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How Revenue-Based Finance Helped This Green Startup To Grow

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When startups are seeking external funding their options are often limited to debt funding from the bank or equity funding from an investor, and in the very early stages of the business, it can still be difficult to secure. When entrepreneur Cemal Ezel found himself in that position, he approached global e-commerce investor Clearco.

Ezel had co-founded an environmentally-friendly toilet paper brand, Serious Tissues, which was launched in April 2020. Made from 100% recycled material, Serious Tissues was also the U.K.’s only carbon-neutral toilet paper brand and has partnered with a number of associations on tree planting projects all around the world. Around 15% of deforestation is due to toilet paper production alone, according to the Natural Resource Defense Council.

However, despite the brand’s green credentials, promising early sales, and the global success of Ezel’s previous social enterprise Change Please, which helps homeless people off the street by training them as coffee baristas, the banks and investors were reluctant to provide funding.

He says: “When you have a strong track record in business, you assume that you are in a stronger position when it comes to securing venture capital or a bank loan, but because Serious Tissues was a different legal entity to Change Please that didn’t happen, and lenders and investors saw only the risks associated with a brand new venture.”

Serious Tissues had been launched just as the pandemic hit the U.K., so the team had to switch its plans to target the B2B market to the direct-to-consumers (D2C). And online sales via Shopify, Instagram, and Facebook advertising exploded. It was clear that the more they invested in advertising, the higher the return. The challenge was how to raise the cash they needed to reinvest, which was when they discovered Clearco.

Headquartered in Toronto, as part of its global expansion plans, Clearco entered the U.K. in October 2020, providing revenue-based financing for direct-to-consumer e-commerce businesses with a minimum of six months of trading data. It has invested almost £100 million pounds in 700 business founders in the U.K. 

The model works by taking the company’s transactional data from Shopify and PayPal etc., as well as their Facebook advertising account, Google search words, etc., and running it through an algorithm to create a forecast for future revenues on which a funding decision is then based.

Clearco’s head of U.K. Sarah Clark explains: “The algorithm presents you with three offers of capital; low, medium and high. It’s not a bank loan and we don’t charge interest. Instead, we charge a fixed fee, typically about 6%, and then agree on a percentage of your daily online revenues as repayment.”

Unlike a traditional bank loan, where fixed repayments are made via a monthly schedule, with the revenue-based model, if companies don’t make a sale, they don’t pay anything, which has obvious benefits for businesses experiencing supply chain issues.

“If you’re ordering goods from overseas with a lead time of eight months, you having to pay for those goods, but you won’t sell them for eight months,” says Clark. “Our funding can be an effective way of bridging that working capital gap; we lend you the money upfront and you only start paying it back when you start making sales.”

The funding helped Serious Tissues achieve a return of 150% on its advertising investment, and hit its year four sales target by the end of year one. To date, it has received £300,000 from Clearco. Ezel says: “Having proven that our model has worked over the last year, we are now speaking to three or four different banks about some longer-term funding.”

Another upside to the Clearco funding model is that because the investment decision is based solely on a company’s data it removes the vast majority of bias. “As a consequence, it has funded many more businesses founded by women and members of ethnic minorities,” adds Clark.

For Ezel and his team, the success of the business has also enabled it to deliver on its environmental commitments. For every pack of toilet paper sold, Serious Tissues plants a tree. “We are currently planting an area four times the size of London’s Hyde Park every week. Ezel says: “As a social enterprise, we can now make a much bigger impact on the world.”

Startups

Identity in the metaverse: Creating a global identity system

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With the advent of the metaverse, the need for a global identity system has become apparent. There are many different ways to create an identity in the metaverse, but no single system is universally accepted. 

The challenge is usually two-fold: first, how to create an identity that is accepted by all the different platforms and services in the metaverse, and second, how to keep track of all the different identities a person may have.

There are many proposed solutions to these challenges, but no clear consensus has emerged. Some believe that a single, global identity system is the only way to ensure interoperability between different platforms and services. Others believe that multiple identities are necessary to allow people to maintain their privacy and security.

The debate is ongoing, but it is clear that the need for a global identity system is becoming more urgent as the metaverse continues to grow.

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In this article, we will explore the various options for creating a global identity system in the metaverse. We will discuss the pros and cons of each option, and try to identify the best solution for the future.

