Acceleris Capital Ltd (Acceleris), a corporate finance advisor for SMEs, announces a merger of interests with equity crowdfunding platform, InvestingZone Limited (InvestingZone) subject to any regulatory approvals. This merger between a corporate finance advisor and a leading fintech platform is the first of its kind and will bridge the gap between crowdfunding and traditional corporate finance.                        

This deal reflects the changing nature of the alternative finance market in the UK as sophisticated private investors seek high-quality investment opportunities. Acceleris and InvestingZone together will bring more realistic valuations to the crowdfunding market and de-risks opportunities for investors.

InvestingZone is an established equity crowdfunding  platform that will develop further into a multi-service Internet hub for unlisted companies and professional investors. The company was founded in 2013 and is supported by Chairman of Better Capital, Jon Moulton. The platform was developed specifically for experienced investors.

Acceleris is owned by Seneca Partners and provides fundraising services and corporate finance advice to SMEs. In the last year Acceleris has raised over £25m into British companies under EIS, notably the development and subsequent IPO last year of Liverpool-based Redx Pharma as well as the IPO of Evgen Pharma. Acceleris facilitates investment in businesses on behalf of investors – typically High Net Worth individuals – and takes an active role in the progress of these companies, offering reassurance to investors and guidance to management teams.

Acceleris CEO and founder Norman Molyneux will take a role on the board of InvestingZone. He commented: “More and more good quality UK companies with excellent growth prospects have not been able to secure funding from traditional sources. As a result, we believe it is an excellent time to invest in British businesses and the combination of Seneca’s EIS Portfolio Service, Acceleris’s Direct EIS investing and now InvestingZone’s platform provides optimal access to these opportunities for investors. This deal is another example of Seneca’s approach to providing capital for Britain’s hungry entrepreneurs.”

Jean Miller, CEO of InvestingZone, said: “We want to put investors firmly in the driving seat by enabling thousands of professional investors to buy shares in unlisted companies online. The alternative finance market is changing: professional and sophisticated investors are looking for selected high-quality investment opportunities to diversify their portfolios and take more of an active interest in their investments. With the strong expertise of Acceleris and Seneca enhancing the deal flow and investment capacity to the InvestingZone platform we are looking forward to a period of growth for the company.”

Norman Molyneux added: “We approach investments with the same level of due diligence and reporting that an investor would expect from a quoted company. We look to de-risk investment for private individuals and they can be sure that the business is managed and governed properly.”

“It is important not to lose the EIS tax reliefs and make sure deals are completed efficiently and correctly. We also plan to introduce new products and services to the site to enhance the offering for serious investors.”

Jon Moulton, Chairman of InvestingZone’s Advisory Board comments: “InvestingZone is all about quality of deals rather than quantity, which is why this merger makes so much sense. Professional investors are undoubtedly interested in what crowdfunding has to offer but some of the valuations we have seen in the last 12-months have been ludicrous. The new InvestingZone platform will only deliver high-quality investment opportunities based on the expertise and rigour of seasoned corporate finance professionals. This is the future of crowdfunding for anyone serious about making a return.”

Equity-based crowdfunding, attractive for both retail and professional investors, experienced a 201 per cent growth rate in 2014 alone, according to the latest data from Nesta. Both InvestingZone and Acceleris are facilitating investments into private companies utilising the Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) and Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS).