Carwow achieved its £2 million crowdfunding target less than 60 minutes after opening the 28-day offer allowing customers and car retail partners to claim a stake in the online start-up’s future.
In a statement issued this morning (September 27), carwow revealed that its investor count had risen to over 5,000 within just 24 hours of the 28-day fund-raising campaign – organised by Crowdcude, the UK’s largest equity crowdfunding platform – representing over £3.4 million pounds of investment.
Carwow founder and chief executive, James Hind, said: “The interest has been overwhelming so far and we could not be happier that our customers and partner dealers recognise the value in what we’re doing and want to join the journey.
“We are hugely proud of the unique proposition we have brought to market and are excited about the next phase in partnership with our investors, both existing and new on board.”
Carwow’s Crowdcube page went live at 11am on Thursday following the online car retail platform’s announcement last week that it was offering their customers and partners an early opportunity to own a stake in the business at the same valuation as August’s £25m Daimler-lead investment round.
Over 50,000 carwow customers pre-registered for the link and the £2m target was met by noon on Thursday (September 26).
Customers and partners are able to invest from as little as £10, with tiered options to gain access to exclusive shareholder rewards – from merchandise to track days.
The enthusiasm shown for carwow’s crowdfunding initiative comes in the same week that the start-up reported a £15.9m pre-tax loss for 2018.
Annual financial results published via Companies House this week revealed that pre-tax losses had increased 201% year-on-year as revenues rose 28.1% to £19.6m (2017: £15.3m).
Losses mounted as carwow continued its expansion overseas.
It said in its results statement that it had succeeded in expanding its existing operations in the UK and Germany, while entering the Spanish market and establishing a subsidiary in France which is “inactive as of today”.
During 2018, 83.7% of carwow’s revenues were earned from its UK business (£16.4m).
The group said that 2018’s trading had seen it succeed in growing its UK market share “significantly despite overall new car registrations being down 6% from 2017”.
On average 2.2m unique visitors per month visited the carwow UK website last year, up from 1.9 in 2017, it said.
Commenting on the success of this week’s Crowdcube-led crowdfunding drive, Luke Lang, the co-founder and chief marketing officer of Crowdcube, said: "carwow has inspired its community of incredibly savvy car buyers and dealers who genuinely believe in the team and its vision to make car buying better for people.
“With 5,000 investors and counting, carwow is already one of the most popular raises ever with Crowdcube."