This March, Club Workspace Kennington members, SHAREIGHT, broke records! The online retail app raised £600,000 in 24 hours from over 240 investors through the equity crowdfunding platform Seedrs. That’s the fastest time in which that amount of money has been raised in London. Their founder, Grant Slatter, tells us more about why he chose crowdfunding rather than other alternative finance options and how the Seedrs model worked out for SHAREIGHT.
Tell us about the SHAREIGHT story from the very beginning…
I joined Club Workspace Bankside two years ago and loved the set-up there. I started meeting people over the coffee machine. I then heard about an event there - an event on pitching. I thought I know how to pitch but I felt I’d go along to the event anyway.
The event was really really good, I really enjoyed it. The surprise at the end was that the guy said ‘Now you’re going to have to write a pitch. Everybody create a business and write a pitch for it’. So I quickly put together this idea I’d had for shopping on mobile. I wrote a quick pitch and delivered it. I ran over time because the guy was so engaged he forgot to press the buzzer to stop me.
At the end, a guy came up to me from the audience and said ‘Hello my name’s Henry’. We agreed to meet for coffee and to discuss some ideas together. Henry’s now my business partner. We joined forces and started working down here at Club Workspace Kennington.
What happened next?
We grew really organically. We needed help on looking at our competitors and on a developer to help us with a prototype. People seemed to come to us and we had a lot of help from our environment here. We met a guy who helped us plan out our delivery operationally and we delivered the product on time, on the 8th of October. We also had help with the video we made for our Seedrs pitch and we met them in here. So it’s been fantastic.
How did you fund the prototype at first?
We initially funded our business from friends and family. We needed a small amount of capital to show proof of concept. We had to build something that would give people confidence that we could actually deliver on this vision that I’d had.
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How did Seedrs enter the picture?
The next step was starting to talk to investors. One evening there was an event at Club Workspace to which Seedrs came along to tell us about their crowdfunding business. It was one of those things. They were out in the foyer, I walked past, stopped, listened and thought it is interesting. We met the guys afterwards and we ended up going through the crowdfunding raise.
Can you tell us a little more about the Seedrs’ process?
After we’d raised money from friends and family, we immediately started looking around for the next round. We looked at various different funding ideas and obviously we were talking to angel investors. But as I said, when I saw Seedrs one night presenting at Club Workspace, I got talking to them and realised that was a really good opportunity for us. We could bring all the people we’d been talking to together in one spot on one day and perhaps excite a crowd of other people who might want to invest in our business.
As it turned out that strategy worked really well. Half of our money came from people we’d been talking to for a long period of time and half of it came from people that we didn’t actually know, who liked our idea, had seen our pitch and our business plan on Seedrs and were quickly able to grasp what we were doing and invest as well. It was very successful.
We raised a million dollars in 24 hours.
How do you think your office environment helped you develop your company?
The real thing about Club Workspace is that it allows you the space to grow and that may sound like a marketing line but the reality is that is exactly what it does. When I came in here it was two of us sat around a table and then we met up with other people and we were able to just add people in. And we’ve done that organically. We’ve met people around the coffee machine, we’ve had an intern program here and now we have a fantastic senior team who joined us as a result of our funding.
Find out more about SHAREIGHT
Follow SHAREIGHT on Twitter @SHAREIGHT and Grant @GrantSlatter