Your opportunity to play an important role in our return to Plough Lane
As many of you may already know, we’re launching a crowdfunding campaign on Seedrs to help take our club back to Plough Lane, where it all began. With our sights on a brand new stadium on the very same road we used to call home, we’re offering every one of our supporters the opportunity to become part-owners of AFC Wimbledon for as little as £10, and in doing so, help write the next chapter of this historic journey.
There has been massive interest in the first 2 days of the private exclusive phase of the campaign on Seedrs. The following attempts to answer all the questions sent into the club and posted online. We are aiming to be as responsive as we can and share as much as we can with everybody who is interested in the campaign and investing.in our plans for the future of AFC Wimbledon. Please remember that when investing your capital is at risk.
Q: What is crowdfunding?
A: Instead of just looking to banks to help fund the construction of our new home stadium, we’ve decided to invite investors like you to invest from as little as £10, big or small, in exchange for a share in the ownership of AFC Wimbledon. Why? From the very beginning, our fans’ passion and determination have helped carry this club from level 9 of the football pyramid into the English Football League in only nine years. Now, we want to make sure everyone has the chance to play their part, and share in the success of the next nine years and beyond.
Q: Why are we doing it?
A: The proceeds from this fundraising round will help pay for our new stadium in Plough Lane, so we can kick off the 2020/21 season back where we belong. The stadium will support a competitive League One budget as well as community facilities in the Borough of Merton.
Q: What will the new stadium cost?
A: We expect the construction of the stadium to cost approximately £30 million. A portion of this cost will come from this crowdfunding round, alongside other sources of funding.
Q: How does crowdfunding work?
A: If you’d like to invest in AFC Wimbledon, the first step is to create an investor account on Seedrs. This is completely free and takes just a few minutes. After setting up your basic account and becoming authorised to invest, you can invest as much as you like and as little as £10 in exchange for shares in the club.
Q: How many shares are for sale?
A: In the spirit of AFC Wimbledon’s fan-owned, community-driven legacy, we’re making a stake in the club available to everyday investors like you. The minimum we aim to raise through the crowdfunding campaign is £2 million, which is equivalent to 2 million shares. We are allowed to issue up to 7 million shares at this stage.
Q: Why is the target raise £2m?
A: This is simply a minimum target. With crowdfunding, if the target is not reached during the investment period, all money is returned to investors and company raising gets nothing – so we want to be certain that doesn’t happen, whilst still being challenging. However, our aim is to overfund this target and push for more because the nearer we get to £7m, the less we’ll have to borrow from the banks.
Q: What does overfunding mean?
A:Our crowdfunding campaign has a legal maximum that can be raised of £7million, which we'd love to achieve. It had a minimum of £2m, which was the absolute minimum we needed to raise in order for the campaign to be successful. If we had failed to reach this lower amount at the end of 60 days (period of the campaign) - for example, we only raised £1.5m - then we would have had to abandon the campaign and return everyone's money. That's why your investments are being held in escrow until Seedrs closes the investment after the campaign.
Thanks to your support, however, we have now soared past the minimum £2m target. Every penny we raise above this is "overfunding" and we're aiming to overfund as much as we can - hopefully all the way to our ultimate £7m goal. That's what we are ultimately looking to raise.
Q:How does it affect the campaign?
A:Reaching £2m so quickly is a fantastic achievement and tells us how much everyone wants to get back to our spiritual home in Wimbledon. But we still want to raise more. To put it bluntly, raising more than £2m will mean the club doesn't need to borrow as much from the banks to build the stadium, which we believe is best for everyone. The message is simple: 'Our campaign is still very much alive and kicking'. Yes, we have reached the minimum target but we now have to press on and aim for that £7m target.
Q:Do I still get the rewards if I invest at this stage?
A:Yes, all rewards as set out from the beginning of the campaign are still available to all who invest.
Q: What’s the minimum and the maximum I can invest?
A: The minimum investment is £10. There is no maximum!
Q: What is the share price?
A: One share price is £1
Q: How much do we need to raise?
A: In total, we need £13 million to fund the stadium. The funding will come from a mix of equity and debt. The maximum we’re legally allowed to raise via crowdfunding is £7m - or, almost £300 for every one of the 23,000 fans who attended the Wembley play-off final! The base target on the campaign is £2m, which together with the debt we are working to secure is the minimum we need to build a stadium. However we are keen to raise more than the base so that we can build the stadium to the design we have chosen and reduce the amount of debt required.
