Payday for Seedrs founders as UK crowdfunding platform is snapped up by US rival Republic in £75m deal
A popular UK crowdfunding platform which counts tennis star Andy Murray as a backer is being snapped up by a US rival – giving its founders and chief executive a hefty payday.
Seedrs, which allows small investors to put money into start-ups, is being bought by New York fintech firm Republic in a deal worth £75million.
It comes just months after the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) blocked the merger of Seedrs and rival Crowdcube, stating that they were the only sizeable suppliers of equity crowdfunding to UK start-ups.
Seedrs – which counts British tennis champ Andy Murray (pictured with wife Kim ) as a backer – allows investors to plough money into start-ups
At the time Seedrs said the decision stifled the UK’s potential to boost start-ups. Now It is falling into US hands.
The first regulated equity crowdfunding business in the world, Seedrs has pushed £1.7billion of investment through in nine years.
Data shows 29,000 people use the site and it has acted as a retail investment platform for names such as digital bank Revolut, now worth £25billion.
The company was founded by chairman Jeff Lynn and non-executive director Carlos Silva in 2012 as part of an MBA project at the Said Business School at the University of Oxford.
Lynn has a 10 per cent stake, meaning he is line for a £7.5million payout, while Silvav has a 3 per cent holding, worth £2.25million.
Chief executive Jeff Kelisky has a 5 per cent share, valued at £3.75million. Seedrs grew rapidly and has completed 1,503 fundraisings.
But it was not until 2015 that its profile was boosted as Murray invested and took a role advising management.
He has used Seers to invest in 20 firms. His stake was not disclosed. Almost 5,000 smaller investors –mainly Seedrs’ customers – also own stakes.
They will be given cash for their shares. Republic plans to expand into Europe. Founder Kendrick Nguyen said he wanted to use both firms’ strengths ‘to create a clear industry leader’.
Lynn will continue as chairman. The deal is subject to approval by the Financial Conduct Authority and shareholders.