Seedrs brings Silicon Valley to equity crowdfunding
Milestone for crowdfunding as major venture capital firm invests with the crowds
- the first time that a major venture capital firm has made an investment alongside the crowds; and
- the first time that the crowds, a top accelerator (Seedcamp) and a major venture capital firm have all
backed a startup at its earliest stages.
Former Investment Chief Joins Seedrs Advisory Board
Seedrs closes record breaking £2.58 million crowdfunding round
Equity crowdfunding platform Seedrs has closed its self-hosted crowdfunding round, securing a record-breaking £2.58 million to support its growth into Europe.
The London-based business, which provides a platform for ordinary people to invest in early-stage startup businesses in return for equity, received almost three-and-a-half times its original target from 909 investors, in return for 33.3 per cent equity.
The campaign, which launched in November 2013, has set a new world record for investment raised through an equity crowdfunding platform. It coincided with the company’s new position as the first fully pan-European equity crowdfunding service.
Jeff Lynn, chief executive and co-founder of Seedrs, said: “The response to our campaign was phenomenal. It was overwhelming enough to have reached our investment target in such a short amount of time, but to have achieved almost four-times the investment backing we sought, from our own community and beyond, is astonishing. We see this as a tremendous validation of both our model and our business and we want to thank everyone who has invested for joining us on our journey.”
Everyone from ordinary investors to business angels who see the potential for equity crowdfunding to disrupt traditional financial services now have a small stake in the industry that experts predict could be worth an estimated $300B (£125B, €220B).
Seedrs already has more than 30,000 registered members on its books, who can back businesses with as little as £10, and it has funded 60 deals since its launch in July 2012. The company has seen an annualised growth rate of 836%.
Seedrs allows entrepreneurs to raise seed capital for their startup business in return for giving an equity stake to investors. Unlike rewards-based crowdfunding platforms such as Kickstarter, in which funders receive rewards but not equity stakes, Seedrs investors share in the potential success of the businesses they back.
The site is Europe’s leading equity crowdfunding platform, averaging over three deals per month since launch compared to its closest competitor’s two deals per month. It was also the first equity crowdfunding platform to receive regulatory approval from a financial regulator, the UK’s Financial Services Authority.
Seedrs was recently named in the Silicon Valley Comes to the UK’s “Top 100 Club” of businesses with the potential to generate £100 million in annual revenues in three to five years’ time. And just this month, Seedrs was the only equity crowdfunding player included in the ICON 2014 FinTech 50. In September 2013, Seedrs launched the world’s first-ever crowdfunding “fund”.
Lancashire County Council invests in a local business through Seedrs
'Happy Days' for small-time investors as big-time musical turns to crowdfunding
Seedrs launches industry’s first ever crowd investment ‘fund’
Seedrs Sees Over 600% Annualised Growth
Twelve campaigns raised just over £850,000 through Seedrs during Q3 2013, setting a record both for the number of successful campaigns and the amount funded in a quarter. Looking back at our first five quarters of trading, we’ve seen an annualised growth rate of over 600%!
Stealth Round Takes Us Over £2 Million Invested
- Microcosm - Raised £100,000 in a record-breaking 2.5 hours! Microcosm is a platform that hosts discussion forums, bulletin boards and communities.
- goCarShare - This Wayra startup is creating a new form of social travel that connects like-minded people, enabling them to share journeys and save money in a fun, sustainable way. They raised £50,000.
- CrowdCanDo - The international event management, online ticketing and crowdfunding platform raised £22,000.
Seedrs Invited to Join Accelerate 250
£1 Million Invested After Only 9 Months
Today, we exceeded £1 million invested into 21 UK-based startups. After only nine months, that makes Seedrs the fastest growing equity crowdfunding platform in the world.
In fact, in the last three months alone, more than £700,000 has been invested into startups from industries ranging from internet security and manufacturing, to digital tech, fashion and mobile apps. A Northern Irish startup, Mikes Fancy Cheese, pushed us over the £1 million mark by completing their £80,000 round.
We’re excited to see that so many fantastic entrepreneurs have received input, validation and investment from so many investors who are keen to be a part of their growth and success.
Seedrs Honoured with Placement on 2013 FinTech50 Watchlist
Today, Seedrs has been placed on the 2013 FinTech50 Watchlist, a shortlist of fifty companies throughout Europe that are redefining financial services through technological innovation. The List, a collaborative project by The CEO Agenda, ICON Corporate Finance, Hotwire, Silicon Valley Bank and Fox Williams, is the first of an annual endeavour to track one of the fastest moving sectors in technology.
The inaugural FinTech50 Watchlist is based on the expertise of the Watchlist Panel, ten industry leaders from across the financial services and technology industry. The panel convened at the end of 2012 to debate and select the top companies that demonstrate the potential to become a game-changer in fintech or the competitive staying power to continue being one.
