Our response to the Breakit article

Our response to the Breakit article

Vi blir alltid glada när Breakit eller andra medier skriver om crowdfunding. När vi satte igång med crowdfunding 2010 var det få som ville skriva om det eller ens försökte förstå potentialen i att kunna finansiera tillväxt genom att koppla ihop många människor med lovande entreprenörer som annars har svårt att hitta kapital. Sedan dess har vi kämpat konsekvent med att hitta det absolut bästa sättet att ta tillvara på kraften bakom de globala uppkopplade nätverken för att finansiera bolag. Vägen vi valt är att skapa en introduktion mellan dem som letar efter kapital och dem som söker bra möjligheter. Vi har blivit bättre och bättre och kan nu stolt se att vi har en stor del av den Nordiska marknaden och är mycket starka i Europa samt Asien. Den formella processen i investeringen, det vill säga att signera papper, att överföra pengar etc har vi alltid låtit andra hantera tillsammans med entreprenören. Det är ett klassiskt, vedertaget och analogt tillvägagångssätt som sker genom namnkunniga partners.

FundedByMe har utvecklat sin plattform helt enligt nuvarande aktiebolagslag och i nära dialog med ledande advokater, Finansinspektionen, politiker, investerare och kunder. Vi har vidare brottats med fördomar och förlegade uppfattningar om att det inte är fördelaktigt att ha många delägare eller att det skulle vara komplicerat att ha många delägare, men vi har gång på gång visat hur effektivt det är när många delägare motiveras att verka tillsammans för ett bolag och vilken kraft det finns i crowdfunding jämfört med traditionell finansiering som varken räcker till eller det stora flertalet entreprenörer har access till. Vi har tusentals nöjda kunder och success stories som gladeligen delar med sig av erfarenheten från crowdfunding, något som jag är mycket stolt över. 

Då enormt många entreprenörer brottas med att hitta riskkapital och de flesta dörrar är stängda för exempelvis förstagångsentreprenörer, kvinnliga entreprenörer, entreprenörer med fel bakgrund, utbildning, ålder eller bostadsort har både vi som driver FundedByMe och många svenska politiker försökt säkerställa att bra entrepenörer kan hitta bra investeringar för att kunna bygga bolag som i sin tur skapar jobb och tillväxt.  

Vi är därför mycket glada att Finansinspektionen äntligen kommit med en rapport där de går igenom de rådande frågeställningarna. Inget i den rapporten är några nyheter för oss på FundedByMe, inte minst eftersom vi har en ständig dialog med Finansinspektionen kring hur crowdfunding ska kunna utvecklas och bli det nya trygga, stabilt och effektiva finansieringsverktyg som världen behöver. Som det också tydligt står i rapportens inledande stycke så är Finansinspektionens tolkning att nuvarande reglering eventuellt behöver kompletteras om fenomenet crowdfunding växer. Det vill säga att nuvarande aktiebolagslag sannolikt behöver utvecklas och förbättras för att möta nya tider, med nya metoder, med globala nätverk och med annorlunda verktyg och processer än tidigare. Men man måste samtidigt vara mycket tydlig i sammanhanget att FundedByMe fullt ut följer nuvarande svensk aktiebolagslag och varken bryter mot några lagar eller regler. 

Och aldrig att vi kommer att vara obekymrade om att bryta mot lagen, såsom artikelrubriken säger. Tvärtom kommer FundedByMe att fortsätta leda utvecklingen av fenomenet crowdfunding i dialog med alla berörda parter och alltid inom ramarna för gällande lagar och regler. 

/ Daniel Daboczy

Read the original Breakit article here:

Should Crowdfunding be Regulated in Sweden?

Should Crowdfunding be Regulated in Sweden?

Crowdfunding seems to be on everyone’s lips. Surprised? During 2014, the global crowdfunding market impressively injected 16 billion USD into different projects – making it hard for governments to turn a blind eye on the phenomena. FundedByMe grew more than 640% in Q1 and Q2 2015 vs. Q1 and Q2 2014 and the client base has increased to more than 55,000 active members.

