One of the UK’s leading equity crowdfunding platforms, Crowdcube, has announced another return for investors, after innovative biotech firm Celixir offered its backers an opportunity to realise a proportion of their initial investment. Celixir is the seventh Crowdcube-funded business to deliver returns, with a share buy-back that has provided investors with a 2.7x return on the original investment they made in 2014. This brings the total amount now returned to Crowdcube investors to over £5 million, through equity exits and bond interest repayments. Celixir will use the shares it has purchased to fuel growth by attracting and incentivising new talent.
Luke Lang, Crowdcube’s co-founder, says: “It’s truly impressive that Celixir is in a position to buy back shares two and a half years after funding on our platform, and once again provides hard proof that crowdfunded companies can deliver healthy financial returns for their investors. The company’s valuation increase is testament to the quality of the ventures that pitch on our platform, and also to the ‘wisdom of the crowd’, which recognised its huge potential back in 2014. Crowdfunding continues to mature. Not only has Celixir’s share sale provided investors with liquidity, but the fact that so many of them chose not to exit illustrates the confidence crowdfunders have in the long-term growth of the businesses they back.”
Formerly known as Cell Therapy Limited, Celixir discovered and developed Heartcel™, a medicine that treats heart failure by regenerating cardiac muscle. In 2014 it raised £691k on Crowdcube – 176% over its target – from 300 investors in just 10 days. All investors were offered the opportunity to sell their shares. 18% opted to sell shares, with 82% keeping their money in the business, which hopes to go public in the future. The Cardiff-based company is now valued in excess of £200m, triple the valuation it was given at the time of its pitch on Crowdcube.
Co-founder of Celixir, Ajan Reginald, says: “Our mission is to develop life-saving medicines. We hope these medicines will be available to everyone in need and so we believed it was important to give everyone the opportunity to invest through Crowdcube in 2014, since which our value has tripled. We believe it is only right to share this opportunity with all shareholders, although only 53 of our 300 Crowdcube investors decided to sell shares which is a very positive sign of the confidence they have in our business.”
The other Crowdcube-funded businesses to deliver returns to investors are:
- E-Car Club, the electric car sharing club for businesses and communities, which was sold to Europcar in the summer of 2015 – becoming the first crowdfunded business in the UK to execute a successful exit.
- Camden Town Brewery, which was bought by AB InBev in December 2015, just eight months after raising investment on Crowdcube.
- Disruptive fashion brand Wool and the Gang, which was acquired by BlueGem Capital Partners in August 2016.
- Bond repayments from River Cottage, the Eden Project, Chilango and BrewDog.
Ajan Reginald founded Celixir in 2009 to experiment with progenitor cells as a way of repairing damaged heart tissue. His co-founder is Professor Sir Martin Evans, whose pioneering stem cell work earned him and his team the 2007 Nobel Prize for Medicine and Physiology. The money raised on Crowdcube in 2014 has enabled Celixir to develop and manufacture HeartcelTM, and move closer to treating the patients who need it. It aims to treat 100,000 critically ill patients within the next five years. HeartcelTM is scheduled to launch commercially as early as 2018, into a global market for pharmaceutical heart failure treatments worth an estimated US$10bn. Celixir also has other developments in the pipeline, including TendoncelTM, a topical medicine that repairs severe tendon damage.