A spot of consolidation in the crowded crowdfunding space today — which is surely ripe for plenty more convergence in the future. Two U.K. crowdfunding platforms, Crowdfunder and Peoplefund.it, have announced plans to merge, combining their technology and marketing platforms, branding, and teams to create a single entity with “its own distinct British and community feel,” the pair said. Combined they have more than over half a million unique monthly users and more than 20,000 registered users.
The move follows U.S. crowdfunding platform Kickstarter’s launch of U.K.-based projects back in October — which makes the ‘game of scale’ even more important for local platforms. “The merger of Crowdfunder and Peoplefund.it makes a huge amount of sense for UK projects that need funding,” said Crowdfunder founder Darren Westlake in a statement. “It will deliver scale, expertise, and marketing reach — essential for those projects who want the best funding platform possible.”
Peoplefund.it co-founder Simon Deverell also noted the arrival of crowdfunding’s ‘big fish’ into the U.K.’s small pond — but talked up the potential to add local flavour, noting in a statement: ”The international arrivals into the UK market are fantastic news as they grow and validate the market, however Peoplefund.it has a distinctly U.K. feel in line with our culture. It’s more local and community connected. It’s a great platform for entrepreneurs, socialpreneurs and civic-preneurs who want to make a difference. Peoplefund.it seeks to remodel the relationship between communities and UK enterprise – one street at a time.”
Plymouth-based Peoplefund.it started life last year as a way for charities to raise money before opening its arms to entrepreneurs. It was launched by celebrity cook Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s digital media company, KEO digital, and is backed by Plymouth University’s Enterprise Accelerator Partnership. Earlier this year Peoplefund.it gobbled up an arts-focused U.K. crowdfunding platform, called WeDidThis. It has also partnered with a UK book crowdfunding platform Unbound to add another string to its project’s bow. Peoplefund.it’s network reach is pegged at more than 2 million, owing to cross-promotion from other KEO digital sites, such as rivercottage.net,fishfight.net, landshare.net and energyshare.com.
Meanwhile Exeter-based Crowdfunder, which launched back in 2010, claims to have funded almost 200 projects to date, raising more than £330,000 for project owners. Crowdfunder says it helps fund a “diverse range of projects, from musicians, filmmakers and photographers through to community- and charity-based pitches based both in the UK and abroad,” and is owned by (yet) another crowdfunding platform: equity crowdfunder Crowdcube.
For some context on the relative size of the U.K. platforms vs U.S.-based crowdfunding platform Kickstarter, since its launch in 2009, Kickstarter has provided a channel for $350 million to be pledged by more than 2.5 million people, funding more than 30,000 creative projects.