Richard Branson: I would have turned to crowdfunding

24 May 2014

The Telegraph By Rebecca Burn-Callander 

Sir Richard Branson has said he would have used crowd-funding to start his Virgin empire if it had existed in the 1960s.

The billionaire entrepreneur, who started the brand selling records, last week invested in the crowdfunding platform Indiegogo.

He told The Telegraph in an interview that he likes how the business is changing the way people think about finance. “Indiegogo is challenging the way we have always raised money,” he said. “It allows people worldwide to get their big ideas off the ground without having to go through gatekeepers who decide who can and can’t raise money.”

He said: “I would have used Indiegogo to start my business if it had been around. When I was young, the word entrepreneur was almost a dirty word. Few people were willing to back young people with big ideas.”

Crowdfunding allows individuals to raise funds from armchair investors around the world. Sir Richard said it had shifted the balance of power away from banks and private equity houses.

He said that despite having not used crowd-funding to raise money before, this will now change. “We will be looking to select a few potential philanthropic projects to raise money on the platform.”

Sir Richard invested in Indiegogo alongside PayPal co-founder Max Levchin, Yahoo! chairman Maynard Webb, and the vice president of Google, Megan Smith. The size of the deal has not been disclosed but a source said that the total amounted to “several million”.

The investment follows Indiegogo’s recent $40m (£23m) series B round.