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How UBREW raised £125k from a mix of rewards & equity crowdfunding

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Crowdfunder and Crowdcube have brought together two types of crowdfunding to help entrepreneurs turn brilliant ideas into reality. By taking startup businesses through a two-stage fundraising campaign, these sister crowdfunding platforms have enabled individuals to establish a steady client base through rewards-crowdfunding before using equity crowdfunding to take the business to the next level.

This article originally appeared on Crowdfunder

Welcome to a new business model that’s innovative, sustainable and spreading like wild fire. Let’s show you how it works.

UBREW

UBREW has recently run two phenomenally successful crowdfunding campaigns, the first rewards-based, and the second equity-based. These are two types of campaigns, which, when stitched together strategically, can offer an emerging business everything it needs to get off the ground.

The founders of UBREW, Matt and Wilf, had done their research and come up with a diamond business idea. They recognised a niche market that hadn’t yet been tapped into – the collaborative, community-centered brewing of craft beer.

Through crowdfunding they hoped to raise enough capital to pay their lease, buy fermenting vessels, amongst all sorts of brewing kit, and market their business. And they pondered; “Should we cut straight to sourcing large investors, or would it be better to warm up the market gently with lower value backers, folk that might become our customers?”

Crowdcube and Crowdfunder helped them put together a two-stage plan.

Stage one – rewards-based crowdfunding

UBREW launched a 42-day campaign with Crowdfunder. The aim was to raise enough money for the basics of the business – fermenting vessels, bottling equipment, microbrewery kits, and, of course, those essential top-of-the-range hops.

In return for donations of £25 – £360, they offered a range of rewards ranging from a beer tasting with friends to a twelve-month membership, as well as brewing courses and a team-building brew up. All backer would receive branded items and reduced price membership in advance of the business going live, a nice touch to make supporters feel valued.

Over the six-week campaign, UBREW gathered together over 80 backers, all of whom circulated news and progress on this innovative business amongst their circles. Word was out. And founders Matt and Wilf had validation that their business idea was a trusted one – they had a real customer base, customers with money behind them.

UBREW’s rewards-based crowdfunding campaign target was £3,750, a sum that was blinded by the £12,050 they achieved.

Stage two – equity-based crowdfunding

UBREW’s initial crowdfunding campaign illustrated support for the business, however the money raised wasn’t enough for the business to build strong foundations for the growth they anticipated. The next step was to look for investors.

Welcome to equity-based crowdfunding….With the advice of Crowdcube, the crafty brewers set a target of £75,000 for the campaign, to be raised over 56 days. In return they were prepared to give away a 10% share in their business, a particularly small percentage made possible by the strong support they’d gathered in their rewards-based campaign.

Investments ranged from £100 to £10,000, with any investment over £5,000 including company voting rights. Again, UBREW smashed their target, raising £112,500, through the endorsement of over 130 investors.

“Launching a business based on our passion for craft beer and home-brewing was a huge risk, and we never imagined we’d be able to test the market before finding enough money to make the business real,” says UBREW’s co-founder Wilf.

“The rewards campaign gave us the craft beer market’s seal of approval, and our equity campaign provided us with the money we needed to make our idea happen.

“Now we have over 200 financial backers and £125,000 worth of investment. We know we’ve started our business in the best possible way. Maxing out the opportunities crowdfunding offers made UBREW a reality.”

Phil Geraghty, MD of Crowdfunder said: “Combining reward and equity based crowdfunding models provides a fantastic opportunity for businesses to validate their ideas and build a team of advocates. 

”With a successful reward based crowdfund in their back pocket entrepreneurs can take a more compelling argument forward to investors who are interested in an equity stake. Business owners will also benefit from being able to retain more equity for themselves by raising as much as possible in the reward round.”

Darren Westlake, co-founder of Crowdcube, finished up by commenting: “We know that if a business has been successful with rewards-based crowdfunding, that the chances of success for an equity crowdfund at Crowdcube are higher. This is why we regularly work with the team at Crowdfunder, often suggesting that for very early stage companies a rewards-campaign is a great precursor to a larger equity-based crowdfunding round.”

