Grant Thornton and crowdfunding platform FundedByMe enter partnership

Grant Thornton and crowdfunding platform FundedByMe enter partnership

Crowdfunding – when companies turn to a crowd of investors to fund projects or ideas – is growing rapidly. Now, auditing and consulting firm Grant Thornton in Sweden partners with the crowdfunding platform, FundedByMe, with more than 50,000 investors in over 160 countries. The success stories include – among many others – Berries by Astrid, Virtuos Vodka and Isbjörn of Sweden.

The purpose of the partnership for Grant Thornton and FundedByMe is to develop entrepreneurship and support companies in their startup phases. For Grant Thornton this primarily means offering valuation services to entrepreneurs, hence facilitating for entrepreneurs and investors to connect and close deals at the right level.

– We believe that FundedByMe’s digital service is completely in tune with the times and that crowdfunding will continue to grow fast, both in Sweden and internationally and especially among young entrepreneurs. We are happy that through this partnership, we are able to support Swedish entrepreneurs in need of funding and thereby contribute to growth, says Carl-Johan Regell, authorized accountant and partner at Grant Thornton Sweden.

We realized several years ago that we wanted to partner with big, established players in the market, in order to develop crowdfunding in the sharing economy. We feel that Grant Thornton, just like FundedByMe, operates in the spirit of companies with increasing growth, and with the right focus for the entrepreneurs and companies who turn to us. We are very happy to announce this partnership and we see Grant Thornton Sweden as a strong partner for the exciting journey that lies ahead, says Daniel Daboczy, founder and CEO of FundedByMe.

The partnership begins with advisors from Grant Thornton participating in different activities, which FundedByMe arranges for investors and entrepreneurs this fall. After that, the companies will draw advantage of their respective networks to help entrepreneurs grow.

Grant Thornton already supports well-known entrepreneurial sponsorships and networks, such as DiGasell, Founders Alliance, YEoS and SUP46.

For more information, contact:

Lisbeth Larsson, Head of Communications, Grant Thornton

T: 0708-21 71 56, 08-563 071 56

E: lisbeth.larsson@se.gt.com

Twitter: @GT:_LisLar

www.grantthornton.se/press

Twitter:@GrantThorntonSE

Lena Flykt Rosén, Head of Partnerships, FundedByMe

T: +46702-86 66 12

Email: lena@fundedbyme.com

www.fundedbyme.com

About Grant Thornton Sweden

Grant Thornton Sweden is one of the fastest growing audit and consulting firms in Sweden. With more than1100 employees and 23 offices, the company is an independently owned and managed member firm of Grant Thornton International Ltd. The member firms provide audit, tax and advisory advices.

Grant Thornton” refers to the brand under which the Grant Thornton member firms provide assurance, tax and advisory services to their clients and/or refers to one or more member firms, as the context requires. Grant Thornton International Ltd (GTIL) and the member firms are not a worldwide partnership. GTIL and each member firm is a separate legal entity. Services are delivered by the member firms. GTIL does not provide services to clients. GTIL and its member firms are not agents of, and do not obligate, one another and are not liable for one another’s acts or omissions

About FundedByMe
FundedByMe is a leading international player in crowdfunding through equity, loan or reward. The company has successfully funded hundreds of companies from 25 countries. The members represent a rapidly growing network of more than 57,000 investors from over 160 countries. FundedByMe with headquarters in Sweden has a presence in countries around Europe and in Singapore.

Crowdfunding Angel Investor – Q&A with Anette Nordvall

Crowdfunding Angel Investor – Q&A with Anette Nordvall

When I met Anette Nordvall the first thing I noticed about this crowdfunding angel investor was her long, long hair. Then the rest came through – bubbly giggles hiding a serious interest in the financial world – and in helping entrepreneurs grow and succeed. Anette is quite a traditional angel investor, but never think ‘old school’ and Anette in the same sentence! This crowdfunding angel investor has embraced crowdfunding – and FundedByMe – and is helping us spread the gospel. Here’s more from Anette Nordvall:

Crowdfunding angel investor Anette Nordvall

Introduce yourself – what is your background, passions and ‘day job’? 
I’m your #Crowdfunding #Superstar – I’m a Serial Entrepreneur, Investor that loves sales and making deals. Spending my days as CEO at Programmera Mgm, a Swedish company that focuses on helping improve people’s digital strategies with easy to understand back-end solutions. As a partner in Stockholms Affärsänglar we focus on early stage seed investing. FundedByMe is a great forum for what’s out there…for finding the ‘Next Big Thing’.

I love sales, closing deals, paying it forward, honest people, step-counting, good health, a positive can-do attitude, coffee, my bike and being back in Sweden after many years abroad.

How did you first get familiar with crowdfunding and why does it appeal to you? 

