Klaus-Martin Meyer: Christopher, you are the CEO of eureeca.com. Would you please introduce yourself and your crowdfunding platform to our German readers?
Christopher Thomas: My name is Christopher Thomas, I hail from the UK, and I’m the co-founder and CEO of Eureeca.com, a global equity crowdfunding platform with offices in Dubai and London. Eureeca allows early-stage businesses and SMEs to raise capital from investors in exchange for equity, or shares, in the company. My business partner and good friend Sam Quawasmi and I founded Eureeca in 2013 with the hopes of filling the funding void faced by businesses in the MENA region and elsewhere, and making the investment process more accessible, efficient, and convenient for both businesses and investors.
Klaus-Martin Meyer: Are there any advantages of starting a crowdfunding platform in Dubai instead of London, Berlin or New York?
Christopher Thomas: Yes, there are a number of advantages. First and foremost, I would say that access to capital for early-stage businesses and SMEs is more limited in Dubai and the wider Middle East than in more developed markets like the US, UK and Germany, thus making the need for platforms like Eureeca that much greater. Another advantage is that by launching our business in Dubai, we have been able to pioneer equity crowdfunding in an emerging market, which will make us expansion ready as we prepare to enter new markets.
For German investors, Eureeca is the perfect platform for investing in high-upside emerging market businesses as we supply a steady pipeline of vetted early-stage businesses and SMEs that are at the forefront of the UAE and wider Middle East markets’ burgeoning entrepreneurial ecosystems.
Similarly, German businesses that are interested in expanding into the these markets can leverage the Eureeca investment network for its immense capital and its local expertise, know-how and contacts, all which can facilitate such an expansion.
Klaus-Martin Meyer: Can you tell us a little bit about the crowd investors as well. Where do they come from?
Christopher Thomas: We have a truly global network of investors, although a majority come from the capital-rich Gulf region, a fact that is reflected in our $4,300 average investment size. What they all have in common, irrespective of their location, is the interest to invest in high-growth businesses that have the potential to generate massive returns.
Klaus-Martin Meyer: After realising succesfully 10 fundings. What is the feedback of investors and startups? Are they all happy?
Christopher Thomas: We have thus far helped 12 businesses raise a combined $2.5 million, and feedback from both sides of the equation has been positive. We think that we have done a good job in connecting businesses with investors, and investors with quality investment opportunities.
Klaus-Martin Meyer: How difficult was it to get the FCA approvement and to find a comany that is seeking fund via eureeca?
Christopher Thomas: The FCA has rigorous standards that must be met in order to receive approval, but we have worked hard since our launch to ensure that we were always regulation ready so it was more time consuming than difficult. The whole process took over a year so we are now thrilled that we have the FCA stamp of approval, which confirms that our systems and investor protection controls are to the highest standard. Since receiving FCA approval in March, we have listed our first UK-based business, a development that we believe is representative of the cross-continent investment opportunities that will soon become commonplace in the equity crowdfunding space.
The FCA approval should instill confidence in investors in Germany and elsewhere that when they are investing on the Eureeca platform, they are doing so in the most secure manner possible.
Klaus-Martin Meyer: What are the milestones for the rest of this year?
Christopher Thomas: Now that we have secured FCA approval, we are setting our sights on continuing to develop our product and listing exciting investment opportunities, as well as expanding into new markets so that businesses and investors can benefit from an increasingly global Eureeca.com.