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Crowdfunding attracting SMSFs

Equity crowdfunding is resonating with sophisticated Australian investors, particularly SMSF trustees, as an appealing alternative asset class, according to a trans-Tasman platform.

“About 40 per cent of the money going through our transactions is Australian SMSF and high net worth-type investors, essentially because retail investors can’t invest in these opportunities at the moment, so we’ve found this asset class to be very attractive for the SMSF sector,” Equitise co-founder and managing director Chris Gilbert told selfmanagedsuper.

“[Interest] has come mainly from targeting the sophisticated investor network, many of who do manage an SMSF.

“We haven’t actively been targeting SMSFs although it is part of our strategy going forward because we really do see SMSFs as being a big driver of private company investment in the start-up space through crowdfunding.

“We’re keen to get some of that cash flowing through our platform to fund the next high-growth businesses in Australia.”

Gilbert also revealed since Equitise unveiled its latest marketing campaign for sportswear business Skins, it had received around 300 inquiries from sophisticated investors, with the majority being SMSF account holders.

Last week, specialist bank and asset manager Investec Australia announced it had taken a 20 per cent stake in Equitise.

Gilbert said the support and backing of Investec would help drive more registered users from the SMSF and high net worth investor space.

“Part of that will include holding events and high net worth pitch nights with businesses looking to raise capital,” he revealed.

Equitise plans to hold a national roadshow in the coming months to target advisers, accountants and SMSFs.

Investec Australia chief executive Milton Samios said the bank was attracted to the business model Equitise continued to develop, including the creation of a syndicate investment platform that would allow groups of like-minded investors to create their own investor club for new investment opportunities.

“Essentially, taking the ‘angel investor’ model online,” Samios said.

The equity crowdfunding business was established in 2014 and developed its business model in New Zealand, where equity crowdfunding has a strong track record and the regulatory environment is ahead of Australia.

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