In September 2014, Chapel Down kickstarted an evolution of the equity capital markets by becoming the first publicly-listed company to offer its shares through equity crowdfunding. The company raised more than £3.95m investment from a combination of an institutional and high net worth investor placing, alongside the crowd, with all 1,463 parties participating on the exact same terms through Seedrs.
More efficient fundraising
Equity crowdfunding is an excitingly innovative approach to raising growth capital, especially when most companies at their stage, with their positive financial traction, traditionally reach out to institutions and large individual investors in The City.
Raising investment through traditional City brokers can be time-consuming, costly, and unengaging for businesses of any size. Chapel Down’s CEO, Frazer Thompson, saw equity crowdfunding on Seedrs as a strategic opportunity for the business to raise investment in a timely, cost-effective way, while creatively building and rewarding their evangelical base of customers.
“We wanted to provide an opportunity for our customers to be able to share in the success of our company. Using such a simple, innovative platform provided the perfect opportunity for the thousands of passionate people who love Chapel Down to invest in our business and help secure our future success, as well as enjoy some terrific benefits that come with being a shareholder.”
More than just fundraising
Frazer is an enthusiastic brand-builder at heart, and he approached the fundraising campaign as he would with any integrated, strategic marketing campaign. He wanted to invite customers to invest in the business as a way to build long-term brand engagement. Because these customers would be literally bought into the business and have a vested interest in Chapel Down’s success, Frazer knew that they’d provide great feedback and help spread the gospel of their products for years to come.
The team invited existing customers, neighbours, suppliers and stockists to join the campaign early via email and website engagement; following up quickly with outdoor and print ads, as well as substantial media coverage to introduce their brand and campaign to new potential customers.
To further engage with potential investors, the company offered creative perks to investors of various levels, including: discounts on products and vine leases, discounts at their restaurant, and free wine tastings and tours. On traditional share exchanges, offering and managing these kinds of investor perks would be almost impossible; but Seedrs makes it simple to monitor and manage investor relations, like this.
Since closing their round, Chapel Down has spared no time in investing in their future, recently doubling their land under vine to help satisfy demand for their popular wines.