Investomers: Turning loyal customers into shareholders

9 Aug 2021



Raising money and increasing customer loyalty can be a struggle for almost any business. But now, it is possible to combine your efforts and accomplish both at the same time.

You can do this by turning your customers into your investors and creating investomers.

An investomer is a relatively new term and concept that involves bringing on your customers as shareholders in your company.

Creating investomers can be a mutually beneficial process that leads to successful fundraising, increased customer loyalty and increased sales for your business while giving your loyal customers the chance to be more involved in your company’s successes.

In this article we will look at:

  • What is an investomer?
  • Why you should consider raising capital from your customers
  • Benefits for the company raising money
  • Benefits for the customer investing
  • How to raise money from your customers & create Investomers
  • Which companies are best utilised to add Investomers
  • Are Investomers right for my business


What is an Investomer?


Simply put, an investomer is a term for a customer or client of your business that is monetarily invested in that business.

There are many shapes and forms of how this can be arranged or executed and is unique to each particular business of how it comes to fruition.

The more traditional way is in the form of investing or owning shares in a publicly-traded company. While this can be beneficial to both the company and the investor, due to the large scale and regulations of publicly traded markets, the benefits come with the considerable cost which makes it not suitable for smaller transactions and companies. 

Currently, with the rise of technology and global reach, many companies are turning to the growing number of crowdfunding platforms to raise capital.

These platforms give companies much more control over their funding process. They can set the terms of the investment, the requirements and have a more direct channel of communication to their investors and potential investors.

In turn this leads to a more personal relationship between the company and the investors themselves. The company now feels the obligation to succeed based on the investments delivered, and the investors get to be more included in the success of the company.

Why should you consider raising capital from your customers?


Every business is unique in terms of their overall journey and company needs. But, usually at some point the founders consider or need to raise capital to keep their business going or growing.

Traditionally, startups and businesses in general have turned to the traditional methods of fundraising; angel investors, venture capitalists, investment banks and traditional banks. While these could be a great option for some businesses, overall these methods could not be available for the majority of the small and medium sized companies for various reasons.

For example, VC space is highly competitive and funds look above all at the technology based companies that could potentially scale very fast and provide hockey-stick returns, banking products (loans, credit lines, guarantees) are not suitable for financing growth and banks require a strong equity base which may not be there. The above makes access to this type of funding difficult, competitive and expensive with a  very low overall success rate.

For example, according to data compiled by Fundable, only 0.91 percent of startups are funded by angel investors, while a measly 0.05 percent are funded by VCs.

While this is certainly an option to consider, if raising money is absolutely necessary for your company it can be beneficial to look at alternative means that could lead to better results for your business in the end.

One of the growingly popular methods is via crowdfunding. By raising money on a public platform you can invite your current customers and the general public to invest in your company or to help fund a new project or service. When you can successfully recruit and raise money from your customers, we get the Investomer.

Over the years studies have shown positive correlations between the benefits of have investomers, both for company itself as well as the customers/shareholders.

By bringing on your current customers as shareholders you can accomplish several goals at once including raising needed capital, reducing investor risk, increasing brand exposure and increasing sales and growth.

Benefits of investomers for the company raising money


By looking at alternative options for fundraising, you are not only giving your business a higher chance to raise money successfully, you are opening a door to many more potential benefits. 

When you start to look at your customers as potential investors, it becomes more than a buy/sell relationship, it evolves into a mutually beneficial partnership.

Here are some of the main benefits for a company raising money with investomers:

Raise needed funds

Existing customers already know and like your products and company and hence perceive the investment less risky, which should make capital more accessible at lower cost. Transaction costs should be far lower than in case of traditional methods as you do not have to engage intermediaries for gaining trust among your clients.

Increased client loyalty

When your customers own a piece of your company, they are more than regular customers, they now have extra incentive to buy from you and increase company success.

Reduced churn 

The more customers that invest, the less likely they will fall off, given that they have a personal interest in your success.

More repeat purchases

As customers become more involved in the day to day of the business operations and get a voice in the company’s direction, this will cause them to become more resilient to offers by the competitors and hence, indirectly lead to more repeat business from your most loyal customers.

Investomers will become brand ambassadors

Raising money provides increased brand exposure and obtains much-needed PR and marketing, while your loyal customers will be spreading the word to their friends, family and network to increase their investment and the value of the company as a whole while also causing reduction of cost of new client acquisition.

Helps to build direct sales channel

Having investomers provides direct access to and communication with those customers and hence enables building direct sales channels, which in turn reduces distribution costs and increases profitability.

