Klaus-Martin Meyer: Daniel, you are the founder and CEO at FundedByMe. Would you please introduce yourself to the Crowdstreet readers. Since the last FundedByMe related Crowdstreet interviews (12/2012, 01/2014, 03/2014) has probably happed quite a lot at your company. What for example?
Daniel Daboczy: That’s true, 2014 was really busy for us! In the first quarter we stepped in to the Baltic countries and have run crowdfunding campaigns for companies located there. We continued our development in Singapore: FundedByMe started cooperation with Link2Ventures, investment company, to make our position stronger in Asia Pacific region and promote the idea of crowdfunding. 2014 was also a time of preparing our new peer-to-peer lending product that we are launching today. Of course during the year FundedByMe got new employees aboard and improved our capacities in business development, marketing, sales and coding.
Naturally for the whole 2014 we did our core business with lot of success. I would mention only some crowdfunding campaigns we have run. For example Noa, the beverage producer, in which we raised about 100 000 EUR in first 3 minutes and in the whole equity crowdfunding campaign brought more than 900 000 EUR. Yoogaia, a Finnish interactive yoga platform which we helped to raise 100 000 EUR. That let them get 500 000 EUR from a venture capital firm only 3 months later. Or Plick, the mobile application to retail vintage and second-hand clothes which was overfuned by 130% but also got VC investment in the first 24h. We have a lot of these examples: ISBJÖRN of Sweden raised more then 400 000 EUR in less then 3 weeks and Virtuous Vodka engaged 208 new investors.
Now we have 47 000 signed up investors from 47 countries and more than 10 million EUR invested via FundedByMe. I think this picture looks really good!
Klaus-Martin Meyer: These days FundedByMe is launching its own p2p-lending product. Why did you decide to do so?
Daniel Daboczy: We just watch very carefully currents trends. The idea behind our business is to link investors with entrepreneurs in the most efficient way. That is why we talk with both parties very much. When we started to get regular feedback that they would be interested in something between equity-based and reward-based crowdfunding we thought about p2p business lending. And it turned out this is what they need. Now we are launching the product and I am pretty sure results will confirm that we took the right decision.
Klaus-Martin Meyer: Will you launch the service on other markets as well? How difficult it is to deal with different environments concerning regulation?
Daniel Daboczy: Right now we are launching in Sweden. It means that in new formula of our loan-based campaigns investors from nearly over the world could lend to companies registered in this country. In that case the Swedish regulations apply and we cooperate closely with market watchdogs to make the whole process coherent with their guidelines. We also work with two leading law firms to be sure we operate within the law.
FundedByMe plans to roll out loan-based crowdfunding project on the other markets as well, but we will do it iteratively, considering the different legal environments. This is one of the reasons why we are a member of European Crowdfunding Network to screen and discuss new legislation initiatives.
In fact lending to companies by individuals has been existing for many years and FundedByMe just makes this process digital. This understanding of the process helps us to make our legal situation more clear.
Klaus-Martin Meyer: How difficult will it be to generate a critical mass on the demand and on the supply side of the p2p market?
Daniel Daboczy: This is of course always our main motivator, to have enough deal flow of high quality cases and enough investors lending or investing their money. But this is already happening on the FundedByMe site. Since the crowdfunding has been established, together with other equity crowdfunding players we managed to gain the customers trust. Every day we observe raising number and quality of campaigns approaching FundedByMe. Also on investors ends there is a growing number of users, a bigger volume of investments and bigger cash flow which results in faster funds raising by listed companies.
We do not expect our new product to revolutionize the market over night but we do know that looking at all the numbers and curves that indicate strongly upward, we are in a very good position to take crowd-lending to our market and audience.
Klaus-Martin Meyer: What do you expect? Will we see more „hybrid“ platforms that offer reward based, equity based and lending based crowdfunding products?
Daniel Daboczy: Right now this is something unique and FundedByMe is one of only few platforms in this model. But very soon it will be more and a more popular model. We must remember the crowdfunding is about to connect two parties and must be useful, easy, success-driving and just easy for the crowd and for those who needs their assets. In my opinion many platforms have not reached the equilibrium point and have problem to keep the balance. Although the crowdfunding is still an innovative solution, especially in business and professional investors quarters, it is more and more driven by market rules. There are enough players on the market to have a healthy competition. Users will choose these platforms, which are more flexible, with best chances for success and will just better suit their demands. Just like FundedByMe, that rather focuses on being a one-stop-shop for business crowdfunding where equity, loans, rewards, offsite meetings, PR and events are tools to reach a goal.
Learn more about Europe’s fastest growing crowdfunding platform which is launching new peer-to-peer lending.
More information on: www.fundedbyme.com
Marketing & Communications Director
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