Q: What if we don’t raise enough?
A: We’re confident that our community will be just as excited about this opportunity as we are. However, should we for any reason be unable to meet our target with this crowdfunding round, we’ll resort to a bank loan. This outcome would be less favourable for a number of reasons, and could ultimately prevent us from drafting new players and bolstering the team throughout this season and upcoming ones.
Q: So why not settle for a cheaper stadium then?
A: Anyone who’s followed the ups and downs of our club’s story knows that settling isn’t the AFC Wimbledon way. A cheaper stadium would mean fewer, lower quality facilities which ultimately wouldn’t generate as much commercial revenue as we’d like. That, in turn, would mean less funds for the team. It would also lessen the experience for our fans and the wider community.
Q: Who are Seedrs?
A: One of the UK’s most renowned and respected crowdfunding platforms, Seedrs allows everyday investors to invest from as little as £10, in businesses they believe in. With more than £618 million invested into pitches, and over 820 deals funded to date, Seedrs has an exceptional track record in helping businesses of all shapes and sizes source funding, grow their brands, and build tribes of passionate investors. It was the first company of its kind to be authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority.
Q: Why would I want to invest in AFC Wimbledon?
A: Because, just like us, you want to see our club back where it belongs, in a stadium that’s fully equipped for the future, with facilities that will generate income and stand as a symbol of pride for the entire Wimbledon community. We really want non- Wimbledon fans to get involved and become part of one of football’s greatest stories
Q: Are we investing in the stadium only or will we become shareholders of the actual football club?
A: Your investment will give you a shareholding within the club, however the proceeds of this will be used towards funding the new stadium
Q: How long will the campaign be open for?
A: The maximum time of the campaign is 60 days from the date the campaign launches for investment.
Q: Are there any rewards for buying shares?
A: Yes - and they’re unlike any others offered by a football club.
Q: So what would I get if I simply buy £10 worth of shares?
A: Your name will appear on an investors wall along with other £10 investors. In addition, along with all other investors, you will be entered into a draw to win the naming rights of our new stadium! We’re setting aside 20% of every one of our home matches for a Premium Bond-style draw. Even f you’ve purchased the smallest package of £10, and your name is pulled out of the hat, we’ll emblazon your name across the front of our stadium for a match during the first season.
Q: Can I buy shares for my children?
A: Yes. Accounts can be created on behalf of children. This will involve the parent legally making the investment decisions and being the beneficial owner of the shares on behalf of the child until they turn 18, at which time we can change the account. We'll need the child's details in order to create the account and you can do this for multiple children. They should contact Seedrs after creating an account under their name in order for this to be processed. We recommend that anyone who wants to do this gets in touch with email@example.com or reaches out via the green live chat box in the bottom right-hand corner of the Seedrs page, and one of seedrs customer service people will assist you
Q: Can I buy shares as a gift?
A: We can't process gifts of shares. The individual who will own the shares should create an account and make their own investment. This can be financed by another individual, but it needs to be through their own account.
Q: Can I buy shares multiple times?
A: Yes, you can top up your shares at any time during the campaign. You can create an account and then subscribe to a share package (£100) multiple times through the one account. Don’t worry if it shows just the total amount. At the end of the raise, we will be able to see from your records that you have purchased for example 5x £100 packages. We will then get in touch after the raise period has closed to take the details and to find out whether you would like to use the full amount invested to determine your final reward or if you’d like to split it in smaller rewards. We recommend that anyone who wants to do this gets in touch with firstname.lastname@example.org or reaches out via the green live chat box in the bottom right-hand corner of the Seedrs page, and one of seedrs customer service people will assist you
Q: Am I able to buy a plaque for a deceased friend/family member
A: Yes, you You simply buy the shares as if buying for yourself and following the end of the campaign raise period we will be in touch to collate details for people's plaques at which point you would send us the details you would like on the plaque. The shares would remain in the ownership of whoever purchased them.
Q: What if I don’t win the draw?
A: Even if you don’t win the draw, your name is still guaranteed to feature on the stadium. Our construction plans include a commemorative wall showcasing the names of every single fan who’s bought a share in our club. This wall will serve as an opportunity for us to both celebrate the incredible loyalty and commitment of our community, and thank each one of our supporters for their contribution.
