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‘There’s such a thing as having too much money’: The entrepreneurs turning away from venture capital

The Start-Up: Companies are experimenting with alternatives to venture capital that forces them to sell up, go public or go bust. Alternatives must scale up to meet demand

Hazel Sheffield
Wednesday 17 July 2019 15:10
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The 741 employees of Riverford Organics, a vegetable box scheme, who have owned 74 per cent of the company since June 2018
The 741 employees of Riverford Organics, a vegetable box scheme, who have owned 74 per cent of the company since June 2018

Emma Back has spent three years developing her idea for the social care platform the Equal Care Co-op (or eccoo) and growing the business to a size where it can attract major funding. But unlike other startups vying for the attention of venture capitalists, Back and her co-founders are raising money through community shares on Ethex, which calls itself an ethical crowdfunding platform, and shunning venture capital that would force them to grow as fast as possible to generate returns.

“There’s definitely such a thing as having too much money,” Back says. Rather than raising money to employ salespeople, the Equal Care Co-op is raising money to train and employ people within communities to organise and manage care.

“Other care platforms have massive advertising budgets, so instead of community relationships it’s all about customer conversion,” Back says. “It gives people a transactional perception of their work in the world. We’re not going to be employing salespeople, we will be employing carers and people who understand their community from the ground up. That will make us resilient, not sitting there with a VP of marketing for our community campaign.”

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