On the panel included Amit Sankey from Wirefund, Richard Heyns, founder and CEO at brytlyt, a data warehousing and data analytics disruptor, Workspace customer (Light Box) Emily Bendell discussed her lingerie and nightwear brand Bluebella's current crowdfunding raise. They are raising a total of 750K, most of the sum will come from shareholders and a new board, while the rest will come from crowdfunding.
Bluebella is recruiting an army of ambassadors through a tightly controlled crowdfunding process.
She admitted that it was a “relatively small amount they could get from angel community but added interesting element of marketing.” Bluebella is recruiting an army of ambassadors through a tightly controlled crowdfunding process. Depending on their investment they get access to a menu of rewards - from vouchers and gift cards to the honour of having a lingerie set named after you.
Her advice? “You need your whole team engaged in the process. As it takes you out of the business in certain ways and you need the whole team to support you.” For this raise she's hired a communications and marketing person to manage the raise. “It always takes longer than you think.” One of the main reasons for this is that, understandably, investors want to meet the founder.
The new money raise was an opportunity to reassess what they currently had in place. They looked at their share articles and lowered the threshold to 75%. They also made everything digital. In addition, Bluebella has decided to stop giving away 'observer rights' and gather a board that would give her strategic advice. There are now 12 of them in the Bluebella team and on the board there's a chairman, two non-execs, Bendell and another team member. “There's a gap for a finance guy,” she tells the audience.
The raise is also part of the bigger picture, Bendell explained. “In 12 to 18 months it'll be whether we do a big series A to accelerate internationally or we carry on with the current plan.”
Many of the businesses present were approaching their first fund raise so Bendell's experience was highly valuable. Neil Herbert from HRComply found that it was “a valuable source of information and a chance to hear, learn from and share the experiences of other firms like theirs in the funding journey.” His company delivers complete software and consulting solutions to financial services firms wishing to automate record and manage their FCA/PRA regulatory obligations.
They're based at Wenlock Studios, which is convenient as it's “just outside the city.” They are growing fast and “are scaling up to take advantage of the uplift in demand for our services and software.” As they approach their first round of funding/financing, they “are working with consultants to define our funding requirements and prepare their relevant paperwork and financial data prior to approaching funding sources.”
It's great to hear first hand how other start-ups have approached fundraising and what lessons can be learnt.
Elin Haf Davies, aparito
Elin Haf Davies from aparito is also starting on a seed round. The digital health company, established to monitor patients remotely by using wearable technology and smart phone apps, and is based at Club Workspace Chancery Lane. She echoed what seemed to be a common consensus: “It's great to hear first hand how other start-ups have approached fundraising and what lessons can be learnt.”
The seminar is just one of the free and exclusive services provided by Informed Funding to Workspace customers and Club members. The team is on hand to provide one-on-one consultation sessions for New and Growing Companies in the Workspace centres, which are looking to raise money, facing financial challenges or need help with their funding strategy. Informed Funding have helped companies as diverse as the travel website FlightBite. Find out more about Informed Funding here.