Crowdfunding success stories: Escape the City

The online community which turned down a £500,000 VC offer in favour of the crowd

For entrepreneurs unsure as to whether to turn away from typical funding methods in favour of the crowd, Escape the City offers a great demonstration of doing just that after it shunned venture firms and went on to raise £600,000 via Crowdcube in June 2012.

Initially started as a side project in 2009 by Don Jackman and Rob Symington, by 2012, the online community ‘for professionals looking to escape the corporate world’ had gained “real legs” and was seeking investment to “help fulfill the potential behind the concept”.

Having met with venture capitalists (VCs) and angel investors in London “without any clear yes’ or no’s”, Jackman and Symington began to explore the crowdfunding route to see whether they could raise enough money from their own members.

Just as they had “mentally checked out of VC pitching”, the duo received a £500,000 offer of investment but decided to go with the ‘crowd route’ as it excited them most and was an “escape” from the corporate world.

Within two weeks of launching their crowdfunding campaign, the recruitment platform had secured £600,000, a much larger amount than that offered from the VC firm, from 394 investors in exchange for a combined equity share of 24%.

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