Guide to equity crowdfunding in the UK

Guide that gives you everything you need to know about equity crowdfunding


One of the biggest challenges when starting a business is finding the right way to grow and scale at the right speed. While there are several ways to raise money, the stage you’re in on your journey often determines your next step.

In this article, we’ll explore the ins and outs of equity crowdfunding and how it can fuel your company’s growth. Whether you’re an expert or just starting to dip your toes into the fundraising world, this guide provides valuable insights and actionable steps to make the most out of equity crowdfunding.

For additional information on financing options, explore our comprehensive funding guides, which include startup funding, series A, seed, and growth-stage.

Understanding equity crowdfunding

Equity crowdfunding is a revolutionary approach to fundraising that allows entrepreneurs to raise capital by selling shares or equity in their company to many investors. Unlike traditional funding methods, which rely on a small number of angel investors or venture capitalists, equity crowdfunding harnesses the power of the crowd. It opens up new avenues for startups to access capital and leverage the collective support of a community of investors.

So, why should you consider equity crowdfunding? Well, let’s take a look at some compelling statistics:

  1. Access to Capital: According to Beauhurt, crowdfunders completed 573 rounds in 2021, making them the third most active investor group in the UK equity market. Private equity and venture capital firms held the first spot with 1,359 rounds, and Angel Investors second with 602.
  2. Market Reach: Equity crowdfunding allows startups to tap into a broader investor base, including retail investors passionate about supporting innovative ventures. This widens your potential network of backers beyond traditional institutional investors.
  3. Marketing and Validation: Launching an equity crowdfunding campaign also serves as a marketing tool. It helps create buzz around your startup, generates media exposure, and validates your business model in the eyes of potential customers and partners.
  4. Investor Engagement: Equity crowdfunding creates a community of investors with a vested interest in your success. These backers can provide valuable insights, connections, and support beyond financial contributions.

Preparing your company for equity crowdfunding

Assessing your readiness

Before embarking on an equity crowdfunding campaign, assessing your startup’s readiness is crucial. Ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Is your business at an appropriate stage for equity crowdfunding? Typically, early to growth-stage startups benefit the most from this funding method.
  2. Do you have a compelling business model and a clear value proposition? Equity crowdfunding requires you to capture the interest and confidence of potential investors, so ensure your startup has a solid foundation.
  3. Are you prepared for the time and effort required to run a successful campaign? Equity crowdfunding campaigns demand significant attention and resources, so make sure you have the capacity to commit.

Fine-tuning your business plan and pitch

A strong business plan and pitch are crucial to attracting investors. Consider the following tips:

  1. Clearly articulate your startup’s mission, vision, and unique selling points. Highlight the problem you’re solving and how your solution stands out in the market.
  2. Present a compelling growth strategy. Show potential investors how you plan to scale your business and achieve profitability.
  3. Outline your target market and demonstrate a deep understanding of your customer’s needs and preferences.
  4. Prepare a concise and engaging pitch deck that effectively communicates your value proposition, market opportunity, team strength, and financial projections.

Conducting a valuation and determining funding goals

Valuing your company correctly is essential for equity crowdfunding. Here’s what you should consider:

  1. Assess your company’s worth by evaluating factors such as market potential, revenue projections, industry benchmarks, and the uniqueness of your offering.
  2. Determine how much funding you require to achieve your growth objectives. Be realistic and consider not only immediate needs but also future expansion plans.
  3. Decide on the percentage of equity you are willing to offer to investors. Striking a balance between the amount you raise and the ownership you retain is crucial.

Identifying your target audience and building a community

Equity crowdfunding relies on the support of a community. Follow these steps to engage your target audience:

  1. Identify your ideal investors. Consider their demographics, interests, and potential alignment with your industry.
  2. Build a community around your startup before launching your campaign. Leverage social media, industry events, and networking opportunities to create a buzz and attract potential backers. Ideally, you want 30% of the money raised before going public. This gives you momentum leading into the campaign.
  3. Establish a strong online presence through a website, blog, or social media channels. Engage with your audience, share updates, and communicate your vision effectively.

