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).
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.