Aiming to teach entrepreneurs how to maximise opportunities available through equity crowdfunding, CrowdBoost aims address what it describes as a “critical funding gap” for start-ups looking to up scale.
According to Virgin, 42% of start-ups don’t make their fourth birthday due to a lack of funding options.
However, one potential avenue is the alternative finance market which has grown 43% year-on-year from £3.2bn in 2015 to £4.58bn in 2016.
The first official Virgin StartUp Crowdboost round is open for entries now and will run for seven weeks from the 30 January 2018.
Virgin says it is looking for entrepreneurs who want to raise at least £100,000, already have a proven concept that is generating traction, as well as a strong following good following.
Virgin StartUp CrowdBoost is delivered through a series of masterclasses, talks, drop-in clinics and events.
The programme is delivered in partnership with equity crowdfunding expert John Auckland of TribeFirst and supported by Virgin StartUp’s own in-house team that comprises equity crowdfunding alumni, private equity professionals, chartered accountants and digital marketing experts
Partners on the programme include TribeFirst, Ignition Financial and Boa Branding, with Crowdcube and Seedrs also providing exclusive support to the programme.
Virgin StartUp Crowdboost went through a successful pilot earlier this year which covered food and beverage, financial technology, natural beauty products, baby products and mobility tech.
Two businesses which benefitted were Taxo’D, an accounting tool designed solely for the self-employed, and eFoldi, a folding and highly transportable mobility scooter.
Mei Shui, managing director of Virgin StartUp, said:
“Startups need more support to scale up. We know this because we’ve funded over 2,200 startup businesses.
“Crowdfunding seems like a natural, and on the face of it, easy way to secure further funding, but the process is more complicated than most realise and it is hard for entrepreneurs to know who to trust for support so we’ve designed this programme to help with that.
“Along with our in house experts and a variety of specialist partners we have created a unique programme which we think is the only one like it in the world, and certainly the only one like it in the UK.”
Dave Legion, founder and CEO of TAXO’D, one of the company’s involved in the pilot programme, said:
“The support and confidence that this programme has given me to move forward has been amazing, would I recommend it? Yes, absolutely!”