Updated: May 8, 2020
So this is the crowdfeed blog. Thanks for stopping by.
First and foremost, I hope you're all coping okay in this current climate, so best wishes and stay safe! Shoutout to all the key workers keeping the world ticking x
This is a blog and forum I made about news and research related to equity crowdfunding (ECF). Expect info on upcoming campaigns, research, news and more. ECF is awesome because of the returns, tax relief, rewards and positive impact. It could be better though; I will hopefully enable tools on this site like a pitch deck library and tutorials (EIS, etc). The ultimate aim is to get more wonderful businesses crowdfunding.
So, head to the forum for news (especially upcoming campaigns) as it happens, as well as ancilliary content (e.g. feedback/ideas for the site, general chat). Alternatively, simply subscribe to get notifications for blog posts. The blogs will summarise the past month(ish) of content seen on the forum for convenience. Therefore, if you would like quick access to news, please keep an eye on the forum. This can be important for private campaigns, which may close before a pretty blog post can be made. That being said, I will endeavour to ensure parity between forum and blog content (i.e. i'll try to type faster).
Hey there, I'm Nathan. Average guy really - but I happen to be cursed with an obsession over crowdfunding (CF), especially equity crowdfunding (ECF). So yeah, push came to shove and I decided to make a website about it.
My interview with the BBC on equity crowdfunding
So what gives, why the obsession?
Well, I just find it great that ECF has done the impossible job of letting anyone be an Angel (Startup) investor from £10 - it used to be a ~£10k minimum game, after all. We have the websites Crowdcube, Syndicateroom and seedrs to thank for this in the UK.
All this excites me for a bunch of reasons, in no particular order:
1. Money bags: £10k invested in all the UK startup raises of 2011 would have become £64k by 2018; the idea being to pick the next Facebook, Deliveroo or SpaceX (hell, SpaceX could crowdfund now even, they're a private business ). You rarely see these kind of returns on the stock market.
2. Tax cashback: Because it supports small businessses, the govt reward startup investors with generous tax relief schemes - in some circumstances, better than pensions (i shit you not). But, as the saying goes, don't let the tax 'tail' wag the investment 'dog'!
3. Equity for good; making the world a better place, e.g.
Finisterre - ecofriendly surfer clothing brand,
Macrebur - making roads out of recycled plastic
Allplants - Making vegan food damn tasty
More generally: Job creation, innovation, etc
4. The power of perks: The rewards attached to crowdfunds can be a steal! For example: For £2.5k, investors in coffee chain Grind got free coffee and cocktails daily for life. This perk's worth £80k (by my calculations) in one's lifetime - that's before the equity! Again, PSA: don't let the rewards 'tail' wag the investment 'dog'.
My stupid ass going £1k (rather than £100) in on a crowdfund pitch because the reward for a £1k investment is a hella-fine t-shirt
(FYI I didn't actually do this; the t-shirt rewards always start at £5k anyway, am i right? 😂)
But everything comes at a price, and there are risks we should all be cautious of. Firstly, most startups fail (~80% depending on who you ask). The Crowdfunding data (20% failure rate) is too small/unreliable (no downturn data) to celebrate just yet. Secondly, this asset class is illiquid - to put this into perspective - Angel investor Mike Baliman (londonfintechpodcast.com) hasn't seen an exit for 25 years in one of his portfolio's startup companies. There are plenty of surprises and shitshows in crowdfunding too, like Loot (fintech that went bust before campaign was even live), or little-known Monii (another fintech, failed a record (?) 2 months after crowdfunding, £180k in crowd capital lost).
My reaction when EIS relief takes a decade to come through
Anyway, as much as i love it, I still find ECFing a broken experience. Researching, discussing and keeping abreast of crowdfunds is a far cry from the slick experience you get with Monevator.com, finimize or simply wall st (aren't they great?). This blog will obviously never be as big as Monevator - it's just a run-of-the-mill blog on a niche of a niche. But that doesn't mean there isn't plenty of fun to be had. Shoutout to Ecf.Buzz, a wonderful website on crowdfunding that's ran by the eccentric Rob Brown. It's done -and continues to do- a wonderful job covering crowdfunding, especially the scandals. Whilst I've been inspired heavily by Ecf.Buzz, I'm unwavering in my belief that a resource like this should always be free to use (Ecf.Buzz is a paid service); isn't that the whole spirit of crowdfunding? I might chuck in a referral link or too though.
Some hopes and dreams:
1. Pitch deck library (with founder permission)
2. 'Upcoming campaigns' - never miss a round again.
3. Tutorials (How to read companies house docs, fill out EIS forms, etc)
4. Covering other crowdfunding platforms/types (US/EU platforms, litigation, property, etc)
The ultimate dream is to amass a community of crowdfunding enthusiasts large enough to convince dream companies to crowdfund. Deliveroo, Farmdrop and Emma finance have all considered, then dropped crowdfunding campaigns because of a lack of perceived demand or similar. There are >800k crowd investor accounts, mostly based in the UK; imagine if ECF really takes off in Europe, the US and everywhere else too?! Had they all known about these planned campaigns at the time, i'm sure a non-trivial portion of these people would have rallied to the cause. But hey, pipe dreams aside, if this site just ends up being a handful of strangers meeting to chat online about a common interest, i'll be hella happy with that too.
What to expect
I want to say that i'll never be an "invest in this startup now, its the next Google" kind of blogger *cough* Motley Fool *cough*. Life's too short for that. I will always strive for balanced, unbias content. You might here me scream about diversifying from time to time - i'm unapologetic about that (MOST crowd investors have an ECF portfolio with just 1 startup in it...) ; I also consider it prudent to diversify out of the asset class; i.e. have it as a modest part of a broader portfolio with liquid assets (e.g. public stocks, or government bonds). This ties in to a neat little summary for this paragraph -I want to raise awareness on the risks of crowdfunding, and make the research process easier by breaking down the information asymmetries and inefficiencies in the space. You might be a complete newbie, or crowdfunding's answer to Peter Thiel, but hopefully there'll be something for everyone on here.
The blog and the forum
So, last of all, let me explain how the site will work: It's basically a blog and a forum. My hope is to have the forum become the heart of the site - where i'll first post my thoughts and research bit by bit, as it comes. Hopefully there'll be lots of discussion, debate and sharing. I'll then package all the forum content into a blog post that gives you the gist of what's gone on in the forum for the past month(ish). This way, the blog offers a unique experience to the forum, and vice versa. Naturally, if you want the news soon and might like to discuss it, feel free to head to the forum. I'll also post 'ancilliary' content (e.g. posts on my public stock portfolio) in the forum if that interests you, the idea being that the blog will remain focussed on ECF, but the blog is a much broader discussion. So if you're short on time and just want the key points on crowdfunding news, then the blog is probably the right place. Just note that private campaigns are best sought after in the forum, as they may close before I get round to a blog post. Hopefully this shouldn't happen, though.
So that's it. Thanks for making it to the end. I would be really thankful if you could give any feedback or ideas in the comments below or on the forum. Please do share what you like with anyone from your 'crowd'.
P.S. For convenience, you can subscribe to get an email update by filling out the form at the bottom of the page. Whenever a blog post is published, you should get an email (if it works!). I'm kidding - it will work.