Moo courts customers for possible fundraise

Fast-growing Moo could crowdfund a future investment round via its 1m-plus customer base.

Founder and CEO Richard Moross has sent an email to customers floating the idea of a customer-backed fundraiser at the high-end web-to-print business.

In the email, he said: “As one of Moo’s most valued customers you have helped get Moo to where it is today. Thank you! Because of this, I am writing to see if you would also be interested in the opportunity of becoming an investor, and sharing in Moo’s ongoing success story.”

Fundraising via a loyal customer base was a tactic successfully deployed by Leeds-based Awesome Merchandise last year, when it raised nearly twice as much as its initial target to help it set up a new operation in the US.

Moo is considering its options and gauging the likely appetite from customers with the teaser email, which invites customers to register their interest in a potential fundraise.

Sales at the business breached £100m last year, and subsequent to the year-end Moo raised $2.75m (£2.1m) from its existing investors through an Advanced Subscription.

In the email to customers, Moross said: Despite exceeding £105m in revenue last year we have raised very little money over the years, instead choosing to create a financially responsible and independent business capable of generating solid cash flow from its operations. We have been focused on building sustainable value for the long term.

“As we look to the next decade of MOO’s growth we are considering a number of funding options which could further improve and expand our product range, our manufacturing capabilities and our customer experience, as well as giving customers a chance to share in our growth and success.”

Moo employs 600 staff – who have the opportunity to hold share options in the business – and has manufacturing facilities in Dagenham and at Rhode Island in the US. It gained initial success through its innovative ‘Moo card’ business card range, and has since expanded into other products including postcards, stickers and notebooks as well as corporate services.

A Moo spokesperson said the business would be collecting feedback over the next month before deciding on the way forward: “As a brand built on innovation, we are always looking for new ways to engage with our customers. That’s why we have launched a process to explore whether equity crowdfunding is something we might want to pursue. In our view, this could give our customers the opportunity to share in our success while also establishing a new source of funding to support the acceleration of our growth.

“We’ll be gathering feedback from our customers over the next month and will use the insights from this exercise to inform our decision making as to whether we will move forward with the process. As soon as we’ve concluded this fact-finding project, we will provide a full update.”