As of today ordinary investors can now invest directly in equity and debt fundraising campaigns by unlisted growth-stage companies in select frontier and emerging markets, thanks to the launch of Emerging Crowd.
As we reported earlier this year the Emerging Crowd platform is the brainchild of Co-Founders Lucien Moolenaar and Will Tindall and aims to link ambitious, well-run companies seeking finance with international investors pursuing the potential of higher returns from some of the world’s fastest growing markets.
Many small and medium-sized businesses around the world find themselves in a ‘funding gap’, where banks and private equity firms have failed to provide much needed financing for growth. Emerging Crowd offers qualifying businesses an alternative financing solution using state of the art crowdfunding technology.
The first two companies to list on Emerging Crowd are Bozza and Neo:
An exciting new mobile and desktop platform for downloading and streaming music, video and spoken word content created by emerging and established artists from across Africa. “About 60% of Africa’s population is under 25, and they’re eager media consumers willing to pay for quality online content” says Bozza founder and CEO Emma Kaye, a veteran of several successful startups and a globally recognised leader in mobile innovation.
The unique Bozza catalogue goes beyond platforms like iTunes, Spotify and Netflix, bringing a diverse range of new programming to a global audience while letting artists stay in control of their content. Bozza has set an initial funding target of £500,000 to scale its unique mobile-centric platform throughout the continent and the globe.
Is an established and fast-growing chain of coffee shops in Nigeria, Africa’s largest economy. Founded in Lagos in 2012 by two brothers, former bankers Ngozi and Chijioke Dozie, it already has the largest number of coffee shops of any chain in West Africa. Neo’s CEO, Ngozi Dozie, explains: “Nigeria’s consumers are only just discovering coffee shop culture — the growth potential is huge.
To put this in context, South Africa, with a GDP of $350bn and a population of 50 million, has over 200 outlets owned by branded coffee chains. Nigeria has a GDP of $520bn, three times the population and a middle class that has grown by 600% over the past 15 years, and yet Neo, with just a handful of locations, is already the largest branded chain of coffee shops in Nigeria. Well executed coffee shop chains are a proven business model that has been hugely successful in the world’s richer countries, and the trend is now taking off among the millions of aspirational middle-class Nigerians.” Neo is looking to raise £500,000 of equity on Emerging Crowd to expand across Nigeria.
Interested investors can view detailed disclosure documents and financial information on the Emerging Crowd platform and can ask questions directly to Neo’s and Bozza’s management teams before deciding to invest. Emerging Crowd also offers a streamlined investor relations service so that investors in any deal can monitor their portfolio on the platform and see how their money is being put to work over the lifetime of their investment.
Emerging Crowd’s Co-Founder, Will Tindall tells Appsafrica.com: “Our aim is to build an online community of investors who are passionate about the exceptional growth opportunities available in frontier and emerging markets. Until now the vast majority of investors have had no way to reach these types of companies, let alone consider buying a stake in them.”
Neo and Bozza are the first of many promising companies to be successfully pre-screened and to be admitted to Emerging Crowd. “We’re committed to investor protection, and all companies on the platform are subjected to world-class legal and commercial due diligence, conducted by Emerging Crowd’s team of experienced investment analysts and external legal and due diligence specialists. The minimum investment in any opportunity is £500, and investors pay no fees to the Platform.
Emerging Crowd’s Co-Founder, Lucien Moolenaar added: “Frontier and emerging markets can offer investors significant growth and income as part of a diversified investment portfolio. Emerging Crowd allows investors to access individual growth-stage companies that would not otherwise be accessible. We combine best practices from private equity, capital markets and crowdfunding, including extensive background checks, thorough due diligence and unparalleled disclosure on every deal. We also require companies to provide quarterly and annual updates, allowing our members to monitor their investments and see the impact they are having in these rapidly growing markets.”
Emerging Crowd is secure and transparent, and the investment documents are governed by English law. Investors will nevertheless need to be comfortable with the higher risks associated with investing in unlisted companies in frontier and emerging market countries. In order to invest on the platform, Emerging Crowd investors will need to meet the eligibility requirements laid down by the Financial Conduct Authority for investment-based crowdfunding.