Crowdfunding in Europe has attained a significant level of growth, adoption and maturity in recent years. The European Commission’s Startup Europe that “aims to strengthen the business environment for web and ICT entrepreneurs so that their ideas and business can start and grow in the EU”, has the EU rooting for better access to capital and a lowered barrier for success — all possible through crowdfunding. Equity crowdfunding has enabled small time investors to diversify their portfolios and gain ownership in high growth startups, leveling the playing field. Continued growth of European crowdfunding platforms would require 1) a legal crowdfunding framework across Europe and 2) a rating system to help evaluate the numerous platforms.
Here is Crowdsourcing Week’s top 15 crowdfunding platforms to watch for in Europe (includes one Israeli platform that caters to European investors).
Founders: Darren Westlake & Luke Lang
Crowdcube is Britain’s largest and the world’s first equity crowdfunding platform, targeted exclusively at investors who are sufficiently sophisticated to understand these risks and make their own investment decisions. More than £26 million have been successfully invested through Crowdcube so far. In February 2014, Crowdcube launched the ‘Crowdcube Venture Fund – that allows investors to crowdfund startups with the extra reassurance that their money is invested, managed and monitored by an independent professional fund manager.
Launched in 2010, Darren’s and Lang’s company has led the pack for equity based crowdfunding.
Founders: Samir Desai, James Meekings & Andrew Mullinger
Funding Circle is the leader in the peer-to-peer marketplace that can help businesses access fast and simple finance, whilst investors have the potential to earn better returns by lending to them. It directly connects people and organisations who want to lend, with vetted, credit worthy established businesses who want to borrow, thus eliminating traditional banking. Through Funding Circle, businesses can pick the lowest interest rate offers, borrow from many investors and make monthly repayments. More than £285 million have been lent via Funding Circle so far.
Funding Circle is dominating the peer-to-peer lending industry that is tripling in size each year, and has the potential to become worth over £12 billion per year within a decade according to independent research by Nesta.
Founders: Jon Medved & Steven Blumgart
OurCrowd is an equity crowdfunding platform that has been built exclusively for accredited investors to provide venture capital funding for Israeli and global) venture capital start-ups. Though technically an outsider on this European list, we could not help highlight OurCrowd’s efforts to fuel the startup culture in Israel through global investors, including Europe. OurCrowd’s unique value proposition: It offers its members the services and management of a Venture capital organization together with the flexibility and choice of angel investing.
Late last year OurCrowd announced that it has closed a strategic co-investment partnership with GE Ventures, which would allow GE Ventures to co-invest with OurCrowd in early stage companies from the energy, healthcare, software, and advanced manufacturing sectors.
Founders: Alexandre Boucherot & Thomas Grange
Since its launch in October 2010, Ulule has helped finance more than 4900 creative, innovative, or community-minded projects with a 67% crowdfunding success rate in 2014. Ulule is the first platform to offer two fundraising types: the project manager can set a budget target, or a number of objects / items to pre-sell. Ukuke also offers an open API if you want to digg Ulule’s data or operate crowdfunding campaigns on your own website.
Founders: Daniel Daboczy & Arno Smit
FundedByMe was founded in Stockholm, Sweden, in March 2011 and is one of the first crowdfunding platforms in the world to offer both reward-based and equity crowdfunding. The platform has a major focus on European entrepreneurs to facilitate cross-border investments that benefit both entrepreneurs and investors to assist with job creation and economic growth.
FundedByMe operates on a global scale and has offices in Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Norway, Spain, Germany, Italy, Singapore. While its reward based orderings are available across the world, equity crowdfunding is available only in Europe and loan-based options are currently available in Germany.
Founders: José Zurstrassen, Guillaume Desclée, Olivier de Duve & Charles-Albert de Radzitzky
MyMicroInvest (MMI) has a 12,500 member strong community that enables individuals to invest in innovative companies from 50€ upwards. MMI allows you to participate in successful ventures of your choice and has a unique transaction model. Once a project meets its funding goal through MMI, the crowd funded amount is invested in the said company as a single entity and the investors receive a participation note. At the time of exit, the gains are distributed to the crowd per the prorated share of each investor.
