Trillionfund: Mit Crowdfunding zur Energiewende von unten
Das Prinzip Crowdfunding, oder genauer, da es sich ja hier nicht ums Spenden handelt, Crowdinvesting/Crowdfinancing, lässt sich auf den Bereich Energie übertragen. Da schlagen wir uns seit geraumer Zeit mit den Tücken der Energiewende herum. Preisfrage: Können hier spezielle Plattformen einen Mehrwert bieten, bei dem viele Anleger mit kleinen Beträgen Projekte im Bereich Erneuerbare Energien fördern?
Über diese spannenden Fragen zur Crowd und der Energiewende habe ich mit Dr. Michael Stein, dem Gründer und Direktor des in London angesiedelten Trillion Fund unterhalten – einer Plattform, die versucht, den Crowdinvesting-Ansatz in das sensible Terrain der Erneuerbaren Energien zu übertragen – und sich dabei als eine Art Informationsschnittstelle positioniert.
Das Crowdfunding, die Schwarmfinanzierung über das Internet, gewinnt dabei vor allem als dezentrale Beteiligungsvariante an Bedeutung. Bei der britischen Crowdfinancing-Plattform Trillionfund etwa können Anleger bereits mit minimalen Beträgen ausschließlich in Erneuerbare-Energien-Vorhaben einsteigen. Auch in andere Länder möchte Trillionfund nach erfolgter Zulassung durch die britische Finanzbehörde FDA expandieren. Noch klingt das Vorhaben der Macher nach Zukunftsmusik, aber die ersten Töne sind vielversprechend.
Die Kernbotschaft lautet: „Wenn 10.000 Menschen nur jeweils 100 Pfund geben, statt dass 10 Investoren jeweils 100.000 Pfund investieren, dann sind die 10.000 zusammen eine viel mächtigere Bewegung für einen Wandel im Umgang mit der Umwelt“, betont Trillionfund-Gründer Michael Stein. Aber lesen Sie selbst …
Social Banking 2.0: How was the idea to start with a Trillion Fund born, to start a Crowdlending Platform for the renewables energy sector?
Dr. Michael Stein: I met James Lovelock (Anmerkung: Ein Chemiker und Umweltethiker, der 1991 das Buch „Gaia Prinzip: Die Biographie unseres Planeten“ veröffentlichte) and had a one-to-one with him and his wife Sandy about two years ago. After reading his books and then looking at the data myself (I am a scientist by training), I realised the scale and urgency of the need to punch through the powerful fossil-fuel lobby and persuade politicians to change policy.
The only realistic way I could think of was to engage directly with „people and their pockets“. Profit is a powerful motivator and I realised there is a big profit opportunity being overlooked.
The problem is that infrastructure projects of a large-enough scale to generate big profits are not easily accessible to ordinary investors – you need tens or hundreds of thousands of euros to get into the deal. So crowd-financing, or as I prefer to call it: „connected-community finance“ was an obvious way to go. The community then effectively becomes a group of lobbyists and promote their interests to the politicians through their own actions.
Just look at what has happened in Germany. More than 50 per cent of its citizens are direct investors. And look at what has happened to energy policy there as a result. Now we need to take that out to the rest of the world by quickly leveraging the internet and social media.
What are the targets behind, to make money or more to bring people together to push decentralised energy projects?
The aim is to both bring people together to make money and to fund energy projects collectively. It is win:win. The buying power of the crowd is much stronger than that of the individual.
Crowdfunding for one part is a trendy topic, but it is also necessary to be transparent for the users and concording to the rules of the financial authorities. How do you manage that with the Trillion Fund?
We decided to go down the more onerous but in the end, much more credible route of getting registered under the regulatory umbrella of our partner, Sapia Partners LLP.
We believe absolute transparency is essential to gain the trust of our members (investors) and developers. But we also want to encourage people to feel confident about making their own decisions with their own money as far as possible, within that regulatory framework.
What are the possible user groups, joining the Trillion Fund?
In a word: everyone! This is a global challenge of enormous scale. We want to encourage everyone to come to us to see what their options are and educate themselves on how to make good, ethical investment decisions. We think our users will like the deals we offer, but we will be equally happy if they come and learn from our site, absorb some of our ethos and then invest elsewhere. We will be delighted if everyone uses us as their jumping-off point by reading our blogs, tweets and web information to become better educated about renewable energy investment, so that they can hopefully enjoy the experience of investing in this way.
Do you have already successfully financed projects, locally or worldwide?
We are focused on launching in the next few weeks at a local level. We think small steps are required – to learn and evolve and also to ensure the regulators are happy. We want to do this right and most importantly we want to have the ‘crowd’ guide our development: ultimately it will be our members who tell us what investments to go out and find.
Do you see Crowdfunding (or in your case more concrete: Crowdfinancing) as just an additional part in the finance industry for the energy transition, or could it create a new independant „step“, challenging also the traditional banking and energy sector?
We feel that the world needs a fresh and powerful brand to help lead the way away from fossil fuels and into renewables. A challenge to traditional financial and energy models is already taking place as people who are dissatisfied with the current status quo find their voices through online social networks.
There has been a sudden surge of technological innovation in the financial sector, but this has come later than in other industries, such as travel. This innovation is enabling people to act upon their growing desire to take more control over their own financial affairs. There is a general shift towards greater financial capability and independence for everyone. We are tapping into this shift to create our own “renewable financial movement”.
And a last question: How do you see the next steps in the development of Trillion Fund?
We want to achieve global recognition for Trillionfund as a place where people, communities, organisations and big retail brands can channel more money into scaling-up renewable energy sources. Time is pressing and every day over 90 million tonnes of Greenhouse Gas emissions are pumped into our atmosphere. Fossil fuels are causing climate change as well as acidifying our oceans. Our planet’s buffer systems are exhausted so we need to act now. Everyone knows in their gut that something is wrong. Trillion Fund gives everyone the opportunity to invest and to make a difference. 10,000 people investing £100 achieves the same monetary outcome as 10 people investing £100,000. But if you have 10,000 people involved, those individuals together are a much more powerful force for an overall change in the way we think about our relationship with the environment, other people and our money. A little contribution from everyone is of huge benefit for all of us. Our next step is getting this message out.
Interview: Lothar Lochmaier