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Find Investors Published:  Nov 25, 2019 4 min read

Top 10 crowdfunding platforms for UK startups 2023

Are you thinking about using crowdfunding to finance your startup? Wondering which one is best for your business?

To help, we’ve put together a list of the top crowdfunding platforms for UK startups based on research from Beauhurst and Mordor Intelligence. We’ve chosen popular crowdfunding platforms in different categories – rewards-based, equity and peer-to-peer lending – so you can find a service that’s right for you.

Contents

Types of crowdfunding

Crowdfunding is a way to raise money (usually online) from groups of people to finance a project or business. Each person contributes a relatively small amount of money but because many people are contributing, it can result in large amounts of capital.

The key mechanism behind crowdfunding is that you’ve got to offer your backers (the people giving you money) something in return.

There are four main categories of crowdfunding, as shown in the infographic below:

  • Rewards-based
  • Equity-based
  • Peer-to-peer lending
  • Donation-based

 

Pros and cons of crowdfunding platforms for startups

Like any type of startup funding, crowdfunding has its pros and cons. It can be a great marketing tool, but crowdfunding sites generally charge quite a hefty fee and with most of them, you have to have already raised a lot of the target amount yourself. It’s up to you to decide if it’s worth embarking on a crowdfunding campaign.

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✅ Crowdfunding pros

  • Gain credibility before you approach angel investors and venture capitalists
  • Build a customer base of early adopters and get feedback from them
  • Develop a strong relationship with your customers
  • Expose your company to thousands of potential customers and investors via the platform
  • Add extra cash onto a successful investor raise

❌ Crowdfunding cons

  • Not suited to every type of product or service – you’re unlikely to get much of a marketing buzz with a B2B or deep tech company
  • Can be time-intensive to manage
  • On some platforms, you need to raise through investors first before you can go live
  • Can be expensive – platform fees cut into your raise
  • Can take months to complete – expect the raise to take 4 to 6 months in total to allow for a proper pre-campaign, a month live, then a few weeks to close

Alternatives to crowdfunding platforms

If you decide crowdfunding is the best option for your business, you’ll find some great recommendations in the list below.

If you’re still considering a traditional funding round, looking for other ways to raise alongside your crowdfund or looking for a faster and more cost-efficient solution, here are some resources to help you decide:

SeedLegals can help simplify and speed up the admin involved when you raise a funding round and take a one-off investment. We also help you create your pitch and sort your SEIS/EIS Advance Assurance to attract investors.

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We combine an easy-to-use automated platform with unlimited help from experts to make your funding journey faster and more affordable.

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Top 10 crowdfunding platforms for UK startups

We’ve curated this list of popular platforms to appeal to all types of startups, no matter your sector or stage. We’ve segmented the list into rewards-based, equity-based and P2P lending platforms to help you identify the crowdfunding site that’s best for your business.

Rewards-based crowdfunding platforms

Kickstarter

Kickstarter is a global rewards-based crowdfunding site known as the king of crowdfunding platforms. Kickstarter is for any kind of creative or entrepreneurial project and is one of the best crowdfunding sites to reach a large audience.

Choose it if:

  • You’re a tech, gaming or art and design startup
  • You want to reach an international audience
  • You have a working prototype and a new-to-market product/service

✅ Pros

  • Your campaign gets exposure to a massive community of over 15 million users, which you can leverage to build brand recognition and drive product adoption
  • It’s a well-known and trusted platform

❌Cons

  • They don’t offer personalised support
  • Only ‘all-or-nothing’ campaigns – you need to reach your objective to receive the funds pledged. If you don’t hit your target, you don’t get any of the funds

💷Pricing

  • Platform fee is 5% of total funds raised
  • Payment processing fee of 3% + £0.20 per pledge

Indiegogo

Indiegogo is a popular global rewards-based crowdfunding site. They have a monthly user base of 10 million, and launch 19,000 campaigns each month, so it’s one of the best if you want to reach a large audience.

