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According to research firm Beauhurst more than £3bn was raised by UK growth businesses in the first half of 2017. That is three-quarters more than the figure in the second half of 2016. However, crowdfunding offers raised a more modest £48m in the second quarter, down from £50m in the first quarter.
There were a similar number of overall deals so the increase reflects the increased amounts raised in each deal and two particularly large deals of £389m for virtual reality technology developer Improbable and £313m for online fashion marketplace FarFetch. The average deal size was 64% higher at £5.61m. The average crowdfunding deal size in the first half was £6.3m.
Crowdcube raised the most crowdfunding money in the first half, nearly £42m out of the total of £98m. This cash came from 56 deals. Seedrs handled 64 out of the 158 deals and they raised £20.4m.
Solaris Photonics successfully raised the cash it wanted from its crowdfunding offer via Cleantech Investor. The EIS-eligible offer raised £585,000 and this values the Imperial College-based business at £3m. Solaris has developed technology that can be fitted to existing solar panels and increase their output by up to four times, as well as developing alkaline photovoltaic and shading reduction products. The cash will be used to commercialise the technology.
The Australian federal government is opening up crowdfunding to a much wider range of companies. The government is introducing legislation to extend the crowd sourced funding regime to unlisted and proprietary companies with less than A$25m in assets and annual revenues. Previously they had to become public companies to raise cash through crowdfunding. They will be able to offer ordinary shares to retail investors via crowdfunding platforms using documents with a reduced level of disclosure but they will have to publish additional information. Up to A$5m could be raised by a company in a 12-month period - it was initially expected to be A$1m. Small, retail investors will be able to invest up to A$10,000 where previously these fundraisings were only open to richer, sophisticated investors. The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) will start to accept licence applications from crowdfunding platform operators on 29 September via an eLicensing portal.
UK Bond Network helped AIM-quoted cyber security software supplier Defenx to raise £1.25m via a 10% convertible bond auction. This was the amount underwritten and Defenx was trying to raise up to £2m. It also raised £1.74m via a placing at 160p a share. The conversion price for the bonds is 200p a share. The cash will be used to finance further development of software products. Defenx will report its interim figures on 27 December.
PrimaryBid.com has raised more than £9m for quoted companies in the first eight months of this year. Chief operating officer Dave Mutton will be making a presentation about the service at Double Tree Hotel in Manchester on 17 October.
The Enterprise Investment Scheme Association (EISA) is holding seven Ready Steady Grow! regional workshops starting in Liverpool on 26 September and ending in London on 29 November. Details are in the news section of the EISA website (ww.eisa.org.uk).
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