How to crowdfund successfully for a sharing economy business

Funding | International | Interview

Camptoo is a sharing economy platform, connecting owners and renters of campervans, caravans and motorhomes. Business Leader recently sat down with founder and CEO Martijn Peeters about the crowdfunding process and what impact it has had on the sharing economy.

The business recently reported reviews in excess of €7m, and looks set to be a leader in this market.

What are the current challenges facing your sector?

There is currently a shortage in the supply of motorhomes and other leisure vehicles. The demand is certainly there but currently, we are not able to supply enough vehicles. Motorhome sharing is still a relatively new concept, which makes people reluctant to try it out at first. As Camptoo provides the safety net for both owners and renters, we want to encourage more vehicle owners to list on the site.

However, the market in the UK is still in its infancy, but we’re seeing it develop very quickly, faster than any of the other Camptoo market. At the current growth rate, we predict that the UK will become the largest market for Camptoo in the next two years. Camping is extremely popular in the UK, both in terms of nights spent at campsites and in terms of registered motorhomes and caravans.

How did you pitch Camptoo for investment? What did you say to capture people’s imaginations?

The collaborative economy was already receiving a lot of success, with the likes of Uber and Airbnb, so for investors our company makes sense and is exactly the type of modern company that is shaping the investment landscape.

We found that people were very open to the concept, and with our background and experience of the industry, our team and the right partners, we’re in a great position to kickstart growth in the UK. Our business provides a real solution to two issues by opening the vehicle rental market to more people, while also providing additional income for owners.

How do you handle different types of stakeholders? 

We have adapted our approach depending on who we are speaking with, however, we have also worked with Seedrs as they have stringent practices in place when it comes to dealing with investors.

For example, each Seedrs crowfunder has the same protected rights as the cornerstone investors we have already secured. One person also votes on behalf of all crowdfunders, to ensure all activity is aligned.

In what ways will the investment enable the business to grow?

Primarily, the awareness generated has enabled us to grow, and boosted our expansion into other countries. The Camptoo platform is developed completely in-house, and the investment will enable us to develop extra features that our users want. For example, we are looking to create a new, automated resolution centre to allow owners and travellers to communicate more easily, as this will enable an even simpler renting process with Camptoo. We are also looking to accelerate growth based on our existing business model and increase our UK team presence by hiring a country manager.

Has online crowdfunding replaced the traditional investment process?

Yes, for us certainly. The collaborative economy and crowdfunding made for a powerful combination. For us, crowdfunding is not just another way of raising funds, the campaign enables us to build awareness and build an even stronger platform for our users. We do not just share motorhomes and campervans, we also share the ownership of our platform to make the business a success.

How has crowdfunding impacted the sharing economy as a whole?

The sharing economy is built on bringing like-minded people together and crowdfunding works in much the same way, by allowing us to reach people that believe in our vision and actively want to help our business grow.

We believe the number of companies offering peer-to-peer lending will only continue to grow, as consumers look to reduce their consumption and more of us choose to have fewer material possessions. With the availability of online crowdfunding, this will enable more sharing economy brands to launch and continue developing.

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