Nov 16, 2021
StartGreen makes an impact with a team of over forty experts. These are not only specialists in venture capital and impact investing. Maartje Asscheman, for example, together with her team of developers, ensures that investors can make an investment in an intuitive and reliable way via Oneplanetcrowd.
My job is to ensure that we deploy our development capacity in such a way that we are heading in the right direction with the platform. I monitor the course and determine which future improvements we want to make now build and which one later. I do this together with three developers, but also together with people in the StartGreen organization.
Like a spider in the web, I switch with my colleagues and I am in indirect contact with our investors and entrepreneurs. I know what is going on in the different corners of the organization, on an operational and strategic level, and I connect the functionality of the platform to that. For investors, this means an intuitive flow from registering to investing and managing their portfolio. For entrepreneurs, we check whether the financing arrangements match the options on our platform, for example with a specific repayment schedule or a completely new financial product.
Oneplanetcrowd has been around for more than 9 years now. Sustainable and social entrepreneurs can collect financing from us for their starting or growing company. Our crowd of investors consists of approximately 26,000 investors and 35,000 interested parties who are registered with us. At the start, we not only offered loans, but also donations and presales. An investor would then be the first to receive the product or receive another consideration. We are now – as one of the first platforms – also offering convertible loans. We only offer financing options with a good balance between return and risk. So far we have already provided more than 150 loans with a total value of 70 million euros.
Unique service level
We believe it is important that an investment has an impact, also in the long term. We are involved throughout the term of the loan. Unlike other crowdfunding platforms, we manage the loans provided ourselves and arrange the payment process of principal and interest. We ask entrepreneurs to provide an update every six months about their business and the impact they are making with the investment. Through the platform, the investors stay informed about the loan through semi-annual business updates and other loan details in the profile.
Due to our involvement in the entire process, we can identify at an early stage whether the entrepreneur is able to keep to the agreements. We represent the crowd and defend the interests of investors. If an entrepreneur is unable to meet his payment obligations, we will consult and adjust the loan if necessary. We make an arrangement with the entrepreneur and offer investors the choice to take a different course. This is also all done via the platform.
Oneplanetcrowd offers various types of financing products: loans, convertible loans – where the loan can be converted (converted) into shares, shares and recently bond loans. Each product requires its own working and processing method. A team of three developers and a product owner works on the development and maintenance of these products. You can ask yourself whether that is necessary: the platform does it anyway, isn't it finished? But the company is also not standing still: processes are being improved and new products are being developed. We want to be able to move with the organization.
It is always a challenge to maintain an intuitive and user-friendly platform for our investors, while taking into account the strategic wishes of the organization and the laws and regulations that are imposed on us as a financial service provider. A good example is the MiFID II license. We worked hard last year to get it because it allows us to get bigger financing with bond loans. But with that we have to comply with more regulations, for which we have to conduct investor tests and verify the identity of our investors. That makes the start on our platform less user-friendly, but it increases the financing options. It is my role as product owner to find a balance between wishes and requirements.
In addition to the choices for functionalities and user-friendliness, we have to take the maintenance of the platform into account. We attach great importance to a safe and reliable platform. That's why we work with a dedicated team, we use up-to-date technologies for our code frameworks and the infrastructure and we apply a agile approach in our development process. We work according to best practices that you see at large tech companies, such as Booking.com and Google.
A secure platform is the starting point for every design. With every functionality we develop, we ensure that the chance of a data breach is minimal. Every so often we have technical analyzes done to check the infrastructure and security. Earlier this year we collaborated with a team of students from the Cyber Security study. They were unable to infiltrate our platform using the well-known hacking methods. That reinforces my confidence that we have a state-of-the-art platform.
I have now been working for Oneplanetcrowd for over 3.5 years and still enjoy it. I think it is important that what I work on contributes to a more sustainable and social society. That is why I consciously chose a 'green' company. Before that I already worked in IT, but I missed the societal, social and sustainable relevance. At Oneplanetcrowd I can both use my IT skills and contribute to a better world.