Barclays has introduced a pioneering service named the Demo Directory, which provides a platform to UK businesses and links them to a verified network of investors, regardless of who they bank with. This free online service aims to make it easier and more cost-effective for businesses to gain access to capital, which they can use to develop or expand their products/services, hire staff, or upgrade their premises. According to Barclays research, 58% of businesses surveyed were hindered by the high costs involved in accessing capital, and 49% of high-growth business founders believed their location restricted their funding opportunities. By connecting businesses with investors from anywhere in the country, the Demo Directory removes these barriers and makes it easier for underserved groups to access investment opportunities. Investors can review video pitches by founders and filter opportunities by region, or business size. Thus, the Demo Directory helps businesses expand their investor base, even those that are minority-owned or outside of the traditional investment triangle of Cambridge, Oxford, and London.
Benjamin Storey, Head of Demo Directory at Barclays, remarked that the online platform allows businesses to connect with capital providers more easily, whether they are looking to expand their business or combat the rising costs of doing business. “We’ve already seen there’s a real appetite for the service,” says Storey. “In the 24 months where we made business and investor connections through our newsletter version of the Demo Directory, 49% of founders have raised money within six months of being on the Demo Directory. We can’t wait to see this grow further as we launch our online platform.”
Overall, the Demo Directory provides a unique, first-of-its-kind service that serves to democratize access to capital for UK businesses and removes key barriers for underserved groups.