Choosing the right equity Crowdfunding platform

Overview of popular equity crowdfunding platforms in the UK

The UK offers a range of equity crowdfunding platforms that can help you connect with potential investors, whether that’s accredited investors or everyday people willing to back your company. Here are a few notable equity platforms to consider:

  • Seedrs: One of the largest platforms, Seedrs has a strong presence in the UK and Europe, providing access to a broad investor base.
  • Crowdcube: Known for its user-friendly interface, Crowdcube offers a wide range of investment opportunities and has a robust investor community.
  • SyndicateRoom: Combining equity crowdfunding with angel investing, SyndicateRoom allows investors to co-invest alongside experienced professionals.
  • Crowdfunder: Primarily focused on rewards-based crowdfunding, Crowdfunder also offers an equity crowdfunding option for startups.


Evaluating platform features and fees

When choosing a platform, consider the following factors:

  • Platform reputation and track record: Research the platform’s success stories and examine its track record in helping startups raise funds.
  • Investor network and reach: Assess the platform’s investor base and their interests to ensure they align with your target audience.
  • Platform fees and charges: Understand the fee structure, including any upfront fees, campaign fees, and transactional fees charged by the platform. Compare these fees across different platforms to determine the most cost-effective option for your startup.

Examining success stories and track records

Look into the success stories of startups that have used the investment platform you’re considering. Evaluate the funding amounts they raised, the level of investor engagement, and the overall outcomes of their campaigns. This will give you an idea of the platform’s effectiveness and its ability to attract investors who align with your startup’s vision.

Ensuring compliance with regulations and investor protection

Equity crowdfunding platforms must comply with regulations set by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in the UK to ensure investor protection.

Is Equity Crowdfunding legal? Yes, but when selecting a platform, consider the following:

  • Verify that the platform is FCA-regulated and has obtained the necessary permissions to operate as an equity crowdfunding platform.
  • Understand the platform’s due diligence process and how they assess and verify the startups that list on their platform. This ensures a level of credibility and reduces the risk of fraudulent activities.
  • Review the platform’s investor protection policies, such as nominee structures, shareholder rights, and dispute resolution mechanisms.

It’s important to thoroughly evaluate and select the right equity crowdfunding platform for your startup. Each platform has its own strengths and features, so choose the one that aligns best with your fundraising goals and offers the support and resources you need.

Remember, this guide is here to help you navigate the world of equity crowdfunding. In the next sections, we’ll dive deeper into crafting an effective crowdfunding campaign, navigating legal requirements, and managing investor relations.

Crafting an effective equity crowdfunding campaign

Creating a compelling campaign story

Your campaign story is crucial in capturing the attention and interest of potential investors. Craft a compelling narrative that highlights the problem your company solves, the market opportunity, and the impact your solution can make. Make it relatable, inspiring, and authentic, connecting with the emotions and aspirations of your target audience.

Setting a realistic funding target and equity offer

Setting a funding target that aligns with your business’s financial needs is essential. Be realistic about the amount of capital required to achieve your growth milestones. Consider the costs associated with product development, marketing, team expansion, and other critical aspects of scaling your startup.

Similarly, determine the percentage of equity you’re willing to offer in exchange for funding. Strike a balance between attracting investors and retaining enough ownership and control over your business.

Structuring rewards and perks for investors

In addition to equity, consider offering rewards and perks to incentivise potential investors. These can include exclusive access to your products or services, discounts, early-bird specials, or even branded merchandise. Tailor your rewards to align with your company’s value proposition and create a sense of exclusivity and appreciation for your backers.

Design an engaging pitch video and campaign page

A well-crafted pitch video and an engaging campaign page are powerful tools to communicate your story and generate excitement around your equity crowdfunding campaign. Keep the following in mind:

  • Keep the pitch video concise and visually appealing, effectively conveying your passion and vision.
  • Ensure the campaign page is user-friendly, visually captivating, and presents vital information about your startup, the funding target, rewards, and the timeline.
  • Use storytelling techniques, visuals, and infographics to convey complex concepts easily and engagingly.

Marketing and promoting your equity crowdfunding campaign

Building momentum before the launch

Generate anticipation and build momentum before your equity crowdfunding campaign goes live. Implement pre-launch strategies such as teaser campaigns, behind-the-scenes content, and sneak peeks to create buzz and gather an initial pool of interested investors.

