The 18 biggest UK equity crowdfunding rounds of the last year
More businesses are raising £1m+ crowdfunding rounds than ever before. Startups reviews the companies that have worked their magic on the crowd
There were 18 UK equity crowdfunding rounds of £1m or more in the past 12 months on UK crowdfunding platforms Crowdcube and Seedrs.
This statistic would have seemed ridiculous back in 2013 when crowdfunding was in its infancy and yet, fast forward to April 2016, the UK’s alternative finance market is now worth over £3.2bn with crowdfunding “by far the biggest success story” of the industry to date.
As the sector has grown it has faced its own challenges and there has been criticism of an emerging “crowdfunding bubble” – an issue which Startups explores here.
On the flip side, the industry has seen its first crowdfunding exits; E-Car Club in June 2015 and Camden Town Brewery in December 2015, which suggests that there will be worthy returns for investors as the sector matures.
Following our analysis of 2015’s UK crowdfunding success stories, this last year has seen the launch of a female-led crowdfunding initiative, a £100m funding drive by the country’s top crowdfunding platforms, and America has even muscled in by legalising equity-based crowdfunding.
While Chapel Down Brewery still holds the title for the largest ever UK crowdfunding round, followed by Just Park, the following businesses have raised over £35m in crowdfunding – demonstrating the sheer power of the crowd.
Scroll down for our countdown of the biggest UK equity crowdfunding rounds of the past year…
In what was deemed a “record breaking” crowdfunding raise, in March of this year mobile-first challenger bank Monzo secured £1m in just 96 seconds via Crowdcube. The speedy round attracted 1,861 investors for a share of 3.33% equity. Currently in the process of applying for a full bank licence, Monzo enables users to access traditional bank products and services from their smartphones.
View the full details here.
Smashing its original £500,000 target, Vulpine clinched just over £1m from ‘armchair investors’ on Crowdcube in November 2015 to support its expansion into the US and Asia. The preferred cycling clothing of choice for Olympic star Sir Chris Hoy, the Lancashire-based brand produces almost 100 pieces of performance cycling kit garments to be worn on and off the bike.
Find out more here.
Creator of packaged ‘cauliflower rice, made easy’, Cauli Rice more than doubled its initial funding target in November 2015 to raise £1.05m from 596 investors on Crowdcube. Its third crowdfunding campaign to date, the start-up – co-founded by Jamie Harris and Righteous founder Gem Misa – was recently named as one of Britain’s hottest new food businesses by Sir Richard Branson.
In July 2015, cloud accounting software provider FreeAgent joined the select few companies that break the £1m crowdfunding barrier when it secured £1.2m from over 700 investors on Seedrs. The Edinburgh-based company has over 40,000 small business and freelance customers in 100 countries. Two months previous to the raise, the company announced it had closed $5m in debt finance.
Read more on the crowdfunding round here.
Using Crowdcube’s ‘mini bond’ service, in August 2015 Grind (then known as Shoreditch Grind) whipped up £1.29m from 471 investors for the four-year term of its bond. A group of day-to-night London-based espresso and cocktail bars, Grind used the investment to launch a fifth location in Covent Garden and to support the construction of a ‘state of the art’ coffee roastery.
In an unconventional crowdfunding raise, dog sharing community BorrowMyDoggy secured £1.5m when it pitched to a room of angel and high net worth investors at Crowdfinders Live in October 2015. Bolstered by the investment, the London-based start-up intended to use the finance to develop its “dog-loving” user base. The company now has over 300,000 members in the UK and Ireland.
Click here to find out more about its pitch at the live crowdfunding summit.
Having broken crowdfunding records in 2014 with the UK’s largest EVER equity crowdfunding round, brewery business Chapel Down returned to the crowd in April 2016 to successfully close £1.7m on Seedrs. Exceeding its original £1m target, the Kent-based wine-maker raised the investment to develop its new craft beer and cider ranges; Curious Brew and Curious Drinks.
The “home of crafts, hobbies and arts”, Hochanda raised just over £1.9m on Crowdcube in November 2015 to support the launch of its new TV shopping channel. Founded by Paul Wright and Val Kaye – the founders of Ideal Shopping Direct – the Peterborough-based business proved appealing to 275 investors with the largest single investment being £629,328.
