After living and working in Russia for the Irish government, Patrick moved to London to work for Crowdcube as an Equity Fundraising Manager - finding companies that are a good fit for Crowdcube!
What do you do at Crowdcube?
Mainly I sit around eating sausage rolls! I also work on finding new businesses currently aiming to raise finance. I talk through their business objectives and help them to build a winning fundraising strategy that will appeal to both their targeted audience and our broader pool of investors.
What is your favourite company that has funded on Crowdcube, and why?
I like Infinity Health. They’re not the sexiest or most obvious example, but they are solving some really important pain points in the healthcare sector around admin. My sister is a paediatrician and works far too hard for far too little money, so I have a bit of a personal agenda in this area! Infinity streamlines and automates processes, helping free doctors and other healthcare professionals to do what they do best. This is an endemic problem in the NHS. I also think as an investor, medtech is a great sector. Generally, it has good exit multiples and fairly short-term horizons for exits, since a business often doesn’t have to be that strong commercially for it to be a good acquisition target for a larger player. Infinity is a SaaS business, which is even better!
Patrick Ryan, Equity Fundraising Manager
What do you look for in companies to see if they are the right fit for Crowdcube?
Fundamentally, the business has to see the value in raising funds from retail investors and engaging their own network as much as possible. Nothing else really matters.
The logic for doing this is pretty straightforward. Human capital (alongside proprietary data) is probably the key long-term competitive advantage in the startup world. In the past, things like being first to market or having IP were enough to build a winning business. But the business landscape is increasingly challenging and the bar is constantly being raised higher and higher.
Crowdcube provides an excellent solution to the challenge of building human capital. Even if you have access to other sources of finance, by opening an allocation to the crowd you can engineer a network effect into your business’s DNA and surround it with people who can add value in every area... finance, human resource, sales, marketing, strategy, operations. More important still, you won’t have to pay them a penny.
This powerful network helps your business to win. It doesn’t matter if they invest £50 or £50,000 - the lifetime value here is incalculable. I would argue that it is worth tens of thousands of pounds annually to any serious business.
However, it is only worth this much if you are willing to put the work in to figure out who your target crowd is, and engage as many of them as possible in your fundraise. This isn’t easy, so if you just want capital, we probably aren’t the best funding route for you.
What would you like to see more of on Crowdcube?
I'd like to see more businesses solving the world’s big, hard problems in areas like healthcare, clean energy, poverty, education, transport and automation/AI. These are the businesses that can help us build the future humanity needs. We are already making amazing progress, but the more these sorts of businesses engage a crowd of investors, the stronger they become and the faster they can grow.
The harder we try to solve these challenges the easier it will be to avoid the existential risks humanity is currently facing. The planet is at a bit of a tipping point politically and environmentally at the moment. Everyone can feel this acutely. I want to talk to entrepreneurs that have solutions.
Looking at things a little more locally, if Britain is to emerge in any sort of reasonable shape as a startup hub over the next 20 years or so, we need to double down on our expertise in areas like mechanical engineering, machine learning and fintech. These are the verticals (alongside B2B SaaS, of course!) that our most valuable investors want more exposure to.
I'd also love to see some blockchain companies doing stuff in areas other than finance. There are huge innovation opportunities in law, government... basically anywhere that large, inefficient legacy institutions running repetitive processes play a role.
What is the best way of contacting you?