For 2015, the global crowdfunding market is projected to double and FundedByMe especially sees a big growth in Asia. Don’t believe the myth that there’s tons of funding out there, especially to those who would like to become business angels with small sums (although the average investment on FundedByMe is €5,800 thus not so small amounts are invested).

The Swedish market is maturing and the governmental ruled Swedish Financial Supervisory Authority has started to implement information about crowdfunding as a natural part of their reports (page 15). Also, they have now scheduled a meeting to analyse the benefits and risks of crowdfunding on the Swedish market, read about it in SvD here . The Minister of Financial Markets, Per Bolund (MP), expressed his interest and belief in the market by saying that regulations need to be implemented, helping the market to grow even further. In addition, he recognises the need and therefore the huge demand for these types of financial services, enabling funding in a way that the traditional funding market can’t today. Also, Robin Teigland, researcher in crowdfunding at Stockholm School of Economics, claims that the distrust towards the traditional bank sector is growing – acknowledging the benefits of Crowdfunding to an even larger extent.

Today, the regulations for Equity and Loan based crowdfunding are severe due to distribution regulations and the Limited Companies Act (Aktiebolagslagen) and thus Sweden is very monitored. FundedByMe has been complying to the Companies Act since it’s inception and us also already registered by Finansinspektionen for it’s crowd-lending branch. However, FundedByMe couldn’t be happier about the news, since it proves the seriosity of the market which the company has strived for since the start in 2011. Bringing the topic to a political level recognises FundedByMe and other players on the market as well as it helps people to use the service more effectively. Even though nothing is legislated yet, it’s being talked about which FundedByMe thinks is a step towards a market expansion and development!

What do you think? Should crowdfunding in Sweden be regulated and should equity crowdfunding and crowd lending, already regulated by the Companies Act (Aktiebolagslagen) be regulated?

FundedByMe Discusses Crowdfunding with the Swedish Government

FundedByMe Discusses Crowdfunding with the Swedish Government

How to make companies in Sweden more competitive? What are the main obstacles they face and how to make the business environment more entrepreneur friendly? – these were questions Pontus Frohde, COO of FundedByMe discussed, with Mikael Damberg Minister of Commerce & Business (näringsminister) and Magdalena Andersson, Minister of Finance (finansminister).

We talk with entrepreneurs, far beyond Sweden, on daily basis and we know the reality of their experiences very well. You could even say we cut our teeth on helping them. And we think we are successful in this area – raising money for others is our core business.

We won a Global Award for Crowdfunding Firm of the Year 2015 by Finance Monthly and was announced one of the hottest startups in Sweden by Veckans Affärer. Behind these successes there is the hard job we do every day. FundedByMe is run by entrepreneurs as well. For other entrepreneurs.

That’s why we believe our contribution is valuable in creating a next Silicon Valley in Europe.

FundedByMe launches loan-based crowdfunding (P2P lending)

Once again, FundedByMe is changing the financial landscape in Sweden, by introducing a new financial instrument for investors: loan-based crowdfunding (also known as: crowdlending, peer-to-peer lending or social loans). On February 17th FundedByMe, being the fastest growing crowdfunding platform in Europe, introduced peer-to-peer lending available to Swedish small and medium enterprises.

The newly launched peer-to-peer lending by FundedByMe enables investors from all over the world to lend money to Swedish businesses. Swedish entrepreneurs are now able to receive alternative financing and use it to develop their companies. The whole process is online based and the registration takes only a few minutes.

Investors are welcome to browse the loan-based crowdfunding campaigns on the platform and choose those they are willing to lend their money to. The risk rate makes it easy for the investors to choose the suitable company and possible incomes. Then they need to only log in or create an account giving few data and then upload their ID, which is verified. It may take up to 2 business days.

