Inspora will be a digital crowdinvesting platform exclusively for impact projects.
Our mission is to “Provide anyone the chance to invest in social or environmental projects, improving the world and their wealth”.
Anyone will be able to invest from 20 CAD in projects from NGOs, companies, startups and entrepreneurs. Our value added is a thorough assessment to projects to guarantee that only profitable projects with significant positive impact are uploaded.
If you want to be the change you want in the world and grow your money… Inspora is the best way
Inspora, improve your economy and the world
“We will create a platform where people can grow their money by investing directly in social and environmental projects that are profitable.”
These are the first words we started our campaign with. These were the first words we showed visitors of our page to instantly communicate our ideas, values and goals.
You can access the campaign by following this link. Additional to it, this document contains a report of the crowdfunding campaign and the crowdsourcing results. It is particularly important since the original language of the campaign and the website is Spanish and the built-in automatic translation may result in lack of clarity and misunderstandings.
Similarly, the video of the campaign is in Spanish. Nevertheless, we made a version with subtitles and a folder with additional resources for our English speaking community. This folder included a step-by-step donation guide and a welcoming message to Inspora ambassadors with suggestions to communicate our vision. Here you can access both the video and the English resources folder.
(1) Summary of the crowdfunding campaign’s features and its achievements.
The crowdfunding campaign was hold within 6 weeks (from the middle March till the beginning of May 2018) and raised ~$4800 CAD with contributions from 75 people, we reached above 185% of our initial goal. We did the campaign through Donadora, a mexican crowdfunding B corp, whose objective is to ease donation to initiatives that enable impact through technology. The structure of the website allowed different visual resources and features (videos, graphs, translation possibility, action buttons for direct payments, etc.), which helped us communicate clearly our fundraising purpose.
The website of the campaign contains condensed information about the purpose of the campaign and has easy navigation tools and donation possibilities (click here to go to the website). The campaign includes a 3-minutes video from the founders, explaining the mechanism of the proposed business, the main indicators of the campaign, boxes to make direct donations with customized thanks and rewards. As well as, tabs to see the Description (translated in Annex A), Actualisations, Donors and Comments This boxes also describe gratitude to our donors with reward types.
(2) Crowdsourcing results.
As firm believers on the collaborative economy, strategic partnership and community building, we turned to our community, both personal and from Inspora, when we needed products or services that were not available to us or simply were too far away from our core business.
We were very successful at crowdsourcing. The main channels were through our personal social networks, Inspora’s Facebook and specially through direct contact. We crowdsourced the following elements:
1. Problem to address.
Does the financial system serves us or do we serve the financial system?
1.1 Brief description of the problem.
The current financial system works for the small wealthiest minority. It is exclusive and mainly oriented to short term profit maximization.
1.2 Getting a bit deeper in the problem.
The system is exclusive since in most, if not all, countries formal investment in companies, the stock market, funds and large projects is an activity performed by a small wealthy minority. In Mexico the National Survey of Financial Inclusion (ENIF, by its initials in spanish) reports that less than 1% of Mexicans own formal investments. Therefore, most people wealth loses value due to the inflation.
In the other hand, the traditional thinking of those involved in the financial sector, specially brokers, is seek for short term profit maximization. Hence, there is a shortage of non-extractive impact investing -profitable investing that also generates social and/or environmental returns- that supports social businesses (In this text any time that the terms social businesses or social projects are used, they refer to social and/ or environmental businesses and projects) and social projects creation, replication and scaling. Therefore, many impact projects that are profitable and create a social benefit are unable to find suitable financing (lower interest rates, risk sharing, low dilution, etc.).
2. Solution proposed.
There is such thing as win-win solutions… We can all be part of the solution and benefit from it,
2.1 Introduction to the solution.
Inspora will be a social startup. It’s massive transformative purpose is to:
“Provide anyone the chance to invest according to their values and capabilities, improving the world and their wealth”.
In other words, “to democratize impact investing”.
The idea is to develop a debt-based crowd investing platform that promotes exclusively impact projects. We define impact projects as those that are profitable and have a positive impact in the environment and/or society. The team of Inspora will perform a financial, social and environmental assessment of the project. Projects that fulfill the required financial , as well as, impact criteria would be uploaded to the platform. Then, the Inspora community, made out of regular people (retail investors) will be able to invest from 20 USD.
