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.

Nordic secrets of Successful Equity Crowdfunding Campaigns – a report

Fundedbyme

By: Michal Gromek 
Since launching Equity Crowdfunding at the end of 2012, FundedByMe has been the frontrunner in the Nordics. 449% CAGR and over 100.000.000 SEK money raised “later”, we wanted to identify what makes some companies more successful than others.  Results are based on own nethographic real time data* and give general indicators about which factors make some campaigns more successful than others. Under the lead of our Business Developer, Alina Koutun, we at FundedByMe have created  – “Successful Equity Crowdfunding Campaigns – A Nordic Review*”, where we investigate the main elements of crowdfunding campaign success.Our findings tell us that social media, high quality financial documents and the right background of team members seem to be crucial for achieving a funding goal of a company.It is not surprising that campaigns showing signals of quality tend to be more successful. As an investor it is crucial to know when and how the company or its founders have been successful in the past. As a result, both the entrepreneur and the investors might be more successful in future projects, which helps the funders to make an investment decision.According to our review, the signs that seem to have the biggest impact lies already in the process of preparing the campaign. The most important factors that increase the possibilities of funding are:

  • Uploading a reliable financial forecast and valuation, since this increases the campaign’s chances to receive the desired funding by 37,3%.
  • Reliable market statistics that increase the chances by 27%.
  • Already received external funding (from government institutions like Almi, Vinnova, EU), which increases the likelihood of being successful by 23%.

One of the most astonishing findings was the effect of social media. If including a link to the campaign’s Facebook or LinkedIn page in the campaigns pitch on the crowdfunding platform, the success rate increased by more than 30%. (31,37% for Facebook and 32,58% for LinkedIn).

Furthermore, 10 likes on the company profile of any of those social media portals add additional 6% for the success (6% on LinkedIn and 5,6% on Facebook). Also, in case the project has been submitted from a capital city (Copenhagen, Helsinki, Oslo or Stockholm) the likelihood for it to succeed increases by 21%.

Is this what you had expected? One of the main surprises was that sharing the company’s activity on the campaign page on Twitter did not have an effect on the company’s success.

The team: Surprisingly, the report indicated a small paradox. The amount of employees within a team and the amount of these people having a masters degrees proved not to have any effect on the rate of success. On the contrary, if the entrepreneur has a relevant education or a professional career in consulting, the success rate of the campaign increased by 25%. Moreover, a relevant business education can influence the company’s success rate by 25%.

Lastly, for all of you entrepreneurs uploading a campaign we suggest that you describe your team members’ backgrounds and achievements closely. This is because investors tend to value this factor highly when making investment decisions.

It seems like the funders would like to know, if people that stand behind the company have been successful in whatever field they were operating in the past.

Summarizing: While seeking funding for an equity based campaign, prepare the financial documents such as Market Statistics and Company Valuation well. Tell the crowd about the successes that your company has achieved so far with external funding, your awards and about the outstanding performance of your team members. Upgrade your Linkedin and Facebook corporate profiles often. You might skip Twitter activities on your campaign page:).

You will find the full report by clicking – here

*What methodology did we use in the Report? The campaign outcome was modeled by means of logistic regression as a function of various explanatory continues and category variables. The dependent variable was binary and shows either a successful or unsuccessful outcome.

Download the report here for free

 

Why do we need to verify the crowdlenders’ identities?

 

FundedByMe has just launched its new product, loan-based crowdfunding, which is also known as crowdlending. This service enables savers and private investors from nearly all over the world to become lenders and benefit from the growth of Swedish small and medium businesses.

How to do it? It’s easy! Creating an account takes only a few minutes. However, after the registration is complete, FundedByMe has to verify the identity of each lender. This is done in order to provide both entrepreneurs and lenders with a transparent and secure environment. It also complies with international regulations.

Documents need to be veryfied by peer-to-peer lenders

In order to verify the lenders’ identity, FundedByMe asks the users to upload their IDs or passports on their accounts. FundedByMe later passes on the data to an external payment provider, MangoPay, which then verifies the lender’s identity. However, the personal data provided by the lenders to FundedByMe and MangoPay will only be used in order to verify the lender, as well as in the rare case of default. The lenders’ personal information will not be passed on to any other external actors.

After your identity has been verified, you can start lending straight away!

Fourth anniversary of first crowdfunding platform presentation

Fourth anniversary of first crowdfunding platform presentation

Welcome back to the FundedByMe blog! Right now we are preparing for big changes on one of the leading crowdfunding sites. We will inform about you it soon.