Supported in both campaigns by Andrew Hadfield, Director at Mavin Communications and Business Development Director at UBREW: “By starting with our existing community and offering them the chance to ‘own their own brewery’ we knew that we were appealing with primarily their hearts but offering equity for their heads.

“However, we quickly realized that this approach was only going to get us to the 30-40% mark of reaching our equity goal. So we would regularly email all those people who had checked out our page as well as targeting a variety of angels, management consultants and financial gurus. They are now part of our senior advisory counsel – further strengthening UBREW’s credentials for future funding rounds.”

Photo: UBREW via Facebook

Further reading:

General election: Green Party turns to the crowd to raise funds

Crowdfunding – it’s not all about the money

Triodos Renewables launched crowdfunding scheme to make investment more accessible

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Economy

How Going Green Can Save A Company Money

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going green can save company money
Shutterstock Licensed Photot - By GOLFX

What is going green?

Going green means to live life in a way that is environmentally friendly for an entire population. It is the conservation of energy, water, and air. Going green means using products and resources that will not contaminate or pollute the air. It means being educated and well informed about the surroundings, and how to best protect them. It means recycling products that may not be biodegradable. Companies, as well as people, that adhere to going green can help to ensure a safer life for humanity.

The first step in going green

There are actually no step by step instructions for going green. The only requirement needed is making the decision to become environmentally conscious. It takes a caring attitude, and a willingness to make the change. It has been found that companies have improved their profit margins by going green. They have saved money on many of the frivolous things they they thought were a necessity. Besides saving money, companies are operating more efficiently than before going green. Companies have become aware of their ecological responsibility by pursuing the knowledge needed to make decisions that would change lifestyles and help sustain the earth’s natural resources for present and future generations.

Making needed changes within the company

After making the decision to go green, there are several things that can be changed in the workplace. A good place to start would be conserving energy used by electrical appliances. First, turning off the computer will save over the long run. Just letting it sleep still uses energy overnight. Turn off all other appliances like coffee maker, or anything that plugs in. Pull the socket from the outlet to stop unnecessary energy loss. Appliances continue to use electricity although they are switched off, and not unplugged. Get in the habit of turning off the lights whenever you leave a room. Change to fluorescent light bulbs, and lighting throughout the building. Have any leaks sealed on the premises to avoid the escape of heat or air.

Reducing the common paper waste

paper waste

Shutterstock Licensed Photo – By Yury Zap

Modern technologies and state of the art equipment, and tools have almost eliminated the use of paper in the office. Instead of sending out newsletters, brochures, written memos and reminders, you can now do all of these and more by technology while saving on the use of paper. Send out digital documents and emails to communicate with staff and other employees. By using this virtual bookkeeping technique, you will save a bundle on paper. When it is necessary to use paper for printing purposes or other services, choose the already recycled paper. It is smartly labeled and easy to find in any office supply store. It is called the Post Consumer Waste paper, or PCW paper. This will show that your company is dedicated to the preservation of natural resources. By using PCW paper, everyone helps to save the trees which provides and emits many important nutrients into the atmosphere.

Make money by spreading the word

Companies realize that consumers like to buy, or invest in whatever the latest trend may be. They also cater to companies that are doing great things for the quality of life of all people. People want to know that the companies that they cater to are doing their part for the environment and ecology. By going green, you can tell consumers of your experiences with helping them and communities be eco-friendly. This is a sound public relations technique to bring revenue to your brand. Boost the impact that your company makes on the environment. Go green, save and make money while essentially preserving what is normally taken for granted. The benefits of having a green company are enormous for consumers as well as the companies that engage in the process.

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Energy

5 Easy Things You Can Do to Make Your Home More Sustainable

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sustainable homes
Shutterstock Licensed Photot - By Diyana Dimitrova

Increasing your home’s energy efficiency is one of the smartest moves you can make as a homeowner. It will lower your bills, increase the resale value of your property, and help minimize our planet’s fast-approaching climate crisis. While major home retrofits can seem daunting, there are plenty of quick and cost-effective ways to start reducing your carbon footprint today. Here are five easy projects to make your home more sustainable.