Choose it if:

  • You have an early stage startup in tech, design or gaming
  • You want to reach an international audience
  • You want to integrate Facebook and Google Analytics to promote and monitor the metrics of your campaign

✅ Pros

  • You can keep any money pledged, even if you don’t reach your objective
  • They’re more flexible on the projects they accept (compared to Kickstarter)
  • Indiegogo InDemand allows you to continue selling your product on the site after the campaign has closed

❌ Cons

  • There are thousands of campaigns on the platform to compete with
  • There are additional charges on top of the platform fee and processing fees

💷 Pricing

  • Platform fee is 5% of total funds raised
  • Payment processing fee of 3% + £0.20 per pledge
  • £25 bank transfer fee each time Indiegogo sends funds to your account

Crowdfunder

Crowdfunder is a UK rewards-based crowdfunding platform that funds entrepreneurial projects, causes and charities.

Choose it if:

  • You have an early stage startup in any sector
  • You want to reach a UK audience
  • You want extra support from fundraising coaches on how to achieve success with your campaign

✅ Pros

  • They have a +Extra fund of over £10 million that might invest extra cash in your company, depending on what you’re doing
  • It’s not limited to any particular sector
  • You can choose to keep what you raise or go ‘all or nothing’
  • They host interactive sessions to share tips and know-how

❌ Cons

  • They’re not as startup-focused as other platforms, so a lot of the audience is lost to charities and personal causes
  • Smaller audience means less marketing impact

💷 Pricing

  • Platform fee is 5% of total funds raised
  • Payment processing fee of 2.4% + £0.20 per pledge

IFundWomen

IFundWomen is a global rewards-based crowdfunding platform headquartered in New York. Their mission is to support women-led startups across sectors.

Choose it if:

  • You’re a women-led startup
  • You want to reach an international audience
  • You want to gain a supportive network of female founders and supporters of women-led businesses

✅ Pros

  • They’re helping to close the funding gap
  • In addition to crowdfunding, the platform also provides coaching for female founders and a free e-course
  • They offer the opportunity to get small business grants from their corporate partners

❌ Cons

  • Not as established as other larger crowdfunding platforms
  • It’s a smaller platform, which means amounts raised can be lower than on larger platforms

💷 Pricing

  • Platform fee is 5% of total funds raised
  • Payment processing fee of 2.9% + £0.25 per pledge

Equity crowdfunding platforms

Crowdcube

Crowdcube is one of the best equity crowdfunding platforms for high-growth companies and one of the most popular platforms in the UK. Companies like Monzo and Mindful Chef have been successful on Crowdcube and over £1.3 billion has been raised on the platform.

Choose it if:

  • You’re an early stage or growth stage company
  • You want to reach a large UK audience

✅ Pros

  • You have access to a large audience of over 2 million users
  • It’s a trusted platform backed by some of the UK’s top investment firms
  • It supports companies in any stage from seed to later stage
  • Data-driven approach helps you monitor your campaign

❌ Cons

  • High platform fees and completion fee required
  • Your company has to be registered in the UK or Ireland to qualify

💷Pricing

  • Platform fee is 7% of total funds raised
  • Payment processing fee of 0.75% to 1.5% of all funds raised

Seedrs

Seedrs is another popular UK-based equity crowdfunding site with over £2.3 billion raised on the platform.

Choose it if:

  • You’re an early stage or growth stage company
  • You want to reach a large UK audience

✅ Pros

  • You have access to a large UK audience
  • Buyers and sellers can exchange shares
  • They offer different (paid) packages to enhance your campaign

❌ Cons

  • You’re competing with a large number of other companies
  • High platform fees

💷 Pricing

  • Platform fee is 6% of total funds raised
  • Payment processing fee of 0.5% of all funds raised
  • £2,000 completion fee

CrowdBnk

CrowdBnk is an equity and rewards-based crowdfunding platform for pre-revenue and early stage startups.

Choose it if:

  • You’re an early stage startup just getting an idea off the ground
  • You have SEIS/EIS Advance Assurance

✅ Pros

  • They offer a free boot camp to help you make your business more appealing to investors
  • They offer personalised support along your journey

❌ Cons

  • Rigorous application and vetting process
  • Smaller user–base than other more popular platforms means it’s not as good for marketing

💷 Pricing

  • Platform fee is 5% of total funds raised
  • Payment processing fee of 3% of all funds raised

Peer-to-peer lending

Crowd2Fund

Crowd2Fund is a P2P crowdfunding platform with equity, debt and donation financing options, depending on the type of company you have.

