Applications are now open for an exciting new scheme looking to help startups based in the South West raise money using crowdfunding to help them grow and succeed. The Crowd10 South West crowd-funding initiative has been developed by crowd-funding experts IdeaSquares and it is looking for 10 innovative South West startups seeking up to £150k of equity funding to make significant progress with their business.

We caught up with Kirsty Ranger, the founder of IdeaSquares, to find out more.

TechSPARK: What are the main aims of Crowd-10 South West?

ideasquares-kirsty-ranger (1)Kirsty Ranger: Crowd10 South West aims to support 10 South West startups to crowd-funding success. From the moment startups are accepted onto the programme, they’ll receive 1-1 support in building a strong crowd-funding proposition. They’ll have access to our bespoke crowd-building tool and our tried and tested templates including video script templates, timeline building templates and marketing plan templates.

All successful applicants will attend training events throughout May, each with a specific focus from legal support to PR and marketing for crowdfunding. The final 10 applicants will have the opportunity to pitch to a room full of investors in early June before launching on Crowdcube later that month.

“We get so many enquiries from startups here in the South West for support with funding. The South West really is a hot-bed of innovation”

 

TS: Where did the idea come from?

KR: IdeaSquares is a crowd-funded startup itself and our business model is to support startups to crowd-funding success. We get so many enquiries from startups here in the South West for support with funding. The South West really is a hot-bed of innovation.

Whilst the funding initiatives and support here in the South West are excellent, there seems to be a couple of gaps. One is a designated support programme for equity crowdfunding and the other is investment into early stage startups. Crowd10 fills both of those gaps.

FINAL LOGO - CROWD 10 8By taking 10 startups and funding them simultaneously via Crowdfunding, we hope to put the spotlight on early-stage investment opportunities here in the South West and show that crowdfunding is an excellent funding route for startups. This programme will allow everyone in the South West to have a piece of the action if they wish.

Crowdfunding is an excellent way for investors to build a diverse investment portfolio and to engage with startups at an early stage. With investment into startups via crowdfunding starting at as little £10, it allows for the startups own networks to take advantage of the opportunity to share in their success. (Disclaimer: Investments of this nature carry a risk to your capital. Please invest aware.)

Importantly, we hope the the 10 companies will provide a throughput for the excellent later-stage support packages, such as Great Western Ventures and Silicon Gorge, that the South West offers.

TS: How have Crowdcube been involved?

KR: As a South-West based crowd-funding platform, and one of the most successful crowdfunding platforms in the UK, Crowdcube seemed like the obvious choice for us to support the 10 companies towards. Crowdcube are an extremely entrepreneurial and supportive team who got right behind this idea from the beginning. They have been responsible for hundreds of successful equity fund raises and have supported startups in raising over £150m. We’re really looking forward to working with Crowdcube to get the 10 startups launched for crowdfunding in June.

TS: Who should apply?

KR: Startups registered to or based in the South West of England and who are seeking all or part of their seed round of equity funding should apply asap. Applications are being accepted on a first come, first served basis and we will close applications as soon as we have identified 15-20 companies that we feel have a good chance of success with our support.

We will begin supporting you the moment you are accepted onto the programme so the sooner you apply, the sooner you can get started. During the 2nd week of May, the 15-20 finalists will be narrowed down to 10. All of whom will go forward as part of Crowd10 South West. The 10 finalists will be given the opportunity to pitch to a room full of investors at the Engine Shed in Bristol on the 1st June, before their campaigns go live the following week.

Support from the tech community

So what are you waiting for? We think it’s a great idea, and so do many others: Crowd10 South West is being sponsored and supported by a variety of high-profile names in the South-West tech and creative community such as TechSPARK itself, Invest in Bristol & BathFD worksDirty Design, SimpleWeb, Webstart, Enterprise NationTLT, DeskLodge, Shooting Star and the Engine Shed.

“As a proud South West-based business Crowdcube is looking forward to working with some of the region’s promising entrepreneurs”

 

Luke-Lang-CrowdcubeNot to mention, or course, Crowdcube. As Luke Lang, Co-Founder of Crowdcube (pictured left), says: “To date Crowdcube has raised over £150 million for over 300 businesses, 28% of which are start-ups raising seed-stage investment. Our partnership with Crowd10 will enable us to continue building on a track record of success when it comes to funding start-up and early stage businesses by giving budding entrepreneurs a platform to raise the finance needed to turn their idea into a reality.

“As a proud South West-based business we’re looking forward to working with some of the region’s promising entrepreneurs.”

Want to apply? Businesses who are interested in taking part in Crowd10 can apply online at crowd10sw.ideasquares.com. There is a processing fee of £10 per startup. Visit IdeaSquares.

If you want to know more first, potential applicants are also invited to email their questions directly to crowd10@ideasquares.com or they can go along to a Crowd10 launch event at DeskLodge, Bristol, on 13th April 2016 at 10am, where they will be able to meet the people behind the initiative and ask questions. To attend the event you can email sarahjane@weareshootingstar.co.uk.

Jamie Middleton