It has already secured funding pledges of £600,000 for businesses raising money on the platform. They include a family-owned farm in the Yorkshire Dales, a Nottingham dance school and a community music venue in Northamptonshire.
Dillen Iyavoo, the chief executive and founder of Funding Tree, said: “Any business that wants to raise money must establish its credibility and show that it offers investors an opportunity to earn good returns on their cash – and the businesses pitching for equity and debt on Funding Tree will stand or fall on their ability to do exactly that.
“Equally, though, we know that many of the established crowdfunding platforms increasingly gravitate towards digital or tech businesses, often from founders and directors who are regular users of such platforms. At Funding Tree, we want to encourage greater diversity so that young growth companies lead by entrepreneurs with a less conventional background get a fair shot, too.”
Iyavoo added: “This is a site that is open to any business that can prove its potential to investors.
“Crowdfunding can be a way to democratise fund-raising so that entrepreneurs are able to fulfil their potential – we want to help young, high-growth businesses do that whether they’re based in rural communities or city centres. A working farm with the prospect of solid but steady returns should have the same access to finance as a tech start-up offering the potential for hockey-stick growth. But until now, this hasn’t happened.”