Seedrs is an online platform that allows anyone to invest in startups and other innovative businesses. It has recently been named the UK’s most active investor into private companies.
Its equity crowdfunding structure permits investors to invest as little as £10, but still receive full shareholder voting rights and utilize professional-grade subscription agreements. These give all smaller investors the same level of protection that larger angel investors and venture capitalists enjoy. There is also a great advantage for startup founders who are able to collect funds from multiple sources.
Not only does Seedrs have the advantage of allowing a large number of people to invest in startups, but it also helps to foster a long-term relationship between investors and companies. This is one of the most defining differences between Seedrs and other crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter; the latter is based on a commitment that the investor will buy a single product. With Seedrs, investors take equity in businesses, meaning they have a vested interest in the future success of the company on an ongoing basis and establish a long-term relationship, being a part of the business’ growth.
Seedrs’ headquarters are in London with other offices in Lisbon, Amsterdam, Berlin and New York. Currently, it is open to investors from Europe, but will soon be launched in the U.S. following a vote from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) which will allow Americans to partake in equity crowdfunding. The U.S. is indeed a key market with a lot of people willing or interested in investing in high-growth, high-risk businesses. Breaking into the U.S. market is just another step in Seedrs’ plan to create a global platform to allow investors to support companies around the globe.
IN THE PHOTO: SEEDRS OFFICE IN LONDON. PHOTO CREDIT: SEEDRS
Since 2012, the company has funded over 500 deals and had over £220 million invested on the platform. Seedrs’ success was certified by being named the “Innovator of 2016” by Bloomberg, with its model further solidified by being the first crowdfunding platform in the world to gain regulatory approval by UK’s Financial Conduct Agency back in 2012.
The most recent development from Seedrs is the launch of its secondary market. Through this new platform, investors will be allowed to sell shares of companies in which they have invested to other investors. At this very early stage, there are going to be some limits – only current Seedrs investors will be allowed to buy secondary shares, the price of the shares will be decided by Seedrs Valuation Policy, validated by Ernst & Young and in line with IPEV guidelines. Trading on the secondary market will only happen for a one-week window every month. Now investors have the opportunity to sell shares of companies they invested in through Seedrs, thereby realizing early returns. Conversely, investors who want to add to their position in a Seedrs company will be able to buy shares through this market.
In the last few months, Seedrs has finalized commercial partnerships with Amazon Launchpad, TescoBackit, the China Innovation and Entrepreneurship International Competition (IEIC) and United Nations-affiliated Ldny. Ldny is a social enterprise that promotes female entrepreneurship and female investment. Its aim is to close the gender gap and promote women’s confidence through fashion.
IN THE PHOTO: SEEDRS CEO JEFF LYNN AND COO CARLOS SILVA. PHOTO CREDIT: SEEDRS
Partners like Ldny demonstrate that Seedrs is, indeed, practicing what it preaches. Its business model shows that it does not just want to do business as usual – it wants to conduct business with purpose, in a smart, modern and sustainable way. Seedrs further demonstrates its commitment to socially-minded business through its work with sustainable startups like Den, MacRebur and Mishergas.
Den is a smart-home system that has several advantages, including reducing your electricity bill and improving the energy efficiency of homes. The company has now raised more than £2.1 million on Seedrs from more than 1,150 investors, including tennis world number one Andy Murray. Murray has invested in several other startups on Seedrs showing he is not just an impressive athlete but a smart, open-minded individual willing to leave his mark beyond his tennis career and ready to help others succeed in their projects.
IN THE PHOTO: ANDY MURRAY PHOTO CREDIT: ALESSANDRO DU BESSE’
Among other Seedrs investment opportunities, it is also possible to find the Sustainable Accelerator, led by Sustainable Ventures. Over the years, Sustainable Ventures has developed a successful portfolio of sustainability focused businesses, selecting the most innovative solutions and attracting significant later-stage funding. Sustainable Ventures has a proven track record of working with sustainable startups and its cooperation with Seedrs helps it to double down on its commitments.
Seedrs is not just a regular platform for crowdfunding. Seedrs demonstrates that it is possible to work with startups that are sustainable, with product offerings that are increasingly becoming part of our everyday lives. In a world where funding for climate change and environmental sustainability is still in question by some of the international community’s most important members, any private initiative that is willing to support a better and more sustainable world should be very welcome.