Business owners are going online to seek funding too. Growthwire.com, launched this month, has listings of investment propositions posted by corporate finance advisers. They range from a Czech inventor of proprietary house construction techniques seeking €500,000 (£400,000), to a developer of electric vehicles in China looking for €20 million.
According to Clive Bawden, business development director at Catalyst Corporate Finance, business-for-sale sites are most popular with ‘lifestyle businesses’ whose valuations are too small to merit the attention of a professional adviser.
‘If you’re a £100,000 turnover hairdresser based in Clapham and you want to sell your business, it’s fair enough,’ he states. ‘But if you’re a £50 million turnover company with 300 staff it’ll probably do less for you, because it won’t reach the right people. You’ll also be leaking confidential information, because once you reach a certain size it’s pretty easy for people to work out who you are.’