Alternative finance solicitors
A business considering seeking alternative finance needs specialist advice. We understand the alternative finance market, and can guide you through the process from start to finish.
Leading the crowd in Scotland & the UK
Alternative finance for lending and equity, are now mainstream forms of funding for businesses of all sizes across the UK, playing an increasingly important role in helping them access the finance they need. It is also a form of finance that we see businesses making more and more use of as part of the funding mix, whether it be loan or private equity.
Our lawyers work closely with businesses at every stage of their life-cycle, from inception right through to a successful exit. We have extensive experience of helping innovative companies secure the necessary finance to fuel their growth into strong, successful businesses, and alternative finance plays an important part in that funding mix.
Our team specialises in lending and equity alternative finance. On the equity side, we have been at the forefront of developments in crowdfunding in Scotland, helping clients carry out some of the country’s most successful and ground-breaking equity crowdfunding campaigns. On the lending side, we have acted for many of the key lenders as they enter the Scottish market and worked on in excess of 200 alternative finance deals in 2020/21.
“Harper Macleod provides specialist expertise in alternative financing, particularly equity crowdfunding, for high-growth companies.”
Our team has been at the forefront of developments in crowdfunding in Scotland, helping clients carry out some of the country’s most successful and groundbreaking crowdfunding campaigns.
Getting ready for an equity crowdfund
We work closely with clients to ensure they are legally ready to equity crowdfund. Whether it be protecting intellectual property, addressing any historical glitches with share capital or having suitable contractual arrangements in place with third parties we have specialists that will look at all areas of the business so it can crowdfund with the confidence the business has it’s house in order.
Advising on the investor mix
When equity crowdfunding, a company will have to balance the interests of the existing shareholders with the new shareholders. Our team have a wealth of experience in aligning existing investors with new investors and ensure the documentation works for all parties.
Our team have a proven track record of drafting and advising on the standard suites of Scottish loan, intercreditor and security documentation. We also routinely help clients of the funding structure in advance of providing specific specialist advice on the funding and security documents
Examples of our work
We acted on behalf of Abundance, the UK’s leading investment crowdfunding platform for investing in green and social infrastructure projects, in relation to its arranging £1.6m for the Intelligent Land Investment Group (“ILI”) to take three sites in Scotland through development and the planning process for pumped storage hydro plants. These plants are designed to help meet the UK’s increasing need for energy storage systems that can quickly balance supply and demand, and operate without any carbon emissions. This transaction utilised security over projects elsewhere in ILI in order to raise finance for its pumped storage hydro development. Harper Macleod worked closely with the Abundance team to complete the transaction within the tight frames required to ensure that the investment was launched on the platform at the optimum time and we were best placed to do so given our market leading expertise in crowdfunding investments and the renewable energy sector.
The transaction was led by corporate partner Paula Skinner, with support from banking and finance partner and energy partner David Bone.
What they say about us
“Abundance was pleased with Harper Macleod’s work and intends to instruct them again in the future. The partners were responsive and combine the requisite attention to detail with a pragmatic approach whilst also taking the time to clearly explain points of law to their client.”
We have a Strategic Partnership with Crowdcube, the UK’s leading equity crowdfunding platform, to bring the benefits of equity crowdfunding to more Scottish businesses.
Since it was established in 2011, Crowdcube has funded 17 Scottish businesses, raising £19.8m in the process. In 2017 the numbers were £1.7m for 3 businesses. However, this represents only 6% of its UK market as a whole, leaving Scotland way behind other parts of the UK when it comes to businesses taking advantage of crowdfunding.
Through the partnership, we co-operate to ensure equity crowdfunding is considered as part of the funding mix for an increasing number of Scottish growth businesses, for whom it has the potential to be a gamechanger.
Companies working with both Harper Macleod and Crowdcube can save on the overall cost of conducting their crowdfunding campaign. The partnership will also see the duo raise awareness through a series of events across the country.
Crowdcube CCO Matt Cooper spoke at our launch event in March 2018, saying: “Whilst Crowdcube has helped fund a number of businesses in Scotland, including Ellon-based BrewDog, we think there is a huge opportunity to further support businesses in the country. We’re looking forward to working with the Harper Macleod team to broaden the funding opportunities for entrepreneurs across Scotland.”
The world-leading equity crowdfunding platform, Crowdcube has over 500,000 crowd investors and the market capitalisation of its 630 successfully funded businesses is more than £390 million. in 2017 alone it helped raise more than £87million for 133 businesses across the UK.
We advised peer-to-peer lending platform Archover on its provision of £2.3million of growth and development funding to Perthshire based occupational heathcare company, Duradiamond Heathcare. At the time, it was believed to be the largest non-property related working capital facility ever raised by any platofrm anywhere in the world.
We have advised peer-to-peer lending platform Bridgecrowd in relation to loan facilities made available to numerous lenders (both individuals and corporate bodies) with an aggregate value in excess of £4million in each case supported by security over heritable property situation in Scotland.
We advised Plan Bee Limited, the eco-innovation business which offers managed bee-hive services, in a funding round which was the first in Scotland to bring together crowdfunding, public sector funding and an angel syndicate in the one equity transaction. Plan Bee raised £105k on Crowdcube and a further £70k from the angel syndicate and via Scottish Investment Bank. We project managed the entire transaction, liaising with the various parties involved, including Crowdcube, the world’s leading equity crowdfunding platform.
Having Harper Macleod on my side, with their in depth knowledge of crowdfunding, made the process as painless as it could be. They helped us to be totally prepared for our campaign and we were delighted to hit our target of £110k in just 3 days. Paula, Jo and Louise really became part of the Find a Player team and as well as the legal side of things, they were also able to help our business by using their own networks to make some really valuable introductions. The experience and guidance they provided to Find a Player has been invaluable and I would strongly recommend them to anyone else considering crowdfunding.
Jo Nisbet from Harper Macleod dealt with the complexities of the various investment efficiently and professionally, I was very impressed by the level of support and advice she gave us to close the round.
This was the second time we have called on Harper Macleod’s experience in this area and once again we were not disappointed. The fact that they were able to deliver exactly what we needed so quickly was invaluable to our project, especially considering the timescales to which we were working. I would recommend them as the go-to advisers for anyone requiring alternative finance to develop their business.
When you are trying to raise funding it is crucial to surround yourself with excellent lawyers and advisers, and it’s been a pleasure and a delight to work with Paula Skinner, Jo Nisbet and the team at Harper Macleod. In particular, I would advise anyone even considering crowdfunding in Scotland to make a bee-line for Harper Macleod.
We were extremely happy with the work done by the team at Harper Macleod as they guided us through the completion of this vital investment. Their professionalism and knowledge of crowdfunding meant that what could have been a trying process was carried out within tight timescale. With their assistance, our business is now in a great position to push on to the next level.
Call us for free on 0330 159 5555 or complete our online form below to submit your enquiry or arrange a call back.