E.I.S. IS INCREDIBLE. QUALIFY
If you're not a U.K. business or resident, look away now.
It's hard to fully comprehend how important the Enterprise Investment Scheme, or E.I.S. is to you, your investors and those around you until your company goes under (which I dearly hope yours won't).
I'll keep the details light, because it requires expert advice and explanation, but essentially it's a British government perk for investing in startups, growth stage and other any other small to medium businesses, as you wish to define them.
You get to offset significant sums against your tax bill. And if the company you invested in goes bust, you should expect to receive a large proportion of your invested amount back, as long as you make the application for loss relief.
So, it's really good for investors, and it's major driver to receiving investment. But a considerable barrier if you haven't qualified.
As an entrepreneur, you don't receive any benefit. Everything you invest is lost. But for me at least, despite trying our best, and making the best decisions we could with the info we had, I still felt really bad for investors. Many were my friends and acquaintances. People I'd got to know. People I was forever grateful to, for their faith and support. Vulpine was supposed to be a positive movement and a great business, we all thought it would be, I didn't want anyone to lose anything.
Investors, whether via crowdfunding or not, knew they were investing in a high risk business, but that didn't stop me feeling bad. In the middle of the hell that is the administration process, it gave me some comfort to know that a majority of investors would be helped by E.I.S. Approximately 70% of the amount invested, if you combine the tax break and Loss Relief, as it is known. 70% isn't great, and many would receive nothing.
E.I.S. isn't just a driver for success and a safety valve of sorts for investors, it is a small source of solace for founders, at a time when the world seems to be caving in.
Qualify for E.I.S., or seek it out, for the best and worst of scenarios.