AN Edinburgh-based company has launched the only equity-based crowdfunding platform designed exclusively for UK technology and healthcare ventures.
ShareIn began a three-month 'beta' testing phase in December with five start-ups including three Scottish enterprises seeking investment, but went to full launch yesterday after one company Holoxica achieved its £60,000 fundraising target with more than a month to spare.
Javid Khan, founder of Holoxica, a developer of holographic 3D display technology, said crowdfunding had proved to be "a compelling way to raise capital".
ShareIn says other firms on the site have generated between 11% and 32% of their funding targets, resulting in more than £130,000 being invested. Scottish firms on the site include Edinburgh University's Carbomap, which applies patented technology to mapping the world's forest carbon, and innovative pest control developer Xeroshield based at the Roslin BioCentre in Midlothian.
Founded in 2012, ShareIn aims to provide equity investment from £40,000 to £1m "for inspirational UK companies looking to change the world through innovation, engineering and science".
Individuals can invest from £10 upwards, and ShareIn notes that initiatives such as the Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme and the Enterprise Investment Scheme can reduce financial risk by 70% to 100% for suitable investors.
ShareIn says it offers investors a unique "best-of-breed" share structure where every share carries voting rights and a legal relationship with the investee company, "without forcing the use of a middle-man or nominee structure and the associated fees".
Andrew Pickett, co-founder of ShareIn, said: "We know that the valuations on some crowdfunding platforms are absolutely crazy, which is obviously bad for investors and can also have a negative impact on companies looking to raise money in the future."
Sector investor Ian Ritchie of Coppertop said the venture was opening "the opportunity to invest in innovative technology to a much wider audience".
Equity Gap director Jock Millican said business angels would like ShareIn's focus on high growth technology businesses and its approach to investors.