Starting raising funds in crowdlending model is also very simple for an entrepreneur. After creating an account, entrepreneurs directly receive a feedback from FundedByMe, which calculates the risk grade based on the enterprise’s financial history. Depending on it, the exact interest rate of the potential loan is set down. However, they are relatively cheap and because the whole procedure si 100% online, an entrepreneur may apply for a social loan whenever she or he wants.

Here you may find more information about loan-based crowdfunding for lenders and entrepreneurs.

The new peer-to-peer lending (crowdlending) offered by FundedByMe provides investors with high revenues and entrepreneurs with competitive interest rates, which are on average lower than in banks. The whole process is transparent and secure, thanks to the latest financial information provided by the two credit bureaus FundedByMe has a collaboration with. 

FundedByMe is now keeping its fingers crossed for the first crowdlending campaigns on the platform. You can also be a part of this history-changing moment: peer-to-peer lending.

Virtuous Vodka: Swedish organic liquor, ready for a second round!

Virtuous Vodka: Swedish organic liquor, ready for a second round!

We met up with Claes Stenmark to  interview him about Virtuous Vodka. The organic liquor brand had a campaign, 1 year ago, at FundedByMe and got a good head start with developing and taking the product to production. Now it is on the market, ready for a second round campaign and we want to know more about the brand and the values behind it.

Virtuous Vodka
At Kaffeverket

What is Virtuous Vodka and why have you started it?
I do it because the already existing market is basically crap and that there is a business potential to do a better vodka.

What is crap?
A vodka that is flavored with aromas, that is fooling people.

Tell us abut your background, have you worked with liquor before?
The last 10 years I have been working with film, mostly commercials. While I was studying, I worked as a chef, I grew up with food as a big culture in my life. On my mother’s side we have one of the biggest wholesaler in Sweden, so the interest around from food came from birth. It has always been a big part of my life.
I am going to tell a story, when I 5 years old, both my parents were working very hard and they had somewhat bad conscious. They were the first to leave me first at daycare and the last once to pick me up. Since they knew how much I liked food they usually asked; “How was the food today?” a typical answer could be “It was okay but they had forgot the wine in the sauce”

You set the bar by early age I hear! When did you come together with the conclusion of the crappy market and that you had the change it with Virtuous?
I have a Jesus complex, I want to make things better. During these 10 years of working with the restaurant area, the improvement has been really good there. Higher standards, demands of better ingredients of food, so why should I concur with that? I want to concur with people that makes products bad and I have seasoned my own liquor in 15 years and one day I asked myself: “Wait a minute, isn’t this something people might be ready for?”

Virtuous Vodka Liquor
6 different tastes

How is it to work with liquor here in Sweden?
Its a disaster and very bad conditions. Its mostly the big companies that has the benefits and one of the big issue is to get it out on the market here in Sweden. Its much more easier to get it out in Czech Republic, for example. It is a bit difficult but we have succeed!

In how many Systembolag (the swedish alcohol monopoly) do you exists in today?
Last time I checked I think it was in 36 stores. What I really wish for is a Systembolag that want to invest in quality products. Since Systembolaget doesnt really sell, they only store it on their shelves, until someone wants to buy it, it is not really an evolving enviroment for products like liquor.

I can imagine that must be frustrating, how is the distribution abroad?
We do exist abroad, in germany, italy and holland for example, and we are currently talking to different importers the get the product out there. The goal is nothing else but world domination.

Who are you behind the brand? Who are working with it?
It is me and my brother in law that started it. There are also 5-7 more people that puts in their hours to it when they can. We have our own production in Nynäshamn so any extra hands there or serve Virtuous during an event.

How have you come up with all the flavours to the vodka?
Most of them I have done for a while, on my own. New flavours is just ideas and testing a lot.

