When Crowdfunding Went Mainstream: The Crowdfunder Story
Three years ago, Nesta published research which aimed to profile and explore crowdfunding platforms. We also began to fund and support a group of crowdfunding platforms to grow their services. This took place at a time when the market for crowdfunding was just beginning to develop in the UK. Now, as we are preparing to run the largest ever crowdfunding study with Cambridge University, it seems like a great time to go back and take a look at how these pioneering platforms have grown and developed over the time...
First up - Crowdfunder.co.uk
Crowdfunder has raised £2.4million of funding for projects since it launched. The platform specialises in supporting community enterprises, creative startups and charities. It was created by the team at Keo Digital, who were well placed to build on expertise in running multi-platform engagement campaigns such as Fishfight and RiverCottage.
Crowdfunder recently crowd-fundraised for equity investment and received an impressive £650k in investment pledges over one morning; including a £150k investment from Nesta. The team have taken an entrepreneurial approach to developing new partnerships. They also use agile management to ensure Crowdfunder takes a nimble, user centred approach- basing their development decisions on live data. This has yielded good results and a strong user experience which has provided a solid foundation for growth. Partnerships with other bodies such as Creative England and Plymouth University strengthen this base further, and I’m really looking forward to working with the team to explore where this can develop next.
Phil Geraghty, MD of Crowdfunder said of future plans: “We have made strong foundations and now want to turn thousands more great ideas into reality. We are looking for the UK’s most innovative ideas to see how we can support them, including looking at match-funding solutions with funding partners.”
A brief history of Crowdfunder
o Set up by Keo Digital in 2011,the platform was originally known as Peoplefund
o Merger with WeDidThis – a platform specialising in arts funding
o Early success was seen with The Bicycle Academy. This innovative startup raised £41k and showed people what could be achieved for social enterprises through crowdfunding
o Merger with Crowdfunder – the rewards based crowdfunding platform set up by Crowdcube. Crowdfunder.co.uk is reborn with a greatly expanded network of users
o Plymouth University and Crowdfunder partner to promote UK enterprise education through the platform
o MD, Phil Geraghty joins the team to oversee the integration and expansion of the platform. Introduction of live management systems to ensure Crowdfunder develops around usage data
o Crowdfunder HQ relocates down to the beachfront in Newquay, Cornwall, recruiting a team and building on its strong support in the South West
o The team crowdfund an equity raise of £650k in one morning including the Nesta investment of £150k
o Recent successes continue; including FC United of Manchester doubling their target to raise £51k
o Now working with Nesta and a range of major funders to explore new frontiers of crowdfunding including matched crowdfunding