I’ve spent the last 17 years with my family living in the US. Our sons started crowd investing in games and such a long time ago. The beauty in paying $10 in pre-money…even in the days of only having access to reward-based crowdfunding, I was already convinced the idea worked. I met with Arno and Daniel (FundedByMe co-founders) a couple of years ago when they first introduced the idea of FundedByMe and was looking for funding. The power of a group effort is compelling. Smart money can come in both small and large doses. Depending on product, service, or offer it can make or break success. It has to become the new thing what people are talking about. The crowd automatically provides you with ambassadors to spread “your gospel”. Being part of change in a group is fantastic when you understand what it does.

Which project(s) on FundedByMe did you invest in? What made you want to get involved? 

FundedByMe (of course), Elinnovation, Nerdy by Nerds Jeans, Postify, Eggs Inc and Beibamboo, so far…

What do you expect to get out of these investments on the long run? 

A lot, of course! Both from the entrepreneur and campaign and also from what I can add to the investment. Although my main focus is to make sure that the entrepreneur, product and investment is sound, I do invest with my heart. You might call it social investing, spreading the good word or inspiring others to do the same. The receiver/entrepreneur however must agree, understand and appreciate group power, their network, investing interests and goals. Amount should not matter in a crowd, it’s the attitude.

What is the most important tip you’d give other investors considering crowdfunding? 

I have to emphasize that it’s not only money involved. That is just the basic. Whatever project you are involved in has to strike something within you to address and help solve and use your experiences. The need to engage yourself in the project is crucial since you also have the opportunity to make improvements, not only use your network to add new opportunities, but also truly add value as an ambassador and spokesperson for the product, service or idea.

Are there any new investment rounds on FundedByMe that you have your eyes on at the moment? 

I think I’ll pass on any investment advice! However, since I am a music and new product- lover, and have invested before in that nische, I’m curious about the community Follow-music and Frily.

Please feel free to connect with me via: @nordvalla

Crowdfunding angel investor Anette Nordvall on FundedByMe

Crowdfunding Investor Q&A – Siam Choudhury

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!

Siam-choudhury_crowdfunding_investor

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.

Crowdfunding Investor Q&A – Meg Charles-Horn

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!

Meg Charles-Horn is a crowdfunding investor on FundedByMe

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.

Virtuous Vodka raises 1M SEK in less than 8 weeks

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A phone call made by Claes Stenmark, co-founder and CEO at Virtuous Spirits AB, last summer to FundedByMe’s office in Stockholm was the beginning of an adventure which would eventually lead the company to a fully financed round of equity crowdfunding, while simultaneously becoming the first ever company in the tech-savvy nation to accomplish this.

Claes Stenberg Virtuous VodkaWhen the phone call came in, Sweden’s largest crowdfunding platform FundedByMe, had just announced their plans for a pivot towards equity crowdfunding and was starting a period of extensive testing in stealth. Virtuous Vodka was the first company on the platform when it went into pre-round on 1 September 2012. A company in pre-round has access to a set of powerful tools in order to validate ideas, market value and connect with potential investors. In the same pre-round potential investors are able to report their interest in investing in the company, the entrepreneur, however always keeps control over who can ultimately invest in the company. 

Not more than 8 weeks ago the company opened their round, allowing the crowd to invest in the ambitious vodka brand. And the crowd did. FundedByMe has found in Virtuous Vodka the perfect partner to pave the way for many other ventures interested in using equity crowdfunding for financing their businesses. Claes and his team have worked out a bullet-proof campaign with a personal touch, and succeeded in closing their round by being dedicated and able to engage a large number of (potential) investors. By hosting monthly tasting sessions, inviting their investors to spread the word and taking the time to speak with every investor they quickly gathered a crowd of engaged investors, which the company is proud of.

Last Friday, on 11 January, the goal of 1 million SEK was reached and Claes closed the round on FundedByMe’s platform. In a first response Claes Stenmark states, “We are extremely happy and proud to be the first ever company in the Nordics that closes a fully funded equity crowdfunding-round!” He continues, “The capital raised (SEK1 million) will come in handy, but the key is that we have more than one hundred key members who will be good ambassadors, contributing with their skills and their networks. These brand ambassadors, along with the enhanced cash, will help make a greater impact with our first product launch. This spring, the naturally flavored series of Virtuous Vodka will take the Swedish market by storm. We are confident that the market, just like us, crave the authentic taste!”

Running a successful campaign isn’t simple, there is a lot to it. Virtuous Vodka however has set a good example and will serve as inspiration for many other fellow entrepreneurs throughout the Nordics. FundedByMe is excited about the traction on the platform which shows a conversion rate of 62% and an average investment of SEK 9710:- per investor. A large number of investors have invested in more than just one startup, which provides promising conditions for future startups which will be featured on the company’s platform.