1. Weather stripping

If you’re looking to make your home more energy efficient, an energy audit is a highly recommended first step. This will reveal where your home is lacking in regards to sustainability suggests the best plan of attack.

Some form of weather stripping is nearly always advised because it is so easy and inexpensive yet can yield such transformative results. The audit will provide information about air leaks which you can couple with your own knowledge of your home’s ventilation needs to develop a strategic plan.

Make sure you choose the appropriate type of weather stripping for each location in your home. Areas that receive a lot of wear and tear, like popular doorways, are best served by slightly more expensive vinyl or metal options. Immobile cracks or infrequently opened windows can be treated with inexpensive foams or caulking. Depending on the age and quality of your home, the resulting energy savings can be as much as 20 percent.

2. Programmable thermostats

Programmable thermostats

Shutterstock Licensed Photo – By Olivier Le Moal

Programmable thermostats have tremendous potential to save money and minimize unnecessary energy usage. About 45 percent of a home’s energy is earmarked for heating and cooling needs with a large fraction of that wasted on unoccupied spaces. Programmable thermostats can automatically lower the heat overnight or shut off the air conditioning when you go to work.

Every degree Fahrenheit you lower the thermostat equates to 1 percent less energy use, which amounts to considerable savings over the course of a year. When used correctly, programmable thermostats reduce heating and cooling bills by 10 to 30 percent. Of course, the same result can be achieved by manually adjusting your thermostats to coincide with your activities, just make sure you remember to do it!

3. Low-flow water hardware

With the current focus on carbon emissions and climate change, we typically equate environmental stability to lower energy use, but fresh water shortage is an equal threat. Installing low-flow hardware for toilets and showers, particularly in drought prone areas, is an inexpensive and easy way to cut water consumption by 50 percent and save as much as $145 per year.

Older toilets use up to 6 gallons of water per flush, the equivalent of an astounding 20.1 gallons per person each day. This makes them the biggest consumer of indoor water. New low-flow toilets are standardized at 1.6 gallons per flush and can save more than 20,000 gallons a year in a 4-member household.

Similarly, low-flow shower heads can decrease water consumption by 40 percent or more while also lowering water heating bills and reducing CO2 emissions. Unlike early versions, new low-flow models are equipped with excellent pressure technology so your shower will be no less satisfying.

4. Energy efficient light bulbs

An average household dedicates about 5 percent of its energy use to lighting, but this value is dropping thanks to new lighting technology. Incandescent bulbs are quickly becoming a thing of the past. These inefficient light sources give off 90 percent of their energy as heat which is not only impractical from a lighting standpoint, but also raises energy bills even further during hot weather.

New LED and compact fluorescent options are far more efficient and longer lasting. Though the upfront costs are higher, the long term environmental and financial benefits are well worth it. Energy efficient light bulbs use as much as 80 percent less energy than traditional incandescent and last 3 to 25 times longer producing savings of about $6 per year per bulb.

5. Installing solar panels

Adding solar panels may not be the easiest, or least expensive, sustainability upgrade for your home, but it will certainly have the greatest impact on both your energy bills and your environmental footprint. Installing solar panels can run about $15,000 – $20,000 upfront, though a number of government incentives are bringing these numbers down. Alternatively, panels can also be leased for a much lower initial investment.

Once operational, a solar system saves about $600 per year over the course of its 25 to 30-year lifespan, and this figure will grow as energy prices rise. Solar installations require little to no maintenance and increase the value of your home.

From an environmental standpoint, the average five-kilowatt residential system can reduce household CO2 emissions by 15,000 pounds every year. Using your solar system to power an electric vehicle is the ultimate sustainable solution serving to reduce total CO2 emissions by as much as 70%!

These days, being environmentally responsible is the hallmark of a good global citizen and it need not require major sacrifices in regards to your lifestyle or your wallet. In fact, increasing your home’s sustainability is apt to make your residence more livable and save you money in the long run. The five projects listed here are just a few of the easy ways to reduce both your environmental footprint and your energy bills. So, give one or more of them a try; with a small budget and a little know-how, there is no reason you can’t start today.

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