2.2 The needs to address.
The needs we address are not always recognized by the people, but most people share them… knowingly or not
2.3 How does it works?
3. Social business innovation. What makes Us different?
Bridging powerful trends for social benefit.
3.1 What is our social innovation all about?
We love how both social business, impact investing and the crowdfunding sectors have been developing over the last decade. Out of our own need (one that we believe many people share, many don’t know they share yet, and only very few people wouldn’t share at all), we decided to build ourselves a way to enable all people to invest in profitable projects aligned to their values. Using crowdfunding (and surely down the road, other fintech tools) we seek to democratize impact investing with two objectives:
1) Help people to invest, support and engage in good projects that they are passionate about, not to mention earn money doing so, and,
2) Catalyze, replicate and scale social businesses and social projects.
3.2 Innovation in content.
Not one of a kind… But an specialist in its niche.
This is not the first crowdinvesting company in the world that promotes social projects. However, as far as our research has shown us, we would be the first that take on the broad niche of impact investing, with the additional challenges that this might bring, but also a larger market niche, inclusive to different social and environmental solutions and with more potential customers. We will start with one financial instrument: debt (fixed interest rate and a payment plan), since our target clients are retail investors and we aim to minimize their risk. However, down the road, as we grow and we build capacities in our investors (financial education is a key component of our plan) we intend to expand to other financial instruments.
3.3 Innovation in form.
A different approach to crowd-investing.
Innovation also comes from different approaches to the market:
3.3.1 Democratization of impact investing. Our aim is to enable anyone and everyone to become a constumer/investor. By minimizing the investment ticket we will make investing more available to everybody.
3.3.2 United we stand. We won’t fail if it’s in the best interest of our many stakeholders that we succed. We want our main clients, partners and stakeholders to share our vision of Inspora, and furthermore to feel part of It. Hence, we will operate as a Multi-stakeholder cooperative. We are yet to stablish the specifics to make our community of workers, investors, project developers and other key stakeholders partially owners of Inspora; however, governance will be achieved by a representative democracy with both rotating and fixed members from the different stakeholders in the board, and establishment of specific percentages of revenue to be shared with main stakeholders after re-investment in company’s growth.
3.3.3 A nurture platform for the social business ecosystem. As Inspora grows we want to be a meeting place for entrepreneurs with mentors, investors, incubators, other entrepreneurs, etc. We want to foster a network of opportunities to help our community to keep creating and growing social businesses. Therefore, we want to expand the platform or be part of a larger platform that works as a social network for social business/projects.
4. Social business innovation.
What makes us different?
4.1 Social Business Model Canvas.
4.2 Value proposition:
Adding value to our main stakeholders
We are a team of facilitators, dedicated to engage our clients with social business to catalyze, replicate and scale social projects; we want to add value to the ecosystem as a whole and to our main stakeholders. Considering that our growth and potential project developers will increase with a richer and healthier ecosystem. That is why we want to operate as a Multi-stakeholder cooperative as described in point 3.3.2.
Inspora is on its way to be one of the Next economy companies. Leveraging principles as digital assets, sharing economy (through collaborative investment -sharing both risks and returns-), open sourcing (like Uber and Airbnb, we don’t own assets -Nor the projects, nor the capital to invest-, we are the bridge between them), P2P (People invest in the projects without middleman, virtually extinguishing administrative cost with the exception of the comissions of the platform -our revenue stream-)
The following is a non-exhaustive list of the value added to each stakeholder:
- A wide range of diverse, trust-worthy, high returns (compared to the retail investor market), low risk (assessed by Inspora), high impact (assessed by Inspora), accessible, customizable investments in an easy to use platform
- Purpose through social or environmental projects.
4.2.2 Project developer: provide access to non-extractive finance, i.e. low interest rates (compared to similar credits for projects), flexible finance (unlike profit maximization investors, retail investors can offer finance that adapts to the project developer needs, lowering risks and finding payment plans that are beneficial for both), skin in the game from potential customers and exposition to our community (free marketing to a like-minded market niche).
