Star fund manager Neil Woodford and a venture capital fund backed by Lord Rothschild have led a funding round into online crowdfunding platform Seedrs, valuing the business at £30m.
Woodford's Patent Capital Trust and Augmentum Capital said they will invest £7.5m into London-based Seedrs. The company will raise an additional £2.5m by targeting existing shareholders and other individual investors through a campaign on the platform.
Seedrs, which recently added tennis ace Andy Murray to its advisory board, will use the capital to ramp up its marketing efforts in the UK and Europe and its platform development activities. It's also expanding into the US after its acquisition of California-based Junction Investments late last year.
The company is part of the growing equity crowdfunding market, in which more than £1.2bn was invested in the UK last year, double the previous year, along with companies such as Crowdcube.
"The capital we are raising will allow us to deliver our next stage of growth in the UK, Europe and the United States. As importantly, though, is the signal this investment sends to the market," Jeff Lynn, chief executive and co-founder of Seedrs, said.
Augmentum Capital is wholly backed by RIT Capital Partners, an investment trust chaired by Lord Rothschild, whose family own an 18 per cent stake. One of Augmentum's founders, Tim Levene, will join Seedrs' board of directors in connection with the round.
Woodford Patient Capital Trust focuses on start-ups and early-stage businesses with high growth potential, and targets annual returns of 10 per cent "over the longer term".