The equity crowdfunding accelerator for start-ups looking to scale. Applications for 2020 programmes now open

What is Crowdboost?

CrowdBoost is a 5-week Accelerator for entrepreneurs who want to raise funds and awareness through an equity crowdfunding campaign. The intensive programme covers all the following critical elements of campaign preparation:

Campaign Set-up

Through Masterclasses and 1-2-1 sessions, you will receive guidance to get everything set up for your campaign - including, but not limited to:

  • Understanding investor hot buttons
  • Applying for EIS/SEIS
  • Script writing and shooting your pitch video
  • Financial forecasts and valuation considerations
  • Creating a concise and effective pitch deck, executive summary and investor presentation materials

Investor Engagement

We will take you through how to find, approach and engage with lead investors, angels or institutional investors, who will provide an all-important cornerstone. You will receive Masterclasses on how to pitch and have the opportunity to practice in front of our team and your peers.
You will be invited to take part in and pitch at an investor round-table event at the end of the programme.


You will receive training around writing press releases in the format the media prefers to see them, and advice about when and how to send them.


We will help you to plan an effective marketing strategy for your campaign, which incorporates a public marketing campaign to reach retail investors and a targeted direct marketing campaign to high-net-worth investors.

You will start your marketing activity well in advance of your campaign, under the guidance of our experts.

CrowdBoost is delivered in partnership with TribeFirst.

To date, 25 companies have raised a combined £10m after participating in CrowdBoost.

Programme Details

What is it?

CrowdBoost is a 5-week Accelerator programme designed to support entrepreneurs and businesses looking to raise funds and awareness through an equity crowdfunding campaign.

Who is it for?

We are looking for entrepreneurs who want to raise at least £150k within 12 months of the programme start and already have a proven concept that is generating traction and a good following. We want committed founders who are willing to listen to feedback and put in the work.

For more detailed eligibility criteria, please see the FAQ section below.

How is it delivered?

CrowdBoost is delivered through a series of Masterclasses, talks, drop-in clinics and events. The programme is delivered in partnership with equity crowdfunding expert John Auckland of TribeFirst and is supported by Virgin StartUp’s own in-house team, that comprises equity crowdfunding alumni, private equity professionals, chartered accountants and digital marketing experts.

What's included?

Alongside the Masterclass programme and 1-2-1 sessions relating to the launch of your campaign, we will have experts (designers, copywriters & accountants) who will create a bespoke “Pitch Suite” for each participating company.

Pitch Suite Documents:
1.    Executive Summary
2.    Investor Deck
3.    Presentation Deck

Having professional and clear Pitch Suite documents that resonate with investors is crucial to the success of a raise. Through the five weeks, we will empower each founder to provide the critical information in the right format, allowing for design and copywriting time to bring these materials to a quality expected by investors.

Investor Report:

We will build a target list of high-net-worth and angel investors with an interest in relevant sectors, via third party databases. Our reports also provide benchmark industry EBITDA exit multiples and we may be able to find acquisitions in your sector for use in your pitch materials and investor conversations. These are both key ingredients in preparing and justifying a valuation.

What does it cost?

Subject to meeting the qualifying criteria, £2,750* and 2.5% on funds successfully raised (excluding VAT).

*Paid in two instalments:

  • Upfront payment of £750 + £1,000 refundable deposit (returned upon successful Fundraising Campaign)
  • Secondary payment of £1,000 (upon delivery of Pitch Materials & Design)

Success fee of 2.5% +VAT of the total amount of funds raised at the end of the Fundraising Campaign.

Where and when will CrowdBoost be taking place?

CrowdBoost will take place throughout the year at a Central London location. Participants are required to attend in-person one day per week for 5 weeks.

We've had access to really talented individuals who live and breathe crowdfunding and have been behind very successful campaigns

Ben Jackson, founder, Capsicana


Expert advice

  • CrowdBoost is delivered in partnership with TribeFirst, a specialist crowdfunding marketing agency with an 85% success rate for its clients' campaigns.
  • Virgin StartUp's team comprises former equity crowdfunding alumni, investment professionals, chartered accountants and digital marketing experts.
  • Other partners include experts in branding, finance (SEIS/EIS, valuation and forecasts) and campaign videos.

Exclusive Discounts

  • CrowdBoost candidates get an exclusive discount on their platform listing fees from Crowdcube and Seedrs.


  • Once campaigns are live they will receive promotional support from Virgin StartUp, TribeFirst, Crowdcube / Seedrs.


  • Your campaign will be verified as having been through CrowdBoost, which will help it stand out online from other crowdfunding campaigns.


  • You will be working alongside like-minded entrepreneurs, all working towards the same time-limited goals. A network of support and encouragement is always open to you.
UpCircle Beauty Founders

CrowdBoost enabled us to raise over £200k via crowdfunding in an efficient and streamlined way that made the whole process a lot more pleasant than it might have been. Our brand has really catapulted forwards in the last year.

UpCricle Beauty




Where does CrowdBoost take place?


CrowdBoost takes place in Central London.

What is the time and resource commitment for the participants?


Applicants need to be aware that raising funds is a time consuming process and must be willing to put in the time and work required.

