Getting to know you: Luke Lang cofounder of Crowdcube

What do you currently do?
I am one of the co-founders (along with Darren Westlake) and take care of the marketing for Crowdcube. We launched in 2011 as the world’s first equity crowdfunding platform to allow everyday investors to back British businesses in exchange for an equity stake.

A major part of my role is building awareness and PR is a core part of our communications strategy. Telling our story through the companies that have funded keeps things fresh.
In reality, however, being one of the co-founders with a relatively small team of just under 20 employees means that I end up contributing to all areas of the business. This is important as it ensures a solid working knowledge of the business from an operational as well as strategic position.

What is your inspiration in the business?
Helping other entrepreneurs raise the investment they need to make their idea become a reality, or take it to the next level is a constant source of inspiration and motivation for me and the whole team. Having been in that situation myself I know how challenging the early years can be, and particularly trying to secure seed capital.

We get to know the entrepreneurs and their companies and it is fantastic to watch them hit their targets, and often exceed them.

Recently, the Olympic and World Triathlon Champion brothers, Alistair and Jonny Brownlee, invested in a bike-related business called Purple Harry, which raised over £80,000. As a budding triathlete and a Brownlee fan I was bowled over when I found out. Making investment more accessible is simply brilliant and another cause of great satisfaction and pride.

Who do you admire?
I am currently reading Sir Alex Ferguson’s autobiography, which is fascinating. His ability to reinvent and motivate, not only himself but his teams, and maintain such a high level of performance over a prolonged period is mesmeric and inspirational, no doubt about it.
Darren and I have always believed in giving talented young people a chance to develop themselves and help shape our company’s success story. We haven’t been disappointed, our team are a continual source of pride. I greatly admire their willingness to learn, their dedication to the company’s ethos and vision and their strong work ethic.

Looking back are there things you would have done differently?
That’s a difficult question. It is certainly a rollercoaster ride starting a business, particularly in the midst of a recession when you’re trying to disrupt the status quo on a shoestring. But I firmly believe that the challenges and difficulties we faced gave Darren and I greater resolve and determination to succeed and made the successes taste that little bit sweeter. In that respect I have no regrets on the choices we made.

What defines your way of doing business?
Our vision was to democratise investment and provide a valuable alternative way for entrepreneurs to secure the finance they need to take their business to the next level.

Our aim was to shake up angel investing, which we see as tired, out-dated and inaccessible to everyday investors. Allowing people to review, query and invest in businesses, online 24/7 has proven to be popular with over 55,000 investors now registered on our site. Many of our investors are younger and from more diverse backgrounds than your stereotypical angel who tends to be dominated by white, middle-aged men.

What advice would you give to someone just starting out?
It’s not as hard as you think; it is harder! That said, the journey when building a business and team is incredibly rewarding and definitely worth the effort.

It is important to listen intently. In my opinion people nowadays talk too much and don’t bother to listen nearly enough. Learn from people, build a strong team and support network, believe in yourself and don’t be afraid to take a chance or two.