Founders: Korstiaan Zandvliet & Robin Slakhorst
Symbid is all about investing safely in new, promising, fast-growing businesses with as little as €20. Symbid allows investors to seamlessly become co-owners with a complete legal structure within which the new financers are bundled. As a result, startups only have to deal with one shareholder cooperative that bundles all the shareholders together. Some unique features of the Symbid community include 1) an ‘Inner Circle’ of involved investors who in turn can support the startup with tips, ideas and comments and 2) the ability to run small private raises or large social-media campaigns.
Founders: Ombline Le Lasseur, Vincent Ricordeau & Adrien Aumont
KissKissBankBank, one of the world’s leading crowdfunding platform dedicated to creativity and innovation, highlights projects that go beyond just mainstream trends. The fact that its contributors are called ‘Kissbankers’ itself put them on the list of platforms to watch for! The rewards based platform, KissKissBankBank also boasts of a mentor club that are organizations, institutions, media, brands who submit projects from their own communities and also support projects by providing funds or visibility to a project.
Founders: Olivier Schulbaum, Enric Senabre & Susana Noguero
Goteo is a social network for crowdfunding and distributed collaboration (services, infrastructures, microtasks and other resources) for projects that contribute to the common good, free knowledge, and open code. So Goteo invites both financiers and collaborators to work on getting social good projects off the ground through rewards-based arrangement. Goteo also uniquely offers two co-funding rounds, each with a duration of 40 days. The first is an “all or nothing” round for the minimum essential budget, while the second is for an optimum sum to carry out additional improvements.
Founders: Jeff Lynn & Carlos Silva
Seedrs is focussed on providing a simple way to discover and invest in startups. Over the last six months Seedrs has averaged over £1m invested in successfully funded campaigns. They carry out the legal due diligence on every business that is looking to raise money, so investors are assured and can invest upwards of £10. The Seedrs platform even ensures post investment communications from startups to investors.
Founder: Michael Eis
booomerang.dk is Denmark’s first and largest reward based crowdfunding platform where entrepreneurs, artists, associations and other creative can raise money through financial support from new and old networks. booomerang started 4 years ago, and is developing at high pace, setting up a office in Berlin, Germany by the end of 2014. Collaboration through crowdfunding is the new twist that differentiates booomerang from other platforms. Equity and lending platforms are in the works, starting in Denmark, when legislation is in place that will turn booomerang into a true hydrid crowdfunding platform.
Founder: Roberto Esposito
Derev is Italy’s first crowdfunding that raised more than €500,000 for projects or “revolutions” within the first two months of its launch in 2013. Derev is an interactive platform to create change and social innovation through crowdfunding, collecting signatures and participatory democracy. Using the platform tools, projects can gather not only funding but also participation, visibility, feedback and suggestions from interested individuals or communities. The platform enables fundraising, signatures on petitions and users can even reserve a broadcast to air a speech or talk.
Founders: David Rhotert & Tamo Zwinge
Companisto is among the leading equity-based crowdfunding platforms in Europe with several renowned business angels, corporate finance specialists, and venture capital companies in its network. The platform allows offer several methods of payment that are available internationally, e.g., credit card payment, instant money transfer, and bank transfer (advance payment), so investors can be worldwide. Investors may invest in innovative start-ups with investments upwards of €5. The platform has successfully funded 30 startups and invested nearly €6 million so far.
Founders: Lasse Mäkelä & Timo Lappi
Invesdor is a crowdfunding platform that gives businesses full discretion over how they raise money, including deciding who can see their investment requirements and who should be able to invest. The raise consists of a three-phase crowdfunding round that offers startups case evaluations and pitching to Invesdor partners before the round goes live. In addition the platform offers an array of supplementary services that include legal advice, branding and business development, auditing etc.
15) Wemakeit.ch, Switzerland
Founders: Johannes Gees, Jürg Lehni & Rea Eggli
Wemakeit is Switzerland’s largest crowdfunding platform for the creative industries. In addition to artists and creative people, Wemakeit now also supports non-profit associations and organizations in funding new projects and helping their communities grow. Over the course of the past two years, wemakeit financed more than 550 projects, amounting to a total of 4 million CHF (Swiss Francs).