Crowdfunding success stories: EstatesDirect.com
The online estate agency fronted by Poundland founder Steve Smith which doubled its crowdfunding target
The latest in a series of high-profile entrepreneurs to turn to crowdfunding, Poundland founder Steve Smith chose to use Crowdcube in order to fund the UK roll-out of his online estate agency business EstatesDirect.com.
Originally listed on the equity crowdfunding platform with a target of £250,000 for 5% equity, EstatesDirect.com quickly amassed investor attention and closed its pitch having raised £499,250 from 195 backers; almost double its crowdfunding target.
Launched in 2010 and headed up by Smith and DatingDirect.com founder Darren Richards, EstatesDirect.com looks to side-step the “exorbitant” fees charged by offline estate agents by charging a 0% rate of commission for properties listed on the site, with a fixed fee regardless of property size or value.
Smith, who started UK-wide pound store chain Poundland in 1990 and sold the business for £50m in 2002, said of his crowdfunding success:
“We want to make EstatesDirect.com the UK’s largest personal estate agency network within the next few years.
“We decided on crowdfunding via Crowdcube because it would allow us to open it up to public investors for a small stake in the business for the first time. We clearly underestimated the interest, but are delighted we doubled our original target.”
Crowdcube co-founder Luke Lang, continued: “When the founder of Poundland […] comes to us to secure funding, you realise just how much the crowdfunding market has matured.
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“[Crowdfunding] is now a serious source of investment and we’re proud to attract such high calibre interest.”