For immediate release: Monday July 21
Theresa Burton (CEO Buzzbnk) and Julia Groves (CEO Trillion Fund)
Buzzbnk, the UK’s first crowdfunding platform for the social enterprise sector and Trillion Fund, Vivienne Westwood’s renewable energy crowdfunding platform, have today announced a merger of the two businesses.
With 14,000 users, the combined entity will become the biggest social crowdfunding platform in the UK, enabling social and sustainable projects to access potential funding of up to £500 million and targeting half a million crowdfunders by the end of 2017.
The expanded business will be led by Julia Groves, chief executive of Trillion Fund. Theresa Burton, chief executive and co-founder of Buzzbnk, will become chief information officer and deputy chief executive of the new entity.
The social funding platform will enable projects to raise equity and debt finance from the crowd and open-up access to alternative investments for people that want to make a profit and a difference.
Significant shareholders in the merged entity will include Vivienne Westwood, The Esmée Fairbairn Foundation and The Tudor Trust.
Julia Groves said: “By joining forces, Trillion Fund and Buzzbnk will create a crowdfunding resource of real scale. Social investing is just people deciding where they want to put their money so that they can make a good return, but not at the expense of other people or the planet. We will create investment opportunities that previously would have been the preserve of the rich, starting with this country’s clean energy infrastructure.”
Theresa Burton said: “This deal creates a platform of complementary strengths. Together, we can provide early stage capital to start-up social enterprises. We can support those worthwhile projects that may be struggling for lack of capital. Organisations that can build a crowd of supporters and advocate around them will be stronger, more resilient and more successful.”
Buzzbnk is a crowdfunding website that enables social entrepreneurs and social ventures to raise funds and build a crowd of supporters. The idea of Buzzbnk first came from Michael Norton OBE, co-founder and chairman of Buzzbnk, who had a vision about empowering “positive people to back bright ideas” by tapping into their social networks.
Since it was launched in 2011, Buzzbnk has raised funding for more than 100 projects, with a success rate of 63 per cent, well above average for the sector.
Trillion Fund is a renewable energy crowdfunding platform founded in 2011 by Dr. Michael Stein and Phillip Riches to open up opportunities for everyone to profit from clean energy and to help finance the $1 trillion a year that the UN says is necessary to stop the world warming by more than 2 degrees.
Trillion Fund launched its initial marketing platform in June 2012 and now issues peer-to-peer loans, as well as listing community energy share raises, funds, debentures and bonds, with an average raise size of £500,000.
Trillion Fund has so far helped more than 20 projects meet their funding targets, including Brighton Energy Community and Deepbridge Capital LLP, and is currently crowdfunding a peer-to-peer loan for E2Energy, a joint venture between Endurance Wind Power and Earthmill.
Buzzbnk owns and operates the technology behind Trillion Fund’s new platform, which launched in June 2014.
Theresa Burton is a former senior director at Swiss Re, the global reinsurer and Julia Groves was the co-founder of britishairways.com.
Rebecca O’Connor, Trillion Fund, 07967 613925, email@example.com
Photos can be found at: https://www.flickr.com/photos/125549293@N08/
Notes to editors
- The merger is the first consolidation in the investment-based crowdfunding sector.
- The merger is pending full shareholder approval and the combined entity is due to commence operation on September 1.
- Trillion Fund is a renewable energy crowdfunding platform authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority, listing peer-to-peer loans, community share raises, bonds and funds.
- Dame Vivienne Westwood is Trillion Fund’s biggest shareholder.
- Buzzbnk is a crowdfunding platform authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority for loan-based crowdfunding.
- Buzzbnk brings social ventures looking for start-up or growth capital together with like-minded people keen to participate in a new way of funding social change.
- Buzzbnk is a social enterprise more than 50 per cent owned by leading charities and foundations in the UK and has a social purpose mandate to support the social enterprise, social investment and charitable sector. Charity shareholders in Buzzbnk are The Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, The Tudor Trust, The Wates Foundation, The Centre for Innovation in Voluntary Action and The Lloyd Fund.
- Both Trillion Fund and Buzzbnk are founding members of the UK Crowdfunding Association with Julia Groves as elected chair and Theresa Burton one of the elected directors.