West Midlands “stock exchange” Investbx has seen its first retail share purchase.
Key Technologies, the second firm to be floated on the Colmore Row-based business exchange, sold about 9,000 shares in an online auction, raising more than £15,000.
It is the first time the general public has invested on Investbx, which has previously been limited to the investor community at special events.
The exchange said the public trade in shares was a “major step forward” for Investbx, which launched last year aimed at helping the region bridge the £500,000 to £2 million equity gap by connecting investors with businesses in the West Midlands.
Last month, Key Technologies became the second company to be admitted to Investbx, raising £1.8 million which will be used to expand via a series of acquisitions.
It was preceded by Digbeth-based Teamworks Karting, which used the Investbx flotation to secure £500,000 to support expansion plans.
Since Key was launched on Investbx, weekly online auctions have started taking place, giving the general public the opportunity to buy shares in the firm via the Investbx website.
Industrial engineering company Key Technologies operates through four divisions around the UK, including its headquarters and manufacturing base at Cradley Heath in the West Midlands.
Sue Summers, chief executive of Investbx, said: “The first shares being traded online through the Investbx website is a major milestone for us as it demonstrates that there is an audience of investors seeking to put their money into local companies.
“Even in the current climate, there are companies who have a medium-to-long-term vision and are looking to expand and this demonstrates that the Investbx concept is perfectly suited to securing the finance for SMEs at this particular stage of their growth.
“Key Technologies is the second company to join Investbx and we are delighted that a company of this reputation is taking advantage of the benefits this pioneering scheme offers.”
Key Technologies chairman David Grove added: “Investbx has helped us to connect with investors in such a way that we are able to take the business further along the growth path with the help of additional equity financing at reasonable terms.
“Not only should West Midlands companies with expansion plans be looking to Investbx, but it is also an opportunity for investors who want to put their money into local businesses to get involved.
“The finance from our new equity shareholders, coupled with our own strong cashflow, will enable us to continue to grow shareholder value.”
The team behind Investbx said they hope the platform will continue to grow, with more companies to be floated in the future.
It has appointed a new business development manager to build relations with the region’s investor community.
Andy Smith joins Investbx with more than 20 years of experience in financial services in Birmingham. The 42-year-old from Sutton Coldfield has most recently worked for EFG Harris Allday and Arden Partners as a sales trader.
His role will involve working with investors around the West Midlands to showcase the opportunities of investment in companies coming through the Investbx pipeline.
Mr Smith said: “This is an exciting time to be joining an experienced and energetic team at an organisation which has made huge strides in establishing itself.”