Buzzbnk merges with Vivienne Westwood’s Trillion Fund to create “UK’s biggest” social crowdfunding platform

Partnership between social enterprise and renewable energy crowdfunding sites to support up to £500m in social start-ups

Reward-based social enterprise crowdfunding platform Buzzbnk has today announced a merger with its renewable energy crowdfunding peer Trillion Fund to create the “UK’s biggest” crowdfunding resource for social start-ups.

The combined business will bring together the members of both sites; 14,000 users, and aims to enable social and sustainable entrepreneurs to access funding of up to £500m by the end of 2017 with plans to target 500,000 crowd investors.

Launched in 2011 by Michael Norton OBE and Theresa Burton, Startups 100-listed Buzzbnk is a social enterprise, backed by leading charities including The Tudor Trust and The Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, which enables social entrepreneurs and social ventures to raise investment from the crowd and looks to “empower positive people to back bright ideas”.

Over the last three years, Buzzbnk has facilitated funding for over 100 projects and has achieved a pitch success rate of 63%.

The Trillion Fund, which was launched in 2012 by Dr Michael Stein and Philip Riches, also operates in the social sector and issues peer-to-peer loans, energy share raises, debentures, and bonds, of an average size of £500,000, for renewable energy projects.

The Fund, which boasts Dame Vivien Westwood as its biggest shareholder, has helped over 20 projects raise funding to date, including Brighton Energy Community, and E2Energy.

The combined entity will launch officially on September 1 2014 and will be led by Julia Groves, Trillion Fund chief executive, and Buzzbnk co-founder Burton, who will become chief information officer and deputy chief executive of the new business.

Although full details of the merger are not yet disclosed, it is likely that Buzznk will be the face of the new business having already taken ownership and operation of the technology behind The Trillion Fund’s platform in June 2014.

Buzzbnk’s Burton commented: “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.”

Groves, chief executive of the Trillion Fund, continued:

“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.”

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