Colombian stock exchange launches crowd funding platform for start-ups

BOGOTA (Reuters) - Colombia’s stock exchange on Wednesday launched an internet crowd funding platform meant to help small businesses and start-ups raise funds from the public.

The “a2censo” platform will allow people to make investments from 200,000 pesos, about $58, in exchange for company bonds which will offer returns with interest, the exchange said in a statement.

“The initiative is meant to create an alternative source of financing for the more than two million small and medium-sized businesses via a technology tool that will allow companies to gather their financing needs with the savings that people want yields from,” said exchange president Juan Pablo Cordoba.

Start-ups and small companies need financing “at rates adjusted to their needs and on a timeline that coincides with their projects,” Cordoba said.

Colombia’s most famous start-up, delivery app Rappi, this year received a $1 billion injection from Japan’s SoftBank.

The a2censo platform is backed by the commerce ministry, the Inter-American Development Bank and other organizations.

Reporting by Nelson Bocanegra and Julia Symmes Cobb; editing by Grant McCool