Company Name: Crowdcube Ltd.
Founded: February 2011
HQ: Exeter, Devon
Founders: Darren Westlake & Luke Lang
2012 Turnover: £1.5 million ($2.4 million)
USP: Crowdcube is the first U.K. financial regulator-approved equity crowdfunding platform.
Q&A with Darren Westlake and Luke Lang:
Q: How did you get started and where did the idea come from?
Darren had experienced first-hand the difficulties in gaining investment for his previous start-ups and saw a gap in the market for an alternative method of raising finance. The intention is to 'democratise investment' by making it more accessible, straight-forward and rewarding for a broader cross-section of society.
Q: What has been your biggest challenge?
Raising awareness. It's a key ingredient for success and difficult to achieve without deep pockets. For Crowdcube, being first to market had its drawbacks, not least having to create and develop a nascent industry singlehanded.
Q: What has been your biggest success?
All the businesses that we help to raise funding for are tremendous success stories. Standout businesses that have raised money through the platform are The Rushmore Group, which has raised a total of £2 million through Crowdcube in three rounds, and Escape the City, which secured £600,000 in 2 weeks.
Q: What was the best business advice you received when starting out?
To always keep focused on your goals. Good ideas will undoubtedly present lots of great opportunities. However, such opportunities can be distractions and can lead to increased pressure on your time, money and resources, particularly when you are a young company.