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The new People's Bank for the digital age

Crowdfunding has become a popular way for way for individuals to raise capital. Now, as it comes of age, a professional investment fund wants your money to reinvest in start-ups

By Katie Wright

Getting funding for any new project became trickier after the financial mess some six years back, and many current start-ups and innovative products would never have seen the light of day were it not for the establishment of crowdfunding platforms.

In their earlier days, one might have eyed them with suspicion, but this past year has seen them become part of the fabric of society, with not only the arrival of new home-grown platforms to rival America's once dominant kickstarter.com, but other methods of funding, too.

From questionable card games and 3D printing pens to funding premises for a games club and refurbishing a restaurant, all in exchange for rewards ranging from discounts and actual products, to big thank you shout-outs and virtual high-five - it seems to work.

Kickstarter has funded in excess of one billion dollars to date, while hyper local businesses across the UK are tapping into newer platforms like Crowdfunder and attracting increasing amounts of capital for a variety of ventures.

The crowdfunding scene continues to get ever more serious, too.

This past year saw a rise in the number of platforms who offer alternative ways to invest, maybe with an equity stake in the business or, in the case of one of the UK's largest so-called Accelerator funds, inviting investors to take part in raising the money via crowdfunding, so that they, in turn, can invest in start-up technology firms.

It feels like the circle is near complete and that the banks who virtually shut up shop during the mess are being pushed even further to the sidelines, as new ventures naturally look towards like-minded people to fund their efforts.

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