Klaus-Martin Meyer: Wouter, you are the Social Media Expert of FundedByMe. Would you please introduce yourself and your Company to the German speaking crowdfunding community?
Wouter Veenstra: Yes of course. My name is Wouter, Dutch native but been abroad for over 6 years now. Coming from a corporate background I joined the Swedish startup community early 2011. With the team of social travel startup Tripl I eventually moved to NYC in order to attend the Dreamit Ventures class of ’12, according to Forbes Magazine the #3 tech accelerator in the world. This adventure is also the beginning of my time with FundedByMe. Being exposed to the pains of raising money for your startup made my interest for alternative financing grow and after running out of runway with Tripl I joined the team of FundedByMe in Stockholm. Now I am responsible for communications and education, as well as our expansion into other European markets.
Klaus-Martin Meyer: FundedByMe has a (in my awareness) very special crowdfunding design with the „Pre-Round“ and the following „Open Round“. What is the idea behind this interesting design?
Wouter Veenstra: One of the hardest parts for early-stage startups is the valuation of a company, and being able to support your valuation. By allowing our startups into an ‘pre-round’ we provide them with the possibility to test the market, receive feedback and engage with possible investors. Getting your market validation and feedback is important for the ultimate campaign preparation, this often takes more time than one might think. After having adjusted a campaign the entrepreneur can launch his startup into an ‘open-round’, allowing the crowd to invest in the company.
Klaus-Martin Meyer: Can you tell us please a little bit about your roadmap for 2013?
Wouter Veenstra: Next year is going to be an exciting year for (equity) crowdfunding, and we intend to be a big part of that. We have therefor established a few markets which will entered in the beginning of 2013. These markets are surrounding our current market in Sweden and have clearly indicated the need of our platform. Apart from that a large chunk of our activities in early 2013 will revolve around service improvements. As this an emerging field a lot of trends will follow each other up rapidly, and to stay on top you need to be agile.
Klaus-Martin Meyer: One of your „Pre-Round“-Startups is on Crowdcube as well. Do you officially cooperate with Crowdcube in the UK?
Wouter Veenstra: We have indeed had a startup on our platform which is running a campaign on Crowdcube. We are much inspired by what Crowdcube is doing, but as a crowdfunding campaign takes a lot of time, effort and perseverance we had to take the startup of our platform. Running a campaign on one platform is already a ton of work, let alone running a campaign on two. We require full dedication and commitment from the startups we work with, because their success closely relates to ours and without giving it 200% closing a successful round will be very hard. I think every crowdfunding platform should do the same.
Klaus-Martin Meyer: You want to enter 12 different markets. Will you do this from Sweden or with offices in the different countries? Will you open your own offices or will you buy competitors within the foreign markets?
Wouter Veenstra: We are not entering all markets simultaneously, and will for sure not start with opening offices in multiple markets. At the moment we are in a stage in which we are setting our priorities straight regarding the order and speed in which we will expand. But by working lean our intention is to test different markets and monitor our traction, after which we can make a more constructive decision on where to deploy people on the ground. For now our focus is, and will be, Scandinavia. A lot of other crowdfunding platforms will see the light of day in the months to come, and because running a platform with such complexity is hard only a few of these will emerge, others will disappear or get acquired. We would like to consider ourselves of the emerging platforms, but have other than that no idea on what the near future will bring in terms of acquiring or being acquired.