Microgenius has now become the portal for nationally recognised good practice share offers, rather than directly administering financial transactions, as offered by other crowdfunding platforms.

The new Microgenius portal can be accessed here - listing all offers with the Standard Mark and redirecting users to the respective platform where they can then make an investment.
 

Background

Co-operatives UK acquired Microgenius at the start of 2013 to form part of the CSU’s overall support programme to grow the community shares market Overall we feel the pilot has been a valuable service to help grow the community shares market, as well as helping to embed the Community Shares Standard Mark. Through the new Microgenius portal we are now excited to support other platforms in promoting nationally recognised levels of good practice for future share offers.
 

Working with Crowdfunding Platforms

Given this transition, we have been engaging with other platforms to identify arrangements for societies awarded the Standard Mark, including access to an online facility to co-ordinate their share offer and preferential pricing where possible. In particular, we have put in place the following arrangements:

  • Societies looking for a tool to simply administer online payments for their share offer are able to use Tilt which currently provides their service to groups for free.
  • Businesses listing on Ethex are expected to meet high standards of governance and performance. The Community Shares Standard Mark will help societies demonstrate their eligibility to list on the platform. Ethex charges a set up fee plus 1.5% of total raise. Since setting up in 2013, Ethex has raised over £40 million for 40 social businesses, charities and community organisations.
    Ethex provides businesses with a full listing and receiving agent service including:
    • Detailed on-line profile of product and business
    • Safe and secure segregated client account
    • Promotion of products to Ethex investors through all media channels
    • Easy to use online ordering system
    • Dedicated customer team to answer to client queries
    • Regular reporting and data analysis of investments to inform marketing strategies
    • Access to match funding where available
    • Full reconciliation of all orders to with a comprehensive share or bond allocation list
       
  • Crowdfunder will support any community share offer with the Standard Mark with a reduced commission fee of 2.5% on the share offer raise (+ transaction costs) until 31st December 2016. These projects will receive their full service (currently priced at 5%), which includes:
    • One on One Crowdfunding Coaching from their team of experts
    • Promotion of the project on the Crowdfunder Platform
    •  Full customers service for all their backers
    • Targeted promotion to the Crowdfunder Community were relevant
    • Access to match funding where available
       
  • LiveTree is a UK social enterprise crowdfunding platform.  The web and mobile platform enables project creators to donate directly to partnered UK charities while funding their projects, as well as, advanced Branch referral technology to help market projects.  Connecting community is a focus for LiveTree and they support community share offers with the Standard Mark with a reduced commission of 2% (normally 4.65%) on the share offer raise (excluding payment processing costs) until July 2017. Community share projects hosted on LiveTree receive full support from their team of expert advisors:

    • Targeted promotion through the LiveTree platform and their omni- social and offline channels
    • Customer services for all backers
    • Targeted partnerships and community referrals with match funding where applicable

Overall we feel the pilot has been a valuable service to help grow the community shares market, as well as helping to embed the Standard Mark, a national good practice scheme. Through the new Microgenius portal we are now excited to support other platforms with the full technical and development capability in promoting nationally recognised levels of good practice for future share offers.