Emerging Crowd, a London-based platform that offers equity and debt investors the opportunity to invest in pre-screened businesses in emerging markets, has launched, with two African startups the first to attempt fundraising on the platform.
The platform claims to be the first on which ordinary investors can invest directly in equity and debt fundraising campaigns by unlisted growth-stage companies in select frontier and emerging markets. The minimum investment is GBP500 (US$750).
Though Africa is only one of a number of targeted regions for Emerging Crowd, the first two companies fundraising on the site hail from the continent. Shares are available in Bozza, a download and streaming platform bringing African multimedia content to a global audience, and Neo, a Nigerian coffee shop chain.
Co-founders Lucien Moolenaar and Will Tindall said Emerging Crowd aims to link ambitious, well-run companies seeking finance with international investors pursuing the potential of higher returns from some of the world’s fastest growing markets.
“Our aim is to build an online community of investors who are passionate about the exceptional growth opportunities available in frontier and emerging markets. Until now the vast majority of investors have had no way to reach these types of companies, let alone consider buying a stake in them,” Tindall said.
Interested investors can view detailed disclosure documents and financial information on the Emerging Crowd platform, while also being able to ask questions directly to the Bozza and Neo management teams. The platform also offers a streamlined investor relations service.
Startups serve to benefit as well, with Emerging Crowd saying many such businesses around the world find themselves in a ‘funding gap’, where banks and private equity firms have failed to provide much needed financing for growth.
“Frontier and emerging markets can offer investors significant growth and income as part of a diversified investment portfolio,” Moolenaar said.
“Emerging Crowd allows investors to access individual growth-stage companies that would not otherwise be accessible. We combine best practices from private equity, capital markets and crowdfunding, including extensive background checks, thorough due diligence and unparalleled disclosure on every deal. We also require companies to provide quarterly and annual updates, allowing our members to monitor their investments and see the impact they are having in these rapidly growing markets.”