Equity crowdfunding platform Uprise.Africa is set to launch its first campaign later this month for a project aimed at funding the publication of more African literature, the platform’s COO Patrick Schofield said yesterday.
The platform aims to raise R3-million over a 90-day period for its Storied campaign.
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The Financial Services Board (FSB) has to date not publicly commented on the platform, and had not responded to questions from Ventureburn by time of publication.
However, last year the regulator did respond to Uprise.Africa’s attorneys, Dommisse, saying that the platform would not contravene the Collective Investment Schemes Act.
Schofield (pictured above) said the platform has not received any further word from regulatory body. He added that once Uprise.Africa — which has been under development for more than 18 months — has launched the campaign, the platform will engage with the FSB to get clarification on licensing requirements.
Uprise.Africa plans on launching subsequent campaigns in February and March
However asked on whether he was hopeful that the FSB will set up a regulatory framework around equity crowdfunding this year, an optimistic Schofield replied, “Absolutely!”
The idea is for the platform to get venture capital (VC) firms to vet deals and invest alongside these and Schofield said the platform has already spoken to most local VC funds in South Africa.
He said that until the first campaign goes live, the site will not be pushing for investors. However interested investors can still register on the platform, which he pointed out currently has over 250 investors registered on the platform.
By registering he said the investors will get information on when the next campaign will go live.
After Storied’s campaign, Schofield expects that the platform will launch a second campaign in February. He said as the platform is still working on the final agreement he could not as yet name the company involved. He expects a third campaign to be launched in March.
In an email Uprise.Africa chief marketing officer Inge Prins explained that the initial plan was to commence with all three project campaigns when the platform launched in October last year.
“Due to the legally stringent nature of public fundraising, our board decided to delay the live campaigns to ensure that all parties’ interests were covered and that we present the best deals to the public,” added Prins.
She added that the platform decided to delay Storied’s campaign after consultation with the project’s owners Jacana Publishing.
“Uprise.Africa facilitate the interaction of a willing project owner with willing project investors, and as a platform, we will only take deals live if we as an organisation and our clients, the project owners, deem the project is ready,” she explained.
Meanwhile, investment platform EasyEquities expects to next Monday (15 January) launch a crowdfunding investment round for 10 local startups through a private company held in Mauritius.
Prins welcomed the Easy Equities launch, saying a “healthy competitive landscape is good for the country”.
“We are looking forward to seeing how EasyEquities’ structure will work once they officially go live. We believe it’s important that South Africa develops a globally benchmarked equity crowdfunding industry within its borders,” she added.
Featured image: Uprise.Africa COO Patrick Schofield (Supplied)