Automating the complicated process of giving your team shares is a good way to engage employees, according to Vestd co-founder and CEO Ifty Nasir.

Launched in 2014, the London-based start-up has developed a secure platform that takes care of all the paperwork associated with issuing and managing shares.

The platform is used by SMEs across the UK to issue shares and options.

"Ownership effect research shows that even if people have a tiny piece of equity in a business their relationship with the business changes," Nasir told BusinessCloud.

"They bring more to the table, delivering more emotionally and psychologically.

"We’ve found that if employees or partners are more vested in the business’s success they know if it succeeds, as well as a salary or whatever else, they have a piece of this thing.”

Nasir also believes it can be a good way to reward customers and give businesses an edge over the competition.

"Wherever you have an individual using a product they typically will know others who may also want to use it," he said.

"Even if their share is 0.001 per cent the fact is when they’re talking to other people and the subject comes up why wouldn’t they let them know about it."

The company’s platform lets users tell it what they want and it will automatically create all associated paperwork, right up to the documents to submit to Companies House.

"When you’re on our platform it’s all digital so there’s no paperwork but you can print it out if you want," said Nasir.

“You don’t need to use paperwork again. All shareholders are loaded into the platform then everything is sent to them via email, which means you know who’s approved what at any point in time.”

There are two things which have stopped people using equity before says Nasir – the complexity and expense, because typically people are working with lawyers or accountants.

“We still recognise the value of those things as businesses get more complex and need advice but for SMEs, paying £5-10,000 has the potential to delay setting up the scheme.”

For up to a £100-a-month subscription Vestd sets up the scheme which includes up to 25 recipients.

"Today's teams are not all employees – some will be advisers and other things, so our mechanisms allow you to reward all those people," said Nasir.

"It's all conditional so people don’t just get shares, it’s all based on whether they deliver X,Y and Z, then they get the reward they’ve been promised."