Klaus-Martin Meyer: Korstiaan, you are the Managing Director of Symbid. Would you please tell us a little bit about your company?
Korstiaan Zandvliet: Symbid provides the crowd funding infrastructure that enables individuals to actually become partial owners of exciting new companies! Investors use the Symbid infrastructure to discover and invest in promising business ideas that could well be the next big thing! Anyone can invest from as little as EUR 20,- all the way up to EUR 2,500,000 for each investment opportunity: you determine the size of your investments! Entrepreneurs use the Symbid infrastructure as an innovative way to obtain start or growth capital with help from the crowd.
Klaus-Martin Meyer: Your claim „Ownership to everyone“ sounds quite visionary. Is crowdfunding a visionary approach?
Korstiaan Zandvliet: Yes, as crowdfunding takes the concepts of investing, lending or donating to the online domain. Albeit of course these process are old Crowdfunding allows for a whole new delivery mechanism (e.g. the web). Doing so Crowdfunding becomes more as it also allows participants to help the projects or ventures they support get to the next level in a transparent way.
Klaus-Martin Meyer: The Netherlands are a relatively small country. Is the critical mass of crowd investors big enough or do you need/want international investors as well?
Korstiaan Zandvliet: As the name crowdfunding already implies, you need a big crowd to be successful. Approximately 30% of our investments originate from abroad making Symbid already an international brand for equity funding. Surely we will remain marketing our service in Holland but our focus will be the whole Euro zone.
Klaus-Martin Meyer: Tell us a little bit about the kind of companies you would like to present on your plattform? What do you like and what will we not see?
Korstiaan Zandvliet: As we can’t make a selection based upon our preferences (due to strict supervision in Holland by the AFM and DNB) we are currently making demands to entrepreneurs interested in using Symbid, meaning that we will never have an intrinsic opinion regarding any proposition however we do have demands in terms of the information that is needed for proposition to go live. For example we expect detailed financials to be uploaded as well as video materials, the list obviously is longer than this but main point remains is that we want to provide potential investors with as much information as possible. In order to make this into reality we are working together with various independent capital search and accounting firms that can help entrepreneurs willing to use Symbid to prepare a compelling business-case.
Klaus-Martin Meyer: How important for the success and the speed of a funding is the fact, that a company already has (or has not yet) a vital community or userbase?
Korstiaan Zandvliet: Of course this is important at the start of the campaign, however this is not a must have. We have various examples of ideas that were succesfull on the platform without having a user base. As a matter effect for example ICarrez (did not even had a product but only an idea), with Symbid’s help they succesfully raised seed funding and are now running a second campaign in which they are selling prototypes, an amazing example how Crowdfunding turns creative inventors into entrepreneurs. See also: http://symbid.com/ideas/2950-icarezz-2