Leveraging social media and online channels

Social media platforms and online channels are powerful tools for spreading the word about your equity crowdfunding campaign. Utilise platforms like Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram to share updates, engage with your audience, and drive traffic to your campaign page. Leverage relevant hashtags, collaborate with influencers, and actively participate in industry-specific communities and forums.

Engaging with potential investors and influencers

Engage directly with potential investors and influencers who align with your startup’s industry or target audience. Actively participate in industry events, webinars, and networking opportunities. Cultivate relationships, offer insights, and demonstrate thought leadership to expand your network of supporters and increase your campaign’s visibility.

Maximising media exposure and PR opportunities

Leverage media exposure and PR opportunities to amplify your equity crowdfunding campaign. Reach out to journalists, bloggers, and relevant publications to share your story and showcase your innovative solution. Consider writing guest articles, participating in podcast interviews, or hosting webinars to further establish your credibility and attract potential investors.

Navigating legal and regulatory requirements

Understanding the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) regulations

Familiarise yourself with the regulations set by the FCA for equity crowdfunding campaigns. Understand the limitations, obligations, and responsibilities imposed on both the platform and your company. Consult legal experts or seek guidance from the FCA to ensure compliance throughout the process

Comply with prospectus and disclosure obligations

Depending on the size and nature of your equity crowdfunding campaign, you may need to prepare a prospectus or disclosure document. These documents provide detailed information about your company, including financials, risks, and other relevant disclosures. Ensure compliance with the requirements set by the FCA and provide accurate and transparent information to potential investors.

Conducting due diligence and providing investor information

As part of the equity crowdfunding process, you’ll need to conduct due diligence on potential investors. Verify their identities and ensure they meet any regulatory requirements. Additionally, provide investors with relevant information about your company, such as financial statements, business plans, and risk factors. Transparency and open communication are essential to build trust and maintain compliance.

Handling tax considerations and SEIS/EIS schemes

Understand the tax implications associated with equity crowdfunding. In the UK, the Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS) and the Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) provide tax benefits to investors who support eligible startups. Familiarise yourself with the requirements and potential tax advantages associated with these schemes. Seek advice from tax professionals or consult HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) guidelines to ensure compliance and maximise the benefits for your investors.

Navigating the legal and regulatory landscape is critical to the success of your equity crowdfunding campaign. By understanding and complying with the regulations, conducting due diligence, and providing accurate information, you can instil confidence in potential investors and create a solid foundation for your campaign.

Remember, equity crowdfunding is a dynamic and evolving method of fundraising. Stay informed about any regulatory changes, industry trends, and best practices to ensure a successful campaign.

Managing investor relations and post-campaign activities

Communicating with investors during and after the campaign

Establish clear lines of communication with your investors throughout the equity crowdfunding campaign. Keep them informed about the progress of the campaign, milestones achieved, and any significant developments. Respond promptly to their inquiries and address any concerns they may have.

Leveraging investor networks and expertise

Tap into the knowledge and expertise of your investors. Engage with them to seek advice, insights, and potential business opportunities. Leverage their networks to explore strategic partnerships, collaborations, or introductions to potential customers or investors.

Addressing legal obligations and reporting requirements

Fulfil your legal obligations and reporting requirements to investors and relevant regulatory authorities. Provide timely financial reports, shareholder updates, and any necessary documentation per the regulatory guidelines. Maintain compliance with the rules and regulations governing your equity crowdfunding campaign.


Equity crowdfunding presents a unique opportunity for companies to access capital, engage with investors, and accelerate their growth. By understanding the process, leveraging the right online platforms, and implementing effective strategies, startups can maximise their chances of success.

Equity crowdfunding has transformed the fundraising landscape, democratising access to capital and enabling startups to realise their visions.

Embrace the power of equity crowdfunding as a means to secure funding and engage a community of supporters who believe in your mission and want to see your startup succeed.

Remember, the journey of equity crowdfunding is an exciting one, filled with opportunities for raising funds, collaboration, and innovation. Leverage the knowledge and insights gained from this guide and embark on your equity crowdfunding journey with confidence.

For additional information on financing options, explore our comprehensive funding guides, which include startup fundingSeries ASeed, and Growth-Stage.

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