Jeff Lynn is co-founder of Seedrs. He was keynote speaker at a Mishcon de Reya/Entrepreneurs Network Leap 100 Power Breakfast on 19 November 2015.
The following blog first appeared on The Entrepreneurs Network website.
My business partner and I started working on Seedrs in 2009. Our mission then – as it is today – was to build a platform that would make it simple and straightforward for people to invest in businesses they believe in. These were primarily start-up, early-stage, and growth-stage but pre-public companies. At the time there was plenty of access, and plenty of ways to gain access, to public markets. But the private market of investing in growth businesses had traditionally been very opaque, exclusive and clubby, and had changed little since the Victorian era: i.e. groups of rich people getting together and writing cheques. That was the case in 1870 and it was the case in 2005.
We felt that there was a great opportunity to open the process up and make it a democratised asset class. At the same time we wanted to give entrepreneurs a new source of capital, so that they wouldn’t be entirely dependent on the very limited available friends and family or angel money. But we could also use fundraising to drive value for their business by building networks – by providing entrepreneurs with 200 or 300 people with a vested interest in their success. They could then leverage those networks commercially.
But getting to where we are today has been a long and complex process. We were the first regulated equity crowdfunding platform in the world, and being the first regulated business in an industry is not something I would recommend! But we did it. My background as a lawyer has helped – especially with things like nominee structures. But we’ve also tried to create a balance where investors and entrepreneurs get all the benefits of this sort of mass participation, while all of the admin is streamlined through us. For example: if you raise finance through Seedrs, you only face us as a single legal shareholder. You have full interaction with investors but we sign consents.
Read the full article here.