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The main innovations of Fundeen, which are related to SDG’s 7 and 9, allow anyone to invest in the renewable energy sector for just 500 euros, 0.2% of what is usually required, supporting small companies in the sector.
We can divide this innovation into two main parts: (1) the relationship between the company and the renewable energies businesses and (2) the relationship between the company and its investors.
For the first relationship, the company allows the renewable industry to grow by giving small companies the means to collect the funds needed to build their projects which will result in new and sustainable infrastructure to generate more renewable energies. This is strictly related to SDG 9 Innovation, Industry, and Infrastructure, as in a sense it allows all 3 components of this SDG to be developed. In a logical sense, this will also generate more availability of renewable energies as more companies will be able to enter and grow in the market. Thanks to the company's financing, its relationship with SDG 7 affordable and clean energy should not be underestimated. In addition to this, SDG 11 Sustainable Cities and Communities, connects where the small businesses are located as they are not in a centralized location. Instead, they are across multiple regions of Spain, helping diversify the growth of the amount of energy in many communities.
It is also worth mentioning that the company has an idea to expand to regions such as South America in the future.
For the second relationship, the company does a great deal of research to assure that the other businesses are not only economically viable but also that they have access to quality materials and employees, avoid legal or ethical issues, and have a positive impact. All of this before deciding whether or not to finance the company. Also, this innovation prevents impulsive consumption by setting the minimum at 500 euros.
When asked why, Adriánlaughed and stated: “We want your pocket to hurt”, then he proceeded to explain that they want people to think before they invest, promoting responsible consumption. All of this goes along with SDG 12 Responsible Consumption and Production.
It is hard to explain the history of the company without knowing a bit about the context of its funders. Fundeen was founded by two brothers, Nacho and Adrián; since very young they were immersed in the entrepreneurship world, starting their first company at just 12 years old. Nonetheless, it would not be until 2016 that the brothers started with Fundeen. By that time, both brothers were already working and studying a master, and entering the world of crowdfunding. Nacho was working in the renewable energies sector; one part of his work was to review the financial viability of different projects. While working there, something caught his eye. When interviewing Adrián he told us that the problem his brother saw was, “You couldn’t invest unless you had 250,000 euros”. This served as the base for the inspiration of the project.
As they state on their website, the brothers have always wanted to make something useful for the world and the future. From the start of their childhood company until the company that is the center of this story, this desire never ceased. If the question about the origin of its inspiration is still unclear, we could say that it was to make a platform in which everyone can invest in those renewable energies—a platform in which every pocket will be welcomed, a medium to help small companies in the sector grow. Nonetheless, if you ask us what we think was the main thing behind the creation of this company, we will answer that it was that desire that both brothers had and still have: making something useful for this world and its future.
As the COO of the company stated, “Fundeen is the financing platform on renewable energies for every pocket”. By giving the opportunity to invest in this sector for just 500 euros, the company has made the achievement of small sustainable projects that funds usually ignore possible. This might seem insignificant, but in the last 6 years, Fundeen has avoided 443 tons of CO2 and an accumulated investment of 7,657,889 euros. They are also joining ethics with profitability—investors are not only making an annual mean profit of 7%, but also reducing their carbon footprint by investing in these projects.
The long-term effects of this innovation are to accomplish the energetic transition sooner and to achieve the decarbonization of Spain with the help of the whole population. Lastly, it can be inferred that they are promoting this initiative to other countries since they are financing projects in France. As the company's COO said, it is very slow and tedious to get funding from other countries. It usually lasts 18 months and it was not worth spending that much time on it. However, due to the new European regulation, it will make the activity of the platform in the whole continent easier. Adrián stated, “The expansion of Fundeen is an idea that we have in mind for the future”.
It is good to start by stating that this innovation mainly works with small businesses within the renewable energy industry, working with projects under 10 megawatts (if expressed in euros as net worth it would be around 8 million euros). This fact is important due to the scope that most of the banks or funds use when financing projects in this sector. As we learned in the interview most organizations do not even look at these types of projects, leaving them without many possibilities for success. However, thanks to the creation of this platform this is no longer the case. Therefore, the first main impact that this innovation brings is giving an opportunity to those companies that do not meet the scope or requirements of large financial institutions that dominate the market. As Adrián stated, “We believe that we were born with the intention of helping those small companies, and until now we believe that we do.”
The second main impact that the company has is that they give professionality to the companies it supports. Getting into Fundeen is not easy—it is a strict procedure that has less than 20% of acceptance and that works with less than 20 projects to this day. This is mainly due to the acceptance procedure. Fundeen checks the financial, technical, and legal viability of each project; and after all that it, does a meticulous job in the contracts, with a process that lasts around 2 months just for the last part. All of this may seem like something done mainly for the tranquility of the investor, but by doing this the company improves the confidence and perception that other people have in Fundeen and in the business under consideration.
Even though this may not be an impact, we would like to conclude with one phrase left by the COO in the interview when asked why businesses sought Fundeen, “The small business found a replicable, fast, and professional solution".
As an equity crowdfunding platform that focuses on investing in renewable energies, Fundeen naturally benefits the environment and society while making profits, simultaneously. Fundeen is a company that was founded and born as a solution to financing small companies that were left without any other financial alternative to investing in their project. Fundeen aims to give these projects a space to grow while they grow together at the same time. Just like what Fundeen’s COO, Adrián Bautista, said, “We believe that we were born with the intention of helping those small companies, and until now we believe that we do”. One of the renewable energy investment projects that Fundeen launched is investing in solar energy. Fundeen’s platform allows citizens to invest in these solar energy projects and receive profits from their investments while also allowing these projects to receive funding without having to draw on traditional financing.
The sun provides a tremendous resource for generating clean and sustainable electricity. Although Fundeen does not directly help the environment, by investing in solar energy projects, they provide a platform that can help to be the medium for those who want to invest in renewable energy. And by doing so, Fundeen helps reduce air and water pollution, health problems, wildlife and habitat loss, and, most importantly, global warming emissions. Thus, it can be said that Fundeen's impact is its impact on those small companies as Fundeen allows them to be born and grow to fulfill their own impact.
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Adrián Bautista, COO & Co-funder of Fundeen
Fundeen is a social enterprise, specifically a crowdfunding initiative that serves as a link to citizens interested in investing in environmentally sustainable projects while receiving benefits from these projects. This service is provided thanks to their FinTech platform, in which they offer transparency, reliability and collaboration funded by large investment. Clients receive benefits from their investments, and at the same time, projects get financing without having to resort to traditional financing formulas. Their values stand on collective action, security, keeping risk at a minimum (supervised by the CNMV, National Securities Market Commission), responsibility and transparency.