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This is a Oneplanetcrowd review, a Dutch crowdfunding platform. Although Oneplanetcrowd does not feature pure equity securities as one of their crowdfunding options, the subordinated loans they offer retains enough equity-like characteristics for them to be regarded as an alternative for startups thinking of equity crowdfunding.

Oneplanetcrowd Attitude To Curation:

Oneplanetcrowd evolved out of a venture capital fund – Start Green Capital. As a result, their platform’s attitude to curation is naturally reflective of a venture-capital-like approach. Oneplanetcrowd sees it as their responsibility to assess the entrepreneurs and their projects, before allowing them to go online.

Oneplanetcrowd have a team of analysts who apply the venture capital methods to the companies that come through their door. They charge an “Analysis Fee” to do this work, which all companies must pay, regardless of whether or not they are ultimately approved to go live on their platform.

Oneplanetcrowd’s team analyzes the companies, to look for which ones seem like good investments, and then conduct an interview at their offices in Amsterdam. During this meeting, the underlying assumptions of the business plan are put under the microscope. This analysis includes both the ability to repay the loan (as far as can be reasonably foreseen), as well as the business model itself.

Around 10-15% of the companies that apply to Oneplanetcrowd ultimately have their offers go live on their platform.

Who Can Use Oneplanetcrowd:

Sector Focus:

One thing that sets Oneplanetcrowd apart is that they focus on companies of a green / positive impact nature. They don’t list “normal” companies, who do not have this socially-responsible angle.

Their platform has become a go-to for those investors that want to reshape the world in a positive way. It’s a place for investors to congregate for innovative sustainability. As a result, their initial application process requires a description of the impact a company makes on the environment or society. They use the 17 sustainability goals from the United Nations as a basis for their acceptance criteria for companies that list on their platform.

Companies are required to have strong scalability potential to list on Oneplanetcrowd. Main street companies are therefore excluded.

Though they have no absolute restriction on business model, their twin requirements of positive impact and scalability means that most projects that list with Oneplanetcrowd are either energy-related or sustainable methods of consumption. There also tends to be a focus on B2C companies.

Stage Focus:

Oneplanetcrowd’s subordinated loan offering focuses on startups and scale-ups. But – crucially – companies are required to have some customers and/or revenue before Oneplanetcrowd will consider listing them. It isn’t possible to list on Oneplanetcrowd at the true “seed” stage, where a company has just an idea and zero traction to date.

Border Restrictions:

With it’s base in the Netherlands, Oneplanetcrowd is open to Dutch companies. Overseas companies are also welcome to apply. However, only Dutch investors are able to invest in the projects published on Oneplanetcrowd.

Raise Size Restrictions:

Oneplanetcrowd sets a minimum fundraising goal of 100,000 euros for companies that wish to apply. The Dutch crowdfunding regulations have a legal maximum raise size of 2.5 million euros. It may be possible to do larger raises under the investment company regulations, but if a raise is larger than 5 million euros, a prospectus will need to be published.

How Can They Help Startups & Growing Companies:

Like many equity crowdfunding platforms, Oneplanetcrowd assists with the offer preparation. Once a company is accepted onto the platform, Oneplanetcrowd will continue to check all documents for completeness, clarity and transparency.

From a marketing standpoint, Oneplanetcrowd can help companies with their pitch. They take companies through a program, teaching them the best way to approach their own crowd, step-by-step. They also maintain a database of journalists who specialize in certain subjects, which companies that use their platform can leverage to their own benefit to potentially generate free publicity for their campaign.

What’s Special About Oneplanetcrowd?

A differentiating factor about Oneplanetcrowd is their crowd’s level of engagement. Perhaps due to the social impact angle, their crowd is really interested in what the companies are doing, at all times. These are not passive investors! Oneplanetcrowd says that many times they get reports that companies that list with them enjoy incredible community with their crowd, as a result of their listing. For example, companies have been able to get new employees, receive advice on their product’s packaging, insights into the product features, and achieve greater social media reach – all as a direct result of crowdfunding.

Further, Oneplanetcrowd’s range of product offerings is more extensive than a pure equity crowdfunding platform. They also offer:

  • Rewards crowdfunding – effectively pre-ordering a product, helping the entrepreneur gain validation before investing substantial amounts into product development or placing a large order of inventory. The crowd receives the product at a substantial discount to the ordinary retail price, and/or can receive attractive extras which will not be available to ordinary shoppers.
  • Donation crowdfunding – giving money to a worthy cause. Donation crowdfunders still need to make clear what the money will be spent on, and any costs involved in delivering the donation to the intended recipients. Sometimes donation crowdfunding also involves a small reward.
  • Debt crowdfunding – suitable for existing enterprises which are already generating reasonably consistent turnover and with forecast positive cashflows. The duration of the loan on Oneplanetcrowd is typically between 1 and 5 years.

Also, because of their background in the venture fund, Oneplanetcrowd are even able to introduce companies that apply through their crowdfunding portal to the Start Green Capital VC process, if that turns out to be a more suitable option for the company in question.

Oneplanetcrowd has flagged its future intentions to offer secondary market trading for their equity-like instruments. When I spoke to their platform’s representative, Oneplanetcrowd pointed out that loans have a definite end date, which leads to greater clarity over when an investor can expect to get their money back. Secondary trading is a way of enabling the same sort of liquidity for equity investors.

Advice For Companies Wanting To List Here:

Oneplanetcrowd emphasized that their campaigns will have a much better chance of success on their platform if they have a strong idea of what else they want to achieve from their crowdfunding efforts, beyond just the money. Naturally, investment money is important for a company – but crowdfunded companies have the potential for so many more benefits than *just* the capital they raise. A successful crowdfunding campaign can lead to greater interest from customers, commercial partners, and journalists. When you have a large crowd and communicate with them regularly, all kinds of unexpected opportunities can arise. Can you expect an increase in revenue due to the exposure the campaign can bring? If so, Oneplanetcrowd can help you bring on board loyal shareholder advocates.

Mastering the art of storytelling is critical for companies listing with Oneplanetcrowd. Investors connect better with company founders when they know their back story – how they started, their sense of mission and purpose, their struggles and triumphs along the journey… everything that led them up to this point. And, most importantly of all, their vision for the future. When you can open your heart, tell stories effectively and create an emotional bond, Oneplanetcrowd investors respond. It also makes Oneplanetcrowd’s job easier to accept you onto their platform when you can explain your back-story strongly, and articulate a big, audacious goal for where you want to go from here – and your well-thought-out plans to make it happen.

Because of their clearly-stated social impact angle, Oneplanetcrowd also wants to hear your plans for what you want to change in the world. How will your company make the world a better place, thanks to the money and exposure you raise through their platform? As “Europe’s leading sustainable crowdfunding platform”, Oneplanetcrowd’s investor base is particularly excited to use their money to generate a positive impact. You will be in excellent shape if your company’s mission is in alignment with this.

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