Emerging Crowd today announces the upcoming launch of its UK-based equity crowd investment platform aimed at unlocking the huge growth potential of strong, well-managed companies in emerging and frontier markets. The platform is planned to go live in October 2014 once FCA authorisations are in place and will provide ordinary investors with direct investment opportunities in individual growth stage companies through a secure, risk-managed and cost effective online process.
There are reportedly 3 million ‘DIY investors’ in the UK, and this is forecast to increase to 5.5 million by 2017. Emerging Crowd will provide this self-empowered community with the opportunity to explore new exciting markets through their investment choices. The Holy Grail for investors is to be among the first to identify a long-term investment trend and to get in on the ground floor. A quarter of a century ago it was almost inconceivable that ordinary investors could invest in a Chinese internet giant on a major stock exchange or that a South Korean automotive company would conquer international markets.
Lucien Moolenaar and Will Tindall, the Co-Founders of Emerging Crowd, have both spent many years working on cross-border fundraisings in emerging and frontier markets. They observed that even profitable, well-managed companies often struggled to access private capital and that opportunities to invest in these growth stage companies were few and far between.
Lucien Moolenaar, Co-Founder of Emerging Crowd, explains:
“For established growth companies in emerging and frontier markets, traditional cross-border fundraising models often fail to provide the necessary transformational capital. Even the best companies are not adequately served by conventional banking and brokerage models. We have created Emerging Crowd to bridge this gap, so that investors can discover and invest directly in growth stage companies from around the world.”
The Co-Founders recognised that crowd investment had begun to revolutionise the marketplace for startups and early-stage companies in developed markets and felt that this technology could also bring much needed agility and transparency to later-stage emerging and frontier market investing. According to a recent report from the World Bank, crowdfunding in developing countries could grow to £50-55 billion over the next twenty years.
Will Tindall, Co-Founder of Emerging Crowd, commented:
“New technologies are greatly enhancing private market efficiencies. Emerging Crowd offers the potential for a major overhaul of a largely institutional framework for allocating capital to companies in emerging and frontier markets. It provides the possibility of leapfrogging the inefficient legacy systems prevalent in the developed world and opening additional sources of funding to these undercapitalised markets.
The platform will be highly curated, and companies seeking to raise capital must already have strong financial performance and growth prospects, along with an experienced management team, strong corporate governance and near-term liquidity options.
Emerging Crowd is headquartered in London and will initially focus on selected emerging and frontier markets in Sub-Saharan Africa, Central Asia and South-East Asia, including those countries that have demonstrated economic and political stability, a reliable investor protection framework, legal and regulatory certainty, transparency and market integrity.
Emerging Crowd will leverage best practices from both public markets and existing crowd investing, whilst reducing investment costs and eliminating the need for confusing and opaque investment structures. Investors will benefit from clear and compliant disclosures on the platform and will have direct access to issuers and their management before investing.
The technology behind the platform is currently in its development and testing phase and will be launched to the public within three months.