Said to be the fastest-grossing clean-tech company on Crowdcube, in July 2015 green energy company Pavegen closed just short of £2m with backing from an impressive 1,474 investors in exchange for 10.64% equity. Pavegen's technology converts footsteps into electricity to power services in high-footfall locations and provide real-time data for analytics. Its founder Laurence Kemball-Cook recently featured at SXSW.
Having already secured £80,000 on BBC’s Dragons’ Den as the show’s youngest ever funded entrepreneur, Jordan Daykin turned to the crowd in March 2016 to secure crowdfunding for his plasterboard fixing business GripIt Fixings. Daykin’s pitch overfunded by 133% and attracted backing from 639 investors to raise almost £2m. Den investor Deborah Meaden said that she was “not surprised by the market adopting GripIt”.
Read more on Daykin’s crowdfunding success here.
With almost £2m already raised in VC investment, fast-growing job search engine Adzuna took to Crowdcube in the summer of 2015 to secure a round of £1.5m. Closing its campaign in August, the London-based start-up far exceeded this target to bag £2.1m, no doubt bolstered by its £5m revenue projections. The largest single investment for the round was £200,000.
Find out more about Adzuna’s crowdfunding pitch here.
The developers of a low-carbon aircraft called the ‘Airlander’, Hybrid Air Vehicles (HAV) clinched over £2.19m back in May 2015 to support its ambitions to “lead the world in lighter than air aviation”. 911 investors participated in the Crowdcube campaign in return for a share of 6% equity. Supported by the government, the Airlander can apparently fly for weeks and take off from land, water, and ice.
On a mission to “transform” London’s food landscape, in December 2015 London Union – the parent company of Street Feast – announced it had closed £2.5m on Seedrs. 160 individuals backed the round to help the company launch a flagship street food market in the capital. Earlier in the year, the start-up raised £1m from Nigella Lawson and Jamie Oliver, among others.
Click here to read about the crowdfunding round in full.
In what is said to be the largest ever crowdfunding investment in a property technology (proptech) business to date, UK online estate agent eMoov more than doubled its target when it secured £2.6m on Crowcube in October. Backed by James Caan, eMoov intends to disrupt the traditional property market by charging a fixed rate, low fee. Founder Russell Quirk said he expects an IPO or private sale “in the next few years”.
To read more about eMoov’s record crowdfunding pitch, click here.
One of London’s biggest breweries, craft beer brand Camden Town Brewery bagged a significant £2.75m funding via Crowdcube in April 2015. Over 2,173 crowd investors backed the campaign and these investors got a nice return when, in December 2015, the company announced it had been acquired by AB InBev for a rumoured £85m. The deal marks one of only two successful crowdfunding exits to date.
Peer-to-peer (P2P) lender Assetz Capital raised £3.25m from investors on Seedrs back in April 2015 as part of a convertible deal; the second largest crowdfunding round hosted by Seedrs to date. With the UK alternative finance industry now worth over £3.2bn, Assetz Capital is tapping into the market by providing non-bank loans to UK small businesses and property developers.
Get more information on the round here.
Sugru has created the word’s first mouldable glue that turns into rubber; an invention that appealed to crowd investors when founder and Young Gun Jane ni Dhulchaointigh launched her campaign on Crowdcube in July. ni Dhulchaointigh broke crowdfunding records when she secured £3.38m from investors in 68 countries. The pitch was said to have attracted the largest ever mix of investors and the largest single investment (£1m).
The largest crowdfunding round of the past year, and the third biggest in UK crowdfunding history, in December 2015 Mexican burrito brand Chilango secured £3.4m via Crowdcube. Its second successful crowdfunding campaign, the London-based business saw involvement from almost 1,300 investors in exchange for a share of 8.62% equity. Referred to by its founders as a “global brand in the making”, Chilango intends to have 50 burrito restaurants in 20 UK cities by 2021.
Get all the details on Chilango’s impressive crowdfunding round here.
For more UK crowdfunding success stories click here.