Crowdfund update #11 April 2021

Update #11 is here, way ahead of schedule - there was simply some news (especially upcoming campaigns) I couldn't wait to share with you all! Let's dive in:

Crowdfunding Platforms🖥️

56k investments were made on Crowdcube in Q1, totalling £51m. This is Crowdcube's best Q1 ever, representing a 66% increase on Q1 2020. Revenue figures are as yet unknown.

Seedrs had a record quarter, raking in ~£2m in revenue, 100% growth on 2020. Interestingly, Seedrs' carry and secondary market revenue made up 25% of revenue.

Good news 😀

ZigZag global (a now-international returns service, allowing retailers to resell rather than return stock) was acquired by Global blue, a large company operating in tax refunds/tourism/retail. ZigZag global raised ~£140k from 116 investors on Crowdcube back in 2015. The acquisition realised a 38x return for these crowd investors.

Passion Capital, a VC firm that recently crowdfunded on Seedrs, announced their latest investment: YHANGRY, an app for booking private chefs. Another Passion portfolio company “Causal” (a next-gen excel/google sheets), recently raised a £3m funding round led by Accel, one of the best VC firms in Europe.

THIS, the plant-based meat startup, launches their bacon lardons product in 300 Tescos nationwide and their cocktail sausage product in Sainsburys nationwide. The company made £300k in the first week of January, and was estimated to have made £1m in January alone, despite having taken all of H1 2020 to make £2.2m; this boon was largely due to "Veganuary"'s record participation/reach this year. More recently, THIS' chicken burrito dish at Barburitto (a mexican restaurant chain operating 14 locations in the UK) has become the second most popular choice at the restaurant chain, ahead of beef and pork but shy of (real) chicken.

Above: A picture of THIS' plant-based lardons and cocktail sausages

Revolut, the neobank, will raise further capital in the near future at a rumoured valuation somewhere around £10.8bn, this would mean a (very) approx paper return of ~150x for their earliest crowd investors.

The company has been expanding aggressively, having recently undertaken the multi-year process of filing for a US banking license. On top of this, Revolut has allocated £25m for expansion in India, having hired a CEO for their Indian operations, slated to begin in 2022. Revolut will also continue expansion in Canada in 2022, after having recently paused their beta launch there. Furthermore, Revolut also began hiring for key operations roles in Beijing and Shanghai, in anticipation of expansion into China. Expansion into Mexico, Brazil and South Korea has also been planned.

The company now has 15 million users. The company made a £107m loss in 2019, but was reported to have reached break-even in November last year.

Curve (the all-your-cards-in one fintech) is dubbed a “soonicorn” by Sifted. In other words, Sifted speculates Curve will reach a 1 billion pound valuation in the near future, based on their growth (do, ofcourse, take this with a pinch of salt). Curve’s last funding round valued them at “well over” £400m. A £1bn valuation would give investors in their 2019 crowdcube round (~£200m valuation) a ~4x return, after dilution.

WiseAlpha, the platform for retail investment into corporate bonds (Think Freetrade but for loans/bonds, not stocks), released their company accounts. They made ~£290k (100% growth YOY) whilst losses reached £2.56m (~120% growth YOY). Debatable whether this is good news, but ultimately most startups are loss making.

Bad news 😔

Tech Will Save Us - A startup selling electronics-focussed education kits for children, went bust. Controversially, they had engaged in talks with administrators just prior to their fundraise, as they were already on the brink of insolvency - more so, this was not disclosed during their fundraise on Seedrs in 2020 (~£400k raised, excluding future fund contributions).

Raises 🤑

Bux, the dutch neobroker, announced a funding round of £58m, led by Tencent (and Prosus Ventures). Founder Nick Bortot will hand over CEO position to current COO Yorick Naeff, although will remain on the non-executive board. The company was valued at (a very) approx £130m pre-money. The company reported 500,000 users, although this includes users across their commission free brokerage app *as well as* their CFD and crypto apps. The number of *active* users (exact figures unknown) was reported to have "grown six fold throughout the year" by existing investor Finch Capital.

What3Words (W3W), the geolocation app, raised funds from ITV (the british television channel) and Ingka group (IKEA) at an undisclosed valuation. Ingka, owner and operator of 389 IKEA stores invested ~£12 million in W3W. The investment will be used to launch the app in new geographies, and accelerate its adoption by ecommerce and logistics partners. ITV acquired a £2m stake in W3W in exchange for a television campaign on their channel; the national television campaign is due to launch soon. W3W made ~£390k in revenue in 2019 (44% increase YOY) but made a loss of ~£14.5m (~30% increase YOY)

(Private) Live raises 👤

Zero Carbon Farms (also known as "Growing Underground") - An agtech startup that grows crop in old, defunct tunnels of the london underground and does so sustainably (hydroponic systems, LED lighting, etc). Invest here.

Upcoming campaigns 📆

Emma Finance - A personal finance app (Think moneybox but sassier marketing) and will crowdfund on Crowdcube in June. Emma was last reported to have 2m users (100k of which are monthly active users) across the US, Canada and the UK. Emma's last funding round was their ~£1.8m seed round in 2020, led by connect ventures (backers of TrueLayer, Unmade, Citymapper, etc) with participation from Aglae Ventures (Airbnb, Slack, Spotify). Emma will soon launch fraud prevention, stock tracking/trading and crypto trading features.

Although I can't yet comment on Emma as an Investment opportunity, their upcoming crowdfund is both rewarding and exciting for me to see personally. The reason for this being that I like to think I (we?) played a (very) small part in making this happen, having badgered the founder and team for the best part of a year:

Above: A Screenshot (Pic 1) of me asking (begging?) Emma's founder to Crowdfund. Another Screenshot (Pic 2) of a mini-campaign/blog here on Crowdfeed, again to get Emma to Crowdfund - check it out here.

Cowboy - an Index Ventures and Tiger Global-backed Ebike startup, will soon launch a ~£1.3m convertible round for existing crowd investors as part of a recent, wider institutional bridge round.

Uniti - An electric car startup (think Tesla but much earlier, and for small city cars). Pre-register here.

EstateGuru - An online marketplace for business loans. Think Mintos or Fundingcircle but only property backed loans. Pre-register here.

Super U - A 'superfood' (highly nutritious food) brand. They famously received offers from all 5 angel investors on Dragon's Den (the UK's version of shark tank) this year, although they ended up declining the offer off-camera. Pre-register here.

Rumoured campaigns👂

An Index-ventures backed european startup... (more to come on this soon hopefully - remember, it's just a rumour!)



Crowdfeed labs🔬

Thanks for reading! As always, please don't hesitate to give your feedback on this post. Also, If their are any startups/campaigns you'd like a research post on, please let me know.. How does everyone feel about a write up on Emma Finance when the time comes?

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