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Neil Woodford ups stake in crowdfunding platform Seedrs

The fund manager has made a follow on investment to fund a push by Seedrs into AI and machine learning.

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Seedrs has seen its value increase to £40m following on from a new funding round led by star fund manager Neil Woodford.

This takes the fund manager’s stake in the crowdfunding platform to £10m, after putting in a £4m investment and a £6m investment back in 2015. Woodford Investment Management made the investment  through two of its portfolios: The £990m Woodford Patient Capital Trust and the £267m Omnis Income and Growth Fund.

In addition to the investment from Woodford, Seedrs is set to conduct a crowdfunding campaign to give existing shareholders and new investors to participate. 

The fundraising round values Seedrs at £40m on a fully-diluted, pre-money basis. This represents a 27.2 per cent increase in share price from Seedrs’s last fundraising in mid-2015 and a 135.9 per cent increase in share price from its late 2013 funding round.

Seedrs says it will use the capital raised in this fundraising round to launch new product capabilities that will "materially increase liquidity and return potential for investors and businesses; build out increased sales and marketing efforts, launch a select set of strategic partnerships, and massively scale campaign execution through automation, machine learning and AI."

Jeff Kelisky, CEO of Seedrs, says the newcash will allow the firm to the “next stage of [its] growth".

“Equally important to everyone at Seedrs was gaining agreement that we could open up an amount for the crowd. We already have nearly 1000 crowd investors following raises in 2013 and 2015 and many investors were disappointed to miss out on our last round,” he said.

While Woodford has one of the best record of any UK equity fund managers over the long term, he has suffered in the past few years or so as the graph below starkly shows. 

Woodford vs Peer group over 3yrs

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Source: FE Analytics

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