The new company, which has been operating under its own funding for just over a year before it sought outside investment, chose the Seedrs crowdfunding platform to raise the necessary capital. It sought £80,000 from investors registered with the Seedr platform and offered 7.36% equity with a company valuation of £1,006,344.
Intense interest in the gardening platform quickly drove the investment raised to £120,534 before the campaign ended in August. The capital will mainly be used for marketing purposes and improving its offering.
“The primary use of funds will be dedicated to growing the business and attracting a high volume of customers via multi-channel marketing campaigns including SEO, Google AdWords, social media promotions, digital PR and targeted door-drop media,” the company said in its Seedr pitch.
It will also pour cash into the development of its platform so that functionality and user experience improves. “This should help grow the product beyond an introductory service and attach a greater value for customers and gardeners. We believe this ‘full lifecycle’ management will be ideal for our cash-rich, time-poor target demographic,” it said.
“Through automation and cost-conscious budget discipline, we believe we have minimised overheads. Nevertheless, the final use of funds will be to cover pay allowance/staff salaries and core operating infrastructure (e.g. server hosting, telephony, stationary, etc.),” fastgardener added.
Seed of a Business Idea
Fastgardener was founded by Khaled McGonnell and three others, including his wife, Lyndsey. The idea came to the British when he was working in London and making long commutes into the city. With all this and a young child, he had no time to look after his own garden. He found the process of trying to find, vet and agree on a rate with gardeners in his own area frustrating and time-consuming and thought there must be a better way. So, fastgardener.com was born.
“We’re thrilled that our crowdfunding campaign on Seedr was so successful – we never dreamed we would raise so much money in such a short time, and far ahead of what we actually wanted,” McGonnell said. “We are now primed to roar ahead in this business and grow much faster, thanks to the belief of all those informed investors who put their money into our company.”
So far, fastgardener has 375 registered customers, 75 professional gardeners working with the service and, this year alone, handled 320 appointments with homeowners and business to take care of their gardens. That amounted to a year-to-date total of around 750 hours booked, with the company making its money by taking 10% commission of the hourly rate.
Fastgardener is considering introducing higher-margin services to boost its revenues. These may include garden design and landscaping, and a subscription-based garden maintenance service that would be another option along with the hourly rate customers currently pay. Additional services being planned may also include autumn and winter maintenance services – salting and gritting drives and pathways, for example, as well as jet-washing patios and cleaning gutters of leaves and other debris.
“Gardening needed a good ‘gig economy’ platform and fastgardener is the solution. We’ve established a network of vetted gardeners across the UK, we save our customers’ time since we’ve done the hard work of sourcing top-quality gardeners and we provide the digital, cashless service consumers demand today,” said McGonnell. “And, as we’re insured and only take payment after work is carried out, our customers have complete peace of mind.”
For more information about fastgardener, please visit fastgardener.com.
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