Edinburgh crowdfunding firm ShareIn raises $1m

Crowdfunding platform ShareIn has secured a $1 million (£646,000) investment amid plans to shift its focus towards helping companies raise cash ­directly from investors.

Andrew Pickett and Jude Cook have helped several firms reach their goals after launching ShareIn last year. Picture: Chris Watt

Since launching last year, the Edinburgh-based site has already enabled a range of firms to meet their fundraising goals, including 3D display specialist Holoxica and Parkure, which is seeking a cure of Parkinson’s disease

ShareIn co-founder and chief executive Jude Cook told The Scotsman: “We’re not closing down the current platform, but we’re going in a new direction.

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“We’re becoming a technology enabler to allow people to crowdfund themselves, a bit like BrewDog have done.”

BrewDog, the Ellon-based craft brewer, last month said it was aiming to raise £25m from beer fans, building on previous “Equity for Punks” schemes. If successful, the move would be a record for the equity-based crowdfunding model, which gives backers a share in the companies pitching for finance, rather than “rewards” offered through rival platforms.

Cook, an engineering graduate turned chartered accountant, set up ShareIn with Andrew Pickett, who is now its head of web development. The firm is now looking to treble its headcount as it rolls out its technology to other users.

“We’re recruiting a developer to work alongside Andrew, and we also need sales and marketing individuals and some business development staff,” Cook said.

The funding round was led by the Stirling-based ESM Investments syndicate and has seen ESM’s David McIntosh join the ShareIn board as a non-executive.

McIntosh said: “We first approached ShareIn last year as we saw the significant opportunity in providing the technology platform in the growing equity crowdfunding market.”

According to the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), the amount of money raised via equity-based platforms trebled to £84m last year, with an average of almost £200,000 raised in each deal.

ShareIn is also regulated by the FCA. Cook said yesterday: “Anything that we enable to be crowdfunded is authorised as a financial promotion by ShareIn, and we’ll undertake due ­diligence on those companies.”

Earlier this year, the site ­announced plans to develop the first equity crowdfunding platform for firms and investors in both China and the UK.

ShareIn is based at CodeBase in Edinburgh.

Jamie Coleman, managing director of the technology incubator, said: “The $1m raise gives the team the capital it requires to grow in this hugely exciting market.

“Equity crowdfunding offers businesses around the world the opportunity to not only raise money but also to build a groundswell of supporters and early adopters.”