Someone once told that “the breath of life is in the sunlight and the hand of life is in the wind.” Others, like the UK-based brand-new clean energy ownership platform Ripple, which have recently run a successful equity crowdfunding campaign on Seedrs raising more than £750k, claim that by 2050 over 80% of the UK’s electricity could come from wind and solar.
We’ve reached out to their Chief Operating Officer, Simon Peltenburg, for a quick chat to ask him a few questions about their project.
OLIVER*: Hi Simon! I know it’s quite busy for you at the moment, so thank you for your time.
SIMON: No problem at all and thank you for having me!
OLIVER*: Simon, where do you come from with your project? I mean how has everything started?
SIMON: The original idea for our model came from a casual conversation about subsidy free renewables and how end consumers’ desire to generate their own energy could be linked to projects.
OLIVER*: What’s the gap in the market you are trying to fill?
SIMON: The gap in the market is this demand to self-generate energy: not everyone can do so at the moment because many consumers: don’t own their own properties; expect to move home; can’t afford the up-front cost of a micro-generator such as rooftop solar panels; or can’t be bothered with the upheaval of having works done at their home. Since the FiT for rooftop solar has dropped away, so has the installation rate of home generators – this suggests there is a big demand not being met.
OLIVER*: As you know, equity crowdfunding is our focus. Why did you choose this form of alternative finance instead of following the traditional capital raising routes for a company at your stage?
SIMON: As a B2C product doing crowdfunding for our projects it made complete sense to crowdfund in Ripple the company too. With over 800 investors in Ripple we have been able to demonstrate clearly a strong appetite for our concept.
OLIVER*: What are the main takeaways from your experience?
SIMON: First, don’t assume all your contacts will invest, even a little bit – everyone has a lot of demands on their time and your crowdfunding campaign will not be a priority for all. Second, do reach out as far and wide as possible – you never know who will become an investor, so it definitely pays to engage with everyone. Third, be extremely specific with your crowdfunding platform about exactly what you are getting and when. Lastly, be engaged in the Q&A – by getting back to people quickly you show you are motivated.
OLIVER*: What’s next?
SIMON: We will focus on establishing our model’s systems and technology in the first year and then grow to become mainstream – the rate of uptake will determine the rate of growth. We will move into new markets starting next year.
Find out more here.