Learn more about the FinTech50 Watchlist and other companies that made the list at fintech50watchlist.com.
Seedrs Joins UK Crowdfunding Association as a Founding Member
Seedrs is pleased to announce that it is a founding member of the UK Crowdfunding Association (UKCFA) a group of 12 UK-based crowdfunding platforms launched this week. The aims of the UKCFA are to:
- Promote crowdfunding as a valuable and viable way for UK businesses, projects or ventures to raise funds.
- Be the voice of all crowdfunding businesses in the UK (donations, loans and equity) to the public, press and policymakers.
- Publish a code of practice that is adopted by UK crowdfunding businesses, that protects those participating in crowdfunding.
‘Crowdfunding’ is a broad term, and membership reflects this with members from rewards-based, peer-to-peer and equity-based crowdfunding platforms (like Seedrs).
Carlos Silva, President, COO and co-founder of Seedrs, says, “Seedrs is a founding member of the UKCFA because we ourselves are committed to promote market confidence in the crowdfunding sector. Our view is that crowdfunding is only sustainable if platforms ensure that donors, lenders and investors are treated fairly and that we all behave in the most transparent way possible. The UKCFA code of conduct provides a minimum set of principles that contributes to safeguarding all parties involved, regardless of whether the platform in question is donations based, which has virtually no outside regulation, or equity based, which is regulated by the FSA.“
For more information on the UKCFA, including a full list of members, please visit ukcfa.org.uk.
Seedrs Announces World-Class Advisory Board
- James Alexander, co-founder of Zopa and partner at The Foundation. Full bio.
- Mike Butcher, European Editor of TechCrunch. Full bio.
- Lord Lucas, Member of the House of Lords and Chief Editor of The Good Schools Guide. Full bio.
- Dale Murray, British Angel Investor of the Year 2011, Non-Executive Director of UK Government’s Department of Business, Innovation & Skills (BIS) and of UK Trade and Investment (UKTI). Full bio.
Seedrs CEO Appointed Non-Executive Director of Companies House
Cash-Back Investor Referral Programme
Many Seedrs members tell their friends, family and colleagues about Seedrs, and we want to make sure they are properly rewarded when bringing new investors to the platform. So we’ve created a referral programme whereby every Seedrs member who refers an investor (using a unique referral link) will receive promotional funds.
We think this is the most generous referral scheme any online investment platform has ever offered, and we hope all users will take advantage of it to continue sharing the Seedrs love.
Increasing mainstream acceptance of Seedrs and equity crowdfunding
Seedrs, the UK’s first FSA regulated online platform for investing in startups, has this week become the first crowdfunding platform to be granted membership of the UK Business Angels Association (UKBAA). Read more about the partnership on the UKBAA website.
Separately Jeff Lynn, Seedrs’s CEO, was also invited to a meeting at Buckingham Palace with HRH The Duke of York on Tuesday to discuss how he could help support the growth of Seedrs and other crowdfunding platforms to inject new life into the UK economy. Read more from the Huffington Post.
These two significant events follow Seedrs’s best month since it launched in the summer. Four new startup businesses gained the investment they were seeking, with one raising £50,000 from over 60 investors in less-than 15 hours, and another attracting a £51,000 investment from a single angel investor alongside more modest sums from smaller investors.
Seedrs selected as a SMARTA 100 award winner
Seedrs has been nominated into the 2012 SMARTA 100 - an annual awards celebration of the 100 most resourceful, original, exciting and disuptive businesses in the UK. View the list of winners here.
We're thrilled to have been included in the final list, which was judged by a prestigious panel, including: Theo Paphitis (Dragon's Den), Mike Soutar (Shortlist Media), Ian Walters (NatWest), and Kanya King (MOBO Organisation).
The public is now invited to vote for their overall favourite of the 100 winners to the SMARTA 100 "Business of the Year." We'd really appreciate a vote for Seedrs - vote here now.
Windows of Opportunity - Spreading the Word About SEIS
Not enough people are shouting out about the Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS), which offers tax reliefs of up to 78% back on investments in startups. Seedrs has a sizable concentration of SEIS eligible startups looking for investment online, which means it is easier than ever for potential investors to take advantage of.
So, we've partnered with enterprise champion and School for Startups founder, Doug Richard, to create 10,000 new investors (who are as excited about SEIS as we are) during a series of free investment events throughout England this October and November.
The “Windows of Opportunity" roadshow seeks to draw public attention to the benefits of SEIS for potential investors. The tour will travel to nine cities and we’d love to see you there!
Learn more about the events, find the location nearest you and register for free at the Windows of Opportunity Website.
