A new ‘social network’ financial institution BankToTheFuture.com is offering an open, transparent way for entrepreneurs, businesses and investors to raise finance and invest in each other.The launch comes just weeks after the online crowdfunding platform made it into the Top 50 of Sir Richard Branson’s global Virgin Unite Screw Business As Usual competition, with praise from Branson himself for BankToTheFuture.com’s transparency and goals.
One of a number of growing crowdfunding ventures, BankToTheFuture.com believes it is the world’s first social media-driven financial institution, evaluating customers on their social media ‘capital’ on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and Google+ and not just credit rating like traditional banks.
All members of BankToTheFuture.com get to build their social capital score for the future, which measures additional factors such as reviews, social media activities and recommendations.
BankToTheFuture.com is making three types of financial offerings available - crowdfunding, crowdinvesting and crowdlending (available 2013) but any money will only be invested in products and businesses that seek to bring out new value and potentially create jobs in the future.
Unlike traditional banks charging interest on loans, people who join BankToTheFuture.com get to lend their savings direct to creditworthy borrowers to receive the interest on their savings as well as invest in shares and rewards in the businesses that they feel deserve it, plus they’ll see exactly what happens with their money.
Businesses already pitching for finance on BankToTheFuture.com include Life Lite Ltd, a patented invention to save children’s lives in the case of a fire; Strong Room - one of Shoreditch’s first bars and recording studios, inspiring more talented creative thinkers and The Personal Development Bureau - a business helping unemployed ex-armed forces, ex-police officers and ex-fire workers start their own businesses.
BankToTheFuture.com CEO Simon Dixon said: “The goal was to build the world's first social network financial institution where everything is transparent and open and people can see what happens with their money, as well as offering support to the entrepreneurs and businesses that deserve it.
“BankToTheFuture.com is a working model that is changing the rules of money and banking to show that there is a viable way that can serve people, entrepreneurs, businesses and make the funds available to those who have missions to do good through their businesses.
“At the same time we wanted to break down the restrictive costs and bureaucracy that investors used to have to go through when they invested in private businesses. By signing up to www.BankToTheFuture.com, ordinary people can now invest in the country’s future businesses, a game that was previously only available to rich people.
“We are offering a new way to invest small and large sums of money in a way where you can see exactly who it goes to, so we can all get on with creating businesses and investing in things that might actually create some jobs one day.”
Sir Richard Branson said: “With recent scandals tarnishing the banking sector once again, there's a real opportunity for positive change in the industry. I believe banks should be about more than just money.
“I like the goals of BankToTheFuture.com, where everything is transparent and open and people can see what happens with their money. It is great that they are offering support to entrepreneurs and businesses who will create jobs in the future.”
Simon Dixon threw in a high-paying job as an investment banker seven years ago to work with students seeking careers in investment banking. He wanted to create a next generation of more ethical bankers.
At the same time, he started presenting at over 200 universities around the UK on the problems with banking. At first he was ridiculed by economics professors/LSE who thought there was no problem with the banking system but when the financial crisis hit he went from ridicule to being asked to write the book Bank To The Future; Protect Your Future Before Government Go Bust.
• PHOTOGRAPH SHOWS: Simon Dixon