Neil Woodford-backed Seedrs sees record levels of investment in 2017

Hand holding out money
Star fund manager Neil Woodford is a Seedrs investor

London-based equity crowdfunding firm Seedrs has secured the highest levels of investment in the platform since it began in 2012.

Investors from 58 countries around the world put a cool £125m into campaigns on the platform totalling 46,700 investments, with 168 deals funded in 2017.

The firm saw 130 per cent more £1m plus campaigns during the period alongside launching a fully functional secondary market.

In October last year, the company closed a £6m crowd funding round led by famous fund manager Neil Woodford, whose investment in Seedrs now totals £10m.

Read more: A Neil Woodford-backed firm is to deliver Glasgow some mighty fast internet

Equity crowdfunding allows people to invest in early-stage companies that are not listed on stock exchanges such as the FTSE100, in exchange for shares in the firm.

Interest in this form of investment has grown rapidly in recent years. UK data company Beauhurst released figures in July 2017 which showed equity investment in Britain reached record levels in the first half of the year, increasing by 75 per cent since the second half of 2016.

Beauhurst said "seed" stage companies received the most funding via crowd funding, but there is increasing activity at the venture-stage, a trend shown by Seedrs who received strong interest from venture capital firms in 2017 including Oxford Capital, Draper Esprit and more.

Seedrs CEO Jeff Kelisky said: “I am thrilled with the company’s growth and progress over the last 12 months. From record-breaking campaigns with over 4,000 investors and portfolio exits to launching pioneering new products, 2017 has been an outstanding year for Seedrs. The results have definitely established our leadership in the industry."

Read more: Trading app Bux launches on Seedrs to build a “millennial financial brand”

Good news all round

Other equity crowdfunding platforms also reported record years. A spokesperson for Crowdcube told City A.M. that a record £130m was pledged in 2017 through its platform, up 19 per cent compared to 2016, of which a record £90m was invested in pitches that successfully funded.

Santamania, the Spanish gin distillery, raised €1m (£0.9m) in Crowdcube’s largest Spanish deal ever. Usain Bolt-endorsed insole company Enertor raised 132 per cent of its £750,000 target, while challenger bank Monzo’s raise of £2.4m in March saw a record number of investors in a single pitch – 6,485.

Similarly SyndicateRoom, which specialises in matching investors with an opportunity led by an experienced "lead investor", closed 85 funding rounds out of a total of 118 rounds, giving an impressive success rate of over 70 per cent.

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