Driving social discussion of startup investing with PeerIndex
The campaign, which launches on 13 September (today), will see PeerIndex offering up to 100 UK social media users with influence on technology and financial services £100 to invest in startups. Users will be invited to log into a dedicated microsite, where the first 100 eligible influencers being given £100 to directly invest in the startups they choose through Seedrs.
PeerIndex is a social influence marketing platform, connecting companies with individuals on social media who have influence in their specialist area. The company’s technology assesses social media profiles to identify people with influence on specific topics. It then facilitates a sampling interaction between companies and influential individuals, giving consumers an experience which they can then share with their online network.
By identifying individuals with significant influence on technology and investing , the campaign aims to drive new investment participation alongside online social discussion of the Seedrs proposition among influential mavens.
The Seedrs campaign is the first time that social influence marketing has been used to drive interest in an investment platform.
Stellar First Month for Seedrs
We’re thrilled to announce we’re off to a flying start, with three startup businesses successfully funded in our first month of operation. This success represents - by far - the most successful start of any equity crowdfunding platform anywhere in the world.
Startups listed on Seedrs are each given a three-month period to raise the initial seed capital they are seeking, but three businesses have achieved it in less than a month! They are:
Digital Spin - a London-based startup that is “pioneering a new age of CAPTCHAs that are engaging, simple and secure”. Digital Spin raised £60,000 for a 15% equity share of the company. More information about Digital Spin is available at www.digital-spin.com.
PlayBrighter - a Wales-based startup that makes games “to help teachers teach, and to help pupils learn”. PlayBrighter raised £30,000 for an 8% equity share of the company. More information about PlayBrighter is available at www.playbrighter.com.
Satago - an Oxford-based startup that provides “crowd-sourced data about how late or early business customers pay their bills”. Satago raised £30,000 for a 14% equity share of the company. Satago does not yet have an active website, but interested users can sign up for updates at www.satago.net.
There are a growing number of additional startups following on the heels of these first three, with one already past 70% of its target amount. Over 3,000 people have now signed up to Seedrs as investors and entrepreneurs, and scores of new startups are queuing to list on the platform.
First Seedrs Listing Reached Investment Target After Only 11 Days!
We are thrilled to announce that our first startup listing has reached 100% of its investment target after only 11 days live. PlayBrighter, an educational games company based in Brecon, Wales, received the full £30,000 it was seeking by mid-afternoon on 17 July.
PlayBrighter allows teachers to choose the best games for a lesson (with a current library of about 19,000 questions and growing) and the students progress through each game by getting material correct. The young co-founders are former teachers – so they sympathise with teachers not wanting to spend evening time marking coursework. Since their games are online, marking is done automatically - undoubtedly saving teachers time - allowing them to develop better, more engaging lessons!
All investors’ withdrawal rights have now expired, so we’ll proceed with all of the legal due-diligence and paperwork to finalise the investment over the coming weeks.
We are so pleased for and proud of PlayBrighter – great work guys!
Seedrs Named One of East London’s Hottest Tech Startups
We are honoured to have been named one of East-London’s “20 Hottest Tech Startups” by The Guardian this month. And, we’re in great company, being featured along with other great “financial technology” (fintech) companies, including: MarketInvoice, TransferWise and GoCardless.
Voting was conducted by a distinguished panel, which included: Adam Valkin Venture partner at Accel Partners; Colette Ballou, President of Ballou PR; Dan Crow, Chief technology officer at Songkick.com; Jon Bradford, Co-founder of Springboard, a start-up accelerator; Reshma Sohoni, Partner at Seedcamp, a start-up investor; Tom Hulme, Design director IDEO and angel investor; Eileen Burbidge, Partner at Passion Capital; and Sean Seton-Rogers, Partner at PROfounders Capital.
What a great way to kick-off our launch month! Thanks to all the judges!
Seedrs is Open to Investors and Entrepreneurs
We are proud to announce that as of today, we’re live and ready to accept registrations from UK investors and entrepreneurs.
Our launch is the culmination of a lot of hard work to build a service that we are confident will transform the ability of great new businesses to get off the ground, backed by enthusiastic investors keen to participate in their potential success.
As people in Britain look for more tangible, rewarding, places to invest their money, beyond conventional financial institutions, the launch of Seedrs today is particularly timely.
By developing a regulated platform where people can enjoy the process of picking and choosing the businesses and people they want to invest in, we aim to enhance the already palpable enthusiasm the people of Britain feel for supporting the inspiring ideas and business talent this country has.
Sign up today to be a part of the excitement, a part of a revolution.
Certified Halo: Campaigning for SEIS
Keen to increase promotion efforts for the Government’s incredibly appealing Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS),which provides income and capital gains tax reliefs of up to 78%, a few London-based startups thought they’d take things into their own hands by establishing the Certified Halo campaign.
