Bank to the Future
With the obvious word play on the 1985 comedy film starring Michael J Fox, Bank to the Future is a new venture "Bringing finance and investing to the entrepreneurs, businesses and investors that deserve it".
Two years in the making, Bank to the Future, claiming to be the world’s first peer-to-peer investing & donating platform, is now in beta and open to the public.
The website offers two paths for people to venture down – One allowing for crowd investment in businesses and projects, the other, to attract angel investors.
Where the world of venture capital used to be an expensive and complex matter, the investment side of BTTF allows people to invest as little as £10 in entrepreneurs, businesses and projects. Investors therefore don’t need a lot of capital, there is less paperwork than was traditionally the case and BTTF says there is a fun factor to their offering.
As well as being easier and faster, investors can be part of a crowd, all co-investing in a project that can be high risk but also offer high returns. Alternatively there are opportunities to accept non-monetary perks such as being the first to receive a product before it comes to market, in a similar fashion to crowdfunding platform Kickstarter.
On the other hand, banks "aren’t lending", the UK venture capital market is tiny and who knows a wealthy angel investor these days? So for entrepreneurs and small businesses Bank to the Future also offers the option to pitch your business idea – BTTF has taken the process that large corporations use to raise billions, simplified the system and now offers it at the small business level.
Less costly and more accessible than the corporate level processes, BTTF allows SMEs to offer equity to the crowd, setting the terms of the loan and potentially seeing businesses raise more money than they might expect for their projects.
Simon Dixon, a former trader and investment banker, is the CEO of Bank to the Future and has seen the big business benefits that can be brought to small firms, saying that the banks are no longer interested in lending to SMEs:
“Other things are more profitable for them — they’re not really interested in small businesses. Banks would rather lend on credit cards secured by income or property rather than lending to limited liability businesses.”
BTTF has already got one high profile supporter in the shape of Sir Richard Branson who listed them in his Screw Business as Usual initiative back in March. Sir Richard added:
“With recent scandals tarnishing the banking sector once again, there’s a real opportunity for positive change in the industry.”
“I like the goals of BTTF, where everything is transparent and people can see what happens with their money.”
If you’re interested in pitching to raise finance for your small business or want to invest in other small firms then see the Bank to the Future website.