Crowdinvest, the country’s first ever crowd-sourced investment platform, looks set to revolutionise South Africa’s economic landscape by breaking down investment barriers for a broad segment of the population.
The web-based platform plans to stimulate entrepreneurial development and economic growth through its unique crowd-sourced investment model, which affords even those with limited disposable income the opportunity to become investors.
Crowdinvest is the brainchild of Anton Breytenbach, an ambitious Cape Town local, who conceived the project in 2010 in the hopes of creating profitable investment opportunities for the average South African. Concerned that many of his contemporaries had simply accepted the fact that they would never be able to generate the capital required to create an investment portfolio, Breytenbach set about establishing a model that would allow investors to reap returns in spite of financial limitations.
“Many South Africans simply don’t consider investment to be an option, as the vast majority of investment classes require at least R500,000 worth of capital,” explains Breytenbach. “Investor’s cooperations can prove to be an effective solution, but the reality is that few of us have sufficient connections to make these happen. Crowdinvest was devised as a tool to make an investor out of anyone, capitalising on the power of online networks to allow like-minded individuals to effectively collaborate on investment opportunities.”
Through Crowdinvest, would-be investors can now invest nominal amounts together in a wide range of investment classes, such as businesses, property and fixed assets, and go on to claim their portion of the returns. As little as R1 is required in order to get started, meaning that even more sceptical users can now explore investments with minimal risk attached.
“South African entrepreneurs are very limited when it comes to financing options, and as a result, many great start-ups never make it to fruition,” says Breytenbach. “Crowdinvest makes capital far more readily available to a wide range of potential entrepreneurs, and this solution will hopefully empower them to take that next step and convert their concepts into successful enterprises.”
Crowdinvest’s investor community consists of ordinary South Africans, venture capitalists, seasoned investors and large organisations, all of whom will have the option to invest in these businesses, as well as provide mentorship to entrepreneurs within their fields of expertise. Based on ratings and feedback from entrepreneurs, a large mentorship community, offering a wealth of intellectual and other resources, will be established.
“What we’re aiming to create with Crowdinvest is a community of truly invested investors, who can work together to help ensure a business or venture’s success,” explains Breytenbach. “Many companies suffer from significant skills shortages, and can help to address these by involving some of their investors in exchange for discounts and rewards. Essentially, the Crowdinvest platform provides unprecedented access to a wide range of intellectual capital, which could prove instrumental in driving the creation of a thriving enterprise.”
The Crowdinvest platform has already garnered significant support, with luminaries such as Helen Zille having acknowledged its important role in facilitating wealth redistribution in the country.
“80% of the country’s capital lies in the hands of just 2% of the population, and our primary aim in building this system was to address this critical imbalance,” says Breytenbach. “With Crowdinvest, we hope to stimulate economic growth, both by driving entrepreneurial development and by offering a wide range of South Africans a chance to expand upon their earnings, thus distributing wealth more evenly.”