Small business funding interview: Champagne PIAFF
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We caught up with Founder and President of Champagne PIAFF Laurie Kempster, to ask him about how he decided to get funding for his business.
PIAFF is a newly formed UK-based group that marries the traditional assets of a French Champagne House together with modern e-commerce structures. The business aims to enable the streamlined distribution of PIAFF Champagne to a much larger global client base, while still being grounded in the rich history and culture of the Champagne industry.
They have an investment target of £1,500,000.00 for their Champagne Bonds which is listed on our Investment Opportunities page.*
Why Alternative Finance rather than the traditional funding route?
Laurie: We decided that raising capital through alternative financing was the best route for Champagne PIAFF as it allows us to raise capital at the same time as creating excitement and a buzz around the product.
Champagne PIAFF sees itself as a modern and dynamic house in the digital age. We wanted our funding mechanism to be the same.
What made you decide to offer debt vs equity?
Laurie: We felt that offering bonds to investors would give potential investors extra security. The point at which our business is at means we can use our assets to secure funds and back investors’ money.
We also wanted to ensure that the bonds are convertible into equity in the future. We want stakeholders to join us and be part of our journey.
Do you consider what you’re doing to be crowdfunding?
Laurie: No, not in the traditional sense, we’re looking for investors, but at the same time we want to create brand advocates not just funders.
Code Investing provide us with a way of accessing a diverse network of investors, to us that holds more value than crowdfunding or what we’d call “funding -lite”. We are a serious business that is looking for investors, not just funders.
What was most important when choosing a platform to raise funds with?
Laurie: We looked at past successes, how much companies had previously raised and the structure of past raises on each site, whether they offered just equity, rewards, bonds or a combination of them all.
Success rate is key too, Code Investing’s 65% success rate was really impressive, we knew you must have a good circle of smart investors.
Also, industry experience. We’ve never done anything like this before so it was important that whoever we chose could advise us on the UK alternative finance and investment market.
What made you decide to work with Code Investing?
Laurie: We did talk to other more traditional crowdfunding companies such as Seedrs and Crowdcube , but we saw Code as a better fit for us. Previous successful raises such as Hambledons and Innis and Gunn really resonated with us. Once we met with the Code Investing team we knew we were with the right team.
What advice would you give to small businesses seeking loans via alternative finance?
Laurie:. Have all your ducks in a row – Basically you need to know your business inside out and exactly what you need to raise and why. We quickly saw from Code Investing’s Bootcamp that their due diligence process is extremely thorough so you need to be prepared for that.
It’s the same as if you were going to a bank for a loan, in fact more so because you’re appealing directly to people who one day may become stakeholders in your business. There’s a real sense that you owe it to not just the business but the investors too, to be as transparent about where the business is and where it is going.
In fact the whole process is about transparency, especially with equity or debt financing, and the rigorous process itself that we went through with Code.
The main thing though is to plan, plan, plan. You need to develop the audience ahead of the actual raise. Build your following, craft and test your message, and get it out through the right media.
What, if anything has been the biggest challenge?
To be honest, there haven’t really been any. As long as you’re prepared in terms of brand-building, marketing, and the numbers all stack up, then it should all go smoothly. A lot of hard work and effort goes into preparing, but by the time we approached Code Investing we were ready to go.
If you’re interested in investing in Champagne PIAFF take a look at their investment page.
If you’re interested in starting a raise for your own business, take a look at our Raise Funds page now.
*Please read the risk warning at the bottom of this page.
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