By Ryan Weeks on Wednesday 7 December 2016
Big Society Capital selects ThinCats, Crowdfunder and Ethex as distribution partners.
Big Society Capital, the social investment firm, has launched its £10m Crowd Match Fund with three partners hailing from various segments of the alternative finance sector. Rewards based platform Crowdfunder, social investment platform Ethex and secured peer-to-peer lender ThinCats (through its recently launched Community Chest) have been selected as its distribution partners.
The £10m will be matched with crowdfunded investments made by individuals into Social Investment Tax Relief (SITR) eligible charities and social enterprises. SITR offers private investors up to 30 per cent in tax relief.
In his first budget in November, new Chancellor Philip Hammond announced that the amount that younger charities and social enterprises would be able to raise through SITR would rise to £1.5m as of April next year. ThinCats Chairman Kevin Caley, who oversees ThinCats’ Community Chest offering, came out in praise of the move in a column on AltFi last week.
“By providing loans to enterprising projects with a clear mandate for social good, Big Society Capital has provided an exciting new source of finance for social enterprises and charities, many of whom have struggled for funding during recent years,” said Caley.
Each of the three chosen platforms will allow individual investors to invest in charities and social enterprises through the SITR scheme. Caley’s Community Chest will offer SITR coverage on peer-to-peer loan investments. Crowdfunder –which is first and foremost a rewards-based crowdfunding platform – will match its share of the £10m to community share offers. Ethex will distribute the money using both community share offers and bonds.
Crowdfunder managing director Phil Geraghty said that the fund would be a “game changer” for groups looking to launch community share offers.
“Having raised close to £50m in investment for organisations that have a positive impact on the world, we can't wait to make more money do good,” said Lisa Ashford, CEO of Ethex.
Big Society Capital has been sizing up potential partners for its Crowd Match Fund since the tail-end of 2015. Since its inception in 2012, the company has invested over £285m in specialist organisations that lend to charities and social enterprises.
“This fund marks a totally new approach for social investment and crowdfunding,” said Ben Warren (pictured above), investment associate at Big Society Capital. “By bringing together the experience and knowledge of these three partners we want to open up opportunities for the public to invest in a huge variety of causes they feel passionate about.”