Don’t invest unless you’re prepared to lose all your money.

These are high-risk investments and you are unlikely to be protected if something goes wrong.

Risk summary for non-readily realisable securities which are shares:

Last updated: 15 April 2024 | Estimated reading time: 2 min

Due to the potential for losses, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) considers this investment to be high risk!

What are the key risks?

1. You could lose all the money you invest

If the business you invest in fails, you are likely to lose 100% of the money you invested. Most start-up businesses fail.

2. You are unlikely to be protected if something goes wrong

The business offering this investment is not regulated by the FCA. Protection from the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) only considers claims against failed regulated firms. Learn more about FSCS protection here.

Protection from the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) does not cover poor investment performance. If you have a complaint against an FCA-regulated firm, FOS may be able to consider it. Learn more about FOS protection here.

3. You won’t get your money back quickly

Even if the business you invest in is successful, it may take several years to get your money back. You are unlikely to be able to sell your investment early. The most likely way to get your money back is if the business is bought by another business or lists its shares on an exchange such as the London Stock Exchange. These events are not common. If you are investing in a start-up business, you should not expect to get your money back through dividends. Start-up businesses rarely pay these.

4. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket

Putting all your money into a single business or type of investment, for example, is risky. Spreading your money across different investments makes you less dependent on anyone to do well. A good rule of thumb is not to invest more than 10% of your money in high-risk investments. Read more about it here.

5. The value of your investment can be reduced

The percentage of the business that you own will decrease if the business issues more shares. This could mean that the value of your investment reduces, depending on how much the business grows. Most start-up businesses issue multiple rounds of shares. These new shares could have additional rights that your shares don’t have, such as the right to receive a fixed dividend, which could further reduce your chances of getting a return on your investment. If you are interested in learning more about how to protect yourself, visit the FCA’s website here.

Please find the PDF version here.

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Revenue is a good signal, but pre-revenue is also considered

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EIS vs. SEIS: Eligibility Criteria

The Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS) and the Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) are two initiatives implemented by the UK government to encourage innovation by increasing investment into early-stage, high-risk businesses in the UK. 

The differences between EIS and SEIS are primarily around the type of company to which they are applicable to and the type of tax relief they offer to underlying investors. While there are key difference between the two schemes, it is worth noting that SEIS and EIS can be used in tandem. Some of the key differences between the schemes are highlighted here: 

Maximum trading period to date

Maximum total investment under the scheme

Maximum gross assets

Maximum full time staff


7 years


(£20m if Knowledge Intensive)




3 years