Crowdcube Raises 6M from Numis

Crrowcube LogoUK platform Crowdcube today announced that it has raised 6M GBP of investment to further accelerate its growth. The investment is led by Numis, a UK stockbroker and corporate advisor. Tim Draper and London-based Draper Esprit have also joined this new funding round alongside existing backers Balderton Capital, one of Europe’s largest venture firms.

The investment will enable Crowdcube to accelerate growth, continue the expansion of its team, ramp up new product development including the creation of a new solution for companies going public, and invest further in its acclaimed marketing activities.

‘We’re on a mission to help more businesses raise the finance they need to grow, create jobs and deliver returns to investors. We’ve dominated the democratisation of seed-stage equity investment since we launched in 2011 and we’re determined to do the same for larger businesses. We want to put the Public back into IPO.’ commented Darren Westlake, CEO and co-founder of Crowdcube.

This round puts the Crowdcube at 51M GBP post investment.
Continue reading

Who Owns Top UK Crowdfunding Platforms Crowdcube and Seedrs?

Thanks to Companies House filings of British Companies are available to the public fee-free now (previously there was a small fee to access documents). This is a huge plus for equity crowdfunding as interested investors can check past filings of the pitching companies (provided the company was not founded very recently).

This also allows anybody interested to check how many shares the founders, employees and investors of the top UK equity crowdfunding platforms Crowdcube and Seedrs hold. And in order to save you the time to search yourself, P2P-Banking.com provides the direct links to the documents below:

Crowdcube

Seedrs

Both companies had pitches in the past for themselves, offering part of their equity on their platforms to interested investors.

Continue reading

Crowdcube Raises 1.2M from the Crowd and 3.8M from Balderton Capital

Today British crowdinvestment platform Crowdcube started pitching the crowd to raise 1.2 million GBP. This was on the same terms as the 3.8 million GBP it raises from Balderton Capital in this series B funding. The total raised is for 25.64% equity. This puts the valuation at about 19.5 million GBP. The pitch was funded  in a record 16 minutes by 142 investors. There was a minimum investment threshold of 1,000 GBP (and a maximum of 25K GBP) in this round.

Crowdcube launched in 2011 and has raised over 30 million GBP for more than 130 start-up, early stage and growth businesses. More than half of this finance has been secured in the first half of 2014. Crowdcube also succeeded to sign up international partners and now has a presence in seven countries: Brazil, Sweden, Dubai, Poland, Italy, Spain and New Zealand. I feel that Crowdcube has done tremendously well in terms of product development and building its market position.

Darren Westlake, CEO of Crowdcube commented: ‘We’re delighted to secure growth finance from such a renowned VC who will undoubtedly add tremendous value both strategically and operationally. We’ve built a pioneering and award-winning service over the last few years. This investment, alongside the crowd, puts us in an even stronger position to provide essential growth finance for businesses and inspire a new generation of investors.’

This round follows earlier rounds, where Crowdcube raised 320K GBP in Dec. 2011 (I invested a small amount during that round) and 1.5M GBP last year prompting Techcrunch to rightly state ‘Let no one accuse Crowdcube of not eating its own dog food‘. However I would expect a crowdinvestment platform to be a stellar role model in communication with its own investors and I feel there is lots of room for improvement there (especially when compared to some other equity crowdfunding pitches I invested in) as frequence and content of information provided has been sparse and I found the answers to my direct email queries to Crowdcube directors unsatisfying.

Seven Players Join Forces to Promote Alternative Business Funding

In the UK 7 innovative finance companies have joined forces and launched the Alternativebusinessfunding.co.uk website to inform SMEs what alternative funding methods they offer. Two p2p lending services Zopa and Funding Circle, two p2p equity (crowdinvesting) services Crowdcube and Seedrs as well as three other services Pension-Led Funding, Platform Black and MarketInvoice participate in this non-bank funders collaberation.
These platforms account for 85% of alternative finance for businesses market and have provided more than 580 million GBP to SMEs between them.

Screenshot

The information website works like this:
1. Enter the amount of funding you require.
2. After each question you will see the lights change dependant on which funder suits your criteria.
3. At the final question click on any green (or amber) traffic lights for your preferred funder details.
4. All that is left now is for you to approach your funder of choice about sourcing SME finance.

Crowdcube Celebrates First Birthday – Crowdcube Infographic

British P2P Equity marketplace startup Crowdcube celebrates its first anniversary (Happy Birthday from P2p-Banking, too :-)). Lately Crowdcube picked up speed substantially in attracting more and more startups pitching for funding. While investors are currently very selective in what to fund, the volume funded has shown nice growth too. The following infographic by Crowdcube illustrates that (see ‘Amount invested’).


(Source: Crowdcube) Continue reading

How to Become a Shareholder of Crowdcube

Yesterday I invested a small amount and will become a shareholder of Crowdcube Ltd., which runs the British p2p equity marketplace Crowdcube.com (see earlier articles about Crowdcube). Crowdcube is currently using it’s own platform to raise 300,000 GBP (approx. 470K US$) for a stake of 9% in the company.

If you decide quick, you can become a shareholder of Crowdcub too (minimum investment is 10 GBP). For UK residents investments of over 500 GBP mean they are eligible for a 30% income tax rebate under the EIS scheme. At the time of this writing the pitch is 54% funded and it looks like it will fully fund within the next days.

Crowdcube provides a slide presentation and a forecast. The forecast is a bit sketchy with some figures being debatable in my view but overall I think Crowdcube is a promising venture for the following reasons:

  1. The founders achieved quite a lot in the short time since launch
  2. Good marketing angle. New pitches might allow them to uphold high PR resonance (at least locally and industry sector specific). With luck and craftsmanship they might achieve equal marketing spin in p2p equity as Kickstarter has achieved in crowdfunding
  3. I expect p2p equity in UK to get a boost by rising tax reliefs (50% !) under new SEIS scheme (see yesterday’s post)
  4. Crowdcube, if growing fast, might reach a level where (for UK) it profits from network effect. However the pitch is missing competitor analysis and strategies to deal with them.
  5. Good revenue/cost ratio. With less (technical) complexity than say Zopa or Ratesetter (but much higher risk for investors in pitches)
  6. Should they succeed in creating a secondary market that is not awkward/clumsy in the future, then that will heighten the attractiveness for investors as it offers liquidity for the investments

I am fairly optimistic that the influx of pitches won’t be a problem. It is hard to gauge how the funding success percentage of these will be as that depends on the quality of pitches. The single biggest threat to Crowdcube’s business model in my view is the prossibility of one of the companies funded at the market place failing big time and leaving very unsatisfied investors.

I plan to post further reviews of the progress (naturally I won’t share any confidential data made available to shareholders).