Robert Wardrop @Crwdpuisto: Engagement with consumers is attracting consumer brands

Text: Pipsa Salminen

Robert Wardrop, Executive director in Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance, gave a very interesting presentation in Crowdpuisto event on Friday 8th May 2015. Crowdpuisto met him after his presentation and interviewed him about his insights about Crowdfunding and Crowdsourcing.

Robert said: ”Crowdfunding and Crowdsourcing offer the opportunity to connect our social relations with our economic decision-making.  This has the potential to positively transform the communities we live in.”

According to Robert, awareness among people about crowdfunding possibilities is growing very much. Peoples’ ingagement is also growing largely. Robert thinks it is interesting in this phenomenon that a normal consumer is becoming an investor.

In his presentation Robert showed us the latest research in Crowdfunding & Alternative Finance. He told us that growth in Europe overwhelmed by growth in the UK. UK is leading the field in Europe by far: The total volume of Alternative Finance transactions in UK is 2337 million Euros, whereas for example compared to Finlad the total volume is only 17 million Euros. But when looking at Alternative Finance per capita, Finland is in 5th place in Europe after UK, Estonia, Sweden and The Netherlands. So we are doing quite well in Finland in this ranking.

One of the coolest things that have lately been collecting financing through crowdfunding is Just Park, which takes parking into digital era in London. Its website gives drivers instant access to a network of 150 000 parking spaces. Just Park is on a mission to make parking stress-free and our cities function better. Just Park raised over 1,5 million UK pounds and has over 2100 investors so far. It also has backing from BMV.

Another example of a cool thing what is happening is Lending Club. It’s Peer-to-Peer-lending, where one can finance one’s purchases from Chinese suppliers. It is done in co-operation with Google and Alibaba.

These above mentioned examples show that engagement with consumers is attracting consumer brands.

According to Robert, the trend in crowdfunding is that ”the big money hasn’t showed up yet”. Robert thinks that ”when institutional investors – ”hedge funds” – come in, then there will be big money in crowdfunding field”.

”The cool thing about Crowdfunding and Crowdsourcing is that it is very social activity – and this gives meaning to our lives”, says Robert at the end of the interview.