TENNIS ACE Andy Murray has netted a long-term partnership arrangement with Seedrs, the UK-based equity crowdfunding platform.
The arrangement will see the multi-millionaire sportsman joining the Seedrs Advisory Board to provide advice to the firm on businesses working in the health, sport and wearable technology spaces.
He will not be offering advice to individual investors or recommending specific campaigns.
Murray will also be investing regularly in startups and other early-stage businesses through Seedrs and helping Seedrs to grow its brand in the UK and internationally.
Equity crowdfunding is revolutionising the way startups and other early-stage businesses are being funded.
It involves the raising of funds by obtaining many small investments from a large number of people through online platforms.
This form of business fundraising is proving increasingly popular, and it allows businesses not only to obtain the capital they need but also to build a community of supportive investors who can help them grow.
The equity crowdfunding market is growing quickly. Since its launch in July 2012, Seedrs has reported 15 per cent month-on-month growth, and within the next few years it expects to be funding hundred of millions of pounds into thousands of businesses each year.
This partnership represents the first time a major public figure has teamed up with an equity crowdfunding platform in this way, and it heralds a significant milestone in the development of the equity crowdfunding industry.
Murray said: “I’ve always been interested in investment, and being able to get involved in an innovative way to help support British startups really appealed to me.
“Equally as important was working with people I trusted and who fully understood the huge responsibility of handling people’s money. I’m looking forward to working with Seedrs and the entrepreneurs of tomorrow.”
Murray is said to have made more than £30m during his career in prize money and lucrative sponsorship deals.
Matt Gentry, who runs Andy’s management company, 77, said: “Andy is a keen investor, with his own management agency alongside a property portfolio, which includes a hotel.
“Crowdfunding is a space we’ve been looking at for a while, to complement his business interests, and he’s excited about being able to help startup businesses and entrepreneurs in the UK.
“Andy’s been lucky enough to have support from sponsors throughout his career, not only helping to aid him and his team financially, but also adding valuable mentoring in many cases.
“For him the opportunity to give something back to help to up and coming business men and women was very appealing.”
Jeff Lynn, chief executive and co-founder of Seedrs, said: “Andy Murray is the perfect partner for Seedrs as we drive our growth to the next level.
“In many ways, he represents the exact combination of qualities that entrepreneurs need to be successful: determination, focus, integrity and skill.
“We are particularly looking forward to working with him as a member of our Advisory Board: we believe he can bring a different perspective into certain aspects of the early-stage business community in the health, sport and wearable technology spaces, and we look forward to his input and support.”
Seedrs has funded nearly 200 deals to date and claims to be growing by 15 per cent month on month.
The Prime Minister’s former enterprise advisor, Lord Young of Graffham, has been a long-time champion of equity crowdfunding as an alternative to traditional bank lending.
He welcomed the announcement of the tie-up between Andy Murray and Seedrs.
Lord Young said: “Both modern tennis and equity crowdfunding have their origins in Britain, and Andy Murray and Seedrs are world-leaders in their respective fields.
“It is wonderful to see the two coming together in this unique partnership, and I believe the outcome of it will be to see more great British businesses raising the capital they need, and more investors having the chance to be part of those businesses.”