Trillion Fund, a renewable energy and social investment crowdfunding platform, has pushed into “overfunding” mode on Seedrs. The investment site launched an equity crowdfunding round last year seeking a raise of £500,000. As of today 246 investors have committed to just over £536,000. The offer is for a 10% ownership stake in the company. At one point during the crowdfunding round the offer saw an adjustment in the pre-money valuation lowering it from £6 million to the £4.5 million stated today. Apparently the change was meaningful enough to boost interest in the portal as it is now fully funded. Trillion Fund is both a debt and equity platform covering both sides of the capital equation. The crowdfunding round is said to be part of a larger capital raise with the balance delivered by institutional investors.
The United Kingdom is a country that still imports the balance of its energy demands. The combination of supporting clean renewable power, energy independence plus a solid economic return resonates with investors. A report in the Independent last year stated that “the UK generates the third least renewable energy within EU28 – the block of 28 European states committed to hitting green energy targets by 2020”. On another note the Guardian reported that clean electricity in the UK is growing fast and stood at about 15% in 2013. With 15 Nuclear power plants scheduled to be decommissioned over the next decade there is plenty of room to grow. Include the amount of fossil fuels being imported and the social and geo-political benefits grow dramatically.
Trillion Fund recently closed on a successful funding round where they raised £2 million from investors as part of a total raise of £5 million, an amount they intend on completing soon. The half million pound raise gives the small investor an opportunity to participate as the bulk is expected from big money. Trillion Fund also has well known designer and social activist Vivienne Westwood as a significant shareholder.
Trillion Fund CEO and crowdfunding advocate Julia Groves notes that “in the five years post financial crisis we have seen more innovation than the fifty years before”. Trillion Fund is at the forefront of the push to level the playing field for investors while adding transparency to the investing world. The crowdfunding platform has conducted 120 successful transactions and over 5000 active backers.
A recent example of a successful funding round was a £1.25 million peer to peer loan for E2 Energy that hit its funding goal in just 8 weeks. The project was for small scale wind turbines in the UK. Investors who participated in the first month expect to receive an interest rate of 7.5% per year over the next three years. Later investors were assured of a 7% return. Participation started at just £50. The business behind the turbines Earthmill was so pleased with the success they have recently launched a £2.5 million crowdfunding round. Earthmill MD Steve Millner was quoted in Business Link on the experience;
“We were obviously pleased with the take up of the initial fundraising and decided that, in the current climate of expensive bank lending, crowdfunding in green tech and renewables made sense again. There is an appetite among investors for debt returns underpinned by these existing and highly productive assets, and this will help us drive further growth and fund ten new turbine installations across the UK.”
Another high profile offer on Trillion Fund is the Triodes Renewables Share Issue that is hoping to raise £5 million. With 13 days left on the clock the offer has received commitments of over £2.45 million. The issuer wants to generate average annual returns for investors of 9 to 10% through dividends and capital appreciation. The share price is state at £2.28 with a minimum purchase of 22 shares or £50.16. Management states financial performance has been “robust” over the past years but of course the past is not always indicative of the future.
What is clear is the growing demand from individual investors who desire utility from not just economic gains but also from the sense they are investing in something they believe. The cocktail of financial returns and social benefit is a powerful potion. Add the transparency generated from online crowdfunded investments and the future is here now.
Trillion Fund and its objective to be financing £500 million by 2017 is certainly ambitious. In the end the platform will be judged by the caliber of its investment offers and the net returns to investors. As it stands today the People Planet Profit approach is one that will go a long way in pleasing the crowd.
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