Crowdfunding Road Trip

Back in May 2018, I made an investment when Freetrade launched round 3 of their crowdfunding. I reviewed the app here.

I also managed to sneak in a small investment in Round 4 a couple of months ago, just before the whole Crowdcube website crashed due to too many people trying to invest at the same time, which led to fundraising being suspended. Apparently, it broke a record by raising £1 million in investments in 77 seconds!

Anyway, in anticipation of Round 5 of crowdfunding via Crowdcube at 12 noon on Monday 25th June (if you’re interested, you’ll need to be quick!), the Freetrade team decided to meet investors (existing and potential) outside of London. On Tuesday, they went to Birmingham; on Wednesday, they came to Manchester.


From having never attended any meet ups in relation to investing, this is my 3rd such meet up (not had time to mention the 2nd one) in a relatively short space of time. This is however my first crowdfunding one.

I’d say this was definitely not your usual investors’ gathering. Predominantly young people/millennials in attendance, a good mix of women too. There were only a handful of Gen X-ers like me, one older bloke, the rest pretty much all fresh-faced and youthful!

The team did a great presentation showcasing how far Freetrade had come in a short time and revealed developments in progress, what was in the pipeline, their plans for the future (immediate and long term). They then answered loads of questions in the Q&A session. What was interesting was that many of the questions were tech, not finance related.

It was all very friendly and informal – the team mingled with everyone, were approachable and spoke openly about the company and their vision.  I got to chat to them all, Adam (CEO and founder), Viktor (CMO) and Alex (Marketing).

Viktor answering questions.

After revealing plans to expand in Europe (Ireland first, then Germany, France and the Netherlands), when someone mentioned Hargreaves Lansdown’s 1 million customers, Adam replied that Freetrade was going to end up bigger in time – after all, HL are only still in Bristol..! Haha, I love the ambition!

Other things we learned on the evening about Freetrade:

  • No, they are not going to offer CFDs (contracts for difference).
  • No, they are not going into social investing (like eToro).
  • No, they are not going to offer cryptocurrency (which apparently people only ask about when the price of Bitcoin goes up!)
  • No, they will not charge exit fees.
  • Yes, they intend to offer SIPPs and other types of ISA.
  • Yes, they want to expand outside of Europe.

As both an investor and customer of Freetrade, I was very happy with the answers.

And true to their name, there was a lot of free stuff at the event – free drinks, free pizza and also, free Freetrade branded socks!

So all in all, it was an excellent and informative evening.

But Wait – More Freebies?

Before readers rush to download the Freetrade app, they will shortly be introducing an incentive referral scheme.

What’s the incentive?

A random free share/stock for me (the referrer) and you (the referred), valued at between £1 and £80-£100! The stocks will be either UK or US.

But what’s the catch?

You have to open a Freetrade account and deposit £1.  And that’s it.

Anyway, more details when this rolls out in the next few weeks, but here’s a screenshot of what you might see on your phone once you’ve set up your account via the referral link:

So perhaps you’d like to wait for me to get the active link.

Or not – don’t let me stop you from downloading the app now to start investing for free! (note that for Android users, you need version 7 or above for the app to work).


While I was at the event, a couple approached me and the chap tentatively asked if I ran a personal finance blog – hah, so much for being semi-anonymous! 🙂 Turns out he follows this blog and has recently pulled the FIRE plug himself – congrats again, David and happy 50th soon!

And I’ve acquired a new reader, a young guy who hadn’t previously heard of FIRE but who had been practising the ethos. This enabled him to save enough of a buffer/FU fund to be able to walk away from a job which he was not happy with, and go freelancing. As he is thinking of being able to stop working by 40, he’s a prime FIRE candidate if there ever was one, so all the best, Stuart! 🙂

Finally on the blog front, Viktor took a selfie with me to show his girlfriend as they are both readers (hi, Viktor’s gf 🙂 ).

I’m never sure how to act when meeting readers face to face but I do feel extremely humbled and a lot of appreciation that people take the time to read my mutterings!

And on that happy note, I’ll just mention here that I’ll be away now for a couple of weeks on my annual hols. No posts scheduled so I’ll do a belated catch up on my return.


