Invest My School Crowdfunding platform for schools

Invest My School case study cover
  • UK Country
  • Education Industry
  • Crowdfunding platform Type
About

Fundraising in the educational sector is nothing new. Schools are seeking money to buy new playground equipment, upgrade facilities, buy new books or special needs items.

Going the traditional route and asking stakeholders for donations is quite a lengthy process.

Chris Rose and Michael Cordell decided to change the way schools get funding. Together, we built InvestMySchool — the first UK based crowdfunding platform for independent schools.

InvestMySchool – website screenshots
Investors

Any UK citizen aged 18+ and holding a UK bank account qualifies to register with InvestMySchool.

We implemented automatic KYC and AML checks to verify identity and determine whether or not an investor is eligible for lending.

If investors have any questions about a campaign, they can ask questions at a specially designed Q&A Forum, where the borrowers will provide answers.

InvestMySchool - investor
Borrowers

To qualify and be able to start a crowdfunding campaign, a school has to match specific eligibility criteria. The confirmation process is handled manually, and it takes about an hour after a Funding Request submission to decide whether the school is eligible or not.

The marketing fee is 3%, plus, the fundraiser has to pay a deposit.

Borrowers set the interest rates themselves. It can be at 0% if they want; however, the investors may look for options.

Fundraisers also decide who they would like to receive funds from parents, grandparents, alumni, the wider school community, or the public.

A loan calculator is available to everybody and allows schools to get an idea of the costs involved by setting the loan type, amount, interest rate, and repayment term.

Repayment methods

We implemented two repayment modes InvestMySchool.

1. Term method – the borrower, shall repay the loan in monthly instalments over a set period.

2. Bullet method – the borrower repays 100% of the capital at a fixed point in time together with the accrued interest. A repayment plan should be prepared by the borrower and presented in their Loan Request.

The investor’s funds are held in a ring-fenced Barclays Bank PLC bank account. They remain there until the investor decides to use or withdraw them.

Technical Implementation

We built InvestMySchool with the Yii 2 framework.

The backend part connects to Difitek (formerly CrowdValley) to get the data via an API.

All KYC and AML checks are carried out online and automated through GB Group.

There are numerous payment gateways for crowdfunding platforms to choose from. In the case of InvestMySchool, we’ve integrated it with SagePay to allow investors to add funds to their wallets and with GoCardless to let the borrowers withdraw the money.

The frontend of InvestMySchool is built with bootstrap and adapts nicely to any device.

Technical details
  • Yii2 PHP framework
  • Difitek back-office
  • GoCardless payment gateway
  • SagePay payment gateway
  • MailChimp integration
  • Bootstrap
  • JavaScript
  • Responsive layout
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