A new UK crowdfunding platform aims to give UK-based investors the chance to invest in some of the most exciting frontier and emerging growth companies in the world.
Emerging Crowd will be the UK’s first crowdfunding and investment platform focused on unlisted growth-stage companies in frontier and emerging markets. Co-founders Will Tindall and Lucien Moolenaar, will offer investors the opportunity to buy equity and bonds issued by businesses through the FCA-regulated platform.
Crowdfunding has grown exponentially in the last few years, and in a relatively short period of time the industry has become an established and credible source of funding for small businesses and start-ups. In 2013 approximately $5bn was raised through crowdfunding platforms globally: this is quite a feat considering it was a relatively unheard of concept five years ago says Tindall.
To date frontier and emerging markets opportunities have almost always been the preserve of high net worth investors and industry insiders. Ordinary UK-based investors will be able to sign up to Emerging Crowd and connect directly to a carefully screened selection of growth companies raising money online.
Tindall tells Appsafrica.com that most of the companies raising funds on Emerging Crowd will already have achieved impressive results, but like many small and medium-sized businesses around the world, they find themselves in a “funding gap” where the banks have failed to provide financing for growth. He adds, “All of the companies will be carefully vetted by the platform’s experienced investment analysts and is backed up by hands-on due diligence”
Emerging Crowd will open the door for ordinary investors to choose for themselves from a wide range of privately owned businesses. Investors will have the opportunity to engage directly with these businesses and to ask questions of the management teams. Emerging Crowd will also manage a streamlined investor relations service on the platform so that investors can see their money at work. The platform will encourage investors to use social media to facilitate ongoing relationships with the companies.
The platform will initially focus on familiar sectors such as technology, consumer goods, agribusiness, property, and lifestyle, and the team have already held talks with a number of exciting businesses interested in raising money on the site.
“Our aim is to build an online community of investors who are passionate about growth opportunities in emerging and frontier markets,” says Tindall. “There are some incredible businesses with huge potential in these markets, but until now the vast majority of investors have had no way to reach these companies, let alone consider taking a stake in them.”
Emerging markets such as Brazil, India and South Africa, as well as smaller frontier markets such as Nigeria, Botswana and Vietnam, offer investors a way to benefit from the opportunities found only in developing economies – which are often characterised by higher rates of growth, consumer-driven businesses, young populations and rapid urbanisation and industrialisation.
In order to register to invest on the site, investors will need to meet the eligibility requirements laid down by the Financial Conduct Authority for investment crowdfunding.