Crowdfunding is a buzzword I’ve heard a lot lately – in Dubai, London and New York. Last winter, over dinner in Dubai, family friend Jeff told us about his new business-– an online platform to raise equity for start-up businesses. Fast-forward 16 months since launch, and Jeff Lynn, CEO of London-based Seedrs Limited, has raised over £2 million ($3.24 million) of equity for 48 companies in the United Kingdom.
So what exactly is crowdfunding? That dinner was the first time I’d heard the term “crowdfund” an acronym which stands for Capital Raising Online While Deterring Fraud (and) Unethical Non Disclosure. According to the Oxford Dictionary, crowdfunding is “the practice of funding a project or venture by raising many small amounts of money from a large number of people, typically via the Internet.”
There are several types of crowdfunding: 1) donation-based campaigns such as those for schools and museums, 2) rewards-based campaigns where goods are received for contributions, 3) debt campaigns which raise money via loans repaid with interest, and 4) equity/share investments in companies, by far the fastest growing segment, and the focus of this article.
The Dubai Crowd:
The equity crowdfunding phenomenon is newer but growing in Dubai. At a seminar hosted by law firm Taylor Wessing at the end of October, Loulou Khazen Baz, founder of online employment marketplace Nabbesh.com explained how she was the first to raise $100,000 in 12 days on crowdfunding platform Eureeca.com. Launched in May, 2013, Eureeca connects Middle Eastern entrepreneurs with a crowd of investors who can invest as little as $100 USD in SMEs.
Top Tips From the Experts:
Seedrs’ Jeff Lynn and Nabbesh’s Loulou Baz have the following advice for entrepreneurs looking to raise equity capital via the internet...