Updated: Sep 13, 2020
// I've disabled comments on the blog post to encourage discussion on the forum. As the site develops, you'll find that I'll post on the forum to just get news in people's hands quickly (bit by bit) as its often time-sensitive. I'll then package all those bits in a blog post at month end.The idea being some people might prefer to get the news in a newsletter format via e.g. email notifications, whilst others might not mind popping in regularly to check the forum to get the latest scoops. For now, synchronising the blog and forum is not an issue, but please be mindful going forward. //Some of the links are referral links that enable £25 investment credit for myself and whoever uses them to sign up. I'm presuming most of you are seasoned crowd investors anyway, but thought to myself 'what the heck, why not?' It would take alot more mone- I mean, I would never write bias content regardless, so you can count on that. If I sound like I am - run for the hills. // Please please please do your own research. Do onsider whether you're happy with the level of information before investing, especially in a pre-emption round. None of this is financial or legal advice. Oh and remember: Your capital is at risk. Seriously though, startups are like small cap stocks on crack. All opinions my own. //I'm a shareholder in a number of the startups mentioned throughout, but the any affiliations end there; i've tried to remain impartial throughout.
Thank you for being here, it's been too long! If it's your first time, let me explain: this is a segment i'll be doing that gives a summary of the goings on in the ECF world. And this update is thicc y'all. I'll make it snappy as we have a lot to get through.
There are sadly more private rounds, pivots, growth stories, etc going on than I can cover! The below outlines the most notable stories, in my opinion. Feel free to comment, email or DM me if you have any questions, though.
Movers and Shakers
I hope everyone's okay in the current climate; I'm sure we'll all get through this eventually. I probably can't say the same of some of my portfolio companies though. As a rule, Travel, retail and hospitality have been hit hard. Food delivery, healthtech, remote working, and even (some) fintech startups (especially cybersecurity) - have been thriving.
An Interesting illustration of the mixed impact of the pandemic on Fintechs
Risers Allplants - Hired 24 chefs to keep up with orders, having seen a 250% increase in demand in one week. New customers account for 68% of sales, and revenues are >500% above forecasts. Luckily, supply chains are unaffected. I'm pissed their round was a convertible round now, haha! Oddbox - Fruit/veg delivery startup tackling food waste receives cash injection from Mercia VCT amid stellar growth (>300%) on revenues and users.
Gohenry reached 1 million users and is at record revenues despite lockdown, with a VC round on the cards. //By the way, anybody else pissed off that Farmdrop cancelled their crowd round last year?
//For context, Farmdrop is a farm-to-table food delivery startup (a 'challenger supermarket') backed by Atomico. They had planned a Seedrs round, but cancelled abruptly.
Fallers (for now...): Grind - London based coffee chain; closed all physical locations and furloughed majority of staff. Their online business has grown ten fold, though. Swings and Roundabouts. Etergo - Scooter/Moped startup that has, to date, crowdfunded 20m+ eur on and off platform, boasting 50k investors. COVID hit in the middle of funding plans, and they are now 'weeks' from running out of cash. Goodbox - Donations/payments fintech. Supply chain risk materialised. Heavy down round. Fronted - the rental fintech that had an upcoming ECF round, but in light of the pandemic has furloughed staff and 'gone into partial hibernation' until further notice. I'll be waiting, Fronted Team.
Dropping this picture here because it has two of my favourite things: Coffee and Doggos (From Grind)
ECF Platform updates:
The platforms have both experienced a short-lived lull, but have recovered somewhat. Expect lots of convertible notes, private rounds, down-rounds and possibly rescue packages in the near term.
-Launched a convertible note product
-Led a succesful "Save Our Startups" initiative, which led to the government's future fund, a package of support for startups through convertible notes.
-Held a successful private raise with Chip, the savings fintech. Chip defied wider COVID-19 investor sentiment and raised ~£2.5m from ~4k investors at ~£40m pre-money. With ~40% user growth in Q1, they are preparing for a VC round later this year; I attended in a Finimize zoom event where notable london VCs confessed to eyeing the savings space 👀 Seedrs have:
-Launched a notification feed (see right). check it out in the top right corner of your account screen. -Launched a survey on investor behaviour during the pandemic (also see right) -Experienced record selilng activity in the secondary market (~£246k). This comes as the £1k cap on sharelots is removed. Auto-listing of unsold shares is in pipeline. - Partnered with Capdesk to allow purchase of employee equity. This Potentially opens up shares in the likes of Secret Escapes, MoneyBox, Bulb and more! Seedrs' Chief Product Officer had hinted this to me when we met, but I couldn't believe it; Exciting times.
Across the channel:
Bnext now have 400k users transacting 80m eur/month, and 100 staff (12 in Mexico, which they plan to dominate). Not unscathed, they are working remotely and have cancelled both their rewards (~cashback) and their referral programs until post-lockdown. They have launched a nifty pay-as-you-go insurance feature (stop/start or freeze/unfreeze coverage/payments instantly in-app) through a partnership with Klinc (A venture by Zurich). Across the Pond:
Gaming ECF platform Fig was acquired by Republic, a Seedrs partner and fellow platform. (I love this platform - the UK needs an indie game crowdfunding campaign!)
Seedinvest, a crowdcube partner and fellow platform, was put up for sale (not long after being acquired) by Circle, their acquirer. No buyers found as yet.
Missed Campaigns Here are some campaigns that I never got the chance to tell you about, and have sadly passed by:
Seedcamp - Seed stage VC ; *Seed* investors in Revolut, TransferWise, Curve, etc. Disperse - AI/construction startup Fiinu - Neobank - focussed on disrupting overdrafts/ short term lending. Poq - VC-backed B2B App (not E) commerce startup for retail. An interesting space in this climate. Oddbox - Food delivery startup tackling food waste (wonky fruit and veg) Goodbox - Donations/payments fintech Here are some campaigns that were cancelled/delayed: Coconut - Accountacy fintech, still doing very well. Launching round later this year. Cup Club - reusable cup startup, backed by Seedcamp Wisealpha - Corporate Bond investing fintech. Rumours they were planning a round H1 2020 - so presumed cancelled. (Private) Live Campaigns Bux - Dutch Neobroker. Invest here Smarterly - Workplace pensions platform Invest here. Cash coach - savings/financial planning fintech. Invest here. Future planet capital -VC firm. invest here.
Me barging into pre-emption campaigns Coming soon:
The big one... (Do they even need an introduction?) Freetrade. Crowdcube. May 14th 2020.
Designable; A Sustainable design/construction startup from Spain (site is in 'espagnol', but campaign will be in english). Crowdfunding in a week - will keep you posted.
Smartwill - Legaltech focussed on wills. Think Farewill's younger brother. Pre-register here. Smartlands (public now?) Zeux - Crypto fintech. Pre-register here. Strowz - A pivot from Marketsflow. Pre-register here. That's all for now, folks. Stay tuned for due diligence posts on Freetrade and Bux.