Author Archives: alysiaseedrs

About alysiaseedrs

I'm the marketing director for Seedrs. I love spreading the gospel of crowdfunding, and sharing the stories of entrepreneurs and investors. I'm always on the go - so try to keep up!

Holiday survival guide from Seedrs

Still looking for the perfect last-minute gift for your loved-ones this holiday season? You’re in luck! We’ve compiled a list of offers, last-minute gift ideas and shopping tips for the savviest of gift-givers, from some of the most indulgent and interesting Seedrs-funded businesses.

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Wall of Success

What do you get when you have cool tech, like the Triggertrap mobile dongle, two awesome new interns you’d like to familiarise themselves with Seedrs-funded businesses to date, and a reception that needs a bit of colour? Check out the below to see for yourself.

 

Why equity crowdfunding a listed company is kind of a big deal

Public Company Crowdfunding

Equity crowdfunding is evolving quickly. Naturally, equity crowdfunding fills the funding gap that exists for many early-stage businesses that are too risky for banks, too early for angels and too small for venture capitalists. But now, later-stage companies are catching on to the power of professionally managed crowdfunding platforms (like Seedrs). What we are starting to realise is that equity crowdfunding works really well for certain types of business, regardless of what stage they are at.

This month, publicly-listed, award winning English winemaker and craft brewer Chapel Down (listed on ISDX) launched a £1.6M crowdfunding campaign on Seedrs. In less than three weeks, they overfunded to almost £4M, from around 1,400 investors – which makes this the largest equity crowdfunding campaign ever. This was the first time a public company – anywhere in the world – campaigned for investment via equity crowdfunding. This is an excitingly innovative approach to raising growth capital, especially when most companies at their stage, with their positive financial traction, traditionally reach out to institutions and large individual investors in The City. This is part of the continuing evolution in crowdfunding.

So, why does campaigning on Seedrs make so much sense for larger, listed companies?:

Companies need investment to grow
Regardless of stage, businesses often need capital investment for growth. Publicly listed companies are no different and look to raise money from institutions and retail investors alike. But when they do this the company is not actually raising money through the exchange. Instead, the brokers and placers are the distribution channels through which the institutional and retail investors are accessed. Seedrs, in the case of Chapel Down, is a new type of distribution channel through which Chapel Down as a publicly listed company can access retail investors who might not otherwise have been able to be reached.

Raising investment takes time
When raising investment traditionally through brokers, it can be immensely time consuming and inefficient. Roadshows, sales calls, meetings, emails – it can be draining on the resources of a company. Seedrs provides a very quick, efficient and online process for the publicly listed company to reach out to these investors, and for these investors to quickly and easily subscribe for publicly listed shares.

It’s more than just funding
Inviting customers to invest in your business is a great way to build long-term brand engagement and resonance among people who are already bought in on a transactional level. By inviting them the chance to invest and be a part of your future, you’re inviting them to have a deeper, longer-term relationship with your business. Because these customer-investors will be literally bought into the business, they’ll have a vested interest in helping with user research and feedback, buy your brand instead of competitors, becoming brand evangelists, and keeping in touch.

Combine online and offline investors
Quoted companies likely have previous investors who will have pre-emption rights and may want to follow on their investment. Or, they could have interest among outside institutions. Bringing these offline investors online (through a placing or new share offer), along with a crowd of customers and potential customers, is dramatically more efficient. All investors, regardless of size, can be offered the same transparent terms and same (ordinary) shares; shareholder documentation is standardised; and the ongoing relationship between the business and its investors is more effectively managed through a post-investment investor relations web portal.

Offer more than investment
Many UK businesses may qualify to offer advantageous tax reliefs to investors, including EIS, that wouldn’t be applicable for shares purchased on an exchange. Investors need to hold shares for a minimum period of time to qualify for the reliefs (three years in the case of EIS), but many investors find the tax reliefs highly appealing for longer-term investments and prefer to have access to investments that qualify. Crowdfunding through a platform also makes it possible to offer investors additional perks like free samples, invitations to AGMs, early-access to future products, tours and more. These additional rewards aren’t easy to manage on an exchange.

