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Investing app Freetrade returns to the crowd

Source: Freetrade

We’ve built Freetrade with the investment of our crowdfunding community from the beginning.

In 2016, we started out with the idea of building a stockbroker you can trust. And we thought that it was the right thing for our customers to have a chance to share in our future success, too.

We’ve done a crowdfunding round annually since. It’s something that makes Freetrade special and a key ingredient in our success to date.

Every year, we gain more customers that hadn’t heard about Freetrade before. Having an upcoming crowdfunding round always gives them an opportunity to then invest in a product they love (and boy do they spread the word).

It’s been a virtuous circle that translated to having 25,000 users on our app when we launched our crowdfunding around this time last year, to having c. 8,000 Freetrade shareholders by the end of the campaign.

In the year since we have seen our user numbers increase c. 500% to almost 150,000 today. There is nothing we’d love to see more than having them all become direct shareholders of Freetrade, too.
Corona impact

It has been our funding plan to keep an annual cadence of crowdfunding, supplemented by venture capital series rounds that grow as we do.

In 2019, that meant taking our first institutional funding in the form of a Series A, led by venture capital firm Draper Esprit, and we are currently aiming for a larger Series B in late 2020 or early 2021.

The current coronavirus lockdown situation has naturally made us revisit our assumptions and question whether we should change the timing of our planned crowdfund.

With any crisis, there are winners and losers, and opportunity. We’re fortunate to be in a business that has been positively impacted by the current market conditions. We’re seeing record signups, customer deposits and investment activity on a daily basis.

On balance, we feel it is an even more compelling time to raise more capital to help fuel the growth we are experiencing.
Access to information

Under normal circumstances, a crowdfunding campaign is open for weeks and gives prospective investors a chance to ask questions of the team and explore investment pitch documents before deciding to invest.

That hasn’t been possible for many in the last couple rounds due to the speed of closing, so this time around we are going to make more information available before the round opens.

We’ve kicked off a series of AMAs (ask me anything) via Zoom with Freetrade execs, the latest being last week with our Co-founder and CMO Viktor. We’ll have a few more or these in advance of the round, and during, so you can get your questions answered in the absence of the in-person investor events and open office hours that we normally did during previous rounds.

We’ll only be releasing the official investment materials as part of our Crowdcube pitch page, but we will be giving private access to our existing investors first, followed by our customers, before making the materials available on a public pitch page.

So remember: if you want early access to our next crowdfunding round, and you haven’t invested in any prior rounds, then you should join Freetrade now.

We also strongly recommend signing up to Crowdcube before the next round goes live.

As crowdfunding is an FCA-regulated activity, as usual, we’ll be directing all investment-related discussion and materials to the Crowdcube platform. But we will also be releasing some additional information on the community forum in advance, so prospective investors can get a sense of where the business is, ahead of viewing the full pitch documents.

Key details

Platform: Crowdcube

Go live date: May 2020 (we’ll announce the date as soon as possible)

Private mode for existing investors: 9 AM — 11 AM BST

Private mode for customers: 11 AM — 1 PM BST

Public mode: 1 PM BST

Head to freetrade.io/crowdfunding-2020 for all the details, including how you can invest and what you’ll get if you do.

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