Candidates need to be available to attend the session held one day a week and be prepared to work in their own time on the deliverables they will be set each week.


What are the qualifying criteria to apply for CrowdBoost?


To apply to join CrowdBoost you must meet the following eligibility criteria:

  • Your business should be looking to raise a minimum of £150,000
  • It must be EIS or SEIS eligible
  • Your campaign will need to be accepted by Crowdcube / Seedrs
  • You need to have proven the concept of an idea (cannot be pre-MVP)
  • You must be ready to commence a fundraising campaign by the date which is 12 months after the programme start date
  • You must be willing to commit to finding at least 30% of your total raise through your own networks (in some instances we may be able to help)
  • Your business should be disruptive to the marketplace (i.e. few competitors)
  • You must be willing to pay for, or able to provide
    • SEIS / EIS pre-approval
    • Financial forecasts and company valuation – prepared by/or reviewed by chartered accountant
    • Branding and design support (company, campaign, pitch materials)
    • Pitch video
  • If you require support from one of our partners on the above services, we have negotiated discounted rates. Please note that these are separate to and over and above the programme fees below. Candidates contract directly with our partner – Virgin StartUp makes no money from these additional services.

Do I have to use a particular equity crowdfunding website?


No, it’s up to you. We are platform neutral but are supported by CrowdCube and Seedrs, who provide candidates with special rates, mentoring and other exclusive support.

What is the minimum I need to be looking to raise?


Applicants need to be looking to raise at least £150k and we have no maximum raise size.

What are the fees to take part?


Subject to meeting the qualifying criteria, £2,750* and 2.5% on funds successfully raised (excluding VAT).

*Paid in two instalments:

  • Upfront payment of £750 + £1,000 refundable deposit (returned upon successful Fundraising Campaign)
  • Secondary payment of £1,000 (upon delivery of Pitch Materials & Design)

Success fee of 2.5% +VAT of the total amount of funds raised at the end of the Fundraising Campaign.

What happens if my campaign is unsuccessful?


In the unfortunate event that your fundraising campaign is unsuccessful, despite every effort on your part to launch and close your campaign 12 months after the programme start date, you will be refunded the deposit and will have only paid the upfront fee - as the main fee is only payable on successful raise.

Will lunch be provided?


No, we will provide coffee and water and adequate lunch breaks for candidates to go out and grab some lunch.

Who are the partners on CrowdBoost?


Other partners included in the delivery of CrowdBoost include:

  • TribeFirst

John Auckland is a crowdfunding specialist and founder of TribeFirst, a global crowdfunding communications agency that has helped raise in excess of £4m for over 20 companies on platforms such as Crowdcube, Seedrs, Indiegogo and Kickstarter. TribeFirst is the world's first dedicated marketing communications agency to support equity crowdfunding campaigns and the first in the UK to provide PR and Marketing campaigns on a mainly risk/reward basis. John is passionate about working with start-ups and sees crowdfunding as more than just raising funds; it's an opportunity to build a loyal tribe of lifelong customers.

  • Boa Branding

Serkan Ferah is a brand designer and the owner of Boa Branding. He has branding experience with companies like Aston Martin, Maserati and Abarth, as well as start-ups and small businesses. Boa Branding is a London-based branding agency that offers brand development and design services tailored to start-ups who are looking to secure investment or begin a crowdfunding campaign. Their services include branding, brand identity design, crowdfunding campaign design, visual content for social media marketing, landing page and webpage design, presentation design and any other design works which will help start-ups to secure a successful crowdfunding campaign.

  • Ignition Financial

Ignition Financial take a fresh approach to accountancy and exclusively work with start-ups, scale-ups, entrepreneurs and investors. They are different from the traditional accountants out there, because they are founders themselves - so understand their customers and tailor what they do (and how they do it) to meet founders' needs.They will handle your SEIS/EIS Advance Assurance applications and have a team of experienced vCFOs who can review business models and investor decks, offering tangible advice and guidance. They work from a relaxed open plan studio office in Fitzrovia, with their Ignition Law colleagues, and clients are always welcome to pop in whenever they need to for a chat.

  • Pangaea TV

As an experienced producer of crowdfunding videos, Pangaea TV will guide you through the entire video production process from start to finish. They know your pitch is important, so they'll help you deliver your story in an engaging and persuasive way to give you the best possible chance of success. They also have the expertise to help you with general promotional videos, social media videos and even TV commercials as your company continues to grow. They have an excellent track record of helping businesses reach and exceed their funding targets.

  • Daedalus Partners

Daedalus Partners LLP is an award-winning VC. Daedalus has originated and funded over £130million of investment opportunities that offer the potential for compelling returns, as well as the tax incentives available under EIS and SEIS. Daedalus is sector agnostic and has invested across a wide range of leisure & entertainment, TMT, food & drink and consumer businesses. Daedalus works very closely with entrepreneurs to advise on optimising their capital structure, EIS/SEIS implications, business strategy, raising capital and helping to grow their business post-investment.

When is the deadline for applications?


CrowdBoost is open for applications throughout the year.

Virgin StartUp
Tribe First
Ignition Financial