Business crowdfunding has evolved from raising equity for startups, to crowdfunded funds, to crowd equity convertibles and now crowdinvesting in publicly-listed companies. Our internal legal team and professional processes mean we can continue to offer new, exciting ways for people to invest in businesses of all stages, sizes and types.

Crowdfund like a pro

Drummond Gilbert recently raised £50,000 investment for his collaborative consumption car share startup, goCarShare, from 145 backers through Seedrs

Drummond Gilbert in Tech City News

Drummond Gilbert in Tech City News

Drummond did a lot of research before setting up his investment campaign and learned a lot first-hand, which he recently shared with Tech City News readers interested in what it takes to create their own successful pitch.

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What makes a crowdfunding pitch successful?

With more and more entrepreneurs turning to crowdfunding to access key capital for their early growth, Marca Me got in touch with funded Seedrs startups to find out the secret behind a successful crowdfunding campaign. Some of their findings were too good not to share, so we’ve copied their blog article, below.

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Startup Investing Trends from YC Founder

Startup accelerators like Y Combinator (YC), TechStars and Wayra are increasingly releasing young, vibrant companies into the mainstream. Some say there are too many startups and not enough investors to support them.

But, in a recent essay aimed at startup investors, Y Combinator founder and successful startup investor, Paul Graham says there are plenty of reasons to be more optimistic about investing in startups.

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Why PixelPin turned to Seedrs for seed finance

PixelPin co-founder Geoff Anderson revealed to Startups.co.uk how they closed their pitch in record time and shared tips for how other entrepreneurs can do the same.

He also highlighted why PixelPin chose Seedrs to raise crowdfunding and weren’t afraid of having 193 investors invest in their growth.

Read the artcicle over on Startups.co.uk.

The UK can lead the world in crowdfunding

Seedrs, Wayra and PixelPin

Image from telegraph.co.uk

Our CEO, Jeff Lynn, spoke with the Telegraph about why the UK is leading the way in crowdfunding.

He cites strong support from the Treasury, Government and Department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS) as helping advance equity crowdfunding as a source of new business funding, and he praises the development of the Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS) tax relief aimed at incentivising people for investing in new businesses. 

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Friends and Family – One More Reason Why Equity Crowdfunding Rocks

Friends and family are often the biggest supporters of seed-stage businesses. But, offline investing often requires investors to invest rather large sums (£10,000 to £25,000 minimum) to make the legal paperwork worthwhile. Unless an entrepreneur has wealthy friends and family, this can be very difficult to raise.

One of the main benefits of equity crowdfunding is that it makes it possible to raise smaller amounts of investment from friends and family – allowing them to more easily experience the rewards that come from investing in these startup companies.

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Seedrs Case Study: SomethingIndie

SOMETHINGINDIE
“Handpicked selection of the best indie and independent brands”

something indie

We sat with Wendy van de Weg, Director of SomethingIndie, to learn more about what she has been up to since successfully raising funding through Seedrs earlier this year.    

Investment Raised: £20,000    Equity: 10%                                Days to Full Investment: 71
Number of Investors: 67         Average Investment: £299       SEIS Eligible: Yes
Location: Greater London        Sectors: Retail, Fashion and Apparel

What is SomethingIndie?
SomethingIndie is a unique online fashion store stocking affordable, on-trend items by independent brands and handmade designers.

For customers, it offers affordable fashion items with a mix of unique finds and on-trend pieces, all hand-picked by the SomethingIndie team. For designers, it provides an opportunity for them to stock their items on a niche website with wide appeal.

Why SomethingIndie Needed Investment
“I decided to raise investment to fund a year-long, more targeted marketing campaign and to extend the website’s functionality.”

Role of Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS)
The Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS) allows investors to claim up to 78% of the amount of their investment back, up front, through income tax and capital gains tax reliefs.

