Venture Capitalism can be highly lucrative, making billions in profits for those who have the means to access it.
The problem is, it's closed off to most people. In the United Kingdom, for example, you need to be a 'high net-worth individual' or 'sophisticated investor' to even have the opportunity.
You can self-certify as a high net-worth individual (HNWI) by earning at least £100,000 per year or have net assets (excluding your property, pension rights, etc) of at least £250,000.
So yeah... it's a pretty exclusive club.
If you've ever watched Dragon's Den on TV you'll have seen the likes of Peter Jones and Deborah Meaden invest in small companies.
Their aim is to use their expertise to grow the companies substantially and then exit for a profit. The 'jackpot' is when a company goes public and is listed on the Stock Exchange.
These type of investments don't just appear on TV though. There are many angel investors around the world who are looking for opportunities to invest early and, on occasion, bank huge returns.
There have been some mammoth success stories, too. One of the more famous examples is Mike Walsh, who invested $10,000 in UberCab back in 2010.
Today, the company is known simply as 'Uber' and Mike has made tens of millions of dollars. It was only his second venture investment!
Of course, not all small companies are successful. Many of them fail, but that's only to be expected and all part of the game.
As with all riskier investments, it's vital to spread your risk while you look for that big winner.
Now... unless you happen to be walking around Silicon Valley with a very large cheque book, you need a way to find suitable companies to invest in.
This is where VC Crowd comes in.
VC Crowd is a community of angel investors who invest in small, private companies.
They have the experience to pick out suitable investments, the know-how to help the companies grow and the level of funding needed for angel investing.
Buying shares in private companies is not like buying shares of a FTSE 100 company. There are no quoted prices, so you negotiate directly with the company.
Once an agreement has been reached, you then draw up the appropriate legal agreements and complete the transaction.
It's not a cheap process, so the investment often needs to be sizeable. In order to spread your risk across a diversified portfolio, you need to repeat this process a number of times.
It's simply not something that the likes of you and me could do... until now.
This is because VC Crowd have added a crowdfunding element.
You have the opportunity to become a VC Crowd member for an affordable monthly fee.
This can be paused and resumed whenever you like, so you're not locked into anything.
Each month, you will receive an allocation of portfolio shares which are valued up to the same amount. These shares are in private companies which the experts have deemed to have 'outstanding potential'.
This my portfolio so far...
LifeSafe Technologies was listed on the AIM Market in July 2022, so I won't receive any more shares of that company through VC Crowd.
What can I do with my portfolio of shares?
Well... I can hold them long-term, or sell them on the secondary market. I haven't tried to buy or sell on the secondary market yet, so I don't know what liquidity or spreads are like.
My plan is to let my portfolio build up over the months and wait for that big winner.
Happy Drinks Co could be the one as they have secured contracts with M&S and Lidl - click here to read their September 2022 update.
Of course, while there is the potential to make a huge return, there's no guarantee that one of the companies will go 'to the moon'. Therefore, VC Crowd sits within the 'risky' portion of my investment portfolio and provides plenty of diversification.
I love the fact that it's not crypto-based like many of the other projects I've invested in and that it automatically gives me exposure to a number of companies across different industries.
I should also mention that VC Crowd is completely passive.
There are portfolio update webinars and other opportunities to engage with the community, but they're optional. You don't have to do a thing if you don't want to.
Membership costs as little as €89 per month and you can pause it at any time, then resume.
Visum Technologies Plc
You'll also notice in my portfolio that I hold shares in another listed company, Visum Technologies Plc.
During 2022, VC Crowd actively participated in the restructuring of a company called Ridercam Technologies.
As part of the restructuring, the unique and proprietary Ridercam technology was sold to Visum. VC Crowd then provided investment to Visum and supported them towards a successful IPO last July.
Since the IPO, Visum's management team has been able to secure business and strategic contracts to accelerate growth.
VC Crowd has an allocation of Visum Technology shares which are going to be distributed to members this year. They will be allocated at a price of 18p, even though they're already trading at 22p.
If you're an existing VC Crowd member and you pay for your allocation of shares for four straight months, you will receive shares in Visum worth 50% of your payments.
For example, if you pay €229 + €229 + €229 + €229 = €916 then you will receive Visum shares to the value of €458.
At January 2023's market price, these shares will already be worth around €560.
There's no guarantee that the shares will still be worth as much later in the year, or they may be worth a lot more. You'll also have your regular allocation of shares in other companies.
If you're not yet a VC Crowd member, click here to join up (before April) and you will receive your allocation of Visum shares after four consecutive monthly payments.