Bubble & Balm, based in Warwickshire, sought £75,000 of growth finance through the Crowdcube web-based crowdfunding platform in return for 15 per cent equity in the business. Eighty-two investors each contributed between £10 and £7,500 to meet the funding target.The Fairtrade bodycare business will use the investment to expand its product range, increase marketing activity and to meet demand from retailers such as Waitrose, Oxfam, Planet Organic and a growing number of independents. Crowdcube.com, launched earlier this year by Luke Lang and Darren Westlake, allows entrepreneurs to showcase their business and investment potential to thousands of micro-investors by uploading a Dragons’ Den-style video pitch, images and supporting documents. The site gives UK investors the opportunity to pony up as little as £10 ($16.40) to invest in private tech start-ups and small businesses long before they’ve hit the IPO stage. “We want to enable people to have a real share – real equity in the business,” explains Lang. “We want to make investing open to everyone so that the ordinary man or woman in the street can invest in a limited company.” Bubble & Balm founder Sue Acton says she was excited when she first heard about Crowdcube. “Raising finance is incredibly tough for any small business. The idea of pitching our business to a wide range of people, ranging from ‘armchair dragons’ looking to invest £10 through to more traditional investors with thousands to invest, was really appealing. “Some of our new shareholders have already offered their skills as well as their cash to support our growth.” Startup ventures can register their business idea or pitch for funding at ww.crowdcube.com. There is no cost for entrepreneurs to sign up. Crowdcube receives a five per cent success fee.
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