The campaign, spear-headed by Wigwamm founder Rayhan Rafiq Omar, seeks to build awareness of startup tax reliefs - as well as startups as a highly appealing asset class - among London’s financial services community.
We are proud to be a sponsor of these efforts and to help spread the word. Aimed at seed-stage businesses, Seedrs looks to have a large concentration of SEIS eligible companies listed to raise capital – a great, one-stop-shop for investors looking to take advantage of the reliefs.
If you’d like to learn more about SEIS or investing in startups, contact your professional tax advisor. You can also find highlights of SEIS and its sister relief, the Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS), in a recent blog post.
Seedrs Completes £1 Million Fundraising Round
We’re pleased to announce that we’ve just completed the second of two tranches of a £1 million fundraising round. The investment round included DFJ Esprit, Digital Prophets (backed by Luke Johnson and managed by the investors behind 1seed) and a number of angel investors from leading technical and financial backgrounds.
In connection with the round, two leading angels join as board observers: Mark Hunter, co-founder and CEO of Axon Group plc, which floated on the LSE in 1999 and was sold to HCL Technologies for £440 million in 2008; and Kayar Raghavan, a former Citi executive and senior advisor to Wipro Technologies.
Seedrs is Now on the FSA Register
The Financial Services Authority (FSA) approved our application in March 2012, but as we announced at the time, there were a few more technicalities to go through before full authorisation. We're pleased to announce that those technicalities are now complete, and Seedrs is authorised and on the FSA Register. We believe that working within the current financial regulations is a big deal, not least of which because it helps protect investors. To read more about our approach to financial regulation, read a recent blog post by our CEO, Jeff Lynn.
Our team showcased the Seedrs platform to hundreds (if not thousands, we lost count!) of participants at the 7th annual The NextWeb Conference in Amsterdam on 26-27 April. The NextWeb is one of the largest technology publications on the web, and the conference aimed to deliver inspiring content and facilitate face-to-face connections - and it definitely did that. It was a great opportunity for us to learn a bit more about the European startup scene, listen to some inspiring keynote visionaries, network with potential partners and encourage registration on the platform by interested attendees. And most importantly, we were thrilled at the demand for a platform like ours from entrepreneurs and investors from throughout Europe!
InnoTech Summit and the Investor Side of Startup Funding
Discussions about startup funding often focus on the entrepreneur and how to raise capital. But that’s only half the equation, and at Seedrs we like to talk about not just the benefits of raising capital but also of investing it. At today’s InnoTech Summit in London, Seedrs CEO Jeff Lynn did just that, giving a presentation about the reasons why investing in startups can be appealing and how Seedrs makes doing so more accessible and easier. It’s a message we’re passionate about and will continue to share as we move toward launch and beyond.
London Web Summit Winners!
On Monday, 19 March 2012, the London Web Summit crowned Seedrs the winner of its prestigious startup competition. The competition was fierce, with 150-startup entrants reduced to a rather impressive field of just 19 finalists, from across Europe, being selected to pitch their concepts live.
The panel of judges “had high hopes (our) model could kick start a revolution in startup funding.” Seedrs CEO and co-founder Jeff Lynn welcomed the opportunity to present and compete at such a high-profile event, saying “It's a huge honour to have won this competition out of a field of so many great startups. We're looking forward to launching the platform and providing a fantastic opportunity for investors and entrepreneurs.”
You can see video of our pitch and acceptance here: http://bit.ly/GB3wdz
Seedrs Soft Launch
Seedrs opened its public-facing pages to the world today, announcing this "soft launch" at London Web Summit. Prospective users can now see what we're about and sign up for invites to join Seedrs when we go live (projected for May or June). We look forward to reactions, questions and suggestions, and most of all we're excited about investors and entrepreneurs joining the Seedrs community and learning about the amazing opportunity we will provide all of them.
Seedrs Fundraising Round Closes
Today Seedrs closed a £550,000 fundraising round from a group of leading angel investors. This adds to the £350,000 we have raised since inception and provides us the capital we need to launch strong and grow quickly. We welcome our new investors on board and appreciate their support as we seek to become the leading platform for investing and raising seed-stage capital.
Seedrs Receives FSA Approval
This afternoon the UK Financial Services Authority (FSA) confirmed that it has approved Seedrs's application for authorisation. We expect full authorisation to be granted by the end of April, following the completion of several technical steps. The FSA's approval is a milestone both for Seedrs and for crowdfunding, making us the first equity crowdfunding platform to be approved by a major financial regulator anywhere in the world.
Seedrs CEO Testifies Before Congress
Seedrs CEO Jeff Lynn testified today before a subcommittee of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Oversight and Government Reform in a hearing entitled "Crowdfunding: Connecting Investors and Job Creators." Footage of Mr Lynn's testimony and the full hearing can be watched at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_IwvL_K1LMM