So Tooting just got named as one of the top 10 coolest neighbourhoods to visit worldwide right now… amazing! But do you know what else is amazing about Tooting – and probably one of the reasons it has been named one of the best neighbourhoods worldwide? The fact it boasts so many successfully crowdfunded places!

Why do I think this? Two reasons:

Firstly, to crowdfund you need an innovative idea that fixes a problem – something a bit quirky and out of the ordinary that makes people think – ‘that’s crazy I want to give it a go!’

Secondly, in crowdfunding, you need a crowd! It sounds obvious but crowdfunding brings people together to bond over a common interest, form a community and collectively bring whatever it is that’s bonded them to reality.

So linking this to Tooting, because we have so many crowdfunding success stories, our neighbourhood must have innovative solutions to problems, quirky places and a really strong community. To me that is definitely something to be proud of!

So here are 5 of Tooting’s best crowdfunding campaigns. How many did you know were crowdfunded?


The Sound Lounge

By now everyone should know The Sound Lounge on Upper Tooting Road. An arts, music and vegan social enterprise venue that hosts great music nights, family music workshops and friendship hour. This place has gone from strength to strength since opening earlier this year. They raised £12,070 from 122 people in just 42 days before Christmas 2016.

What is so fantastic about the Sound Lounge, is that their crowdfunding campaign has taken the viewer on a journey. The video shows the empty space, and introduces Hannah and Kieron; the founders and show their passion and enthusiasm for their dream. Fast-forward to the present day and walk into the Sound Lounge and you can see with your own eyes that their dream has come true. You can meet Hannah and Kieron and chat to them as if they were old friends, you can see how they’ve done up the interior and you can attend the events they promised! The crowdfunding campaign of the Sound Lounge is a perfect example of taking the audience on a journey.

Check out the video here.


Unwined: A Grape Night In

From pop-up to permanent, Unwined: A Grape Night In found a long-term home in Tooting Market thanks to their Kickstarter campaign in 2015 which raised £8,700(their original goal was just £5,000) from 94 backers in 30 days. Their 3-in-1 wine shop, bar and kitchen is for the locals of Tooting and anyone who wants to come and enjoy wine and the stories behind the label. Their campaign is great for a number of reasons with the best being that they have a huge number of testimonials from previous clients – which must mean it’s great, right?

On why they chose Tooting, Kiki, one of the co-founders said: “Both Laura & I live locally and love the community feel of the area. Tooting itself is so vibrant and eclectic, but there wasn’t any decent wine! We love the idea that we’re a little off the beaten track, but in a market with such a mix of old and new. And we still have people everyday venturing into the market (after not being in for 20 years!) and exclaiming how much life there is here!”


Brew the Tea Pub

Currently closed for refurbishment, Brew the Tea Pub is a perfect example of a quirky crowdfunding campaign that captured the audience. Where else in London, the UK, or anywhere can you find a pub that serves tea on tap and alcoholic tea cocktails? Bringing together two things the British love: tea and alcohol, Brew raised £180k through equity crowdfunding on Crowdcube in 2015 to open their Tooting venue. The tea pub is guaranteed to draw in the locals and those from further afield. After catching up with founder Alex Holland about his crowdfunding experience, he said “don’t underestimate how much work crowdfunding is. You really need a good group of people helping and supporting you with social media, promotion, events and engaging with the people on the platform. A good team around you is key”.


Be Enriched: The Canteen Project

Be Enriched works to provide a free meal to vulnerable people who may otherwise not get a proper meal that day. With four locations in Tooting, Battersea, Elephant & Castle and Brixton, Be Enriched raised £16,300 from 106 people in 43 days to pay for the rent of the locations and a workshop programme to provide free cooking classes or young people. Kemi, the founder, is a key community figure, and passionate about healthy eating and food waste. Her campaign saw the local community come together to help those in the area who needed it the most. As with all crowdfunding campaigns, the excitement came in the last few days where they managed to raise £2,330 in the last 48 hours which pushed them over the target.

If you are in need of a free meal or want to volunteer some time to help prepare the lunch, head to The Graveney Canteen, Tooting URC, 2 Rookstone Road, SW17 9NQ every Friday at noon.


Business Launchpad

Tooting has been home to Business Launchpad for 29 years. And for 29 years they’ve been helping young London-based entrepreneurs start their businesses by providing advice, mentoring and funding – they know first-hand that many start-ups suffer from a lack of funding and customers. Last year, they found a solution to this. One of their young entrepreneurs was myself, a local crowdfunding specialist. Together, Business Launchpad and my Crowdfund 360 consultancy business set up a 13-week course which consisted of 8 weeks of crowdfunding training culminating in all participants running a 5-week crowdfunding campaign. The course was open to all young social entrepreneurs in London. In total 8 organisations took part and raised over £37k for their projects. Business Launchpad is the only business support organisation in London which provides this expert crowdfunding advice to their clients.

If you are in London, pop down to Tooting and visit all the independent coffee shops, restaurants, festivals and market stalls and find out for  yourself which other ones were created out of crowdfunding!

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