I get annoyed with early sellouts in a crowdfunding arena because the founders are giving up on everyone’s collective aspirations and just taking a quick payout, which will make them massively rich and leave later investors robbed of the opportunity to let their investment develop.
The Camden Town Brewery sellout in 2015 has to be the worst and was what inspired James Watt’s (Brewdog) epic rant about slimey mega corporations and founders with no backbone selling out. (https://www.brewdog.com/lowdown/blog/nailing-our-colours-to-the-motherfucking-mast).
Camden’s crowdfunding investors put their money in for a long haul having seen great potential in the brand. If I recall there were plans for a new brewery and the idea was to IPO in 3-5 years. Great long term growth prospect.
As a crowdfunding investor you are betting that there is maybe a 1 in 5 chance of them succeeding at that and if they do then you might hope for a 10 times return, so you make the investment.
But then only 6-9 months later after Camden Town had continued massive growth and looked to be onto a winner - the crowdfunders who took that gamble had it taken away when the founders agreed to sell the whole company to AB InBev for a valuation only marginally higher at £85m -an absolute steal in hindsight.
It’s like putting £100 on Mexico at 50-1 to win the World Cup before it started, then when they destroy Germany and breeze through to the knockout stages your bookie cancels your bet and gives you a fiver. It is just not right or fair and telling themselves that later investors still made a quick profit is not going to stop them from going to the fiery depths!
Having said that from a crowdfunding investor’s point of view, I realise that ordinary people don’t give a damn about who it is owned by or whether the product is being made 50% cheaper than it used to. It matters if they like the brand and the taste and what everyone else is drinking.
All around the country people are enjoying a cold pint of AB InBev piss for £5 and they are very happy with it.
I am really fond of companies like Brewdog who say we will never sell out to a slimey megacorporation (they actually put it in their Articles that they can’t buy shares), and companies like Monzo who have turned down huge offers from big banks and tech companies because they want to be independent and decide their own fate. Their board are more sheepish about it but you get the feeling that they have the same fire in their bellies but less % ownership of the company to be so headstrong about it.