This week, Crowdcube caught up with one of its members, Rick Fish, to discuss his investing experience through the UK-based crowdfunding platform.
“Our next investor is Rick Fish, who is 39 and lives in North London. After spending almost 20 years of his career working in the Financial Services sector, he is now the founder and CEO of his own digital startup business, putting him in a great position to understand investing from both an investor, and entrepreneur, point of view. Rick is, in his own words, married to a wonderful wife with two great kids, has a passion for electric vehicles (he owns three – including two Teslas) and tries to go to the gym twice a week (but regularly fast-fails on that).”
While revealing why he decided to become a Crowdcube member, Fish stated:
“As someone who always wanted to start their own business, I initially became interested in crowdfunding as a means to view and analyse a diverse range of business plans, see how companies structured them, and learn what ingredients were needed to take the plunge. I really enjoy connecting to the company directors, who are very approachable, knowledgeable and make considerable time and effort to educate and listen to the crowd.
“I have invested in 4 businesses so far and am now connected to a number of fellow investors, who I met during some of the events hosted by Crowdcube and the businesses pitching, and this ability to connect with other investors has become a very valuable asset. I’ve been impressed with how keen people are to help others learn, so that they feel confident about their choices and understand all of the potential challenges along the way. I think #InvestAware perfectly captures what everyone should do.”
Rick then noted what he looks for in a pitch:
“An engaged CEO, someone who responds to queries promptly and fully, a solid financial track record, and something I feel I can have input in down the line.
“The numbers are important, but it’s so easy to pick a business solely off the technical data. My personal favourite part of the pitch are the Discussion posts, as there are some good characters posting and some very astute questions are asked. How these are handled, the response time from the company, and the follow-up gives me confidence that they really want to make this work.”
In regards to any crowdfunding advice, Fish added:
“Enjoy the process of finding out about the companies on the site, as this is a key differentiator with investing through crowdfunding. Take time to go along to their meetups and events, and ask as many questions as you can before diving in. It’s very easy to get carried away when you see a cool idea or some nice rewards, but ensure you do research on the history of the company to date, the director history, what type of shares they are offering, and ask how they came up with their valuation. Crowdcube reviews and standardises this material so you can really compare and contrast without feeling you are comparing apples to pears.
“I make a point of getting to know the companies directly. There are many asset classes where I can take a backseat and watch the markets do their usual roller coaster. However, I feel the crowd connects companies to the people on the street, for instance, the guy in the coffee shop with a great idea who just needs someone to help unlock it. It’s a great resource, and I’ve made some very good new friends along the way, and I can only see it getting better with time.
“I remember being a child and going to the local beach with my family for donkey rides … Perhaps some of my investments will be donkeys, but you never know where the next unicorn is waiting to be found…I am looking forward to engaging with more companies via Crowdcube to find out.”