Virgin StartUp launches equity crowdfunding accelerator – CrowdBoost – for start-up entrepreneurs looking to scale their business.

CrowdBoost aims to address the “critical funding gap” for start-ups looking to scale, by teaching entrepreneurs how to maximise  opportunities available through equity crowdfunding.

According to Virgin, 42% of start-ups fail in their fourth year due to lack of funding options.

While investment, raised through the alternative finance market, has grown 43% year-on-year from £3.2bn in 2015 to £4.58bn in 2016.

Virgin StartUp ‘CrowdBoost’ is searching for entrepreneurs looking to raise at least £100k investment and already have a proven concept that is generating traction and a good following.

The seven-week accelerator is delivered through a series of masterclasses, talks, drop-in clinics and events.

This will be delivered in partnership with equity expert John Auckland, TribeFirst, and supported by Virgin StartUp’s own in-house team – a mix of equity crowdfunding alumni, private equity professionals, chartered accountants and digital marketing experts.

Other partners include Seedrs, Ignition Financial, Boa Branding and Crowdcube.

The first official round is now open for entries and will run for seven weeks from 30th January.

Mei Shui, Managing Director, Virgin StartUp said: “Startups need more support to scale up. We know this because we’ve funded over 2,200 startup businesses. Crowdfunding seems like a natural, and on the face of it, easy way to secure further funding, but the process is more complicated than most realise and it is hard for entrepreneurs to know who to trust for support so we’ve designed this programme to help with that.

“Along with our in house experts and a variety of specialist partners we have created a unique programme which we think is the only one like it in the world, and certainly the only one like it in the UK.”