Small businesses can reward their customers’ and employees’ loyalty with shares using the Vestd equity distribution platform.

The founders are energy entrepreneurs Ifty Nasir and Naveed Akram, who say they want to take equity distribution for limited businesses out of the dark ages.

The company has raised £250k from a small group of private investors via a seed funding round but has otherwise been self-funded.

When SMEs choose to use equity to incentivise their staff and customers, Vestd saves them money on legal and accountancy fees. Using equity reduces an SME’s dependency on cash when it wants to grow the business.

The platform lets business owners invite qualifying people to accept the shares, which are automatically issued and registered at Companies House.

The system also makes it easy for companies to cancel a reward and convert allocated equity into deferred shares if the recipient no longer meets the criteria.