“(I think) SEIS was extremely influential when raising my round. I’m pretty sure it was a deal-maker for most investors, given the young age and potential risk of the business.”

Why Seedrs?
“I found the funding options to be very, very limited and often ridiculously costly for startups, especially if the business owner falls outside of the ‘young adult’ age group. Seedrs is a rare opportunity for companies looking to grow, to find funding and has a clear way of working, both for investors and entrepreneurs. I was really excited at the prospect of Seedrs as I realised it could be the break my business had been unable to get elsewhere.”

“Since then, my experience with Seedrs has been nothing short of wonderful.”

Experience with Seedrs
“Everyone I’ve dealt with is helpful, friendly and, above-all, encouraging. It’s been quite a learning curve but I’ve felt like any assistance or clarification I needed was just an email away.”

Top Tip to Other Entrepreneurs
“Always remember that in the early stages, YOU are your startup’s greatest asset. Don’t forget to spend time away from your business, whether it’s a weekend visit to your folks or an afternoon at the gym. It’s hard to not devote all your time and energy to working on your business, but if you’re burnt out and exhausted then so is your startup. A happy, healthy entrepreneur is a happy, healthy startup!”

Next Steps
“I’m very busy now that we’ve been successful in our funding! Working on getting the new website ready is my priority, after which I’ll be working on a year-long marketing plan to help grow the brand’s profile and generate more organic PR and traffic.”

To learn more about SomethingIndie or to follow their journey, visit their website at somethingindie.com.

Veeqo on raising startup funds from the crowd

Recently, Veeqo reached its investment target on Seedrs and decided to share their investment journey and crowdfunding advice on their blog. They’ve given us permission to re-post below.

Inventory management startup

Veeqo helps companies manage inventory across multiple channels.

This week, Veeqo founder Matt Warren explains how he funded Veeqo’s start-up costs using the Seedrs crowd-funding platform.

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Seedrs Case Study: PlayEnable

PlayEnPLAYENABLE
“The Toptable for sports: An online hub for visitors to search and book gyms and facilities around them”

We met with Abhishek Garodia, CEO and co-founder of PlayEnable, to learn more about what he and his team have been up to since successfully raising investment through Seedrs this Autumn.      

Investment Raised: £25,000      Equity: 5%                                Days to Full Investment: 92
Number of Investors: 68           Average Investment: £368     SEIS Eligible: Yes
Location: Greater London          Sectors: Consumer Internet, Marketplaces & Platforms

What is PlayEnable?
“PlayEnable is best described as a TopTable for sports and fitness classes. It is an online forum/marketplace where sports and fitness enthusiasts can find places to participate in fitness activities around them, and ultimately book and reserve the activity they want to participate in. Activities range from a one-off yoga class to regular kickboxing or dance classes.”

“The ultimate aim of PlayEnable is to help people participate in activities, no matter where they are, and for sports facilities to improve their reach to sports enthusiasts.”

Why PlayEnable Needed Investment
“There are costs associated with developing a quality website platform, mobile app and basic marketing. The investment would essentially be used to build a solid minimum viable product so as to get some traction – hopefully leading to future investment rounds.”

Role of Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS)
The Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS) allows investors to claim up to 78% of the amount of their investment back, up front, through income tax and capital gains tax reliefs.

“Actually, while I knew PlayEnable would need funding irrespective of SEIS, given the fact that the scheme is extremely favourable for investors, I did make it a point to mention the benefits to every potential investor when I got listed on the website.”

Why Seedrs?
“First, the personal factor was very important. After speaking with their CEO, Jeff, and saw how easy it was to reach them, it was almost a no-brainer for me. I liked that I was able to receive guidance throughout the process and was very happy with the support I was offered.”

“And, the simplicity and the lack of platform “frills”. This suited my business at our early-stage, especially since I was only looking for a small investment to build a minimum viable product. Some of the other equity crowdfunding sites required too much irrelevant information (such as detailed financial projections and elaborate marketing plans) – information which I could have very easily drafted, but were akin to shooting in the dark. Instead, I was able to put relevant, factual information onto the site, quickly, and focus on building my business, instead.”

