What is crowdfunding?

Crowdfunding is a method of getting finance by sourcing small amounts from a relatively large number of people rather than getting large amounts from one or a few. While this is something that has a long history it has become increasingly popular recently in its modern form of online crowdfunding. This allows individuals or organisations to source funds from anyone via a website or crowdfunding ‘platform’. The platform hosts the fundraisers pitch for funding and facilitates the transfer of money from the funders. For more info see our other work on crowdfunding.

What is is a directory of crowdfunding platforms that facilitate individuals or organisations in the UK raising money from the crowd. is operated by Nesta, the UK's innovation foundation.

Why is there a need for a crowdfunding directory?

The last few years have seen both the growth in the number of crowdfunding platforms and in the different variants of crowdfunding that they offer. This site helps those interested in raising money through crowdfunding by bringing together a list of the sites available to people in the UK and assisting people with finding the right site for them.

What different types of crowdfunding are there?

Although there are many different typologies out there we have divided crowdfunding into 4 distinct types, donation crowdfunding, reward crowdfunding, crowdfunded lending and equity crowdfunding. Each is different in respect to what type of finance is being sought and what funders get in return for funding.

What is donation crowdfunding?

The donation model of crowdfunding is a means for charities, or those who raise money for social or charitable projects, to gather a community online and to enable them to donate to a project. While most established charities facilitate this through their own website, crowdfunding platforms can be useful for smaller organisations and people raising money for personal or specific charitable causes. We have also seen established charities setup crowdfunding initiatives to allow donors to contribute to specific projects rather than to the charity as a whole. Funders contribute to support a project they care about and do not get anything in return.

What is reward crowdfunding?

The most popular form of crowdfunding to date has been the reward model which has grown significantly in the funding of creative, social and entrepreneurial projects. The model allows people to contribute to projects and receive non–financial rewards in return, usually operating a tiered system where the more you donate the better the reward you receive. The model often closely resembles philanthropy with the donation far exceeding the monetary value of the reward. In many cases a significant benefit to the entrepreneur is that the reward costs them little, such as experience or recognition–related rewards. For some projects the model is similar to a presale agreement. In these cases entrepreneurs or artists crowdfund the production cost of their record, movie, game or product and allow the donors to be the first recipients once the production is complete. Funders in reward crowdfunding are generally motivated to contribute by a mix of caring about making the project a success or their desire to attain a reward.

What is crowdfunded lending?

Crowdfunded lending facilitates projects, individuals or businesses to seek loans from the crowd, with members of the crowd taking small chunks of the overall loan. Some platforms use credit scoring systems to accurately measure how risky individual loans are so lenders can choose an appropriate interest rate to charge. Lenders are usually attracted to the model by the financial return they can make from lending however some platforms offer social lending where low-interest or interest-free loans are offered.

What is the difference between crowdfunded lending and peer-to-peer lending?

Platforms facilitating crowdfunded lending and peer-to-peer lending (to businesses) are both featured on this directory as both use online platforms to source funds from large numbers of people. The difference between the two is that those platforms that refer to themselves as peer-to-peer facilitate financially motivated lending to businesses with interest rates dependent on the credit scores of those businesses while crowdfunded lending can sometimes be driven by non-financial motives and does not always use traditional credit scoring systems. 

What is equity crowdfunding?

Equity crowdfunding allows funders to get a small stake in a business in return for contributing funds. A business will state how much capital it is seeking to raise and how much equity they are willing to give up. Funders then contribute a proportion of the overall sum and receive a proportionate number of the shares in the business in return. While many invest in the hope of getting a financial return should the business do well others invest to support the entrepreneur and what they are trying to achieve. Within equity crowdfunding there are platforms that offer 'nominee' and 'direct ownership' models which differ from each other in how the investment takes place and is managed.

Can a platform operate more than one type of crowdfunding?

Yes, some platforms operate more than one form. These platforms will appear in lists generated by filtering for any type of crowdfunding they facilitate.

What types of projects and businesses can crowdfunding be useful for?

Online crowdfunding has been applied to a number of areas so far from funding music to playgrounds to computer games and startup businesses. As some platforms specialise in raising funds for certain types of projects or businesses we have created three areas to assist those searching for a suitable platform to find one that will fit their needs. These are the funding in the arts/creative industries, funding projects for social good and funding businesses.

What fundraisers fall under Arts/Creative?

By Arts/Creative industries we mean any projects or businesses that have a strong element of creativity at their core and are using the funds generated through crowdfunding to generate something new and innovative.

What fundraisers fall under social good?

By social good we mean any project or business that delivers a significant benefit to society as an outcome of its activities.

What fundraisers fall under business finance?

While the majority of finance provided under the two categories above will be one-off projects some will also be funding ongoing businesses. This category captures those from the above categories that are businesses but also those businesses that do not categorise themselves specifically under either of the above two.

Can a platform be active in more than one of the three areas mentioned above?

Yes, and many are. These platforms will be included if you filter by any of the areas above.

What is a funding window?

The majority of platforms impose a limit on the amount of time that a person or business seeking funds can have their pitch live on the site. This is referred to as a funding window.

What does ‘all or nothing’ mean?

‘All or nothing’ refers to the practise operated by the majority of platforms whereby you do not receive any money if you do not reach a pre-agreed funding target by the time your funding window closes. Should they fail, all money that had been pledged is returned to the funders.
The alternative 'Keep it all' allows to keep whatever they have raised, even if they have not reached their target amount. 

What does the '[FCA]' after some platfroms mean?

While donation and reward crowdfunding and crowdfunded lending are not considered regulated investment activities, equity crowdfunding is. Equity crowdfunding platforms that have the '[FCA]' after their name are those platforms that are authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority. There are a variety of reasons why other platforms are not authorised such as the platform being based outside of the UK or that they are in the process of gaining authorisation which can take time. The terms and conditions of any individual site should be closely examined before putting up a pitch or committing funds. 

Where is the information sourced?

The information populating the platforms page is sourced from the sites of the individual platforms. While we are confident that all data is accurate and up to date this is a quickly moving area and we strongly urge everyone to check the terms and conditions on individual platforms before either raising or contributing funds through them.


For platforms:

How do I get my platform on

Please first check our definition on the ‘what we mean by crowdfunding’ page to ensure your platform falls under the definition we are using for this site. If your platform fits, please get in touch via with the details for your platform. Once we verify that the new information matches with what is on your site we will add you to the directory.

Are you looking for information beyond what is currently presented in the directory?

We are hoping to release a second version of the directory in the coming months with more information for all platforms featured. Specifically the info we are looking for is:
  • the number of projects successfully funded on your site
  • the average number of funders per project
  • and the average amount raised per project


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