With each successful funding round, we’re excited to add innovative new businesses to the Seedrs portfolio, and follow their progress as they grow.
A Seedrs campaign can be rewarding for businesses at every phase of their lifecycle, allowing them to tap into the resources and commitment of their communities both to secure investment, and acquire customers. One of the best ways to discover the long-term benefits of crowdfunding, is to speak to founders who have already successfully navigated the process.
After the close of their first successful funding round on Seedrs, we sat down with Chris Davies, founder of the urban farm in London, that is growing the best ingredients for chefs, Harvest London, to discuss why he chose equity crowdfunding, and how it’s helped his business get to where it is today.
Tell us about how Harvest London started? What is your vision?
Harvest London began because we felt that too much of the food we eat in the UK has to be imported from hundreds of miles away. Using modern technology we can grow our crops indoors providing them with all the water, light and nutrients that they require while eliminating pesticides and reducing the amount of water used. This allows us to produce food incredibly close to where it’s consumed, which in turn has a whole host of benefits; less food miles, fresher produce, less waste and happier customers. Our dream is a network of local, connected ‘farms’ that produce great tasting herbs and veg in cities across the world.
Tell us about your fundraising journey before Seedrs?
We had a very clear idea of the amount of money we needed to drive our next stage of growth. We had raised £250,000 from an angel investor and we thought that ‘topping it up’ via a Seedrs crowdfund round would allow us to simultaneously increase our capital and develop relationships with investors who shared our passion for a sustainable future.
Why did you choose crowdfunding and Seedrs?
There were 3 main reasons why we decided this was the right path for us.
- First, was access to capital. We had a very clear idea of the amount of money we needed to drive our next stage of growth. We had raised £250,000 from an angel investor and we thought that ‘topping it up’ via a Seedrs crowdfund round would allow us to increase our capital and ability to scale, whilst simultaneously developing relationships with investors who shared our passion for a sustainable future.
- The second reason was scale. Harvest London’s business model necessitates scale, and it was always part of our plan that this was going to be the first of many fundraising rounds. The way Seedrs helps you lay the foundations for scale through it’s nominee structure was therefore important to us.
- Thirdly, raising with Seedrs allowed us to develop a community of like minded investors that saw a need for a change in the way that food is produced in our society. We’d seen a number of sustainability businesses successfully raise on Seedrs, so we knew there was demand from investors and that Seedrs had expertise and experience fundraising for businesses like us.
What was crowdfunding like for you?
A lot of the work happens before the campaign even goes live! We had the video and all the due diligence docs already in place before going live. We discovered that there’s a lot of investor psychology in crowdfunding. It was very important to set the right goals, to make sure that we hit our target and take advantage of overfunding.
In the end, it took us just a day to hit our target, which was a great feeling! As a result, and because we very specifically said that we didn’t give up too much equity, we even had to cut our campaign short because we hit 125% in about two weeks.
During the campaign, we focused a lot on answering investor’s questions in the discussion forum, which we were initially a bit nervous about. We had a huge number of investors questions and discussions, but it actually showed me that we were tapping into a community of like-minded investors who also saw the need for transitioning to a more sustainable food system. There were a lot of tough questions and good debate!
Working with Seedrs through the process was great. It was our first experience with crowdfunding, and there was a lot to learn, but we had a good support structure with Seedrs and our agency partner
What has your Seedrs campaign helped you to achieve?
The investment from Seedrs has helped us build a new farm in Leyton in East London,keeping us within cycling distance of all of our customers. The new farm increases our production by over 20x and we begin production at the site in September. . Once it’s up and running we’ll be perfecting our crops while hunting down a site for the next stage of expansion!
Equally as important, we’ve developed a network of like minded investors. Being able to use our 800 investors as the basis for continuously building our network of customers, partners and people that are just generally rooting for us has been great! Some of our investors have even gone on to become more involved in our business; for example, one of our investors has introduced us to his network of other angel investors for future rounds. We’re also leveraging the Seedrs’ alumni network to help drive introductions to potential investors.
To find out more about Harvest London, visit their business page.