Green crowdfunding is a niche that is becoming more popular. Popping up around 2005, online crowdfunding is used by people or organisations to collect funds from individuals for their business ideas and initiatives. Well-known examples of online crowdfunding platforms are IndieGoGo (2008) and Kickstarter (2009). In 2012, there were over 450 crowdfunding platforms which makes focusing on niches important to differentiate. Below are 6 green crowdfunding platforms to keep an eye on.
1. Greencrowd (Netherlands)
Netherlands-based Greencrowd is founded to accelerate the realisation of sustainable energy projects. Investors in Greencrowd projects will realise an environmental impact as well as a financial profit. Greencrowd thoroughly evaluates the risks involved in the project and assures there are guarantees (e.g. insurances, real estate as collateral) to mitigate the potential losses. Greencrowd’s business model is based on a 3% fee over the funds as well as a fixed administration fee.
2. GreenUnite (USA)
The second crowdfunding platform launched by Crowdnetics, GreenUnite aims at funding US-based eco-friendly projects as well as educating the world about green topics such as global warming, cleantech and organic gardening. GreenUnite charges 9% over all the received contributions including credit card processing and administration fees.
3. GreenFunder (USA)
Launched in May 2011, GreenFunder is a global crowdfunding site for green and socially responsible projects. Investors are rewarded with perks. GreenFunder charges a 5% fee for fully funded projects and 9% for partially funded projects. On top of this a 3-5% processing and administration fee applies.
4. Oneplanetcrowd (Netherlands)
Tomorrow one year old Oneplanetcrowd has almost financed € 1 million for 17 successful projects with a focus on sustainability. They have also starting to offer a new form of financing – the subordinated convertible loan. This gets the crowd into a loan to later convert into shares when a professional investor enters the project. Instead of charging the project a fee, Oneplanetcrowd asks every investor to contribute € 0.90 per investment.
5. The Green Crowd (Australia)
Australia-based, the Green Crowd, focuses on arts, community and technology within the green niche. They also follow the traditional crowdfunding business model charging a 5% fee on transferring the funds once collected (excluding 3% payment fees). They currently have a bit over 300 registered members. There are no returns for investors other than possible perks offered by the organisation or individual collecting the funds.
6. Greenvolved (USA)
Launched in August 2013, Greenvolved is an online startup building a crowdfunding platform matching concerned customers to companies willing to fund environmental projects. They do not ask the customers to invest any funds, which is unique in this niche. Customers only need to boost, vote and share the environmental projects they want to become reality. These projects are then funded by companies who want to build a meaningful connection to like-minded potential consumers of their products or services. Greenvolved has a beta version of their website online and has the potential to become very successful in the green niche. Although it is not yet clear which business model they will adopt, Greenvolved has a unique take on how crowdfunding could work without funding from the crowd.