Jeff Lynn, Executive Chairman and Co-founder of Seedrs.
We came up with the idea for Seedrs over 10 years ago out of simple observation: there are vast numbers of great entrepreneurs and investors who want to back them, but most of them never find each other.
The platform we built to solve that market failure has now facilitated over 1,000 funding rounds and over 15,000 secondary transactions. In the process, we have had the honour of working with brilliant entrepreneurs from across the UK and Europe and of getting the chance to be a small part of their stories.
These entrepreneurs, and the investors who back them, are no less brilliant today than they ever were, but some of them will inevitably face significant challenges in the coming months as a result of the restrictive measures and market volatility surrounding Covid-19. We have a history of supporting our entrepreneur and investor communities, and this time is no different. That’s why we will do all we can to help them through this crisis.
Over the past week, our team has been working hard to identify actions that we can take to offer help to our portfolio companies and investors, as well as those entrepreneurs and investors who haven’t previously worked with us, during this period of uncertainty. I am pleased to be able to share today the initial steps we are taking:
Fast-tracked fundraising campaigns
We will fast-track the campaign approval process for any of our portfolio companies who need to raise growth or bridge capital during this time. We will also work as quickly as we can with first-time companies seeking an urgent fundraising solution.
Convertible equity campaigns (ASAs)
While not a new offering, we will be highlighting to all entrepreneurs our convertible equity campaign product (also known as Advanced Subscription Agreements (ASAs)). These campaigns provide a way for companies to raise capital while deferring the need to set a valuation on their businesses. Given the downward market pressure on valuations during this crisis, we think convertibles may be a good fit for many companies who are looking to raise capital now.
Extending campaign length
Campaigns that have not hit their targets by the end of the usual 40-day period will have the option to extend their campaigns. This will give entrepreneurs more time to reach 100% of their funding goal and close their rounds.
Online pitching events
We will be holding frequent pitching opportunities for entrepreneurs to connect with registered Seedrs investors. This will include an online version of our regular Bitesize Pitches series, as well as other formats that help businesses and investors engage with each other virtually.
Assistance with government support programmes
We are monitoring the expanding set of government support offerings closely, and where we can help portfolio companies take advantage of any of them, we will do our very best to do so.
Online office hours
We will set up a regular routine of themed “office hours” where entrepreneurs and investors can speak directly with members of our team about different aspects of the fundraising and investing processes.
Mutual alumni support
We will shortly be announcing a new programme where alumni businesses can seek help from, and offer help to, their fellow alumni. Our network of funded businesses was already a powerful resource in good times, and now we are going to work to make the most of it in times of need.
Ongoing informational updates
We will be sharing weekly blog posts — and more frequent updates via social media and other channels — with information that we are getting from the government, the venture capital community, our entrepreneurs and investors, and the wider ecosystem.
This is very much an initial list, and the way that Seedrs can help our entrepreneur and investor communities will change as the Covid-19 crisis evolves. We will be reviewing how we can help on a daily basis, and will provide regular updates to our community and the general public setting out what further measures we will be taking.
If you find yourself affected by the current market uncertainty, or have suggestions of things Seedrs can do to help, please email [email protected].
We wish everyone in our community the best of luck in the weeks and months ahead, and we want you to know that we are here for you and will do our best to help you through these unprecedented times.