Q: Are there any other incentives?
A: Depending on the size of your investment, you could have your name featured on our TV screens or epos tills, the stadium kiosks and turnstiles - or, for those in favour of something truly unique - the urinals or beer taps. We want to make sure that every contribution is properly commemorated.
Q: When do investors receive their rewards?
A: The perks are not received until the first season in the new stadium
Q: What is a ‘brick plaque’?
A: This is a plaque that is overlaid on the front of a standard brick (slightly smaller than the full side of a brick). Please note that not all internal areas will have brick work, so the same plaques will be arranged on the walls as if placed on bricks
Q: Can I have multiple names on the plaques?
A: Unfortunately no, it is one individual per plaque. There will be some space for messages (Characters TBC)
Q: Who decides who and where your name is put in the ground?
A: On the packages with multiple choices for plaque sighting, you will have the chance to choose which location/item you wish your plaque to go on for one season. We will be in touch once the campaign is closed to take your choice of location.
Q: What if I want to invest a serious sum of money - say £50,000 or even more?
A: We have two main packages for investments of £50,000 or more. £50,000 would make you an official club patron and unlock access to the president’s lounge and guaranteed priority tickets. From £100,000 you would be recognised as a club Vice President, giving you access to the boardroom and a range of other perks for up to ten years. Please contact the club if you are interested in making a larger investment over £250,000.
Q: Is there a danger that one individual could end up owning our club?
A: The Dons Trust will continue to control a minimum of 75% of the voting rights after the fundraise.
Q: What happens if Seedrs gets taken over, or struggles to survive themselves?
A: Regardless of Seedrs’ financial success, your stake in AFC Wimbledon is safe. It doesn’t matter if you have one share, or hundreds of shares, your ownership in the club will be upheld - you will remain entitled to their full economic value and associated benefits. As an FCA-regulated company, Seedrs has comprehensive legal frameworks in place designed to protect your shareholding, under all circumstances.
Q: I thought we had enough money for the stadium already?
A: Back in 2015, we thought we’d only need to raise between £3 to £7million to fund the stadium. However, a lot has changed since then. We’ve faced a number of unexpected delays and have had to make several necessary design changes to improve the structural integrity the West Stand’s foundation and surrounding land. As such, our costs have gone up and we’re looking to raise more, to ensure the finished product is just as we’ve imagined it.
Q: Why was the pre-registration phase so important?
A: Pre-registration phase allows us to share the news with our fans and supporters, and gauge their level of investment interest so we can set our crowdfunding target appropriately. It also grants those most excited about the investment opportunity priority access to the campaign, so they can be among the first to get involved before it opens to the public.
Q: Will I get any dividends if I invest?
A: Should we climb into the Championship - and ultimately reach the Premier League - then it will absolutely be the club’s intention to reward all its shareholders. However, we have to be realistic at this stage, and therefore can’t make any guarantees. Our current priority is to continue to grow the club, by managing our finances responsibly. What we can say with certainty, is that when good times come, we won’t forget the people who got us there.
Q: Can’t we just borrow more money from the banks and not worry about crowdfunding?
A: In theory, yes - but not in practice. The more money we borrow, the higher our repayments become. This would lessen resources available to strengthen the team, which is what we set out to do in the first place. Crowdfunding gives us the opportunity to avoid becoming over-leveraged, and instead take our fans, supporters and investors along on the journey.
Q: How do I pay?
A: You can pay for your investment using a debit card or a bank transfer. All funds are held in escrow by Seedrs until the final investment is made in to the company at the end of the campaign.
Q: So what do I do now?
A: The crowdfunding campaign will launch publicly on Seedrs in early July. The week prior, the campaign will be open exclusively to fans and Dons Trust members. To ensure you’re included in this priority investment phase, pre-register your interest now at dons.seedrs.com and we’ll be in touch with the details.
Investing in private businesses involves risks, including loss of capital, illiquidity, lack of dividends and dilution, and it should be done only as part of a diversified portfolio. Seedrs is targeted solely at investors who are sufficiently sophisticated to understand these risks and make their own investment decisions. This message has been approved as a financial promotion by Seedrs Limited, which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.