Equity crowdfunding platform Seedrs has closed its self-hosted crowdfunding round, securing a record-breaking £2.58 million to support its growth into Europe.
The London-based business, which provides a platform for ordinary people to invest in early-stage startup businesses in return for equity, received almost three-and-a-half times its original target from 909 investors, in return for 33.3 per cent equity.
The campaign, which launched in November 2013, has set a new world record for investment raised through an equity crowdfunding platform. It coincided with the company's new position as the first fully pan-European equity crowdfunding service.
Jeff Lynn, chief executive and co-founder of Seedrs, said: "The response to our campaign was phenomenal. It was overwhelming enough to have reached our investment target in such a short amount of time, but to have achieved almost four-times the investment backing we sought, from our own community and beyond, is astonishing. We see this as a tremendous validation of both our model and our business and we want to thank everyone who has invested for joining us on our journey."
Everyone from ordinary investors to business angels who see the potential for equity crowdfunding to disrupt traditional financial services now have a small stake in the industry that experts predict could be worth an estimated $300B (£125B, €220B).
Seedrs already has more than 30,000 registered members on its books, who can back businesses with as little as £10, and it has funded 60 deals since its launch in July 2012. The company has seen an annualised growth rate of 836%.
Seedrs allows entrepreneurs to raise seed capital for their startup business in return for giving an equity stake to investors. Unlike rewards-based crowdfunding platforms such as Kickstarter, in which funders receive rewards but not equity stakes, Seedrs investors share in the potential success of the businesses they back.
The site is Europe's leading equity crowdfunding platform, averaging over three deals per month since launch compared to its closest competitor's two deals per month. It was also the first equity crowdfunding platform to receive regulatory approval from a financial regulator, the UK's Financial Services Authority.
Seedrs was recently named in the Silicon Valley Comes to the UK's "Top 100 Club" of businesses with the potential to generate £100 million in annual revenues in three to five years' time. And just this month, Seedrs was the only equity crowdfunding player included in the ICON 2014 FinTech 50. In September 2013, Seedrs launched the world's first-ever crowdfunding "fund".