Don't invest unless you're prepared to lose all the money you invest. This is a high-risk investment and you are unlikely to be protected if something goes wrong.
Risk Summary

Estimated reading time: 2 min

Due to the potential for losses, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) considers this investment to be high risk.

What are the key risks?

  • You could lose all the money you invest
  • Most investments are shares in start-up businesses or bonds issued by them. Investors in these shares or bonds often lose 100% of the money they invested, as most start-up businesses fail.
  • Checks on the businesses you are investing in, such as how well they are expected to perform, may not have been carried out by the platform you are investing through. You should do your own research before investing.

You won't get your money back quickly

  • Even if the business you invest in is successful, it will likely take several years to get your money back.
  • The most likely way to get your money back is if the business is bought by another business or lists its shares on an exchange such as the London Stock Exchange. These events are not common.
  • Start-up businesses very rarely pay you back through dividends. You should not expect to get your money back this way.
  • Some platforms may give you the opportunity to sell your investment early through a 'secondary market' or 'bulletin board', but there is no guarantee you will find a buyer at the price you are willing to sell.

Don't put all your eggs in one basket

  • Putting all your money into a single business or type of investment for example, is risky. Spreading your money across different investments makes you less dependent on any one to do well. A good rule of thumb is not to invest more than 10% of your money in high-risk investments. Learn more here.

The value of your investment can be reduced

  • If your investment is shares, the percentage of the business that you own will decrease if the business issues more shares. This could mean that the value of your investment reduces, depending on how much the business grows. Most start-up businesses issue multiple rounds of shares.
  • These new shares could have additional rights that your shares don't have, such as the right to receive a fixed dividend, which could further reduce your chances of getting a return on your investment.

You are unlikely to be protected if something goes wrong

  • Protection from the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS), in relation to claims against failed regulated firms, does not cover poor investment performance. Try the FSCS investment protection checker.
  • Protection from the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) does not cover poor investment performance. If you have a complaint against an FCA-regulated platform, FOS may be able to consider it. Learn more about FOS protection here.

If you are interested in learning more about how to protect yourself, visit the FCA's website here.

For further information about investment-based crowdfunding, visit the crowdfunding section of the FCA's website here.

Investing Capital

Investment Opportunity Q&A with Hive: Part 2

Please note: this investment opportunity is now closed. To be informed of future funding rounds, please make sure you are a GrowthFunders member. You can do that here.

We've talked about it before - how a great team is one of the most important things in a business.

In offline pitching situations, you often have the chance to meet these teams face-to-face. However, when businesses raise capital online via equity crowdfunding platforms, this can be a bit trickier.

Here at GrowthFunders, we know how important it is to get to know the people behind the business before you make an investment decision, which is why I recently sat down with Dean Benson, CEO of Visualsoft and co-founder of Hive.

Craig Peterson GrowthFunders, Dean Benson, Visualsoft, John Ryder Hive


L-R: Craig Peterson CEO of GrowthFunders, Dean Benson, and John Ryder Co-Founder of HIVE.  You can read our Q&A with John by clicking here.

Q&A with Dean Benson, CEO of Visualsoft and Founder of HIVE

Can you give us the "Hive" pitch in less than 30 seconds?

Hive is a cost effective cloud application designed for HR departments and business owners to understand, measure & improve employee engagement within their organisation through the use of a weekly anonymous feedback system. It’s built on a ‘freemium’ model so organisations can very easily utilise Hive without having to pay for a monthly subscription.

How do employee engagement levels impact your day?

Employee engagement is a big thing for us here at Visualsoft. It’s always been important to us, but we’re the first to admit that it’s never been an easy thing to monitor and measure with annual appraisals. It’s only recently, since the introduction of Hive, that we’ve been able to be much more proactive with employee engagement, and it’s paying off!

Why is it so important to you that your employees are fully engaged?

Engaged staff leads to improved productivity levels, which leads to a better service and happy clients.

That’s our unofficial company vision - happy staff, happy clients!

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What flaws have you found in traditional employee engagement survey methods?

We previously used very ‘traditional’ methods of measuring employee engagement. We found that the annual appraisals we conducted were too long, and not always a true reflection of the employee’s feelings as they only collected data from a single point in time. As a very agile company who moves very fast, it just wasn’t the right way for us to do things, so we looked for an alternative approach.

Why do you think the annual survey system has lasted for so long?

No one dares to change it! Unfortunately that seems to be the sticking point across quite a few HR issues within the industry.

Earlier this year, we conducted research which found that productivity levels varied a lot between departments, depending on the time of day, so we introduced a solution - unlimited paid holidays and flexible working conditions, which means our staff can work from any location at the times which suit them.

It’s something which attracted a lot of opinions at the time - some of which were negative - but it’s been a huge success for us and it’s getting recognition within the industry when people see just how well it works. We’re proud to be innovative and challenging the norm.

Why do you think Hive is a good solution?

It’s been designed and developed from the ground up, by people who understand how to keep employees engaged, and the employees themselves. For us, it suits our brand values perfectly, and it’s focused on the UK market too.

How has the Visualsoft benefited from Hive?

It’s allowed us to be much more proactive with employee engagement, and identify issues before they become a problem. For us, it’s resulted in engaged staff who are genuinely happy to come to work, which results in increased levels of service.


L-R: David Duke, John Ryder, Craig Peterson, Tim Johnson, Dean Benson, Matt Burton and Mark Leader.

What sort of reaction have you received from Visualsoft employees?

Great! We did a lot of research prior to introducing Hive and the extra benefits (unlimited paid holidays and flexible working) so we had very clear objectives and a carefully planned strategy in place. We knew exactly what we wanted to achieve, and Hive has been the driving force behind it all.

...from outside companies who have (or will) trial Hive?

The feedback from the first handful of clients who are currently trialling Hive has been really positive, which is great to hear.

How different was the original idea to where Hive is now?

In any new project there’s always tweaks along the way, and Hive was no different, but that’s all part of the improvement process. It’s very much what we set out to achieve, but probably better as we learnt what works best along the way.

Where do you think Hive will be in 5 years?

There’ll be continued growth in the focus on employee engagement over the next few years, which we’ve already started to see, so based on this, and the feedback we’ve had from those already utilising Hive in the workplace, we’re confident that Hive will continue to grow in tandem with the awareness of employee engagement!

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Growth Capital Ventures (GCV) is backed by funds managed by Maven Capital Partners, one of the UK’s leading private equity and alternative asset managers.