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.


March investor, alternative finance, and FinTech events

There are some fantastic investor events coming up in March. Below, you'll find a collection of the ones we thought you might be interested in.

To find out more about a particular event, just click on the relevant title below. Alternatively, you may wish to book tickets straight away, which you can do by following the second link in a section to be taken directly to the event's registration page.

March 7th - 8th

Investing Women 'Ambition & Growth' Conference

Dynamic Earth, 112-116 Holyrood Gait, Edinburgh. EH8 8AS.

This event is the first of its kind and promises to bring together women entrepreneurs and supporting angel investors. If you are a female entrepreneur looking for investment, thinking of starting your own business, or looking to become an angel investor, the Ambition and Growth conference will provide a great opportunity for existing angel investors and groups to hear from and meet with Scotland’s inspiring, aspiring, and ambitious women-led companies.

Attendees will hear from a number of inspiring leaders, including: Susan Preston, referred to as the ‘USA’s first lady of women angels’; Lesley Eccles from Scotland’s unicorn company, FanDuel; Lena Wilson, CEO of Scottish Enterprise; as well as other innovative sessions led by global organisations TEDEx and Start-Up Grind.

There will also be a dinner, taking place at Edinburgh Castle on the 7th, which will see the winner of Scotland's only pitch competition for women-led companies, AccelerateHER, named. For more information on this competition, just click here.

You can buy tickets here.

March 7th

Fintech Storm - Online Lending, Crowdfunding, Alternative Finance, and P2P Lending Marketplaces

Rainmaking Loft, 1 Saint Katherine's Way, London. E1W 1UN.

Part of a monthly series, (also March 21st) this event invites attendees to meet the disruptive thought leaders who are re-imagining the future of business funding.

Follow this link to buy tickets.

March 8th

Celebrating Women in FinTech 2016.

Hogan Lovells - Atlantic House, Holborn Viaduct, London. EC1A 2FG.

Taking place on International Women's Day, this is a celebration of women in financial technology businesses, which will inspire you to "reach new heights and play a bigger part in creating a more diverse and sustainable future for finance".

Follow this link to buy tickets.

March 17th

The Great British Private Investor Summit 2016

Etc Venues, 200 Aldersgate, St. Paul's, London. EC1A 4HD.

Exclusively for private investors, this event will showcase the best alternative and innovative investment models of 2016.

Speakers include Michael Blakey the UKBAA Business Angel of the Year for 2015 and Andy Phillipps, founder of Active Hotels (now

Click here to register for tickets for this event.

March 22nd

The AltFi Europe Summit

The Brewery, 52 Chiswell Street, London. EC1Y 4SA.

The AltFi Europe Summit 2016 will play host to representatives from a number of online marketplace lending, equity crowdfunding, trade finance, direct lending platforms. The event will look closely at the alternative finance, using data-driven exploration to answer some of the sector's most pressing questions and looking at its most prominent trends

Click here to buy tickets. Early bird sale (£475) ends Feb 29th.

March 23rd

The FINTECH Book Launch

A secret London location.

Your chance to attend the launch of the first globally-crowdsourced book on financial technology, where you will receive a signed copy prior to its official April release. At the launch, you will be able to meet the entrepreneurs, investors, and thought leaders who contributed to the book. Edited by Susanne Chishti, CEO and founder of FINTECH Circle and Janos Barberis, CEO and founder of FINTECH HK.

The book brings together a number of the leading industry influencers in a single, informative volume and covers every major industry development in depth, complete with firsthand insights, and lessons learned by practitioners at the cutting edge. 

Click here to buy your ticket.

March 23rd

Hertfordshire Business School, de Havilland Campus Hatfield, Hertfordshire. AL10 9EU.

A workshop which will gather academics and practitioners with interests in the area of entrepreneurial finance and alternative sources. Discussions on recent trends and ongoing transformations in the equity finance, community finance, and crowdfunding markets will take place.

Guests will include prof. Colin Mason (University of Glasgow), prof. Mike Wright (Imperial College London) and Andrew Davis, a specialist in crowdfunding and independent journalist.

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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.