Streetcar co-founder turns to crowdfunding for latest venture

Serial entrepreneur Brett Akker has raised £1.25 million from 229 investors through crowdfunding platform Crowdcube.

LOVESPACE has become the fourth company to raise over £1 million on Crowdcube, with its initial target of £600,000 met within a day.

Founded by British entrepreneur Brett Akker, whose Streetcar business was acquired by Zipcar in 2010 for £32 million after hitting revenues of £23 million, LOVESPACE provides by the box storage for consumers.

The business has stored in excess of 10,000 boxes for some 2,000 customers, and has raised the funding so that it can grow warehouse space and invest in further marketing and technology.

Having spent time overseeing the integration of Streetcar into Zipcar, Akker teamed up with his first company’s maiden angel backer to launch LOVESPACE.

Speaking to GrowthBusiness in August 2012 when LOVESPACE launched, Akker said that he hoped to use the take the self-storage sector and apply to it some of the Streetcar principles.

Customers are sent boxes and packaging free of charge and then have their belongings picked up by LOVESPACE for transportation to regional warehouses. Storage costs start at a minimum of £4.95 per month, with LOVESPACE returning goods to customers within 24 hours.

Speaking then, Akker said that the difference between other operators in the space such as Big Yellow Self Storage and Safestore is that users do not have to rent out an entire room, only the space needed.

More on large crowdfunding rounds:

Commenting on the crowdfunding investment, LOVESPACE managing director Steve Folwell adds, ‘We have been steadily growing customer numbers and developing our services since launch last November, and this additional funding will allow even further expansion of our customer offering and importantly storage space.’

‘We are grateful to all the support shown in this round of funding and are delighted to welcome the new investors,’ says Folwell, who previously held the role of business development director for Guardian Media Group.

Earlier investment in LOVESPACE came in the form of Streetcar backer Smedvig Capital – in an early-stage guise rather than its traditional private equity role.

The largest commitment to be made through the company’s crowdfunding pitch, which is for an equity stake of 23.73 per cent, is £100,000. The investment opportunity, one that qualifies for tax relief through the Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS), is open for another ten days according to the Crowdcube website, despite its fast take-up.

See also: A guide on using equity crowdfunding to finance business growth

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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