Choose it if:

  • You’re an early stage, later stage or nonprofit company
  • You’re a social/environmental impact company or nonprofit seeking donation

✅ Pros

  • Flexible monthly repayment options for new businesses
  • Access engaged investors that could continue to invest in your company over its lifetime

❌ Cons

  • Debt makes your company less appealing to VC and angel investors
  • It’s not as good for marketing as other, larger crowdfunding platforms

💷 Pricing

  • Platform fee is 6% of total funds raised
  • 6 to 18% APR for loans

Funding Circle

Funding Circle is one of the largest online P2P platforms in the world for business loans. They’ve helped SMEs access over £14.5 billion. They use innovative technology to connect businesses that want to borrow with investors who want to lend to them.

Choose it if:

  • You’re a startup or SME in any sector
  • You’re looking for a fast, affordable business loan
  • You’d rather take a small loan than spend energy on managing a crowdfunding campaign

✅ Pros

  • Get the money you need fast without spending energy on a campaign
  • It’s a trusted platform regulated by the FCA and listed on the London Stock Exchange
  • Their business loan process is highly efficient
  • Access interest-free credit

❌ Cons

  • You don’t get to engage an audience and market your product as you do on equity and rewards-based crowdfunding platforms
  • You’re taking on debt, which should always be carefully considered and can make you less attractive to investors

💷Pricing

  • Interest rates for loans starting at 7.9% per year

Crowd for Angels

Crowd for Angels is a debt and equity-based crowdfunding platform for companies at any stage. They were the first regulated crowdfunding platform to open a crypto payment gateway.

Choose it if:

✅ Pros

  • Their dedicated team offers you support throughout the process
  • You can receive payment in cryptocurrency

❌ Cons

  • They charge a hefty fee for sorting the legals
  • It’s not a good marketing tool like other platforms can be

💷Pricing

  • For equity: £250 application fee, 7% platform fee payable on successful raise plus a £2,000 completion fee for the legals
  • For crowd bond issue: £250 application fee, 3% platform fee payable on successful raise plus a £2,000 completion fee for the legals
  • For digital assets: £250 application fee, 7% platform fee payable on successful raise plus a £1,500 completion fee for the legals and £5,000 Digitalised Asset Preparation Fee

 

FAQs

How does crowdfunding work in the UK?

In the UK, there are different types of crowdfunding and many platforms to choose from. How it works will differ according to each platform and the type of crowdfunding you’re doing.

How do crowdfunding platforms work?

Each platform is unique, but generally, you’ll:

  • Sign up to the platform and send them your pitch
  • Get accepted by the platform to run a campaign
  • Set up your crowdfunding campaign
  • Run your campaign and engage with your audience
  • Depending on the platform, you’ll either reach your target raise, receive the funds and pay your platform success fees. Or in some cases. if you don’t hit your goal in the set amount of time, you won’t receive your funds and won’t need to pay platform success fees.

The mechanics of your crowdfunding campaign will work differently based on the type of crowdfunding you’re doing. Here are the basics for each type of crowdfunding:

  • Equity crowdfunding
    You give away equity in exchange for pledges.
  • Rewards-based crowdfunding
    You give gifts, discounts and early orders in exchange for investment.
  • Peer-to-peer lending
    You take a loan or credit from the platform and receive it immediately. You have to pay it back with interest. The platform sources the funds they lend to you from many investors who invest small amounts of money.
  • Donation
    You receive money via donations without giving anything in return.

What happens if I don’t raise the full amount on a crowdfunding platform?

Some crowdfunding platforms are all-or-nothing: if you don’t reach your target amount, you won’t get to keep any of the funds you did raise. Others let you keep what you did raise. Make sure you’re clear on the rules of the platform you’re using. Most crowdfunding sites tell you what you need to know in their Terms of Use or FAQs.

How do I find the best crowdfunding platform for me?

It depends on what you want from your campaign:
– Do you want to reach a large international audience or a local audience?
– Do you want to give away equity or rewards?
– Do you want to use it to drive product adoption?

You should also consider if the fee structure of the platform works for you and if it’s worth running a campaign and risk walking away without funding if you don’t reach your goal. Make sure you fully understand the rules of the platform before you create your campaign.

 

Talk to an expert

Did you know you can do a crowd round on SeedLegals? And we make it easy to take a one-off investment before a funding round with our SeedFAST or after a round with Instant Investment.

To talk about what’s possible, book a free call with one of our funding strategists.


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