Equity crowdfunder Seedrs joins NatWest referrals scheme

By Ryan Weeks on Tuesday 30 May 2017

Alternative LendingSavings and Investment

Seedrs becomes sole provider of equity capital in high street bank’s Capital Connections programme.

Seedrs becomes sole provider of equity capital in high street bank’s Capital Connections programme.

Seedrs, one of the UK’s major equity crowdfunding platforms, has joined NatWest’s Capital Connections programme. In so doing, Seedrs becomes the first provider of equity funding to join the scheme. A number of alternative lenders are already on board.

The programme involves NatWest signposting alternative financing options to small businesses in need of funding. These referrals do not involve any commission payments to the bank. 

The NatWest-specific programme somewhat mirrors the government’s mandatory bank referral scheme. The big difference is that the Capital Connections programme doesn’t involve designated referral platforms, which in the government scheme play the role of matchmaker between small businesses and a broad range of funding sources.

The platforms involved in the Capital Connections programme at present are Funding Circle, Assetz Capital, iwoca, Together, NatWest Social & Community Capitla, and now Seedrs. In announcing the news, Seedrs referred to the partnership as exclusive, implying that its rivals in the equity crowdfunding sector won’t get a look-in.

“Sometimes traditional funding routes are not always the best option for hyper-growth startups,” said Alison Rose, CEO of commercial and private banking at NatWest. “As the biggest supporter of British business, we are committed to improving the support we can offer, which is why we have teamed up with a fantastic range of alternative funders through Capital Connections.”

Seedrs CEO Jeff Lynn (pictured) said it was encouraging to see a high street bank “embracing fintech” and recognising the role of alternative finance in supporting UK start-ups. 

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