Raise Green is a FINRA and SEC-registered marketplace where just about anyone can directly invest in climate solutions. Unlike Energea or Renewables, the platform enables investors to browse numerous debt and equity-based opportunities for a variety of climate solution companies that are issued under Regulation Crowdfunding ("Reg CF") rules. And with minimum investments of as little as $100, it's accessible to nearly everyone seeking to create meaningful impact with their portfolio and earn an attractive return.
Let’s take a look at who’s behind the organization, why you should consider using the platform, and how to get started.
Who's behind Raise Green?
Raise Green was co-founded by Franz Hochstrasser, Matt Moroney, and Jackie Logan to democratize impact investing in 2018, and the marketplace launched in 2020.
Franz Hochstrasser's journey to co-founding the organization began as an Appointee to the Special Envoy on Climate during Obama’s presidency. While working in the White House, he helped implement the most significant clean energy investment in U.S. history at that time, launched the President's climate action plan, and negotiated the finances of the Paris Agreement at COP-21.
Hochstrasser met data & environmental scientist Moroney at Yale University while studying for graduate degrees in environmental management. The two realized that climate solutions could scale faster if individuals – not just governments or the wealthy – had a way to get involved. As a result, the two founded Raise Green in 2018, and shortly thereafter partnered with Jackie Logan, a veteran of J.P. Morgan and Goldman Sachs with deep capital markets expertise. After two successful pilot projects, Raise Green officially launched its crowdfunding platform in July 2020.
Why invest in Raise Green?
Raise Green offers investors access to numerous climate-focused projects - you might invest in a specific solar array, or a growing climate-tech company, or a seed-stage startup. Moreover, these investment securities come in many forms, enabling investors to pick and choose the best options for their portfolios. So, for instance, a retiree could select a debt note to generate current income, whereas an investor with a longer time horizon could choose an equity investment like common or preferred stock.
Some examples of projects include:
- We Solar Inc. is the first full-service African American-owned community solar firm, and sold a convertible note that pays a 5% annual interest rate.
- A subsidiary of the Climate Access Fund gathered preliminary interest in equity shares of a community solar project, serving low- and moderate-income households in Baltimore, MD.
- Connecticut Green Bank listed the first-ever Green Bond-verified Reg CF offering in the US, to fund small businesses’ energy efficiency measures and reduce their energy costs- a 1 year debt note at 2.5%.
Companies listed on Raise Green’s marketplace have raised over $5 million since mid-2020, and in July 2022 the platform launched its 15th live offering. The platform has a growing community of over 2,000 investors.
Investors should keep in mind that crowdfunding opportunities also involve a unique set of risks. In particular, crowdfunded investments are less liquid than publicly-traded equities or bonds, meaning you may not be able to sell them. Additionally, companies may not provide the same level of disclosure as publicly-traded companies do in SEC filings. Each offering provides a list of risks and disclosures that investors can review before investing.
How to invest in Raise Green
Raise Green's online platform makes it easy to get started. After creating a free account, investors can choose from a constantly-changing list of opportunities. Then, after selecting a project or company, you can invest as little as $100 or as much as $5 million. And finally, the platform makes it easy to track your investments over time.
The platform offers several types of investment:
Asset classes may include solar projects, energy efficiency projects, climate-tech startups, climate-impact loan programs, and more.
Security types may include preferred or common equity, secured or unsecured debt, SAFE notes, convertible notes, and others.
Rates of return can range from concessionary (i.e. below-market, for charitable impact) to market-rate, and maturities may be short or long term.
- Some listings may be in a preliminary “Indications of Interest” stage, where investors can express non-binding, preliminary interest in a potential project, and be notified once the offering is live.
Raise Green’s marketplace includes a forum where you can submit questions to the Issuers about their offering or business, and get a direct response. As an investor, you can connect with the companies directly and follow their progress.
Raise Green's offerings are Regulation Crowdfunding opportunities, meaning specific rules and regulations apply.
- Non-accredited investors with an annual income or net worth of less than $107,000 can only invest the greater of either $2,200, or 5% of the greater of their annual income or net worth.
- Retail investors with both income and net worth above $107,000 can invest up to 10% of their annual income or net worth (whichever is greater), but not exceed $107,000 per year.
- For accredited investors, there is no annual limit.
If you want to learn more about Regulation Crowdfunding or climate impact finance in general, the Raise Green website has educational content, blogs, and FAQs.
The bottom line
Raise Green provides one of the most comprehensive crowdfunding platforms for anyone to invest in tangible climate solutions. While most opportunities focus on individual projects, Raise Green provides a rotating list of opportunities that range from project finance to corporate growth capital, and include a variety of debt and equity options, and low minimum investments, making it easy to find the right fit for any portfolio.