Option 1: A single global identity

The simplest solution to the problem of identity in the metaverse is to create a single, global identity system. This would be a centralized system that would be responsible for managing all identities in the metaverse. 

The advantages of this approach are obvious: It would be much easier to keep track of identities, and there would be no need to worry about different platforms and services accepting different identities. In addition, a centralized identity system would allow for better security and privacy controls, as well as the ability to track identity theft and fraud.

However, this approach also has several disadvantages. First, it would be very difficult to create a global identity system that is accepted by everyone. Also, a centralized system would be vulnerable to attack and could be used to track people’s movements and activities. Third, it would be difficult to protect the privacy of users in a centralized system.

Option 2: Multiple identities

Another solution to the problem of identity in the metaverse is to allow each person to have multiple identities. This would mean that each person could have one or more identities that they use for different purposes. 

One of the main advantages of this approach is that it would allow people to maintain their privacy and security. Each person could choose which identity to use for each situation, and they would not have to worry about their entire identity being exposed. In addition, this approach would be more resilient to attack, as it would be much harder to take down multiple identities than a single one.

The limitations of such an approach would be that it could be difficult to keep track of all the different identities, and there would be no guarantee that different platforms and services would accept all of them. In addition, multiple identities could lead to confusion and could make it more difficult for people to build trust with others.

Option 3: A decentralized identity system

A third solution to the problem of identity in the metaverse is to create a decentralized identity system. This would be an identity system that is not controlled by any one centralized authority but rather is distributed among many different nodes. 

This might seem like the ideal approach, since decentralization is a common theme in the metaverse. However, there are still some challenges that need to be overcome. For instance, it would need to be ensured that all the different nodes in the system are properly synchronized and that the system as a whole is secure. In addition, it might be difficult to get people to adopt such a system if they are used to the more traditional centralized approach.

One solution would be to get the nodes in the system to be run by different organizations. This would help to decentralize the system and make it more secure. Another advantage of this approach is that it would allow different organizations to offer their own identity services, which could be more tailored to their needs.

Another would be to incorporate an edge computing solution into the system. This would allow for more decentralized processing of data and could help to improve performance. It would also make the system more resilient to attack since there would be no centralized point of failure.

The best solution for the future of identity in the metaverse is likely to be a combination of these approaches. A centralized system might be necessary to provide a basic level of identity services, but it should be supplemented by a decentralized system that is more secure and resilient. Ultimately, the goal should be to create an identity system that is both easy to use and secure.

The ideal identity standards of the metaverse

Now that we have explored the various options for identity in the metaverse, we can start to identify the ideal standards that should be met by any future global identity system. 

It is no easy task to create a global identity system that meets all of the criteria, but it is important to strive for an ideal solution. After all, the metaverse is still in its early stages, and the decisions made now will have a lasting impact on its future. 

Current iterations of the metaverse have used very traditional approaches to identity, but it is time to start thinking outside the box. The ideal solution will be one that is secure, private, decentralized, and easy to use. It will be a solution that allows people to maintain their privacy while still being able to interact with others in the metaverse. 

Most importantly, it will be a solution that can be accepted and used by everyone. Only then can we hope to create a truly global identity system for the metaverse.

The bottom line on identity in the metaverse

The question of identity in the metaverse is a complex one, but it is an important issue that needs to be addressed. 

The challenges associated with creating an implementation that is secure, private and decentralized are significant, but they are not insurmountable. For one, it will be important to get buy-in from organizations that have a vested interest in the metaverse. These organizations can help to promote and support the adoption of identity standards. 

It is also important to keep in mind that the metaverse is still evolving, and the solution that is ideal today might not be ideal tomorrow. As such, it will be critical to have a flexible identity system that can adapt as the needs of the metaverse change. 

Ultimately, the goal should be to create an identity system that is both easy to use and secure. Only then can we hope to create a truly global identity system for the metaverse.

Daniel Saito is CEO and cofounder of StrongNode

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How to Eliminate Scheduling Inefficiencies in Your Business

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What do salons, consultancies, and home service providers all have in common? This question may seem like the prime setup for a joke, but there’s no punchline to look forward…

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Why You Should Start a Business Only While You Have a Job

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Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Many people that I meet tell me that they dream of starting their own . I always ask them, “Then why don’t you?” They typically respond by saying that they have so many financial and personal responsibilities, that they can’t just quit their job to start a company, etc. Then I tell them my story …



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Related: How to Use Your Current Job to Start Your Next Business

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