While crowdfunding is typically an unconventional approach for for-profit companies to raise capital, it seemed like a natural fit for a growing Benefit Corporation looking to expand its service area and scale its positive impact. Blue Earth Compost collects residential and commercial food waste and delivers it to Quantum Bio-power to be broken down in the absence of oxygen and converted to energy, usable compost and soil-based fertilizers.
With food waste representing the largest single contributor to Connecticut’s landfills, diverting food waste is essential to the state meeting its carbon emissions reduction goals. The Hartford-based compost collection company raised $20,000 in capital through a successful crowdfunding campaign to purchase a new truck to expand their service area.
After securing a loan from Department of Economic and Community Development, Blue Earth Compost needed additional capital to get the new truck transported to Connecticut and up and running. Within 24-hours of setting up a page on Indigogo they reached one-third of their goal. “It was a natural fit for us to raise the capital and expand our customer base this way, but that doesn’t mean it was easy,” King says.
Social capital was an important ingredient to successfully engaging supporters through the crowdfunding platform. “We’ve spent years building up our social capital and establishing a successful track record,” King says.
In fact, their commitment to utilizing business as a tool for positive change extends beyond an environmental mission to include high-road labor practices. “We consider ourselves a second chance employer and feel an obligation to the Hartford community to give people the opportunity to be considered for employment regardless of their past,” King says.
This commitment to generating positive social impact, along with the fact the company was just large enough to have established its reputation for reliable services yet small enough to justify a need to raise money, contributed to the success of the campaign.