When did you decide to choose crowdfunding, can you tell about that journey?
Basically, we chose it because it’s very difficult to get out on the Swedish market with an alcohol product, there are so many obstacles, 1: Systembolaget 2: You are not allowed to do marketing for liquor.
We saw crowdfunding as a good way of reaching out to people and the initial idea was to have a party  as the final. We met up with Daniel, Arno and Cathrine. They told us then; “Wait, we are launching equity crowdfunding very soon, and we want your campaign on board” Which sounded really cool, because then we would reach both finance and ambassadeurs for the product. Hopefully, that will also make the partners very rich. We have to wait and see. its a part of the world domination.

What more has it given you to do crowdfunding?
I believe in the distribution of ownership. It also provides a larger network of contacts and access to many areas of expertise.

The history of entrepreneurship, what is your background in that?
I dont know what a employed is. I have never had that in my life and I will probably never be that either. As I mentioned earlier, I have done movies and projects and have a desire to do things to improve the world. For me, that doesn’t or can’t include employment.
I have the energy and the wanting to spread a better taste experience. If I also think in the business perspective, it is much more scaleable with a consumer product than a service business. I think it’s more fun to work towards a consumer market than the business market. Be able to load your business with other core values ​​are also more inspiring.

Can you tell us about organic liquor? What defines your vodka as organic?
This means that we use certified organic crops, no use of pesticides that the nature can not handle. Playing with biodiversity is something that is very dangerous. If you use pesticides to remove small insects that destroys it for the birds that are higher up the food chain. I want to contribute and prove that for a few bucks extra, you get a much better product that also tastes better.

Virtuous Vodka Liquor

Is it hard to produce organic liquor?
It is easier to get conventional food, but I dont see it as a big problem.

What is the biggest challenge now to get people to try your product?
People must know about us if they dont then you wont try our products. We have to tell people also why you want to purchase those extra money for a good product.
We are working with marketing such as facebook, advertising, events and get restaurants to use our product.

Unfortunately, we can not advertise. Beer and wine can it is easier. We want to sell first and foremost on our taste, it’s fake-free and genuine. So far we have produced about 23,000 bottles.

How many bottles do you need to drink to become an expert of liquor?
Not that many, since the market is so bad right now, I would say that you have went through most of them if you have tried a few.

 

ALSIceBucketChallenge – FundedByMe accepted it!

ALSIceBucketChallenge – FundedByMe accepted it!

 

We were happy to be nominated for the ALSIceBucketChallenge by Sqore and accept the challenge!

Between Hamngatan and Regeringsgatan, out in the public, proper camera and great smiles we poured the water on us.

 

Arno, Catherine, Daniel and Michal took the buckets and now we nominate Crowdfund insider, Företagarna and Lendico

See the whole video

 

Nerdy by Nerds – Entrepreneur Q&A with Peter Arneryd

Nerdy by Nerds – Entrepreneur Q&A with Peter Arneryd

Peter Arneryd from Nerdy by Nerds Jeans on FundedByMe

Introduce yourself – what is your background, what are you passionate about and what are your hopes and dreams? 

My name is Peter and I am from Malmö Limhamn in Sweden and I am part of the founding team of the Swedish jeans brand, Nerdy by Nerds Jeans. I have always been interested in quality clothes so when I was younger I used to study the history of every garment I was buying. My dream has always been to create something that other people would want to use or be a part of. I simply want to be a inspirational person and a role model and with NBN we are able to bring back solid craftsmanship to the world of fashion – in Sweden and beyond.

 

How did the idea for your project come about? Describe what your project does.

We loved clothes and we wanted to work in the fashion industry in some way. The easiest way was – and is – to open up a webshop, but we didn’t want it to be easy. We wanted to create something that we could call ours so we could be hundred percent proud of those product we would be selling. We loved the history of clothes and jeans, of course. There was this moment where my business partners and I realised that we wanted to create our own jeans produced in the old-fashioned way. When we started to produce our jeans we came up with the idea that all our customers should be a part of the production. So this lead us to the idea of how our store would look like – in our stores we want our customers to be able to see, hear, smell, and participate in the production process. Each pair of Nerdy by Nerds jeans is unique and traceable, so that you will always be able to tell when and where they were made.

