BrewDog’s Watt launches funding scheme to find Next Unicorn

By Gary Lloyd

- Last updated on GMT

New initiative: Next Unicorn offers people the opportunity to invest along with BrewDog's James Watt
New initiative: Next Unicorn offers people the opportunity to invest along with BrewDog's James Watt

Related tags Finance Pubco + head office Multi-site pub operators Training Brewdog James watt

James Watt, co-founder and chief executive of brewer and pub operator BrewDog, has teamed up with funding platform Crowdcube to find the next “billion-dollar company”.

Next Unicorn is a business funding platform that is seeking start-ups with the Crowdcube model allowing the public to invest in them under the same terms as Watt.

The initiative is described as a “completely new investment model for the 21st century” and Watt’s reasoning for launching it is to “disrupt the investment model and make way for the next high-growth businesses to thrive”.

Experience and skill

Watt said: “I’ve got a lot of experience and skill. I want to take everything I’ve learned in building a billion-dollar company and help someone else on their journey to do exactly the same. This is my $5m search for the next billion-dollar company.”

Three winning companies that apply and succeed through the Crowdcube platform will be flown out to Las Vegas, where BrewDog has launched a bar in December 2022, to receive their investment from Watt.

Watt is keen to back businesses that have the ability to define a market and grow to unicorn status – which is named after the mythical creature of Scotland and is the name for a business that has achieve a billion-dollar valuation – with the competition open to any sector. However, it will likely lean towards sectors where Watt can add additional value, based on his experience.

Las Vegas announcement

The competition is for companies based in the UK and Europe with applications for funding open now. Shortlisting will take place ahead of investment pitches to Watt and the investment committee between 28 April and 8 May in London with the winners being announced in Las Vegas on 28 May 2023.

The winners will be taken on a full, expense-paid trip to Las Vegas and will also be guaranteed at least £100,000 of investment each. A further investment of between £500,000 and £900,000 will then be invested across these businesses.

Watt explained how failures on Dragons’ Den led to him coming up with the idea of this scheme, which can be read by clicking here​.

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