Listed English winemaker bottles multi-million pound crowdfunding investment 

The Seedrs crowdfunding platform has been used by Chapel Down to raise nearly £4 million, representing the first time that a public company has used the alternative finance method.

Chapel Down plans to plant more vines, build a new winery and construct fresh distribution and storage facilities, after turning to the crowd for growth finance.

After hosting a crowdfunding pitch online on Seedrs for 24 days, the winemaker raised £3.9 million from in excess of 1,400 backers. The deal is reportedly the first time that a listed company has used equity crowdfunding, and is in itself a ‘new world record’ for its amount.

Having been set up in 2001, Chapel Down produces English wine and beer and is currently listed on the ICAP Securities & Derivatives Exchange (ISDX) – formally the PLUS-SX exchange.

The funds raised will also go towards constructing a new brewery and extending the hospitality facilities already in place at its base in Kent.

Frazer Thompson, CEO of Chapel Down, comments, ‘Raising the money is obviously fantastic, and will allow us to grow the business faster, but the fact that over 1,400 new investors have decided to buy into the Chapel Down story is just as important.

‘We wanted to build a significant body of shareholders who are supporters of our brand, and who buy our products and encourage their friends to do the same.’

Investors who joined the Chapel Down fundraising round pledged amounts between £10 and £250,000, all of which qualify for tax relief through the Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS).

Other recent crowdfunding developments for Seedrs, which was founded by Jeff Lynn in 2009, have included a first ‘convertible’ investment round for tech start-up Future Ad Labs and a tie-in with venture capital firm Faber Ventures. Those investing into Future Ad Labs will see their commitment convert into shares in the future at a discount on the future valuation, while Faber Ventures contributed £180,000 of a £250,000 transaction involving Brussels-based Maily.

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Commenting on the deal for Chapel Down when the pitch was launched, Seedrs CEO Lynn says, ‘This is a very appealing opportunity for investors and customers alike, and with the benefits of EIS and the 33 per cent discount on wine and beer that is available for a modest investment of £560, we expect this campaign to be snapped up quickly.

‘This is yet another landmark campaign for equity crowdfunding worldwide, and it is great that it is a UK-based crowdfunding platform and an English winemaker that is making it happen.’

Hunter Ruthven

Hunter Ruthven

Hunter was the Editor for from 2012 to 2014, before moving on to Caspian Media Ltd to be Editor of Real Business.

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