Equity crowdfunding

June 23 2015


  • Andy Davis (Alternative Funding Network)

  • James Sore (SyndicateRoom)

  • Paul Moravek (VentureFounders)

  • Bruce Davis (Abundance)

  • Lucy Frew (Kemp Little)

  • Sola Paterson-Marke (DLA Piper)


 I asked Andy Davis – the former editor of the Weekend FT, author of a CSFI report on internet-based SME finance and now programme director of the Alternative Funding Network (a forum for thought leadership and market intelligence on SME finance) – what we could hope to get out of another round-table on equity crowdfunding. His response:

“I think the question to ask at this point about equity crowdfunding is ‘Where is it ultimately going to fit into the bigger picture?’. Some interesting deals are happening at the moment, but where are they leading? It may turn out simply to let retail punters get into very high-risk/occasionally high-return deals with small stakes. It may turn into the thing that ultimately displaces traditional angel syndicates and early-stage VC money from the lower end of the market. It may turn out to be several things: a way for entrepreneurs to fund their ventures, as well as a low-cost way for quoted companies to do secondary offers to the retail market alongside institutional placings - thereby letting retail money into deals that they cannot now access. I think a bit of crystal ball-gazing with some experts would be fun and informative.”

We’ll do our best. In addition to Andy (who has put his money where his mouth is when it comes to new ways of raising money for small business), we have five panellists with bags of experience in the field:

  • James Sore is chief investment officer at SyndicateRoom, a crowdfunding platform that focuses on early stage UK companies. Its USP is that it allows ‘members’ to invest alongside active business angels – who invest their own capital on similar terms. Prior to joining SyndicateRoom, James was an investment manager for a boutique IP investment company.
  • Paul Moravek is cofounder and managing partner of VentureFounders, a UK-based equity crowdfunding platform that (its words) is “pushing the boundaries of what can be achieved in the crowdfunding market by presenting investors with a range of curated, structured and diligenced opportunities”.
  • Bruce Davis is cofounder and joint MD of Abundance, an ethical investment platform which has raised almost £10 million for renewable energy projects in the UK. Previously, he was part of the original team that created Zopa.
  • Lucy Frew is head of the financial regulatory practice at Kemp Little, where her remit includes regulatory consideration for fintech businesses. Her legal background has focused on the intersection between technology and the financial sector.
  • Söla Paterson-Marke is a corporate lawyer at DLA Piper, advising clients on global M&A, private equity and equity crowdfunding. He is also DLA Piper’s Tech City Director, and was seconded to the technology team at UBS.