19 thoughts on “Crowdfunding Road Trip

  1. I’m going to be honest here. I like to keep things simple, plain old Vanguard with the most excitement being SMT. But when I read about these new ways to trade, how easy and cheap it is – I am tempted to look into it a bit more and set aside a bit of ‘fun’ money.

    Give me a shout when you have your affiliate link. I might sign up then.

    I’m going to my first meet-up soon – The Playing with FIRE show in Birmingham. I am hoping no-one will know I blog and can continue to remain undercover. I’m not sure how I feel if people ask me for photos. I’d be embarrassed and have to find a line to politely decline.

    • Hey CfC

      Both Vanguard ETFs and SMT are available for investment via Freetrade, so sure, I’ll let you know once I get the affiliate link.

      Hope you enjoy your first meet-up and great work in getting the word out there. As for photos, well you could always use that old ‘undercover cop’ line… 🙂

  2. Sounds like a cool meetup!

    Nice work getting involved in round 3. I really should start listening to your investing ideas what with the AJ Bell one doing so well as well!

    Enjoy your holidays 🙂

    • Thanks TFS.

      Well, it’s just as well you didn’t follow me into Property Moose! Think I’ve just been lucky with AJ Bell and this one!

    • Thanks Sassenach Saving

      I’d rather not be a celebrity to be honest, I have no yearning to be a public face for FIRE! Good luck with the research!

    • I’ve updated the post with the Crowdcube website but here it is again:

      Freetrade won’t show there until it’s ready to accept the funding – it starts noon sharp on 25th June 2019 – I’d recommend having your Crowdcube account all set up ready if you want to invest!

  3. Interesting stuff Weenie. I remember your review of the app. I tend to invest via standing order/direct debit in a “set and forget” kind of way which doesn’t appear to to be what the model is. But if they aren’t charging a % platform fee like Hargreaves Lansdown or even Vanguard then that would make a huge difference.

    I’ll wait for your affiliate link and then check them out properly.

    Hope you enjoy your holidays!

    • Hi Caveman

      At the moment, it’s not really possible to do a ‘set and forget’ but once the platform has been fully updated and upgraded, I’m sure it would be possible. All the usual Vanguard suspects are there, including VWRL. There are no funds however, so no Lifestrategy etc.

      Cheers and I’ll drop let you know when I get the link!

  4. Hi Weenie,

    I’m definitely interested in this. I’m going to wait for your affiliate link then go for it. I love the idea of the no fee platform, though slightly disappointed there’s no Lifestrategy. To be honest I’ve been thinking of branching out a bit with what I invest I so this could be the push I need. I’m currently reading Tony Robbins’ Money Master The Game so hoping to pick up some portfolio strategies from that…


    • Hi Corinna
      Great to read that you are interested and I’ll let you know when I have a working affiliate link.
      There are no Lifestrategy or any other funds available as funds cannot be traded (bought or sold) instantly, hence do not fit in with Freetrade’s model. Plenty of index tracker funds however available.

  5. Heya Weenie,
    Great to hear that the roadtrip went well, I was interested in attending, but just too far for me and it’s reassuring to hear that the team are as pleasant in person as they appear online. I’m one of those who missed out on Round 4 of the fundraising (bloody CrowdCube timed out), so been very frustrated and counting down the days to Round 5. Definitely agree the incentive referral scheme sounds interesting. I’ll be sharing it round!
    All the best,
    The Shrink

    • Hello fellow Freetrade investor! 🙂

      I see that you got in on Round 5 – I would have liked to have invested more but was out of the UK, plus with my hols, I wasn’t sure how much spare cash I would have to invest. All looks promising and yes, the referral scheme should be a success, helped by us bloggers!

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  7. Hi, thanks for info, certainly keen to take a look – not paying fees sounds like a no-brainer. I’ll wait for the affiliate link too, only fair you should get something back for doing all the legwork.


        • Hi Chris
          It’s still being tested at the moment, but I believe it should be ready in the next few weeks.

          If you like, drop me a note via my ‘contact me’ form so I have your email address to send a link to you direct as soon as I have it.

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