London-based cycling navigation startup, Beeline, has launched yet another crowdfunding campaign as it looks to capitalise on its early success and distribution deals with major UK retailers.
The business, which has developed a GPS-powered smart compass-style device, is looking to raise £100k on Seedrs to fuel its expansion push overseas and take another step in creating its cycling ‘ecosystem’.
The brand already has arrangements with the likes of Amazon, Harrods, Halfords and Evans Cycles amongst others, and its navigation device, which gives cyclists a general sense of the direction of their destination and eschews turn by turn navigation, drew impressive column inches upon its release.
Now co-founders Tom Putnam and Mark Jenner are looking to build a community around their growing social following and the Beeline blog as well as real life events such as group rides across the South East.
Putnam described ‘community’ as the ‘core’ of everything the startup does and hints at the grander ambitious the firm has outside of its initial product line. He said:
“It’s only through the Kickstarter community that we were able to start and it’s where we want to take the product in future.
“To not just make gadgets, but create a whole ecosystem where people can help each other have great journeys, inspiring each other with ideas and sharing their experiences.
“To do that, we need people to be really engaged, so the more we can invite them into our story the better.”
On offer to investors is a convertible stake in the company with crowd backers able to turn their investment into an equity stake in Beeline at a 20% discount in the event of an equity fundraise, buyout or IPO.
Fellow Co-Founder Jenner acknowledges that start-up investments are risky by their very nature, but argues that, as long as investors are armed with full knowledge of the risks, crowdfunding can play a crucial element in a company’s growth. He commented:
“The nature of startup investments is that they have the potential to provide very high returns, but the flip side of that is they are also very risky.
“This isn’t a feature of crowdfunding but the asset class. To suggest that normal individuals shouldn’t be exposed to this is a little patronising.
“This would put us back in a position where only those with vast reserves of capital can enjoy the potential upside – exactly what crowdfunding has served to democratise.”
The startup’s early crowdfunding success on Kickstarter and Seedrs eventually led to the firm raising £500k last summer from some high profile backers including Seedcamp, Earlymarket, TrueStart and the Mayor of London’s London Co-Investment Fund.
Written by: Billy Wood
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