Nerdy by Nerds factory shop

Why did you decide on crowdfunding? What about FundedByMe appealed to you?

Before we have heard about FundedByMe had we discussed the idea of doing a crowdfunding round on Kickstarter, the largest reward-based platform in the US. But we met the team from FundedByMe at a regional event here in Sweden and, with our goal of attracting the Swedish market, the fastest-growing crowdfunding site in Europe seemed perfect. On top of everything, the passion and energy of the FundedByMe team was great, which made ​​the decision a lot easier.

 

What was the best part about running a campaign on FundedByMe? And what was a challenge?

Doing a crowdfunding round is very special. it’s like starting a new company where everything you do has to be focused on the crowdfunding campaign. Before we went live, we thought that crowdfunding would fix itself. That was not the case, every hour of the day one of us spent on our crowdfunding campaign on FundedByMe. It took a lot of time – even more than you could ever imagine!

Even if crowdfunding is an online investment platform you still have to be out there in the real world to meet people. We almost lived in Stockholm for two months to meet potential investors. One of the difficult parts of crowdfunding is getting to the actual money. People find it easy to subscribe that they want to invest, but when it comes to paying and transferring the money, it is harder.

The best thing about crowdfunding is all the partners we got to know along the way. Many of our investors want to help us with PR, photo, film, music and much more, which is incredibly fun. Another great thing is the marketing and brand exposure you get with a really awesome campaign. We have been featured in pretty much every morning paper in all of Sweden. Importantly, you shouldn’t forget that all of our investors are also our biggest ambassadors. They are talking, wearing and spreading the news about Nerdy by Nerds Jeans out there. That is priceless.

Nerdy by Nerds founding team

Would you recommend other entrepreneurs to consider crowdfunding – and FundedByMe – for their financing needs? Why? Any tips or advice to those considering it?

I would absolutely recommend crowdfunding and FundedByMe to other entrepreneurs. The combination of investments and marketing makes for an amazing part of the the next phase in business. The best tip is to spend many hours on planning your marketing strategy before you roll out your campaign. And then, once you are actually on the platform, to take the time to be very active – be in touch with your investors, answer questions, be out there promoting your brand. It takes a lot of time and energy to get the best result, but it is absolutely worth it in the end.

 

Now that your crowdfunding campaign has closed, what’s next?

We recently opened our first shopfactory in Malmö, our hometown. The next step is to take NBN to Stockholm and opening up a shopfactory there as well. Our brand is going places – watch this space!

Nerdy by Nerds on FundedByMeView the Nerdy by Nerds campaign on FundedByMe here.

 

Vad är crowdfunding och varför kommer det att förändra världen?

Vad är crowdfunding? I takt med att världen blir uppkopplad och information blir allt mer tillgänglig ökar även vår förståelse kring hur vi ska sortera, hitta och analysera information. Det behöver inte ens sägas att för varje år som går så blir världen mera transparent, mera tillgänglig och mera sammankopplad. Och smartare!

Crowdfunding

Men vissa saker ändras inte. Idéer som behöver investeringar kommer alltid att finnas, bolag som behöver expandera eller utvecklas behöver kapital och nätverk. Och även om trenderna fluktuerar upp och ner för varje år kommer det alltid att finnas affärsänglar och VC’s som kommer att investera. Visserligen i få bolag men ändå. De är där. Men de går in sällan och ofta efter ”proof of concept”.

Men här kommer det fina med paradigmskiftet som crowdfunding innebär.

