Campaign Success: Inspira Pharmaceuticals
Inspira Pharmaceuticals is a research and development company on a mission to develop new therapy for COVID-19. The company recently launched its first equity crowdfunding campaign, raising £367,863 from 674 investors on Crowdcube. We spoke with Co-Founder & Director, Nick Woolf to hear their Crowdcube success story.
What attracted you to equity crowdfunding?
With the COVID-19 pandemic impacting the lives of the whole world at once, we decided that crowdfunding was the most effective medium to target our investment case at prospective shareholders who would support our mission to develop new treatments for lung disease
What did you do to prepare for your Crowdcube campaign?
It took several months to finalise our campaign pitch, video, slide deck and FAQs, then several weeks of compliance checks from the CrowdCube team before we went live. We also spent time making sure our corporate affairs were in order and applied for SEIS/EIS Advance Assurance which involved a significant time commitment.
How much investment did you have pre-aligned before going publicly live?
We locked in cornerstone investors who committed approximately £200,000 before we went live, being in excess of 60% of our target.
Were there any resources you used for your Crowdcube campaign?
Yes, Crowdcube has prepared a significant body of resources that were very useful. We also listed to as many Crowdfunding podcasts as we could including Riding Unicorns and the Crowdfunding Champions Podcast, of course. We used external service providers to assist with our pitch video, corporate communications, and our social media updates.
What was the most challenging part of Crowdcube campaign?
In my view, the most challenging aspect was making sure we had a constant stream of news flow. Some of that news flow required sign-off by external parties who were not driven by the same time imperative as us. Making sure we had some exciting updates during the offer period was really important.
If you could go back, what would you do differently?
I definitely think we should have confirmed SEIS/EIS eligibility earlier. Throughout our campaign, we were not able to provide investors with certainty on the tax relief because our SEIS/EIS application was pending with HMRC. We are delighted by the interest and support in Inspira and welcome our new shareholders to the register. We aim to create value for our new shareholders by delivering on our goals.
What do you think has been the key to your Crowdcube success?
The entire world has been impacted by this pandemic. Inspira’s mission to develop novel botanical formulations for the treatment of COVID-19 and other respiratory infections resonates with almost everyone. We gave investors another reason to invest in addition to a financial return. I think pitches with an environmental, sustainable, or social benefit are well suited to crowdfunding.
What would be your top equity crowdfunding tips?
Firstly, try and build followers before you go live, either through social media or just an engaged email subscriber list. All pitches need some initial momentum on day 1 so that early investors don’t feel like you are the only empty restaurant on the street. Secondly, be prepared for a huge time investment even after you have secured your cornerstone investors. Getting your pitch approved by the crowdfunding platform compliance teams, managing the news flow when you are live, staying active on social media and answering challenging questions from prospective shareholders, many of whom undertake detailed due diligence to understand the technology and competitive landscape, all of this requires a very large time commitment from founders and the team.
We hear from the entrepreneurs live on Crowdcube & Seedrs during the Covid-19 crisis to understand how it has affected their campaigns.