Sat 15 Aug 2020 5:21PM

Crowdfunding Services for Cooperatives

G Graham Public Seen by 88

Platform 6 has always been about creating a focal point for cooperative development, bringing together services, resources and support for people setting up and running co-operative businesses, especially in a digital context. For a while we've been looking at options around crowdfunding, community share issues and the like. Lots of cooperative organisations use crowdfunding approaches to good effect to raise funds - it's clearly a valuable and important part of the cooperative development landscape. And yet there aren't any cooperatively organised crowdfunding platforms out there that we are aware of.

Keen to gather ideas and input on the issues around crowdfunding for co--ops - what's needed, what works, what doesn't, and how it might work better if we're grow the co-operative economy.


Josef Davies-Coates Tue 25 Aug 2020 5:32PM

Looks like it was built using this proprietary low-code platform https://www.outsystems.com/


A Waterhouse Thu 20 Aug 2020 9:02AM

Why not work on developing the solidarity fund concept further in partnership with P6, this generates debt free working capital in a steady flow, for priming funds, to initiate democratic enterprise of various types fit for the given task. In addition work with investment coop like Rootstock, Community Capital ICOF, or a P6 variant if resources allow, these can vet applicant enterprise plans. Perhaps consider a micro pension, to generate patient capital. All this would need an incubatory process to have investment ready proposed enterprises. Co budgeting/investment processes can be incorporated . OK ideas are easy doing a challenge.


Josef Davies-Coates Wed 26 Aug 2020 12:30PM

Yeah, it's a shame Emily who started Microgenius sold/ gave it to CUK instead of to me! :P

But it was only ever an expensive white label of the crowdcube platform anyway.

And yes, it's a bit bonkers really that there is no co-operatively owned crowdfunding platform. Most people seem to just use Crowdfunder.co.uk these days (or Ethex).

In Spain they have http://en.goteo.org/ for funding open projects. It's open source, so could conceivably be forked into a crowdfunding site for co-ops.

Also in Spain they have https://coopfunding.net/ (a project of the Catalan Integral Co-op, I think) which is just a WordPress site with a (now defunct) plugin and theme.


Nathan Brown (Co-op Culture) Tue 8 Sep 2020 3:17PM

I was explaining to a community shares client the other day why so many share offers have used Ethex or Crowdfunder. These are the benefits users would seek and a co-op version should seek to offer. An additional benefit a co-operatively owned crowdfunder could provide would be either cheaper fees or perhaps similar fees but an annual profit share dividend and/or say in where profits are spent - or even invested! Member users then have a natural incentive to "sell" the platform to other similar projects. I'm convinced crowdfunder's success is partly based on cheerleaders within the movement who earn fees as "coaches".

  • a public face which will be seen by other users of their platform not just people you promote your offer to

  • a progress indicator which shows how much you have raised so far - can be useful for encouraging others to invest as the "herding" factor is well established contributor to successful offers.  You can update this on your own website of course

  • ability for investors to easily share "I've invested in...." on social media

  • management and processing of application data: who has applied for shares - effectively your member/share register

  • Escrow - they only release the funds if the offer is successful i.e. reaches its minimum

  • You don't have to set everything up for a one-off share offer


Graham Thu 17 Sep 2020 9:55AM

Thanks Nathan. Really useful list of must-haves.


Mark Simmonds (Co-op Culture) Thu 17 Sep 2020 12:57PM

Cheers @nathan I think that an embed code widget for client sites would be good for the progress against target indicator. I'm not sure what you mean in the last bullet point.


Graham Thu 17 Sep 2020 2:00PM

Widgets-are-us. In the last point I think Nathan is talking about the benefit of using a pre-existing platform/service and not having to build it yourself on your own co-op's website.


Nathan Brown (Co-op Culture) Fri 18 Sep 2020 8:39AM

Yes, @Graham that is exactly what it means. Hosting on your own site also means you miss out on the first bullet point, accessing a wider audience. As @Alex Lawrie has pointed out on numerous times, the advantage of going to Ethex or Crowdfunder is that they have a massive mailing list of existing sympathetic investors.


Graham Fri 18 Sep 2020 8:42AM

I'd love to see some data about this crowd of sympathetic investors.


Oli SB Fri 18 Sep 2020 10:42AM

me too - I always here this argument: "use a crowd funding platform because they have thousands of members just waiting to back your project" .... but in reality, I'm not sure that's true, or whether most crowdfunding platforms make any effort to support more than a TINY percentage of projects... so I'm with Graham here - I will struggle to believe it until I see some data

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