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In partnership with Stir to Action, supported by The Co‑operative Bank

How to finance your platform co‑op start-up

Introduction

A platform co‑op is a co‑op business that operates through a digital platform. A co‑op is a business or organisation owned and controlled by its members and built on a set of co‑op principles and values.

Platform co‑ops are a relatively new phenomenon, with pioneering entrepreneurs setting up platform co‑ops in a wide range of sectors across the globe. 

The journey of a platform co‑op founder is not easy and given how young the movement is, there is no well trodden path to success; rather this is a time of experimentation from which we are all learning. 

This guide is an attempt to summarise these first findings. We expect the landscape to change in the coming years, both from the point of view of sources of finance and of the amounts being raised. 

About this guide

This guide is aimed at platform co‑op founders taking their first steps to set up their businesses. 

You can read through this guidance here or click the download button at the top of this page to download a pdf copy.

It is formed of three parts: 

  • Part 1 provides the context in which platform co‑ops are emerging and the challenges they face.
  • Part 2 is a general introduction to co‑op finance for platform co‑ops.
  • Part 3 goes step-by-step through the journey of a platform co‑op start-up and identifies the most appropriate forms of funding for each phase (set-up, pre-seed and seed).

Guidance provided here has been generated from observing the journey of existing platform co‑ops, learning from the routes taken by standard start-ups and adapting funding models used by traditional co‑ops. Every business and sector will be different so you should seek professional financial advice before embarking on any of the suggested ways of raising finance. 

Alongside this guide, Co‑operatives UK provides:

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