Envestry for Startups is a new whitelabel SaaS for SMEs and start ups to raise funding via equity crowdfunding using their own bespoke site - well one borrowed at a cost from Envestors, the new platform's parent company.
We emailed Scott Haughton, Envestry's CEO, a series of questions and he kindly replied - the text is below.
Does this help ECF? We dont really think so. It wasnt an issue in our eyes in the first place. The issue is the lack of information symmetry between the companies pitching and the investors investing. Envestry still use self assessment as the mainstay of their vetting process - which, as you know, we think is a very poor idea. The fact that an FCA regulated member of Envestry sanctions the pitches means not a lot - as numerous scandals on FCA regulated platforms have shown. In the end Envestry have no skin in the game. See what do you think......................
How does this ‘new’ idea help to improve the quality of the businesses that currently use equity crowdfunding?
Envestry for Scale ups helps early stage and high-growth businesses to raise funds from seed stage through to maturity or exit. Our aim with the product is to empower these businesses by giving them total control over their fundraise.
Controlling the quality of businesses fundraising is not the purpose of the software product, however the due diligence that we conduct on each business as part of our sign-off for financial promotion creates a high level of transparency which is uncommon in crowdfunding.
We provide all companies with a Key Investment Data Document (KIDD), which is a comprehensive template that must be completed prior to sign-off for financial promotion. The document forces companies to be transparent about the accounts, liabilities, conflicts of interest, corporate governance and deal structure. Making this information accessible through the platform makes it easier for potential investors to evaluate the opportunity.
2 What you are offering is essentially already available via Sharein and other white label supplier companies that offer SaaS for ECF companies.
Envestry for Scale ups gives businesses their own dedicated platform that they control. Other businesses in the market offer a shared platform for fundraising, where multiple investment opportunities are hosted and/or marketed to a network of investors. With Envestry for Scale ups, businesses can market to their own community, drive them towards their own site and retain 100% of investor data.
Envestors is loss making – what message does that give
It shows that we are committed to investing in our software product to deliver our vision of giving businesses control over their fundraise. Our business strategy requires a planned upfront investment in product development.
Who is liable for the information that your platform provides to investors and will this be checked? Under the FCA regulations for equity crowdfunding, information cannot be misleading. How will this new platform deal with this? Will you make investments in these companies?
Any deals posted on Envestry for Scale ups require regulatory sign-off to meet with FCA requirements. We offer a service, through our corporate finance team, to review documentation and provide the sign-off. Businesses also have the option of using a third-party to meet regulatory approval. However, sign-off by an FCA regulated professional is always required before a deal can be posted on the platform.
What will you charge and who will pay?
Our pricing for Envestry for Scale ups starts at £95 per month. Businesses have the option of adding-on additional services should they require professional assistance with their fundraise. Our corporate finance team provides a range of support covering everything from deal structuring to valuation guidance to shareholder reporting.
An entry level package that includes the platform for six months, onboarding, training and financial promotional regulatory sign-off, is £1450. Service fees of 3% are applied to funds raised.
We have priced the software to be affordable to growth businesses, who are typically lean and want to keep the cost of raising capital to a minimum.
The platform is suitable for startup and scale up businesses with their own networks who seek to raise more than £150,000.
Where will companies have access to a crowd outside of their own
Companies using Envestry for Scale ups, have the option of applying to ‘share the deal’ with the Envestors’ extended network which includes over 7,000 sophisticated investors. Deal sharing is at the discretion of each investment network and is not guaranteed
What marketing budget have you? What credentials does your team have?
Envestors is not a marketing company and partner to provide marketing services to our customers.
Is there a min or max raise?
The maximum amount a business can raise in a single round is €8,000,000. This is in line with FCA regulation and not set by Envestors. There is no minimum amount for companies raising finance, however, we recommend a minimum raise of £150,000.
Who will carry out the legals, share issue and the S/EIS claims?
Envestors has a number of recommended partners to help businesses with legals, share issues and S/EIS claims including CMS and Seedlegals. Businesses also have the option of working with their existing providers.
Will the new platform be involved at all after a raise is completed and shares are issued?
Envestry for Scale ups is designed to support businesses throughout their growth stage to maturity or exit. Businesses typically do four to five funding rounds; the platform can support them through each round. In addition, Envestry for Scale ups has a built-in investor relations tool. With this tool it is easy for businesses to keep all of their shareholders informed of their progress and to market any additional funding rounds.
Our thanks to Stuart for taking the time to reply.