Experience with Seedrs
“For early-stage startups like mine, I would highly recommend Seedrs. The team works very hard to engage investors, both online and off.”

Top Tip to Other Entrepreneurs
“Keep your business aims simple. Set yourself and team very clear, measurable goals and work out what the journey may look like to achieve them. And don’t get too distracted along the way.”

Next Steps
“Next, we’re going to use our funding to accelerate the product building process and execute an exhaustive online marketing campaign. We should have a mobile app and be ready to test our facility management CRM by early-February 2013. And, are looking to invest in online marketing to build traction and ultimately drive sales.”

To learn more about PlayEnable or to follow their journey, visit their website at playenable.com.

Seedrs Case Study: Storemates

smSTOREMATES
“The ‘eBay of storage’ enabling households to rent their extra space to people needing cheap storage”

We sat with Shaff Prabatani, co-founder of Storemates, to learn more about what he and his team have been up to since successfully raising investment through Seedrs this Autumn.      

Investment Raised: £40,000    Equity: 10%                                Days to Full Investment: 6
Number of Investors: 34         Average Investment: £1,176    SEIS Eligible: Yes
Location: Greater London        Sectors: Consumer Internet; Marketplace, Building & Property

What is Storemates?
Storemates is an online service that aims to match people needing affordable self-storage with people looking to turn their spare household space into extra cash. Users use the website to rent out all or part of a garage, loft, wardrobe or spare room to people searching for cheap storage in their local area.

Storemates hopes to democratise storage – making it more accessible, easier to find and vastly more efficient than traditional self storage.

Why Storemates Needed Investment
“Storemates is a new concept. It’s a disruptive business model that needs to persuade people with storage needs to use our online storage sharing market as an alternative to the very established (and expensive) self-storage business. We need to pilot some marketing campaigns that will get people talking.”

“After we launched our beta version, we found that we needed to further develop our payment process.”

Role of Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS)
The Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS) allows investors to claim up to 78% of the amount of their investment back, up front, through income tax and capital gains tax reliefs.

“Learning that the Government had incentivised investing in new businesses with SEIS, we thought that Seedrs offered a great opportunity for small time investors to not only benefit from the reliefs, but also learn more about Storemates and be a part of our mission.”

Why Seedrs?
“We knew that our idea had great business potential, but we never seemed to have enough traction and were too early in our development to appeal to many potential investors.”

“Seedrs was recommended to us by an investor who advised us that we were at the seed investment stage and thought our concept was ‘easy to get’ for potential investors.”

“At an insightful and encouraging initial meeting with the Seedrs team, we quickly formed a great working relationship with them.”

Experience with Seedrs
“Very positive. They’re supportive and encouraging of us, their processes are transparent and clear, the customer care is excellent. We always felt confident that Seedrs believed in our concept and our potential and drive to make a return for investors.”

Top Tip to Other Entrepreneurs
“Keep your business aims simple. Set yourself and team very clear, measurable goals and work out what the journey may look like to achieve them. And don’t get too distracted along the way.”

Next Steps
Beyond reaching out to their new network of investors for input and suggestions, Storemates now plans to redevelop their payment process to more effectively monetise the platform, establish strategic alliances with other companies operating in the sharing economy, setup a localised system of community storage brokers to enhance word of mouth promotion and launch a series of three targeted marketing campaigns.

To learn more about Storemates or to follow their journey, visit their website at storemates.co.uk.

Link

What is Seedrs?

Jeff sat down with C21 Media, the company behind TechCityInsider, to talk in-depth about Seedrs, our approach to online investing, the UK’s startup ecosystem and building great businesses in Britain.

If you’re new to Seedrs and would like to hear from our CEO – it’s worth a listen over on SoundCloud. Click on What is Seedrs? above to access.