Good.
Seedrs has raised £500 million into more than 700 different projects through it’s online crowdfunding platform, which focuses on funding micro-scale, local companies. From bedtime grain-milk, to solo high-street eateries to fitness apps – if you want to invest in a local entrepreneur, Seedrs could be for you. The platform also provides a secondary market for some investments, allowing investors to trade shares in some of the start ups it funds (do check every individual deal, however).
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