Expert economists have predicted that the next seventeen out of the 25 fastest growing economies in the world will be in the developing regions of Africa, Asia and South America. These regions have, in recent years, seen substantial growth in entrepreneurial activity, leading to a growing number of small and medium businesses (SMEs) contributing to national economies. In tandem with this growth, the number of UK based crowdfunding investment platforms offering alternative investment opportunities has increased substantially, and there is little sign that things are going to change anytime soon.
New crowdfunding group, Emerging Crowd, will launch this week and aims to offer UK based retail investors the opportunity to evaluate SMEs in emerging economies with a view to buying shares in worthy companies.
Founders Lucien Moolenaar, a qualified lawyer and graduate of Harvard University, and Will Tindall, former director of fundraising and business development at Asia Pacific Investment Partners acknowledge the risks with regard to investing in companies based in developing markets.
“There are obviously higher risks associated with investing in these markets, but there is also the potential for very significant returns,” the co-founders agreed during an interview with City A.M.
In a bid to reassure customers Emerging Crowd said:
“We have only selected countries that have demonstrated economic and political stability and a reliable investor protection framework.”
The firm will work alongside analysts and market specialists to identify regions that are experiencing rapid growth, but which also demonstrate stability, market integrity and investor protection. Once promising companies have been identified and listed on Emerging Crowd’s website, investors have the opportunity to participate in equity or debt crowdfunding. Each company listed must provide quarterly and annual financial updates, so that investors can monitor the growth of their chosen SME.
Despite the fact that Emerging Crowd is yet to launch, there has been strong interest expressed from both businesses and investors alike, according to Moolenaar and Tindall. One of the first companies to feature on Emerging Crowd will be Nigerian coffee shop chain, Neo – the largest coffee chain in the country. The company’s planned expansion is to be fuelled by investments made via the Emerging Crowd website, something which Moolenaar and Tindall are “delighted” about.