Darren Westlake, CEO and co-founder of Crowdcube, has announced his exit as CEO of the firm he founded in 2012. Westlake created the online investment platform alongside co-founder Luke Lang who exited the firm in 2021. Since its founding, Crowdcube has helped over 1800 offerings raise over €1.5 billion. The leadership change took effect immediately.
Westlake will be replaced by two individuals acting as co-CEOs. Leadership will be handed over to Chief Operating Officer Bill Simmons and Chief Commercial Officer Matt Cooper. Simmons and Cooper both joined Crowdcube in 2014.
The decision was not made in haste as, according to a blog post, the Board of Directors worked on a succession plan for 12 months.
Crowdcube states that 2022 was a record-breaking year for the platform as investors jumped by 25% to 100,000. Under the new EU regulation (ECSPR) that enables issuers to raise capital in all member states, Crowdcube reports that there was a 112% increase in funding raised online.
Westlake said he was delighted with the decision to select Simmons and Cooper as co-CEOS as they have a deep understanding of the capital raising process. He added that “it feels like a good time for me to step back from the company.” Westlake said the Board has a plane to ensure the two executives will have the “tools and support they need to build on everything Crowdcube has achieved to date and fully explore all the possibilities that lie ahead.”
The environment for online capital formation has changed dramatically in the past ten years. Platforms have migrated from startups to later-stage ventures, adding professional investors to participate in securities offerings alongside retail investors, while a growing portfolio of services and features have been added to platforms providing online capital formation. Secondary transactions to provide liquidity beyond an IPO or acquisition is becoming commonplace. Additionally, competition has expanded beyond domestic VCs and other platforms to global securities offerings.