Interview with Beatrice Werdin and Kyrill Zlobenko about Seedrs on-the-ground expansion to the DACH-region

SeedrsKlaus-Martin Meyer: Hello, Beatrice, hello Kyrill. You just started to target the DACH markets for Seedrs from Berlin. Would you please introduce yourselves to the readers of Crowdstreet.de?

Kyrill Zlobenko: Hello and thanks for having us! We appreciate the invitation to share our thoughts with the amazing Crowdstreet.de community!
As you mentioned correctly, Seedrs has recently started its expansion into continental Europe with a representative office covering the Benelux region from Amsterdam (opened in July 2016), followed by the opening of the Berlin-based office that is responsible for the DACH region, where we – Beatrice Werdin and Kyrill Zlobenko – will be happy to welcome you and answer your any question, ranging from seed fundraising to full-cycle equity-crowdfunding on Seedrs.

Short background on the DACH team of Seedrs: Beatrice Werdin has worked in the Seedrs investment team in London for the last 18 months and brings lots of experience with regards to running successful crowdfunding campaigns on our platform. This means, she will be able to answer any questions that entrepreneurs may have with regards to processes and next steps of their campaigns. She has seen numerous campaigns succeed on Seedrs and will be happy to share any insights into the magic that makes a campaign on Seedrs a huge success.

My background is mixed: I’ve spent an equal amount of time (until today), working in big corporations and startups, whereby my heart belongs to the startup world, certainly! I simple believe that entrepreneurs play a incredible important role in making our life better with a variety of solutions; improving the the world around us – by bridging technology and our everyday needs, as humans. I’ve started and run companies with co-founders and fundraising has certainly been one of the most important issues that we’ve had to address in business. If you build a highly scalable tech venture – you just need capital to support your growth and expansion.

Klaus-Martin Meyer: Why do you think it is appropriate to „conquer“ the German speaking markets from Berlin instead of working form the Seedrs headquarter in the UK?

Kyrill Zlobenko: Seedrs has long accepted investors and entrepreneurs from across Europe, and it has an office in Lisbon for software development and launched its Amsterdam representative office covering Benelux earlier this year and now with an office open in Berlin, Seedrs is putting commercial teams on the ground outside the UK for the first time. We have always had a pan-European vision for Seedrs, and the launch of this latest office in Berlin brings that vision one step closer to reality.

Not to mention, that its important to be physically present here, to speak with the local entrepreneurs, “keep our finger on the pulse” – simply to understand better, how we at Seedrs can help the entrepreneurs from German speaking markets succeed with their ventures on a global level. The launch of the Berlin representative office marks the beginning of on-the-ground expansion in Europe, and Seedrs intends to open further offices in the near future.

Klaus-Martin Meyer: I saw that there is a new dutch crowdfunding on your platform. Is that a quick success of the new Amsterdam office? Are there already any experiences you can learn from the colleques in the Netherlands or in Portugal?

Beatrice Werdin: The Benelux team of Seedrs is composed of great colleagues that have done a lot of hard work in the first months and now we definitely tap into their learnings. There are many similarities between European markets, but there are also quite many specific differences how people think of and perceive crowdfunding in various European countries. We keep a very frequent and very open dialogue with our colleagues from every Seedrs location, but at the end of the day – it all boils down to amazing entrepreneurs – whereby their origin doesn’t matter, as entrepreneurship has no nationality.

Klaus-Martin Meyer: A lot of German crowd investors are eager to invest in real equity instead of in „partiarische Nachrangdarlehn“. What can we expect in this regard?

Beatrice Werdin: Fortunately, equity crowdfunding has thrived in Britain due to the favourable approach taken by the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (the equivalent to the BaFin in Germany). As such, Seedrs – regulated by the FCA – has long accepted investors from Germany and offered them the opportunity to purchase real equity of businesses they believe in. The advantage of European Union membership is that Seedrs can now use the same model for companies registered in Germany under the “passporting” regulations as applied to financial services.

Consequently, we will not be looking at structuring any investments into German companies as a “partiarische Nachrangdarlehn”. Instead, we’ll take advantage of the incredibly advanced regulation in the UK and offer German investors the chance to buy into German companies the same way as any Business Angel or VC investor would do. This is aligned with our philosophy of providing every investor on Seedrs with professional grade protections no matter what size the investment is.

Klaus-Martin Meyer: What kind of crowdfundings will we see in the near future? How important is the DACH region for Seedrs as a whole?

Beatrice Werdin: We have been very impressed by what we have seen of the early-stage ecosystem in the DACH region and it is undoubtedly one Europe’s leading creative hubs. It is a no brainer for Seedrs to want to be part of the revolution. Inevitably, we aim for Seedrs to become a key player in providing finance to startup and growth companies in the DACH region and we are very excited about starting to work closely with some inspiring entrepreneurs across Austria, Germany and Switzerland in the coming months.

Klaus-Martin Meyer: Are there any relevant implications of the brexit the German, Austrian and Suisse investors should have in mind before investing on your platform?

Kyrill Zlobenko: At Seedrs we don’t expect Brexit to impact our plans in the DACH region or beyond. We do hope that the final Brexit settlement will include preservation of the Financial Services Passport. If it does not, then we’ll be looking at seeking regulation (and a new passport) in a remaining EU country, and will may use the Berlin office as our base to do so.

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