Sometimes, there are moments in life where I think to myself, “Huh, why doesn’t everyone do this?” Or, more accurately, “Why don’t I do this?” Honestly, before this year’s awards ceremony in Berlin, I hadn’t even heard of WIWIN, the online platform for sustainable investing. It was founded in 2011 by Mattias Willenbacher, whose motivation was – and still is – to further engage people in the urgently needed shift towards a more sustainable lifestyle. A great idea which, incidentally, had quite the unbelievable side effect. Up until now, I have let my money waste away in a savings account, where it is probably decreasing in value and constantly being misused for corruption, nuclear warfare or the armaments industry. WIWIN offers me – and all future investors, big or small – a real alternative to conventional investments. And WIWIN really means it. There is nothing wishy-washy about it and no murky gray area. Their agenda is clear: WIWIN processes capital investments and focusses on the three areas of renewable energy, sustainable start-ups and energy-efficient mobility solutions. The platform solely concerns itself with sustainability-oriented investors, those with a clear focus on changing their lifestyle to be more environmentally friendly. With a minimum investment of 500 euros, through WIWIN you can make your own active contributions to exciting projects that will lead to a more sustainable future.

GREEN MONEY –
THE CLEAN SIDE OF INVESTMENT

Category: Innovation     Text: Angela Peltner
Sometimes, there are moments in life where I think to myself, “Huh, why doesn’t everyone do this?” Or, more accurately, “Why don’t I do this?” Honestly, before this year’s awards ceremony in Berlin, I hadn’t even heard of WIWIN, the online platform for sustainable investing. It was founded in 2011 by Mattias Willenbacher, whose motivation was – and still is – to further engage people in the urgently needed shift towards a more sustainable lifestyle. A great idea which, incidentally, had quite the unbelievable side effect.
Up until now, I have let my money waste away in a savings account, where it is probably decreasing in value and constantly being misused for corruption, nuclear warfare or the armaments industry. WIWIN offers me – and all future investors, big or small – a real alternative to conventional investments. And WIWIN really means it. There is nothing wishy-washy about it and no murky gray area. Their agenda is clear: WIWIN processes capital investments and focusses on the three areas of renewable energy, sustainable start-ups and energy-efficient mobility solutions. The platform solely concerns itself with sustainability-oriented investors, those with a clear focus on changing their lifestyle to be more environmentally friendly. With a minimum investment of 500 euros, through WIWIN you can make your own active contributions to exciting projects that will lead to a more sustainable future.
A REAL WI-WIN SITUATION
So far, more than 5000 investors have contributed over 59 million euros towards various projects. All interest and repayments have, as of yet, been payed out on time and in their full amount. The WIWIN system is both simple and clever: all upcoming, current and successfully completed projects, of which there is an extremely diverse range, are listed on their website. I found many projects in the areas of wind energy, sustainable housing, electric cars, reducing food waste, upcycling, cargo bikes (like the “Convercyle”) and so much more. A comprehensive overview of all possible projects is made available to investors on the WIWIN website; the investor can then decide towards which project or projects they wish to put their money.
The presentation of the projects reminded me of a typical crowdfunding proposal. On WIWIN, you are shown a short introduction of each project’s founder[s], an application video and the project’s statistics, such as for how long it will run, its total costs and, of course, how it then thanks the investor. It is here that you can see the huge difference from a crowdfunding campaign. In contrast to traditional crowdfunding, the investor doesn’t receive any physical gift or tangible benefit through WIWIN. Rather, it is real “crowdinvesting” with an economic reward, the exact percentage of which varies from project to project. A clear case of a classic win-win situation.
Of course, despite WIWN’s careful screening and project selection, there will be cases where a project yields lower profits than previously expected, or – in the worst case – experiences a total loss. But we are all adults; a residual risk is part of any business. In an ideal scenario you invest in a project close to your heart and also make some money from it. Moreover, as an investor it makes sense to spread yourself out and invest in several projects at once. The online platform definitely doesn’t lack a selection. And, as Erich Kästner once so wonderfully said, “Es gibt nichts Gutes außer man tut es. Gut Ding will Weile haben.” (Actions speak louder than words. Good things come to those who wait.)”

Photo: Stefan Escher | agentur one
AND THE WINNER IS
With the help of the audience and a diverse jury, WIWIN has been the most highly regarded sustainability award for German start-ups since its founding in 2018. Willenbacher and his team bought the award to life in order to give green start-ups the recognition and financial support they need, with the first-prize winner receiving an investment of 500,000 euros. This year 160 start-ups applied, and there is a constant stream of great new projects and entrepreneurs working at the forefront of sustainability.
One of this year’s applicants was SPOONTAINABLE, founded in 2018 by three women from Stuttgart. The start-up was awarded first place for its cocoa-spoon the “Spoonie”. The “Spoonie” is a sustainable, edible alternative to the traditional ice cream spoon – it is made solely from upcycling unused fiber from food processing. It has seen growing success through the pronounced counter-movement against single-use plastic and the audience, the jury and Willenbacher all believe its use will expand significantly. This is particularly due to the upcoming ban on single-use tableware and cutlery the EU plans to implement in 2021. Oh, and the “Spoonie” is also vegan!
Maybe it’s time to finally get rid of the savings account and invest in the “Spoonie”. I’ve even got the link ready to do so: www.wiwin.de/crowdinvesting-kampagne-spoontainable

Photo: Stefan Escher | agentur one

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