I first met Rob Passmore, founder and MD of e-commerce startup Jewel Street, at Spring Fair back in February.\r\n\r\nTo be honest, I was sceptical about his chances of success. After all it is not as though no-one has been trying to sell jewellery online for the last 10 years, and any that have had success surely represent a barrier to entry.\r\n\r\nBut Rob and his team have gone about things in a way we are not used to seeing in the jewellery industry. The way a new organic juice company or an estate agents' property portal gets going these days is by crowdfunding; seeking investment from Joe Public instead of the men in suits.\r\n\r\nAnd that's what Jewel Street is having a stab at.\u00a0Jewellery Focus\u00a0reported this week that the firm had reached 30 per cent of its \u00a3100,000 investment target on Crowdcube.com, an online platform for pitching your project and catching the attention of hobbyist investors.\r\n\r\nMore than 20 individuals have pledged money, and the target represents approximately 6 per cent equity. The largest investment from a single person so far is \u00a315,000. Furthermore, he's already got 250 designers and brands signed up.\r\n\r\nIf the next 12 months goes to plan, this could be the Net-a-Porter of the jewellery industry.