Any new startup, scratch that, any business should be solving the universal issue of “what problem can my company solve?” Crowdinvest, a venture by three ambitious Cape Town locals aims to address the need of the burgeoning startup in a distinctly un-Kickstarter like way. How so? By crowdfunding projects through social networks, word of mouth and whatever else fits the bill.
Anton Breytenbach, Jay Thomson and Jaco van der Bank are the trio founders behind Crowdinvest. Breytenbach is the CEO, Thomson the CTO and Van der Bank the SBA.
According to Thomson, Crowdinvest cost R2-million “to iron out the various legal matters of running a business of this scope in South Africa,” and R1-million for infrastructure and backbone development including the website. So, R3-million for the world’s first crowd-sourced investment platform? Sounds like a dream come true.
Crowdinvest’s purpose is to “create wealth and make things happen”. What can potential investors sink their cash into? Causes, innovation, new designs, the arts, faith, and whatever else Crowdinvest offers. The options for creating wealth are as multitude as the projects. Profit share, business equity, capital assets, property and personal lending can turn a small investment into an immense dream.
Everything has a beginning
Even the Fortune-500 companies began with a single dollar. The hopeful small business can launch its project on Crowdinvest, set an investment amount, explain its business and attach a time limit to the investing opportunity. Thomson says that users are more likely to invest “if there is a sense of urgency”. If the company doesn’t raise the required funds in the allocated time, the users money is refunded and the project shuts down on Crowdinvest.
Crowdinvest is an open platform, with API’s in the next phase to be made freely available for third-party uses. This can be boiled down to an embedded window in a website, as one example. The site is also open to the development of new funding models, such as a monthly subscription. If the user can build it, Crowdinvest can be endlessly shaped.
Opportunities are endless
One well-known startup which has placed itself in the hands of Crowdinvest includes Zoe-X, the online brain-training platform. Crowdinvest isn’t beholden to the online arena, even offering investors the chance to own their own helicopter, or community energy project.
Competitors? There are a few international giants which cram into Crowdinvest’s space. There’s Kickstarter.com of course, but this site is aimed at “creative project curation”. Then there’s Crowdcube which runs dangerously close to Crowdinvest, but is an “equity-based” crowdfunding platform. Does Crowdinvest stand apart from its peers then? As the site enters its launch phase this month, the users will become the yardstick which measures its success. Visit Crowdinvest now.
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