‘Crowdfunding is growing up’: SyndicateRoom just partnered with the London Stock Exchange

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Tech Insider | Oscar Williams-Grut | March 14, 2016

SyndicateroomCrowdfunding investment platform SyndicateRoom has gained intermediary status with the London Stock Exchange (LSE), meaning it can offer investors access to initial public offerings (IPOs) of companies listing shares on the London stock market through its online platform.

Co-founder and CEO Goncalo de Vasconcelos told Business Insider: "What we are doing now is crowdfunding growing up.

"We are authorised by the FCA [Financial Conduct Authority], we have been accepted as a member of the LSE — bear in mind these bodies go through a huge amount of due diligence — and that means from now on we are the only platform that allows the crowd to invest in IPOs. That is incredibly exciting."

IPOs are when private companies go public, listing their shares on the stock market. The mechanism lets companies raise money and means investors can easily invest in and trade company stock.

While IPOs are technically already open to retail investors — ordinary savers, who make up the bulk of crowdfunding — de Vasconcelos says that in practice it is very hard for small time investors to get access to these investments, which are typically offered at a better price than publicly traded shares.

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He told Business Insider: "It's possible for you and I to buy and sell public shares. It is much harder to get access to IPOs and private placings when there is a discount on the share price and typically only institutional investors — asset managers, wealth managers — have access to them.

"Yes you can call a broker, but you really will struggle to find a broker that will take a £1,000 order because it's just not cost efficient. We're breaking a barrier by doing what we do best — do it all on a platform, very efficient."

This all ties in neatly with Cambridge-based SyndicateRoom's mission statement — to let ordinary investors gain access to the kind of deals that professional investors normally only get involved in.

de Vasconcelos says: "We are the only investor-led crowdfunding platform. What this means is we allow the crowd to invest together with professional investors — angels, VCs, family offices. Our key vision is it shouldn't matter if you're a small-time investor with £1,000 to an investor or a professional with millions, on pound for pound invested you should all have the same opportunity.

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The National Crowdfunding Association of Canada (NCFA Canada) is a cross-Canada non-profit actively engaged with both social and investment crowdfunding stakeholders across the country. NCFA Canada provides education, research, leadership, support and networking opportunities to over 1300+ members and works closely with industry, government, academia, community and eco-system partners and affiliates to create a strong and vibrant crowdfunding industry in Canada. Learn more About Us or visit www.ncfacanada.org.

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