London-based Cofndrs, a customer-powered technology platform that enables companies and their customers to co-found and co-fund socially and environmentally-conscious initiatives, has completed a GBP550,000 seed investment round.
Cofndrs is on a mission to bring people and businesses together to accelerate solutions to social and environmental challenges. According to Harvard Business School professor Clayton Christensen, over 30,000 new products are introduced every year, with 95 percent doomed to fail. The Cofndrs platform enables brands and their customers to harness their collective power to collaborate on financing, new product development, marketing and sales.
People can support brands they love and become co-founders of initiatives that align with their personal values. Brands can turn the process of raising financing into a direct line of communication at the product ideation stage with those that matter most to their business, their customers.
Value Backed Coins – tokenised, branded digital assets which are unique to the Cofndrs platform – represent a fixed cash value that can be redeemed against products in the future from the supported brand. By leveraging their customer base for financing via forward selling, rather than needing to borrow from the outdated and expensive traditional banking system, companies can secure financing from the very people who will be buying the product once it’s ready. Co-founders can be further rewarded and incentivised with Value Backed Coins for their valuable input.
Two of the brands already live on the Cofndrs platform include:
Ecobloom: An agri-tech business focused on using technology to reconnect people with nature, improving food production and farming techniques. One of its first products is the EcoGarden, a combination of a miniature smart garden and self-cleaning aquarium which grows fresh herbs and vegetables all year round.
eHempHouse: The creator of Smartbox, a patented, self-contained, off-grid hemp processing machine that is given away free to farmers in Africa to incentivise as many as possible to grow hemp. It converts carbon-negative hemp crops into a green fuel, as well as producing components for the prime markets of health, cosmetics and textiles. eHempHouse then sells the carbon offsetting benefits on the carbon markets to polluting companies.
Founded in February 2018 by Natasha Malhotra and Richard Harries, Cofndrs will use the funding to complete its customer-powered technology platform and grow its team, with Chief Product Officer, Aneet Morar having already joined.
Richard Harries, co-founder and CEO at Cofndrs, says: “It’s our belief that harnessing your customer base to generate forward sales is an amazing opportunity to help finance and grow your business, without needing to borrow from the traditional banking system. With our platform, businesses of all sizes can introduce products at ideation stage to their customer base, opening up an invaluable line of communication and feedback that could be the difference between releasing a product that soars, or one that tanks.”
The seed round was led by investors including Stephen Palmer (a Managing Director at Nomura), Dr Samit Ahir (CEO of Makevale) and DAKSS Investments (a Family Office).
Stephen Palmer, one of the seed investors and fintech expert, says: “With traditional financing becoming more and more costly and harder to find, Cofndrs offers a real alternative for businesses looking to accelerate their growth and build deeper ties with their customers. Cofndrs’ unique platform and Value Backed Coin system has the potential to be a game-changer in the way businesses collaborate with their customers and fund worthwhile initiatives.”