Venture capital is often necessary for the growth of start-ups – but how do you achieve this? Get acquainted with the Symbid online platform, SBIC Noordwijk’s new community member. Ambitious entrepreneurs pitch their plans via the platform to private and professional investors alike. Campaign manager Jesper Vieveen with Symbid: ‘Financing sometimes comes as an afterthought.’
Crowdfunding has grown in popularity in the past few years. Private individuals invest in promising businesses via online platforms. Not all crowdfunding projects have resulted in success, however. Symbid provides the much-needed professionalisation and combines crowdfunding with larger investors. Jesper Vieveen explains: ‘The market hasn’t always been transparent. What are you actually investing in? Who are your investors exactly? Our duty of care ensures clarity from both sides. We are also equipped with the necessary licencing to combine crowdfunding shares with business angels and venture capitalists, for example. Not to mention that the various wishes per investor type are taken into consideration. This has, in part, led to an increase in the average campaign scope. This was an average of two hundred thousand only two years ago and has since expanded to more than four hundred thousand. We view crowdfunding as a fun addition to an investment round. The majority of Symbid investment rounds are taken up by business angels and professional investors; crowdfunders are then given the opportunity to co-invest.’
Vieveen guides startups in the development of their communication plan toward investors. ‘What is the message, which target groups exist and what is the correct timing and planning? If you choose to work with us, you need to present yourself well to the outside world; that’s where I come in.’ SBIC director Martijn Seijger is enthusiastic about the partnership with Symbid: ‘They’re a good fit for us. In fact, the founder of Symbid once started in the ESA incubation program. He knows exactly how things work around here. They are a professionally-orientated platform, that suits us. Incidentally, we don’t work with Symbid exclusively, but also with organisations such as the Rabobank. The educational aspect of Symbid is particularly important; only last week a growth financing workshop was organised for some fifteen entrepreneurs. The opportunity for crowdfunding via Symbid is also highly beneficial. I expect that several companies will arrange financing via crowdfunding on the Symbid platform in 2019.
Success with Johan Sports
‘Before our partnership’, continues Vieveen, ‘we had already assisted two companies from the ESA BIC Noordwijk program including Johan Sports, a company successful in GPS tracking and performance evaluation for athletes. We then got to know individuals such as Martijn Seijger better and arrived at the current collaboration. Like he said, we organise regular workshops and masterclasses to explain to entrepreneurs what their current and future focus is in terms of financing. What do you need to take into consideration in order to raise sufficient capital both now and in the future? What often happens is that entrepreneurs give a large portion of their shares away to friends or family in the initial stages in exchange for a small investment. It’s then possible that the project is no longer interesting to a business angel or venture capitalist at a later time. Not enough room is left over in the cap table, the percentage division of shares. This means that financing must be taken into consideration from the earliest stages so that no regrettable decisions are made. We can help.’
Are you also interested to join and support the SBIC Noordwijk Community? Than contact Martijn Leinweber via m.leinweber(@)sbicnoordwijk.nl