Abundance: Shaking up the crowdfunding space with an ethical approach
2 min read
03 March 2016
What do you get when you combine an environmentalist, an investment banker and an anthropologist? An Everline Future 50 2016 entrant in the form of a crowdfunding investment platform that puts ethics at the heart of the business.
Date founded: 2012
Founders: Bruce Davis, Louise Wilson and Karl Harder
It is quite common for business leaders to speak of the importance in a mixed skill set among the founders or executive team. Significantly less common, however, is for the business owners to have come from backgrounds that include environmentalism, investment banking and anthropology.
It’s a formula that worked for Abundance though, with a trio comprising Bruce Davis, Louise Wilson and Karl Harder assembling their knowledge and passion to develop an entirely new business with Abundance.
Indeed, Davis had supported the launch of peer-to-peer lending service Zopa, Wilson was raising capital for businesses and the government, while Harder had already launched a green enterprise.
The company has an almost Robin Hood-esque approach to its service, with a view of democratising investments so they would no longer be something that only the rich could access.
Abundance is built to beat banks and deliver better returns for the public by using an ethical approach, which allows users to make investments of as little as £5 in projects that support renewable energy.
Successfully funded ventures have included support for things such as wind power and solar energy. While ROI will be provided to investors, benefits have seen reduced bills for businesses, homeowners and tenants, community support and cleaner lifestyles for a better planet.
Key milestones were achieved rapidly as the first project was funded within six months and £5m had been invested in projects in under two years. To date, almost 20 projects have been funded with around £15m of investments, while £1.2m has already been returned to investors.
The company is pleased to call itself the first crowdfunding platform to operate across the EU and first to introduce a pension offering.
Looking to the future, it aims to generate £50m of investments for ventures over the next two to three years, looking to affordable housing, social care and other projects that can support investors and society alike.