Finance · 13 July 2015

Our equity finance expert: Crowdcube CEO Darren Westlake

Darren Westlake, Crowdcube. Photo: Professional Images/@ProfImages

I’m the co-founder and CEO of Crowdcube, an online platform that enables startup, early and growth stage businesses, from a range of sectors, to raise finance with the added benefit of being backed by the crowd.

From our headquarters in Exeter, I get to spend every day working with great companies and entrepreneurs of varying sizes, from a range of sectors. Prior to launching Crowdcube in 2011, I spent 20 years working in the internet and telecoms industry where I founded and ultimately sold two IT businesses.

I launched my first business in the mid-1990s, I’d heard about voice over IP (VOIP) and thought, wow, this is the future. So I quit my job and set up a consultancy called Spiritec. We built it up over five years before selling for shares to Seimitsu. I then went on to launch another VOIP business which I again sold for shares. The deal resulted in me becoming an employee of a telecoms company. It was a very different experience for me, it was a big company with more than 2,000 employees and I missed being in a small, agile business.

My varied experiences provided the inspiration for Crowdcube. As an entrepreneur, I knew how hard it could be to raise money and was interested in finding a way of making investing into businesses more accessible, affordable and rewarding. That’s when I teamed up with my co-founder Luke Lang and pressed ahead to launch Crowdcube, the world’s first investment crowdfunding platform. Since 2011 we’ve grown to a team of 65 people and amassed an investor community of over 180,000. Over £80m has been invested on the platform, funding more than 250 British businesses as a result.

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ABOUT THE EXPERT

Darren Westlake is the co-founder and CEO of Crowdcube, an online platform that enables startup, early and growth-stage businesses, from a range of sectors, to raise finance with the added benefit of being backed by the crowd.

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