‘Future Cities’ crowdfunding start-up Spacehive raises £1.3m

Filmmaker Danny Boyle amongst users of London-based investment platform

A crowdfunding platform which allows users to back ‘future cities’ civic projects such as free wi-fi and street art today announced it has raised £1.3m led by the Belgium-based SI² Fund and Big Society Capital.

Entitled Spacehive and founded by former Sunday Times architectural correspondent Chris Gourlay, the platform allows users to crowdfund civic projects in cities, with a view to improving the quality of life and “livability” of UK cities.

Current projects live on the platform include a community co-op in London, a fundraising operation for the Sheffield Antiques Quarter, and a lighting project for Harlow Town Centre.

Since the platform’s launch in 2012, several high-profile figures have already used Spacehive to raise capital for projects, amongst them filmmaker Danny Boyle and Grand Designs star Kevin McCloud. Overall, it has helped to fund 58 projects across the UK worth a collective total of £1.8m.

Each investment on the platform is complemented by match funding from Spacehive’s partners, which include travel website Experian, the Department for Communities and Local Government, and the Mayor of London.

The investment was led by the Belgian SI² fund, a socially-focused European investor, alongside government-backed social venture investor Big Society Capital. The round also included participation from a number of individual angel investors.

Chris Gourlay, founder of Spacehive, said: “The first part of our journey – to prove civic crowdfunding works – is complete. Up and down the country everyone from local people to councils and corporates have used Spacehive to create 58 wonderful projects in the last 2 years.

“But we’ve only taken the first step towards a more democratic way of shaping our towns and cities that harnesses the latent creativity and wealth of their people and businesses.

“From high street water slides to free public Wi-Fi networks, sports facilities and major new parks, the possibilities afforded by civic crowdfunding are enormous.

“I’m hugely excited about this investment, which will enable us to bring our model to scale and deliver a real impact in communities.”

Comments

(will not be published)