It’s certainly not the most unusual celebrity endorsement ever, but Andy Murray’s decision to join the advisory board of equity crowdfunding platform Seedrs will have taken plenty of people by surprise. The Scottish tennis pro is better known for serving up aces than funding startups, but the man who runs his management company, 77, insists it’s a good fit.
‘Andy is a keen investor, with his own management agency alongside a property portfolio, which includes a hotel,’ said Matt Gentry. ‘Crowdfunding is a space we’ve been looking at for a while, to complement his business interests, and he's excited about being able to help startup businesses and entrepreneurs in the UK.’
Seedrs says Murray will be able to provide advice on working with health, sport and wearable technology startups. However much he knows about wearable technology, it seems no coincidence that Wimbledon is just around the corner, and the real benefit for Seedrs is likely to be the credibility and publicity the deal will generate.
Read more: The business of tennis
Crowdfunding has been increasing in popularity lately as a way to raise cash for small businesses. But Seedrs arguably suffers from a lack of brand recognition when compared with its rival Crowdcube, which has played host to high-profile campaigns from the likes of Poundland founder Steve Smith, Grand Designs host Kevin McCloud and tech darlings JustPark.
'Both modern tennis and equity crowdfunding have their origins in Britain, and Andy Murray and Seedrs are world-leaders in their respective fields,' said crowdfunidng advocate Lord Young of Grafham, the prime minister's former enterprise advisor. 'It is wonderful to see the two coming together in this unique partnership, and I believe the outcome of it will be to see more great British businesses raising the capital they need, and more investors having the chance to be part of those businesses.'
Though crowdfunding has become a common way for cash-strapped growing businesses to raise money, critics have spoken up lately of their concerns over the high valuations attracted by some companies and the allegedly over-optimistic projections on which they are often based. With Murray on board, Seedrs will be hoping to convince investors that crowdfunding is a sensible way to part with their cash - though it might help if he could win another Grand Slam.