Collin Crowdfund delivers a fit-for-purpose application that provides both end-to-end automated support for entrepreneurs and their funding needs, and a portal for individuals to vet and invest in these opportunities
Banking has deep roots. Ancient Egypt’s grain-bank was centered in Alexandria. Greeks stored their coins and family treasures in local temples. China’s earliest banks were issuing letters of credit as early as 221 BC.
These early banks also worked as intermediaries – keeping records and recording repayment terms – for loans between merchants and landowners to people in their community who needed capital to start or grow their business.
Banking evolved, becoming ever more complex and more global. The distance between the invested-in and the investor grew exponentially over time, as did the regulations governing the industry. In recent years, adhering to those stringent rules became the priority, casting an unfortunate shadow over the customer’s needs.
While people with big ideas and small money have stood the test of time. The concept of choosing to invest in those people, in your community, has faltered. The distance between the bank and the people it was meant to serve had become too vast.
This was the world the founders of Collin Crowdfund found themselves in seven years ago. One of the founders, Jeroen ter Huurne, worked in finance for decades. He was disillusioned with the industry and knew it was time to move on. He decided to start new and do something different.
Money for People
Jeroen ter Huurne decided to get back to banking’s earliest concept – getting money from people who have it to people who need it. He wanted to create an easier pathway for entrepreneurs to get access to funding and to provide investors with the opportunity to have more control over how they invested.
He knew that traditional banking, with its comprehensive and often restrictive regulations, wasn’t the right vehicle for their idea. So, ter Huurne turned to a digital-age funding concept to bring their old-world banking idea to life – crowdfunding. Crowdfunding as a concept goes back farther than you’d imagine, but the modern iteration really started in 1997 when a British punk band raised money over the internet to fund a US tour.
Collin Crowdfund Information Manager, Bram ter Huurne, said of their choice, “The founders saw a really big opportunity to do that in alternative lending. Both of them had already invested through crowdfunding on other platforms and they both saw a major opportunity in improving crowdfunding in the Netherlands. They really saw how fun but also rewarding it is to be able to help entrepreneurs in your own country. It’s also really nice to offer this kind of a solution to investors who normally would, perhaps save at the bank or invest in stocks.”
Crowdfunding provided the company with the ability to provide a faster, more accessible lending opportunity to established small businesses and a direct way for investors to support local entrepreneurs. However, a crowdfunding platform that left investors to assess investment worthiness by themselves wasn’t exactly the right fit. Collin Crowdfund needed to distinguish itself as a legitimate, if alternative, funding and investment option.
The founders’ years of experience in the banking industry helped shape the loan application and approval process. Collin Crowdfund came to build functionality that provides an accurate interest rate to applicants through their portal, with credit checks through Dun & Bradstreet and their own credit approval process to ensure investment worthiness. Their unique approach to crowdfunding is contributing to the evolution of an emerging investment category.
Of the merge between community-driven funding and traditional banking Jeroen ter Huurne said, “That’s why I always speak about crowd finance because different than pervasive (commonly known) crowdfunding, we are really operating like a bank. But we do that with bringing the people together.”