4.2.3 Incubation and acceleration businesses. Give them a tool for the startups and entrepreneurs that they are incubating/accelerating to test hypothesis, do A/B testing, get non-extractive finance, get exposure and get potential clients. Sharing both risks and benefits with investors and possibly other stakeholders (sponsors, inspora itself, incubators and acceleration businesses).
4.2.4 Investment funds: Financial groups and brokers. Alternatives for their investment portfolios that have clear and third party assessment and metrics of positive social or environmental impact. As well as, the business opportunity of becoming brokers or financial advisors within the platform itself.
4.2.5 Charities, NGOs, international organizations and social businesses. They can push projects and entrepreneurs aligned to their values and agenda with full or partial guarantees to investors of specific projects and/or perform due diligence of projects. This way they would promote their mission and agendas, reducing the impact to their budgets. Since they would only pay for failed projects.
4.2.6 Other stakeholders from the impact investing ecosystem: Mentors, consultants, and all parts in the social business ecosystem as it is in our best interest to facilitate partnerships and grow the whole ecosystem.
4.3 The Key resources:
4.3.1 Human resource.It takes more than a great idea, you need a great team to make things happen. Collectively the team has a bachelor in civil engineering, a bachelor in electrical and electronic engineering, specialization in energy systems, two masters in environmental sciences, policy and management, a diploma in crowdfunding and fintech (certified by the “Universidad Anahuac” and the “AFICO” Collective Funding Platforms Association in Mexico), an alternative MBA focused in the development of Next Economy organizations (principles to build transparent, holistic, bioregenerative and locally focused businesses) in 6 different countries. +6 years of professional experience in the energy sector (planning, modelling, project management, power market operation) and the construction sector (project management,…). However, we acknowledge that we need additional founders: a web developer and a financial assessor with experience in impact investing. As we test our MVP and start to prototype we want to build a talent pipeline to get the right people when we need them.
4.3.2 The digital platform. Currently we are aiming to work with a third party platform to test the MVP and get a critical mass of investors and project developers. The plan is that once that some time before getting a critical mass, our team already has a web developer founder, he would assess whether it is better to buy code for a crowdfunding platform, to develop it by ourselves or (as it would be most likely) do something in between.
4.3.3 A pipeline of great projects. We need to develop healthy and strong partnerships with project developers. In the beginning it would be harder, but eventually we will get trustfull partners and a good reputation. Meanwhile, it will help to get good partners to be accelerated by the most important company in Social Innovation in Latin America: Socialab. In August we will organize “The Inspora roaster”, an event where we want to get critical feedback on how attractive is our service for the project developers in the social business ecosystem.
4.3.4 The P element. One of the most important and renewable resource that we have to make this happen is outstanding passion to “Democratize impact investing”. One way or another we have spent most of our life looking to develop something that gives us purpose. That’s how we met in the same master trying to get a deeper understanding of the environmental problems and solutions. We understood that the world is full of complexity, there are no easy, nor sole solutions. We need a system that pushes forward all the small individual solutions and make them part of a Next Economy system. We need to help everyone to stop feel overwhelmed about social and environmental problems, but inspire them with solutions and empower them to be part of the solutions. Because organic change only comes bottom-up, from the grassroots.
4.4 The Key partnerships (Proof of partnerships):
4.4.1 Socialab: We are starting a pre-acceleration with Soacialab. They are the leader in company in social innovation in Latin America. Hence, they can help us reach in a smoother way to the selling point and facilitate partnerships with other important stakeholders of the ecosystem such as: CO platform, Impact Hub, Veolia, Endeavour, other social entrepreneurs, mentors, etc. One of the objectives is to develop a diverse and Inspora oriented board for the company.
4.4.2 Disruptivo TV (Bcorp). Owner of Socialab in Mexico, they are one of the most important players (if not the most) in social innovation in Mexico. They have a diverse range of activities in the social business ecosystem; from content creation about the social business ecosystem to mentoring and incubation of projects.
4.4.3 AFICO. We are in constant communication with the crowdfunding association in Mexico. They always offer a network of talented people to help us develop further. They have get us in contact with a lawyer specialized in FinTech and a company that develops code for crowdfunding companies.
