Your Quick Guide to Crowdfunding in Europe
Crowdfunding is the practice of raising money from a large number of people who each invest or give small sums.
Today, crowdfunding is used by founders who raise money, investors who want to invest, or even NGOs that raise for a project.
Broadly, there are three types of crowdfunding investments:
- Equity-based crowdfunding: investment in a company in exchange for shares.
- Loan-based crowdfunding: investment in loans, whether private or corporate.
- Rewards-based: investment in exchange for the product/service that the investment contributes to materialize.
Investors don’t remain with their shares or loans forever. In the case of loans or equity investments, they can exchange these assets on the platform’s secondary market. The secondary market enables investors to buy and sell from each other.
Some platforms also automate investment with an automatic investment option.
A Short History of Crowdfunding
The first proper crowdfunding fundraiser happened in 1997 when a British rock band called Marillion raised money from their fans to finance their tour.
Inspired by this success, a US music producer created ArtistShare in 2001 to enable artists to collect donations from their listeners to finance their albums.
In 2005, the British company Zopa created the first P2P lending platform. This crowdfunding platform enabled private borrowers to borrow money from private lenders instead of borrowing from traditional banks.
The term “crowdfunding” was officially coined by an American entrepreneur in 2006 to describe “the financing of a project by a lot of people”.
A few years later, in 2007, Indiegogo launched its own crowdfunding platform to help anyone raise money for anything (mainly business ideas today).
The platform uses a reward-based system for backers.
The success of Indiegogo was quickly followed by the development of Kickstarter in 2009, a platform focusing on artistic projects, and GoFundMe, a crowdfunding platform enabling people to raise money for personal tragedies.
Equity crowdfunding became legal in the US in 2012 when a project of law democratized and facilitated business financing.
From then on, crowdfunding exponentially grew both in the US and Europe.
Crowdcube in the UK focused on startup financing, Patreon helped content creators raise money from their subscribers, and EstateGuru in Estonia used crowdfunding to democratize real estate investment.
Crowdfunding Platforms in Europe
- Seedrs: Seedrs is a British crowdfunding platform designed to bridge retail investors to startup and innovative businesses. It’s based in the UK. Anyone can raise and invest with Seedrs. Investors receive equity in exchange for their investment.
- EstateGuru: EstateGuru is an Estonian real-estate crowdfunding investment platform. EstateGuru connects real-estate firms in need of loans to retail investors interested to lend their money. The platform is loan-based.
- Mintos: Mintos is a P2P Latvian crowdfunding platform, and one of the biggest in Europe. While EstateGuru focuses on real-estate-backed loans, Mintos enabled anyone to borrow money from anyone.
- Investly: Investly is an Estonian crowdfunding platform specialising in invoice financing. Companies can wait up to 90 days before being paid. In certain lines of business, 90 days is too long, so these companies crowdfund their invoices directly with Investly.
- LandEx: LandEx is a crowdfunding farmland investment platform. It is however, a little different from other platforms. Since LandEx investors invest in land, they have little risk of losing their money because land cannot “go bankrupt”. LandEx investors earn money with dividends and the yearly appreciation of the land.
- Konvi: Konvi is an Ireland-based German crowdfunding platform facilitating investment in luxury items like wine and watches. Retail investors who don’t have the means to invest in expensive items can invest a few dozen of euros and benefit from the price appreciation.
Pros and Con
- High returns: loan-based crowdfunding investment platforms often offer 10% (or higher) returns. Equity-based investment can multiply anywhere from 2 to 100 folds the original amount invested. Equity-based investment is also riskier.
- Automation: investors can set a series of metrics and the platform automatically invest a pre-determined amount so the investor does not have to actively take care of their investment.
- Small sums: Some platforms like LandEx and Seedrs welcome investment from €10.
- Social investing: Many of these platforms have communities where people can discuss their investments.
- Direct contact: Investors gain direct access to the entrepreneur they’re investing in, and can ask questions.
- Risk: Crowdfunding isn’t without risks. In case of loans and equity, the borrower/company can go bankrupt and the lender is at risk of losing all of their money.
- Fees: Platforms take fees on transactions.
Crowdfunding is one of the easiest ways to get started with investing.
The ease to register on platforms and the possibility to invest small sums enable anyone to begin their investment journey.
Crowdfunding gives access to investment in startups, companies, loans, lands, and other non-traditional assets such as wine and watches.
The main risk of crowdfunding remains, like for all investments, the total loss of capital.
LandEx is one of the safest crowdfunding investment platforms due to the nature of the asset available for investment.
While companies or borrowers can always go bankrupt, the value of land rests on different economics, such as the supply and demand for the land, and the price of food.
Get started with your farmland investment today on landex.ai.
The content of LandEx’s blog is for informational purposes only, you should not construe any such information or other material as investment, financial, or other advice. Nothing contained on the LandEx Medium blog constitutes a solicitation, recommendation, endorsement, or offer by LandEx or any third-party service provider to buy or sell any financial instruments in this or in any other jurisdiction in which such solicitation or offer would be unlawful under the securities laws of such jurisdiction.