NearDesk has just closed one of the largest equity crowdfunding rounds in Europe, raising just over £1 million pounds from 364 investors. This brings the total number of investors in the company to over 500 people. The most recent funding round included participation from several large investors including Juno Capital and Renaissance Capital Partners.
GIving customers a vested interest
NearDesk is an excellent example of a company for whom the influx of new customers, advocates and industry influencers from an equity crowdfunding round is just as important as the cash raised. Like recent Seedrs successes Blue Crow Media, LoyalZoo and Shareight, NearDesk used their funding round as an opportunity to engage with their customer base.
The groundswell of support for NearDesk from customers and potential customers both validates the demand for the product and creates a tribe of advocates with a vested interest in the company. NearDesk CEO Tom Ball said “Our business is basically an ecosystem – being able to formalise that and have our wonderful community of customers, venues and ambassadors become part owners of the company is priceless.”
Lean capital raising
The NearDesk team have used Seedrs twice in the past to raise earlier rounds of finance. The first round was in March 2013 and raised £134,500. The second round was in September 2013 and raised £50,000. Neardesk has been able to raise successive rounds of capital efficiently because the company has been diligent about building their network of users, venues and fans. Each round of capital raising has helped validate the business model and demonstrate the increased traction the company has achieved. Tom Ball said “Raising frequent small rounds has been a great way to bring customers into the company as shareholders, but a large investment like today’s round will help us grow even faster. Seedrs handles all the details of having such a large investor base – leaving us to focus on growth.”
Large investors alongside the crowd
Several large investors participated in this round alongside the crowd. Juno Capital is a London-based angel syndicate and Renaissance Capital Partners is a London-based investment firm. Thomas Davies, Chief Investment Officer of Seedrs, said “Tom and the NearDesk team have been a pleasure to work with on this transaction. They have involved their large investors right alongside the crowd on the same terms. To me, this shows their integrity and the depth of respect that they have for their customers and community.”
Focusing on growth
NearDesk has recently bought the former CEO of Workspace Group PLC on board as the company Chairman and the team has been growing with the former Head of Partnerships from Tesco ClubCard and the former Head of Fellowship from the RSA joining Neardesk just before the funding round opened. The company is continuing to grow with much of the recent funding round focused on marketing and expansion to new sites.
At closing, this round of financing for NearDesk was the largest ever equity crowdfunding round on Seedrs (other than Seedrs’s own round in 2013) and one of the largest ever in Europe.