4.4.4 SVX (B corp). This company work as an impact investing consultancy firm and offer capacity building for entrepreneurs and investors. Currently, they are managing a UNDP fund for impact investing in Mexico. There is no specific partnership yet. However, there is regular contact with the founder and other workers and a door to knock on for support in impact investing assessment when it surpasses the current capabilities of Inspora
4.4.5 We are seeking for partnerships with project developers. From all sectors (Social businesses, entrepreneurs, traditional businesses, NGOs, etc.) in clean and affordable energy (Ilumexico and Vitaluz), Permaculture (Aires de Campo), health, sustainable tourism, sustainable mobility, education, etc.
4.5 Customers and beneficiaries.
Our core business is making impact investment accessible to everyone. As such, our business model is a disintermediation. Hence, we have customers at both ends of the business. On one side, a B2C business model, customers are anyone we can interest to invest in social projects. On the other hand, a B2B business model, customers are social project developers seeking for flexible credits for their projects.
4.5.1 Potential investors.
Inspora aims to make anyone a potential investor, since the needs we are covering are universal (grow their money and purpose). However, there are some market barriers to get full market penetration. Therefore, the targeted audience for early adopters is the following:
Age (22-35 years) – Early adopters will come from the millennial market. Compared with prior generations, millennials are more likely to (1) explore new digital alternatives, (2) trust digital transactions and (3) seek for a larger purpose.
Gender (both) – On the one side, women tend to have a more holistic and ethical consumption, we can capture this interest through the social part of the endeavor. On the other, in Mexico men tend to be more interested in tech products and services. Customized marketing might be a good alternative to engage both genders with a different approach.
Socio-economic position (B, C+) – Even though this service aims to push further financial inclusion and be accessible for the base of the pyramid, early adopters will be mainly from the upper middle class, due to access to online banking services and more flexibility for their money.
Socially-centered mindset – Even though we believe we can offer competitive economic returns on investments, we will hardly offer the bests. Therefore, it is likely that non-socially-centered people invest more on different platforms and instruments. Hence, we will get more customer loyalty from socially-centered people.
4.5.2 Targeted social project developers.
We will continue to make very explicit that any social project developer can submit projects: social businesses, NGOs, traditional (profit maximizing) businesses, startups, entrepreneurs, academics, etc. The reasoning behind this is to access a larger market (Any projects that has both social and economic significant returns). That from interviews with colleagues in the sector, we have learned that most of developers have unsuitable/risky projects. Therefore, we do not want to limit our access to good projects, not even from traditional businesses, if their project fulfills our criteria to be considered social. After A/B testing we might decide to focus on certain kind of project developers, if there is no legal risk of discrimination.
For our first projects, we would seek particularly strategic partnerships with B corps, most recognized social businesses and some traditional businesses to gain people’s trust and avoid operational and default risks
5. Making it happen.
5.1 Planning to achieving.
Map from current state to selling point.
5.2 The Team
Juan Pablo. COO. A Civil Engineer with a Masters in Environmental Sciences, Policy & Management. His practical experience is mainly in project management and infrastructure development at the industrial, comercial and residential level. He has strong skills on group management and leadership; among his multidisciplinary tasks he is in charge of project feasibility assessment as well as environmental and sustainability assesment.
During his graduate studies Juan Pablo performed a number of studies around social –and environmental- issues, and deeply learned about strategic planning to correct and find solution to such,
Juan Pablo is strongly interested in the transformation of the social environment trough entreprenuership focused on innovation and the transformation of the rethorical for social behaviour. He is convinced that the implementation of sustainable development resources, such as the projects that Inspora will support, is a key element towards societal wellbeing.
Dann Moreno. CEO. An Electric-Electronic Engineer, specialized in energy systems with a Master in Environmental Sciences, Policy & Management. coursing the Next Economy MBA from the Lift economy consultancy firm a hands in project MBA specialized in holiistic, bioregional, social businesses. Certification in Crowdfunding and Fintech by the Anahuac University and the AFICO (Collective Funding Platforms Association in Mexico). Experience in the energy and environmental sector. In project management, planning, software development and the power market. A believer in impact investing and social businesses as means to evolve the world into more sustainable paradigms.