28 Borrowing Sporting chance

From crowdfunding to angel investing, Sam Lewis finds how one British clothing label attracts investors


urrent low interest rates may entice some small businesses to follow traditional means, such as a bank loan to

expand or secure start-up cash, but crowdfunding and angel investing are two alternative finance options that are proving increasingly popular for those keen to attract funds. British clothing label, Rupert

& Buckley, raised more than £90k through crowdfunding in less than 24 hours this year, but CEO Alex Newman warns the process isn’t easy with the campaign taking over two months to launch. “Anyone who thinks you simply

have to fill in a profile page with your idea or business and write down a valuation for the money to roll in is in for a real shock. It’s a complicated and strategic process where you have to create an emotive — yet commercially targeted — video about your business and summarise while learning a new funding system. Every written statement must be proved to the nth degree, as well.” He adds: “Peer-to-peer funding

companies such as Crowdcube give plenty of advice, but the process is designed to help investors make a swift judgement whether they want to buy into you as people, your business or concept.”

Rupert & Buckley, raised more than £90k through crowdfunding in less than 24 hours this year

“We came round to the idea of

crowdfunding as we heard that the process can often bring national awareness to a brand with the correct level of PR and attracts the attention of many larger and more diverse investment groups.” Te strategy paid off, with Alex

now in discussions with 12 high level investors that may help Rupert & Buckley reach its £450k target. “It’s very important to promote

your campaign through as many channels as possible,” says Alex. “Te crowdfunding sites promote your pitch through their own networks, social media and Google, but we also decided to promote our story through targeted national PPC campaigns, social media advertising,

and most importantly on Angel Investment Network and other angel investment sites”. While many crowdfund investors

are individuals with limited business experience, angel investors tend to be high-net-worth individuals who often provide more than financial backing, contributing their business expertise to younger firms. Alex acknowledges that angel

investors are invaluable to Rupert & Buckley, which is expanding in the US and Europe, and plans to continue to grow its UK brand awareness through building on its current collaborations with sporting partners Te Boat Race, UK event rider Emily King and Ospreys Rugby. Says Alex: “My advice to other

businesses is to do plenty of research into all the options and think hard about who you want to invest in your business. Also, consider exactly how they’ll be a part of your team — if you want them involved at all. “If all you need are funds to launch

a product or service — say you’re a tech company or an up-and-coming brewery — then crowdfunding should work for you, but if you have a brand that needs to be explained in more detail, then angel investors or a more traditional means of fundraising may be a better fit.”


Rupert & Buckley: North Devon clothing label selling high-quality clothing aimed at men and women aged 25 to 35 and aligned with British institutional sporting culture. Angel Investment Network: Website where entrepreneurs can pitch to high

net worth investors who’ll provide funding and advice for their business. Crowdcube: The UK’s biggest peer- to-peer crowdfunding portal where individuals can invest or gain funding from other like minded individuals.


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