At a time when many a crowdlending platform focuses on attracting institutional investors, it is very refreshing to see a startup go back to the roots of crowdfunding by addressing the needs of the crowd, the 99%, the retail investors.
investUP is a crowdfunding portal that integrates the P2P lending, P2B lending and debt-based crowdfunding offerings of 25 crowdfunding platforms operating in the United Kingdom.
- Debt-based equity crowdfunding platforms using investUP include: CrowdBnk, Crowd for Angels, CrowdLords, AngelList, Crowd2Fund, Karadoo, and Property Moose.
- Crowdlending : RebuildingSociety, SavingStream, Relendex, ThinCats, ablrate, Money&Co., ArchOver, Assetz Capital, Karadoo, Abundance, Invest&Fund, and Crowd2Fund.
Make no mistake: investUP is no simple aggregator or comparison site listing crowdfunding opportunities, but a truly integrated one-stop shop. investUP allows retail investors to pick and choose loans and debt-based crowdfunding investments from
different platforms, buy into them, and then manage their portfolio from a single place. investUP even plans to allow fractional investing so that retail investors can diversify their investment across projects below the minimum threshold set for these projects.
The company was launched 2 years ago by three co-founders: James Tuckett and Chris Bradbury, two true rocket scientists (i.e. aerospace engineers), now CEO and CTO, respectively, and Dom Wolf, a retail marketing expert, now investUP’s CMO. Their mission: to give to everyday people better investment options. By better they mean both more profitable and easier to use.
In the words of James Tuckett:
“Today savings and investment options for regular people are crap. If you’re one of the 99% you’d be lucky to earn yourself a measly 1% return. Well, our answer is a people friendly portal to access the entire P2P & crowdfunding market.”
investUP was officially authorised by the FCA in November last year. Since then, it has garnered 1,500 users and 5,000 more have registered on the beta site and are on the waiting list seeking the opportunity to join in.
Today at Finovate Europe, the mecca of European FinTech gathering with over 1,500 attendees here in London, investUP took to the stage to come out of beta. James Tuckett presented a completely revamped offering with enhanced frontend and backend features.
Among these are:
- Super Slick Search: an advanced search tool that enables users to search deals from 25 P2P & crowdfunding sites according to their preferences.
- BERT-e: coming very soon, an auto-lending that enables investors to automatically diversify their investment across a variety of projects and platforms according to their risk return criteria.
- clubUP: a social tool with a gamification twist that enables investors to follow other investors, interact with them, and shadow their investment strategy.
- Tax statements: This yet to be launched feature will allow retail investors to easily file their taxes and to enjoy the fiscal benefits of the incoming crowdISA.
With these rich, customer-oriented features, investUP believes that it will help consumers deal with the confusion generated by the proliferation of crowdfunding platforms and, ultimately grow the market.
The company’s plans for the future include:
- Adding more of the 100 sites operating in this market,
- Addressing the needs of financial advisors by allowing them to directly plug into investUP’s engine,
- Raising a second round of crowdfunding, most likely on Crowdcube where the company successfully raised £137,390 in equity from 59 investors back in early 2015 (previously called UP Investments).
Therese is reporting at Finovate Europe, a leading financial innovation conference in London
Therese Torris is an entrepreneur and consultant in eFinance and eCommerce based in Paris. She has covered crowdfunding and P2P lending since the early days when Zopa was created in the United Kingdom. She was a director of research and consulting at Gartner Group Europe, Senior VP at Forrester Research and Content VP at Twenga. She publishes a French personal finance blog, Le Blog Finance Pratique