Genom att använda en crowdfunding sida som exempelvis svenska FundedByMe.com kan entreprenören pitcha sitt bolag eller idé till en bredare massa. På en betydligt större marknad, betydligt effektivare och snabbare. Genom att sänka trösklarna för investeringar kan mångas mindre summor snabbt bli en stor och betydelsefull investering. Och vissa pitchar blir väldigt virala. Där ser man inte enbart människor som går in med pengar utan de blir även kunder, PR-människor, ambassadörer och testare. En bättre tryckkokare än en crowdfunding kampanj får man leta efter. Och om det inte blir viralt, kan entreprenören ta ett steg tillbaka. Analysera, förbättra och förtydliga.

Crowdfunding förklarat väldigt enkelt är att man vänder sig till en bred massa för att samla ihop det kapital man behöver. Det finns flera typer av crowdfunding. FundedByMe arbetar med två typer: Equity crowdfunding där du ger bort andelar i ditt bolag mot tidigt stöd samt klassisk crowdfunding (reward based crowdfunding) där du samlar in pengar för att utveckla en produkt mot löfte att så småningom få produkten.

Genom att många går in med mindre summor kan man snabbt generera stora summor och utöver det få mervärdet av att ha med sig en hel del människor som pratar om ditt företag, som validerar din produkt och hjälper dig framåt. Och även om vi ibland får frågan om det inte är omständigt att hantera många små delägare så är jag övertygad om att fördelarna uppväger administrationen.

Och det riktigt fina med crowdfunding är att du helt plötsligt har miljontals internetanvändare som kan bli delägare eller delaktiga i ditt projekt. Detta är människor som redan nu spenderar pengar, ”investerar” i fonder och på andra gammaldags sätt blir slutkonsumenter istället för deltagare. De företag som tidigt förstår värdet av att förvalta denna massa, engagera dem, göra dem till deltagare snarare än konsumenter kommer att på riktigt slå igenom.

Och sedan när företaget vuxit lite mera, när crowden tagit entreprenören framåt, när det är dags att växla upp ordentligt, när man trycktestat bolaget, entreprenören och teamet då är det dags att approchera affärsänglar och VC’s.

Inom en snar framtid kommer en själklar fråga att vara när man söker kapital hos affärsänglar, banker eller VC’s att vara om man ”FundedByMe:at” eller ”crowdfundat”. Det tror jag på, vad tro du? Maila mig på daniel@fundedbyme.com

/Daniel Daboczy

 

Building a Stockholm startup eco-system

Sweden ranks number one in the world’s first ever Web Index. Designed and produced by the World Wide Web Foundation, the Web Index is the world’s first multi-dimensional measure of the Web’s growth, utility and impact on people and nations. This connectivity, together with a global mindset, have made Sweden the birthplace of an impressive list of Stockholm startup names like SpotifyWrappSkypeiZettleRebtelPricerunner – and of course FundedByMe.

Although many great companies originate from Stockholm it is still lacking a sustainable ecosystem for startups. Many Stockholm startups have left the country for different reasons. Skype quickly moved to Luxembourg and Soundcloud found a new haven in Berlin almost directly after they were founded.

image

Even though tying employment to options leads to exorbitant taxes this is not the sole reason for successful Stockholm startups to leave. As this factor is key into securing talent to work with, many more factors are driving these decisions. Stockholm has a serious housing problem (especially when you work for a lean startup), cost of living is relatively high and therefore Stockholm does not attract a lot of startups from abroad.

Why would we pursue the same startup culture as one might experience in New York? Because it is important. It took us a while to figure out what living and working in different startup hubs would do to us, but after a few meetups and lunches with fellow entrepreneurs it all became clear. Low-key get togethers made us look at our work from a entirely new perspective. We were amazed by how easy it was to meet people, and more so how easy people want to talk about their experiences. People work hard to become part of the tech community, it is not easy .. but something good is worth working for.

We can bring this startup culture to the Nordics! At FundedByMe we try hard to bring people together and love to see how this influences businesses and decision making processes. Our monthly meetups are a great example of this. We can give you a lot of advice, but in regards to this we’d just like to say: “Meet People”

Join our Meetup group here and join us in bringing people together!