A new channel has been opened for fast-growing UK SMEs to raise money after an online platform for private company shares was expanded to allow all European investors to participate.
A new channel has been opened for fast-growing UK small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to raise money after an online platform for private company shares was expanded to allow all European investors to participate.
Swiss technology company LPO Ventures has partnered with UK fund adviser Autumn Capital to extend its FirstPEX product from Switzerland to the UK and rest of the European Union (EU).
Patrick Gruhn, chief executive of LPO Ventures comments, ‘This gives European investors the chance to participate in the exciting opportunities of investing in fast-growing private companies that the platform offers.’
The company claims that more than 100 European companies and investors use the FirstPEX product, but until now only Swiss nationals could act as investors in the product. According to a statement from the business, opening up to non-Swiss investors will boost investment and attract more SMEs to the platform from across the EU.
Kevin Cook, the founding partner of Autumn Capital, adds that the platform has the potential to be Europe’s answer to SecondMarket and SharesPost, the US-based platforms that link investors and smaller businesses.
In the US, the platforms have provided a marketplace for stakes in well-known companies, such as Twitter and Facebook, which have yet to hold an initial public offering (IPO), but have attracted an enthusiastic following among investors. Investors in the system are commonly employees and ex-employees of the high-profile private companies, the statement says.
Cook continues, ‘Given the lack of European IPO culture among mid-sized business and the extreme contractions in European banking activity, the potential could be actually greater.’
In the UK, the prospects for the platform are ‘promising’, he adds, while pointing to the fact there are about 200,000 family and entrepreneur-led private companies in the country.