Skip to 0 minutes and 11 seconds My name is Jordi Solé Muntada. I’m an economist, MBA and I’m the co-founder of platform called Ecrowd. We are a crowd-lending platform based in Barcelona.
Skip to 0 minutes and 30 seconds Ecrowd is a crowd-lending website platform. We are different in the way that we are not financing short-term loans as most of the platforms do. The impact investing crowdfunding of a website like ours is very useful to raise funds for many investments that are blocked because of lack of financing. In this way, we give the power to the people to decide which are the projects that can go, that have the possibility to go forward.
Skip to 1 minute and 17 seconds Our platform is based in Barcelona so we are under the Spanish regulation on crowdfunding and the Spanish regulation on crowdfunding is quite strict. So we can also finance companies or people based in the EU, but their projects can be worldwide. The regulation is different in every European country so it’s quite complicated nowadays to raise funds for a French company or a Portuguese company with our platform, it is possible but it’s quite complicated. We hope there will be our pan-European regulation in the near future so these things can be quite simple.
Skip to 2 minutes and 7 seconds Our process is, on one hand, we need to find the investors, people who are willing to put a little bit of their money, money that they don’t need in the short term, and to invest in a loan that will finance an investment that banks are not interested usually in financing. On the other hand, we are looking for those projects that are always, what we call “Positive Impact Projects”. For instance we are looking to raise funds for projects that are willing to invest in new technologies, clean technologies.
Skip to 2 minutes and 59 seconds From the investors point of view, there is a risk that is important, that the project is not a well planned. That the project will not raise as much income as we planed, so the project is not able to pay back the installments of the loan. That is a big risk, but at the moment, what we recommend to the investors is to diversify as much as possible. So if they have 1,000€ to invest, we recommend them to put 100 of them in 10 projects, so the impact of a bankruptcy in one of those projects will be limited. Our process is to make a strict due diligence of every project.
Skip to 3 minutes and 59 seconds We have a law firm specialized in energy, energy law, who will check the whole project, and all the contracts, and all the companies who are inside the deal. We also have technical people in the platform, or collaborate with the platform, that check all the aspects of the technical project. And we also check the business plan of the project. So we check all these three, technical, legal, and economical plans of the project, but we have fourth aspect that it’s very important for us, is that, we need the project to have a positive impact either in the environment or in the society, if possible in both. We are quite strict in that.
Skip to 5 minutes and 7 seconds And finally we want to know the people who are behind the project.
Skip to 5 minutes and 16 seconds From the site, for the companies we finance there are many advantages. For instance, we’re making a marketing camping for them because we are telling all the investors that we have here a company that is willing to invest in a new and clean technology. If for instance the project is in a hotel, we’re going to tell the people, you have here a hotel that is more efficient, it is more sustainable than the rest because they are investing in new and clean technologies.
Skip to 5 minutes and 56 seconds The average project we have financed up to now, is 50,000€ for financing a new biomass boiler. We have had very recent project. We raised funds for it two months ago. We have achieved this for the first time. One municipality in Spain has raised funds from the people who are living in that town. For the first time, we have financed that the building of the Town Hall, they have put a solar energy on the roof and it has been paid by the people from the same village. We have a very special project financed, that was an ECO hotel in Valencia.
Skip to 6 minutes and 55 seconds They raise the funds from ethical banks to build the hotel, but they needed something more, they needed to be independent with the energy. They were independent with water. They were almost dependent with the food; it was food from local producers. But they needed also to be independent with energy, so we financed the rooftop solar and also batteries to make them absolutely independent from the grid. We got the funds in two months and half of the funds came from people living very close to the hotel, and the other half, the other 50% of the money came from people that were investing usually in our projects but didn’t know the hotel before.
Skip to 7 minutes and 54 seconds We have financed almost 2 million euros in projects, and very soon we will have a couple, or three, or more projects that are from very big companies that they understand that they have to invest in clean technology.
Skip to 8 minutes and 25 seconds The most difficult aspect for the platform nowadays is not looking for investors, as we thought at the beginning that it would be the hardest. The hardest is to find the projects that could be financed in our platform. The most challenging thing is to make people know that there is a way, there is a way to raise funds and there is a way to raise funds from people who are willing to invest in this kind of projects. We are convinced that the new model of producing energy around the world is going to change. We are convinced that many people know that we need clean air, clean water in the ocean, and that can be financed.
Skip to 9 minutes and 20 seconds That change of mentality, the change of technology, can be financed from the people. That is the commitment of our platform.
Meet the expert: Financing the new energy industry
Jordi Solé is the co-founder of the platform eCrowd, a crowd lending website that raises funds for long-term investments. In this interview he will introduce the legal and regulation framework of his business and how it works.