500k “signups”. I love how startups always obfuscate the real metrics with fancy words. “Signups” is meaningless to me - how many of those are active users, of those how many are revenue positive, and of those what is the LTV?
I am on the advisory board for two startups, one is also D2C and has the equivalent of 300k “signups” (ie downloads, installs and registrations) - they see their valuation as a fraction of that of Curve.
When you come in at this valuation, taking into account further dilution down the line, and factoring capital gains tax due to the lack of EIS/SEIS, you’re lucky to double or triple your money and for that you’ll be locked into them for a number of years.
Yes, early stage has more risks, but EIS/SEIS make it so attractive. For example, with SEIS I can claim 50% of my investment back through tax relief, if they were to go belly-up I can claim higher rate tax relief of 45% on the other 50%. So in reality, only c.25% of my initial investment is “at risk”.
The multiples you can get on an early stage is much higher as well, on two of my investments I am already at 30-40x. And on those gains I do not pay capital gains tax due to EIS/SEIS.
It just doesn’t make sense for me as a crowdfunder to get in at such a late stage as Curve. I do wish I would have gotten involved with them early on!