Increase liquidity

Opening up a possibility for customers to acquire your company shares not only at time of issuance of shares but also later on an ongoing basis from the existing investomers will give your shares the ability to easily issue and sell digital securities to your clients and investors.

Benefits for the customer investing in your company


As you continue to consider bringing on investomers, it can be helpful to consider the potential customers’ perspective and motivation about becoming an investor in your company.

The best part is that all investomers end up getting to enjoy the same overall benefits in return of their investment in your company. These benefits include:

Become more engaged with their favourite brand

Having a personal stake and becoming a shareholder in a brand, the customer must see something special by becoming an investor. Now, not only do they enjoy the success of the company, they get a voice as a legitimate shareholder.

Benefit from financial success of the company

Customers have already enhanced knowledge about the product and the company and therefore they have ample information field (and thus less risk) when making investment decisions. Becoming an investor enables customers to benefit from the financial success of the company. 

Discounts/Rewards programs

Once your customers are onboard as investors, you continue to increase their loyalty by offering exclusive discounts or rewards programmes to thank them for their loyalty and business.

How to raise capital from your customers and create Investomers


One of the biggest questions about raising money from your customers is how are we going to execute?

Currently, unless you are a publicly traded company, your main options are going to be “Crowdfunding” websites or platforms.

Some of the more popular ones worldwide are Kickstarter, IndieGogo, and Gofundme. If you are in Estonia for example you might look at Fundwise or Funderbeam as an alternative option. 

Those platforms all have their own individual benefits, such as brand awareness, trust and an established audience and are very helpful when you need to raise funds and need to find investors for your company. However, companies with a  broad customer base are most likely in the position to raise funds directly by themselves by reaching out to their customer community. Results could be positively surprising and effortless.  This would enable additional efficiency and saving third party fees. 

Which companies are best utilised to add Investomers


Raising money via a crowdfunding platform is not a one size fits all approach. 

There are a variety of crowdfunding platforms with an even bigger variety of businesses and artists that are looking to get funding for their particular projects.

However, we have narrowed down a list for the types of companies most likely to have success raising money from their customers or potential customers:

  • Retail facing Brands
      • Retail brands that sell products, either online or in store, have a distinct advantage of an already established customer base. Depending on their level of branding, social media engagement, and business development they may already have a list of loyal customers as well. This is especially the case when the company has a direct sales channel. This list will come in handy when launching or designing a new product, or just to let your most loyal customers become a shareholder.


  • Startups (New product or invention)
      • Most startups today are looking at changing something drastic in their market and making it better. Although it can be riskier to take a chance on a startup, the payoff can be exponentially greater depending on their overall success. What can be especially enticing for crowdfunding is if the startup has created a new product or service that can be easily accessible and adopted wide spread.


  • Local or international businesses
      • While having Investomers is clearly useful for  a local business then it is critical for the cross-border small and medium sized business, where brand awareness and customer engagement depends very much on marketing. Having investomers  enables customer engagement and does not require big marketing budget (that small companies often do not have). 


  • Required funding is small to medium size. 
  • It’s difficult to state exact amount or limit but it could be said that raising money from customers is more suited when the transaction ranges between 100,000 and 1,000,000 (2,500,000) euros, where there is no need for a registered prospectus.

Are Investomers right for your business?


This is the million dollar question all business owners need to ask themselves. Taking your business to a crowdfunding platform or even funding internally is a large undertaking that requires insights from all angles of your business. 

But here are a few questions you should ask yourself before creating your own Investomers:

  • Does my company need to raise money?
  • How much money does my company need to raise?
  • How many current customers does my company have?
  • How many repeat customers does my company have?
  • Do we have any new products or services coming soon?
  • Do we have a customer loyalty program?
  • Is my company engaging on Social Media?


There is not an exact science or formula to successfully raising money on any platform. But if your company meets enough of the criteria, you are on the right track to creating your own Investomers.

About Author

Reimo Hammerberg
CEO & Co-founder

Reimo has worked for close to 20 years at law firm Sorainen as a capital markets and financial services attorney and last 13 years as partner and head of the practice. He has advised numerous capital markets transactions, projects related to regulated entities, licensing, including advising capital markets infrastructure (stock-exchanges, CSDs) operators as well as technology start-ups acting in the space of financial services. Reimo is a board member at Finance Estonia (industry organisation for financial sector in Estonia) and heads blockchain related sub-group in FinTech group.

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