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Donation based financing models in...

In donation-based financing models, investors receive no direct return. Their motives are more altruistic and focussed on the goals of the project or based on personal relations. Donations are risk-absorbing capital because they do not have to be repaid. This financing model makes it easier to attract other funding because the financial position of the organization  is improved.

Community funding

In community funding the investors share a common project, space, entity or goal. Depending on the size of the community and funding needed, a digital platform may be utilized to realise the funding.

Donations for community benefit

The most common form of donation-based community funding are donations for the benefit of the community. In this case a community is willing to invest in a common cause that benefits the community.


In crowdfunding, small amounts of money are raised from large amounts of people to fund something. Those who invest choose where they invest in by themselves and may feel more engaged with the impact or revenue generated by the investment. Normally a digital platform is utilised to realise the funding.

Donation-based crowdfunding

In donation-based crowdfunding investors donate small amounts to business, charitable projects and artists without the expectation of a personal return.

Getting a project off the ground through donations works best when there is a clear stake for the donators. The ‘Elektrizitatswerke Schonea EG’ in Germany is a good example of this. A large portion of citizens, both local (community funding) and further away (crowdfunding), wanted to get rid of nuclear power and donated money that allowed the project to buy shares in a power producing company.[1]

[1] CrowdThermal, D3.2

Institutional funding

This includes venture capital but also any other funds made available by companies, charities, governments, banks or others. Investments made by governments may increase confidence of other investors.


Institutions such as governments and charitable foundations may provide grants. Usually to non-profits but also to businesses or local governments. Grants are always provided to achieve a public benefit and do not need to be paid back.

Family office funding

Family offices are an atypical kind of fund. These funds manage the capital of wealthy families and are more flexible than other funds. Apart from grants they may provide all kinds of financing solutions including equity investments and loans. A personal introduction is important to get access to a family office.

Donations and subsidies

Both donations and subsidies are gifts to benefit a specific cause. Usually these are connected to a specific economic sector to reach public goals. Governments and other organisations may provide these.

Match funding

In match funding, governments or other organizations match the funding generated by other investors. It can be done in all forms of capital but the most common forms of government involvement are grants, subsidies and guarantees.[1] Governments may also co-invest in a public-private investment fund which in turn invests in projects and businesses.

[1] CrowdThermal D3.2

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