There is no better way of getting the facts about crowdfunding than from a crowdfunding investor – someone who passionately believes and supports it. When I recently ran into Meg Charles-Horn, who invested in the recent FundedByMe Equity round, I asked her share her views with us. Meg was happy to comply!
Can you briefly introduce yourself, Meg? What is your background and what are you currently working on?
I moved to Stockholm from New Delhi, India about 18 months ago where I was doing strategy for a foundation focused on building schools in rural India for girls. I am a US-trained telecom/corporate lawyer and have worked as a partner at a major US law firm, Head of Strategy of a Telecom start-up and have held leadership roles in a global telecom company as well as the GSM Association in London. I am always looking for new challenges and opportunities to excel – both personally and professionally – and I am passionate about sharing my experiences and knowledge to help others achieve their goals. With the transition to Stockholm, which is such a vibrant entrepreneurial community, I decided it was time to use my knowledge, experience, skills and a little money to help create new companies. Currently I am an investor in two US-based start-ups – one is Keoyo where I am co-founder. We make ‘@holla’, a social communications app that will launch next month.
FundedByMe is not only my first Swedish investment, but it is also a “passion investment”. I fervently believe in FundedbyMe’s mission to democratize investment and create a financial path to help people to pursue their dreams. As an investor, I believe that FundedByMe’s platform and business model will be successful because it is pioneering in an area that has huge potential for growth.
How did you first get familiar with crowdfunding and why does it appeal to you?
When I decided to focus on becoming an Angel Investor, about two years ago, I began researching to learn about the options available to find early stage companies in need of smart money. This was coincidentally the time that Kickstarter started making noises in the US and then of course, the US Jobs Act came into focus. As I mentioned earlier, I believe in the democratization impact of crowdfunding both for investors and the businesses or projects that can now find funding that would otherwise never get the opportunity to come to market.
Which project(s) on FundedByMe did you invest in? What made you want to get involved?
So far I have only invested in FundedByMe on FundedByMe, because it was easy for me to understand the technology platform, the market opportunity and business model. I am currently considering at least two more investments in areas that I am not as familiar – retail fashion and design.
What do you expect to get out of your investments on the long run?
Like all investors I expect, or certainly hope, to get a positive return. Obviously, investing in an early stage company is always risky. Any goal for an equity investment other than a positive return is secondary because if the business cannot sustain itself, it will simply die. That said, the secondary goals can be very important from societal value perspective and have significant impact in the decision to invest. I believe this is why Kickstarter and traditional crowdfunding have so far been unusually successful.
What is the most important tip you’d give other investors considering crowdfunding?
For equity crowdfunding, even though the amounts can be relatively small, I would suggest people invest when they understand how the business will make money and develop sufficient knowledge about the sector so that they understand the risks that the company has to overcome to be successful. Then they should assess the people involved and decide whether they think those people can execute the plan they have laid out.
In other words, don’t just blindly follow the crowd.