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By John MacKinlay, Chief Executive Officer at CAARY

Funding, clients and talented employees are the three pillars of success for any small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) and CAARY is no exception. 

As we were setting out to build our business – working through product development, hiring staff and planning our go-to-market strategy – we had to concurrently attract funding to enable and fuel our great business idea. Several options were available to us but, like most SMEs, many were not. 

Borrowing was definitely out considering our early-stage situation. So, we focused our attention on equity. The path of raising money through many institutional investors (aka venture capital) can be a very difficult one in Canada.  We knew that it would be a time and energy consuming process at a time when it was all-hands-on-deck to ready our business for launch. 

We also believe in the democratization of investments, so we wanted to give the opportunity to the widest possible group to become investors and share the wealth that will be created by our business success. Equity crowdfunding has created significant opportunities for everyone to invest in companies that historically would have been financed by venture capital firms. This principle of accessibility is completely aligned with the product offering we were bringing to market. 

Some of us already had great experience with raising capital through crowdfunding platforms and we decided to double down on that experience by listing CAARY’s raise on FrontFundr

We led a very successful campaign. So successful, in fact, that we closed the round 20 days earlier than planned. 150 Canadian retail investors participated alongside accredited investors to reach an impressive $4.4 million in our late-seed capital raise. 

The strength of our offering, the experience of our team, and the size of the market were the main drivers for investors to support us. As important as the funds raised, this campaign allowed us to put CAARY on the map. Many of our investors were SMEs who saw the pressing needs our platform addresses. 

Next time you are raising capital don’t underestimate the power of retail investors and what it can mean to you. As an SME, these investors can become your clients, channel partners and even employees. You also receive critical intel – direct feedback on your solution and product-market fit.

Wishing you the best of luck with your next fundraising round. Don’t hesitate to reach out if you want to talk #SMEs, #Fintech and the #FutureofFinance.

John MacKinlay is Chief Executive Officer at CAARY. John has 25 years of experience in the IT and Financial Services industries as an entrepreneur, executive, investor, senior advisor and board member. He previously led the Financial Services platform for OMERS Growth Equity, PwC Canada’s Financial Services Consulting Practice, and the FS Strategy Practice for IBM Canada.

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