Funded Club update written by co-founders Ayesha Karim and Andrew Kidd of early-stage business, Alexi Books.
Just under a year ago we hit our SEIS target of £150,000 and overfunded to raise a total of £176,000 on Crowdcube. We'd spent nine months before that developing the self-funded beta version of Alexi, a curated digital book club that enables members to discover and read great books in a new way, and we needed the additional funding to get us to the next stage – the stage we've arrived at now – where Alexi could be launched as a fully trading digital business.
We decided to go down the equity crowdfunding route for two reasons. Firstly, we saw Crowdcube as the most efficient way of finding investors who shared our passion for great books, and so would be most enthusiastic about our ‘premium niche’ offering. Secondly, we saw that our investors (in the end, over 150 strong) could become the first stakeholders in, and ambassadors for, what we were doing, with a shared interest in spreading the word about Alexi as far and wide as possible.
The weeks of our raise were at times vertiginous, as we'd been warned they would be ('raising money' should be added to 'moving house' and 'divorce' as major stress generators). They were also exhilarating. Not least, they provided us with a compressed and brilliantly effective tutorial in messaging. We learned what did – and did not – compel people to sit up and listen, and a lot of the marketing principles we refined on Crowdcube are being put to good use now.
Since the raise, our teams in Copenhagen and Belgrade have been working flat out to build what – if we say so ourselves – is a beautiful app, with an elegant and intuitive interface that makes the process of discovering and reading great books a real pleasure. There are plenty of channels already catering to mass book consumption. And there are also masses of books out there to choose from. But great books are where ideas come from, where our understanding of the world is enriched, or even changed, and they can too often get buried in the noise of so much unfiltered choice. Alexi solves that problem.
We are aiming squarely at people who love reading, and for whom books really matter, and with exclusive recommendations from Booker winners, literary legends and risings stars (not to mention artists and musicians), we are providing a fresh and invigorating answer to that age-old question, ‘What should I be reading next?’
In appreciation for the vital role Crowdcube played in setting us on our way, we are delighted to offer the Crowdcube community 6 weeks of free Alexi membership.
All you need to do is use this code – ASCC6W, by 14 October 2016 – when signing up here: http://www.alexibooks.com.
And of course, we’d love to know what you think of Alexi.
Ayesha & Andrew