Over the last few years Mayo cycling company Electric Escapes has built a vibrant cycle tour business around the Great Western Greenway and other scenic cycling routes. A high national profile has ensured consistent growth and the business is now at a point of expansion. Ever enterprising, Paul Harmon the founder of Electric Escapes, is looking at a slightly alternative type of funding which offers opportunities to small local investors as well as a national and international audience.
Electric Escapes is the exclusive distributor of the top quality Kalkhoff bike brand in Ireland and has seen a tremendous surge in bike sales recently. The requirement to buy in greater stock is creating the need for financing. The company started with just 10 bikes in 2010 and built up to selling more than 150 last year. In that three year period it has expanded from its original outlet in Westport to seven countrywide, and that is set to increase again over the next while.
The term crowd funding might not be familiar to you now, but it soon will be. It is a web based system which allows lots of people to make small investments in secure businesses. Investments can be for sums as small as €50, and the investor gets to set the return required, from five per cent to 15 per cent.
“Our business is all about the local communities where our tours run,” says Paul Harmon, Electric Escapes. “Now that we're expanding and require capital funding, we wanted to find a method where our customers, friends, and local people can get something back through investing in our business. We feel that crowd funding is a perfect option for us and we hope that through using it, everyone is going to be a winner.”
LinkedFinance (www.linkedfinance.ie ) is the Irish crowd funding business which offers investment in Electric Escapes. The Electric Escapes offer closes on Monday June 24.