Seedrs is the leading online equity investment platform in the UK, allowing all types of investors to invest as little or as much as they like in businesses they believe in, often alongside venture capital funds and other professional investors, at the same terms, and share in their success. Seedrs also allows ambitious growth-focused businesses in all sectors to raise capital and build community through an efficient, online process. Seedrs has had over £530 million invested into campaigns on the platform and funded over 750 deals. The company is headquartered in London with offices in Lisbon, Amsterdam, and Berlin. The business is backed by star fund manager Neil Woodford, Augmentum Fintech, Faber Ventures and over 2,000 of its own customers. Seedrs is authorised by the UK FCA. It was the first equity crowdfunding platform in the world to gain regulatory approval.
What problem do you solve and how are you different?
Early-stage equity investment is actually a vast area of the capital markets, but historically it was inefficient and chaotic. Everyone thought of early-stage investment as being venture capital, but that represented a tiny proportion of the overall market. Seed-stage businesses, along with the many other businesses at all stages that fell outside VCs interest areas, were in no-man’s land. Many relied on funding from acquaintances, but that only worked when the entrepreneur had rich friends and family. Then there was the angel community, which was uncoordinated and largely unprofessional, and bar a few very good accelerator programmes like Seedcamp, and specialist funds, that was about it.
On the other side of this market, there were lots of people who were interested in early-stage businesses but had no way to invest in them. If you wanted to invest in a startup as an individual, you had to be an angel. Jeff and Carlos liked the idea of being able to invest £500 or
£1,000 in an interesting new business rather than £25,000.
2018 saw 186 successful pitches from businesses who raised on Seedrs from 12 different countries, 28 of which were fundraises of over £1 million. Highlights included fast-growing international money transfer platform Transfergo, which raised €11.3 million from 1,047 investors, German portfolio company Sono Motors, one of Seedrs’ biggest European success stories, returned to raise €6.1 million, and wellness platform Urban Massage raised £3.5 million. The Seedrs Secondary Market, which launched in June 2017, saw tremendous growth over the past twelve months. Now having delivered over 5,800 exits to investors, the desire for liquidity from both sides of the market in the early-stage asset class has now been clearly demonstrated. Investors have been generating highly profitable returns on the Seedrs Secondary Market, with the largest being a 23.3x return in portfolio company DeskLodge; many of these returns have been magnified further by generous UK EIS and SEIS tax reliefs.
In July 2018, the launch of Seedrs AutoInvest marked the sector’s first expansion into investment automation. The innovative product allows investors to build a diverse portfolio of early-stage businesses they don’t want to miss out on, in a more efficient way than ever before.