When we opened the FundedByMe equity crowdfunding round on our site, the first person to invest was Siam Choudhury. Not only is he our first FundedByMe crowdfunding investor, but he is also Mr Small/Medium Business at our favourite social networking platform, Facebook. We asked Siam to share his thoughts and he, most graciously, complied!
Hello! I’m Siam. I love travelling, good food and tech. The latter pretty much covers my background and my day job as well. I spent years being heavily involved in online communities, particularly around gaming; where I also set up and ran video game websites for a few years. I moved on to work on a startup with a couple of college friends of mine, the now closed-down ParsLibris, a book-sharing community.
With that in the bag, I moved to Dublin 3 years ago to join Facebook, which I guess is my “day job”. At Facebook, I look after the Small & Medium Business segment in the Nordics. This includes acquisition, growth and education among other things.
How did you first get familiar with crowdfunding and why does it appeal to you?
I started noticing crowdfunding when projects popped up on the web around areas I’m interested in. There was a video game documentary series up on Kickstarter, a charity campaign on Indiegogo by a webcomic artist and the really cool story of Flippin’ Burgers on FundedByMe.
It’s a really cool concept; helping artists (of different kinds) succeed in bringing their projects to life.
I got even more interested when FundedByMe introduced investing in projects, which takes the step further and allows people to be even more involved in the projects they help fund.
Which project(s) on FundedByMe did you invest in? What made you want to get involved?
So far I have invested in FundedByMe itself, because I believe in the product and the people behind it. They’re really passionate and know that they are breaking new ground with what they are doing, and are able to move fast.
My second investment went to Virtuous Vodka. I don’t drink, but I appreciate craftsmanship, and the passion for that really comes through when you look at what Virtuous are doing. They are treating their product and process as a craft, which really appeals to me.
What do you expect to get out of these investments on the long run?
Primarily experience. Investments like these allow me to contribute to the businesses in different capacities and to take a peek at how two very different companies work and think. These are also two very solid businesses; so I believe in a long term financial ROI as well.
What is the most important tip you’d give other investors considering crowdfunding?
I think it’s important to look at each investment in two ways. What you can learn and get from the investment and equally important, what you can contribute with, aside from the monetary investment. This type of investment is really cool because you get to choose the scale of your investment, both financially and through knowledge. Think about what you have capacity for, and what knowledge and skills you have that would be helpful for the project.
Most importantly, look at projects where you can buy into the passion the entrepreneurs have for their product or service.
Are there any new investment rounds on FundedByMe that you have your eyes on at the moment?
There are a lot of great looking projects on the platform now. But if I had to narrow it down to my top 3 picks, I’m keeping an eye on Mutewatch, Beibamboo Oy and Atelier Food Serving AB.