Edinburgh start-up One Year No Beer smashes fundraising target

A start-up behind an online “toolkit” to help people improve their relationship with alcohol has raised nearly £2 million after closing its latest fundraising round.

Fairbairns said the main reason for people wanting to invest in the firm is impact. Picture: contributed.

Edinburgh-based One Year No Beer describes itself as the biggest online support business in the UK – a “community and behavioural change platform, dedicated to supporting the nation to redefine its relationship with alcohol”.

It has seen 512 investors raise about £1.8 million via Seedrs – 125 per cent of the £1.4m target, which was reached within 24 hours. The crowdfunder took place in the June, and the sum will be used to develop the technology infrastructure of the business, allowing it to scale its lifestyle support system that it says facilitates “sustained behavioural changes through the power of community and connection”.

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Edinburgh firm helping users manage alcohol use targets £1m round
Fairbairns launched the venture to help others improve their relationship with alcohol. Picture: contributed.

Co-founder and chief executive Ruari Fairbairns said the investment “will really allow us to expand our offering and support so many more people with our products”.

He added: “We weren’t going out to a called audience or looking for sophisticated investment – this is because we already have a really powerful community. We didn’t struggle to raise these funds, and we reached our funding target of £1.4m in the first 24 hours of going live.”

Alain Renaud, who is managing partner at investment banking-focused Alexander Partners and the former global head of mergers and acquisitions at HSBC, said: “I’ve been an investor and a board member with One Year No Beer since September. I tried it for myself, joining the one-month, programme and I thought it was very effective. Soon after, I met with the founders and I thought that the company was extremely interesting as an investment.

“I have a background in investment banking and private equity, and I thought it was a great opportunity. A year later I have to say it has been even better than I thought. The business model is very compelling and what I find most interesting is the honesty of the content and the credibility. I have no doubt that this will continue to be a very successful company.”

Impact

Fairbairns also said: “Without a doubt, the main reason for people wanting to invest in us is for the impact. People can see just how much an impact we can make on people’s lives. Also, it’s not just about the impact on the individual, it’s also about the impact on society as a whole.

"It’s not about prohibition – quite the opposite. Alcohol is a symptom and our work at One Year No Beer is about helping to identify the cause. That is why we can have such a positive impact on so many.”

One Year No Beer was launched as a free service in 2015, after Fairbairns decided to take a break from alcohol following “enormous” social, peer and corporate pressures. He said the effects were “life-changing,” and he decided to help others improve their relationship with alcohol.

Now, with more than 70,000 members across 90 countries, the business plans to scale its lifestyle support system. Funds raised by new and returning investors build on £3m previously raised, which includes investment from former Facebook director Mark Cowan, and Joe De Sena, chief executive and founder of Spartan and Death Race, as well as Renaud.

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