By Daniel Hunter

Crowdfunding is taking off as an alternative source of finance for British entrepreneurs judging by the acceleration in funding that the world’s first equity-based crowdfunding platform, Crowdcube, is experiencing. In the first five months of 2013 it raised £4,400,000 for 20 businesses compared with £840,000 for 11 pitches in the equivalent period of 2012.

Luke Lang, co-founder of Crowdcube says, “That’s a whopping 524% increase and we’re only at the start of June! In fact, we funded 25 pitches for a total of £2.7 million during the whole of last year — that’s a huge leap and we’ve smashed our targets.

It’s fantastic to see the model taking off like this in the UK. We’re excited about the next phase of our growth at home and abroad.”

Crowdcube, which pioneered equity crowdfunding, funded nearly £3.5m in the last two months (April and May), with eight businesses reaching their targets in May.”

14 of the 25 successful pitches this year were for £100,000 or more. The top pitches in 2013 to date are:

· In May, Crowdcube raised £1.5 million in just three days from 256 of its members. This set a new world-record for the biggest equity crowdfunding deal. The capital is being used to expand internationally, to recruit more staff and to ramp up its marketing activity.
· The Rushmore Group, owner of three members’ clubs in London, secured £0.5 million investment from 72 investors in April. This was the third time it had used Crowdcube, having previously raised £1.5 million in November 2011 and January 2012.
· Lawbit, an online legal service providing simple contracts for small companies, acquired nearly £400,000 from 177 backers in May.

Clive Rich, founder of Lawbit said: ”We already had angel backing but when we discovered Crowdcube and the power of the crowd, we were able to raise almost double the investment in a few days; we’re delighted to have found a group of like-minded, passionate investors. Working with the guys at Crowdcube is great; they’re professional, very knowledgeable and go the extra mile to be helpful.”

Key growth statistics for Crowdcube:

· £4.4 million raised so far in 2013 compared with £2.7 million in the whole of 2012.
· Nearly £3.5 million secured in the last two months (April and May) alone, with eight businesses funded in May.
· 20 businesses funded January - May 2013, compared to 25 throughout 2012.
· The biggest single investment through the platform is now £250,000, increasing from £100,000 previously.
· Over 35,000 registered investors.
· The platform has raised nearly £10 million for well over 50 businesses since launch in February 2011.

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