But today is an important day for us. Exactly 4 years ago Daniel Daboczy, CEO and one of the co-founders and Arno Smit, CTO and the other co-founder, presented the first crowdfunding business model of FundedByMe. It was actually only on a piece of paper, but it turned out to be a very powerful idea.

The main trigger to fund a new peer to peer financing company was a refusal to list their other project on Kickstarter – American peer to peer reward-based crowdfunding platform. The lesson they took from it was: never give up when it comes to searching for investors. That’s also why FundedByMe started with the reward-based model. Very soon the operations were broaden and to some extent shifted towards equity-based crowdfunding also referred to as crowd-investing.

Since then FundedByMe raised over 100 000 000 SEK for various enterprises in both reward-based and equity-based crowdfunding projects. Local offices were opened in six European countries, in Singapore and a few more are currently being developed. Right now we are working on a new solution that may be game-changing for Swedish entrepreneurship and the crowdfunding business.

P.S.
But we still have a lot of respect for the leading crowdfunding sites from the US: Kickstarter and Indiegogo, even if they so far only focus on reward-based crowdfunding. Last year we actually bought the domain kickstarter.se wich we gave to them as a welcome gift when they entered the Swedish market. However, we do believe that as one-stop-shop for businesses looking for funding and with the unique dealflow exposure to crowdfunding investors we still have plenty of competitive edges. Not at least with the new offer we are soon about to launch, watch out for more news coming soon.

After the crowdfunding: Jascha opens the first store

After the crowdfunding: Jascha opens the first store

 

We went to Jascha’s newly opened store in MOOD Stockholm to see what the hype is about. A year after their crowdfunding on FundedByMe we got a talk with Jonas, one of the founders:

How long have you been working with fashion?

I’m born with fashion. My mom is a designer. She’s been working with it since I was a kid. My older brother is Jascha. He started the brand 12 years ago, then me and my other brother started this company 5 years ago. We had a store at Odenplan before, where we had a mix of fashion and interior decoration, but wanted a pure Jascha store. We have built this store to show what Jascha stands for, we can present the whole collection and concept in a unique way. We are going to develop it more, and if it succeed’s, this store will look totally different in six months from now.

What is Jascha all about?

Our focus is fit and quality with distinct details, which is unique. There are many brands that work similar but more minimalistic. Not many in Sweden works with the distinct details like we do. The typical Jascha customer is a business woman, 30-35 years, that has good economy, although it’s not expensive. A dress is 1 200 – 1 600 kronors. Its not more expensive than our competitors.

What’s your plan?

To expand. This store is an experiment. The plan is to build a small chain of stores to start with, in Stockholm. The city is big enough to hold several stores. Then we will evaluate after a couple of months. The most important with the store is not the cash, but to see what potential it has. You have to be alert all the time, it’s an industry in constant change. You are on your toes all the time.

                                                                        Foto 2014-10-09 10 34 57 (1)

Last year you raised 500 000 SEK on FundedByMe, what happened after that?

Our pitch was to increase gross sales and export, which we did. We reached the goal for turnover that we had in the prospect. I got into crowdfunding when I was at a party and a friend of a friend said he planned to start a campaign for his website. I got interested since i had been thinking of how to raise money in an easy way. I googled FundedByMe and saw there was soon to be an introduction meeting, so I went. I knew I could present it well but was unsure of how many investors that was connected. I got surprised of how many serious investors there was in the network.

How much is ethics involved in the making?

It is important but difficult in this industry. We have barely no production in Asia, where it would be hard to control it. We work in Eastern Europe so we can go visit the factories easier. It’s  a murdering competition in this industry when it comes to production. If I would make this product Fairtrade etc, I would have to charge a whole lot more for the clothes. In difference from other products, people dont value ecological and ethical products when it comes to clothes. When people buy food they are willing to spend more for that kind of products but it havn’t reached our industry yet. I think the mindset will come more to clothes too. We work with ecologic materials like viscose that is way more friendly to nature than cotton is.

Jonas gives a tour of the store including it’s many custom built solutions, made by themselves:

There are still some things to be installed. It’s gone very fast. We are just seven people in the company including store clerks. The four people in the office do everything from designing, marketing to going to fairs. We are known for being very fast and it’s all about focus. We signed the contract for this store just six weeks ago, opened the doors yesterday and will throw a inauguration party here in two weeks.

Foto 2014-10-09 10 36 04

Equity Campaign: Lovetagged – A matchmaking service through Facebook

Equity Campaign: Lovetagged – A matchmaking service through Facebook

We have interviewed Christian Majgaard at the Copenhagen Crowdfunding Meetup and asked him about his crowdfunding campaign Lovetagged on FundedByMe. 

Lovetagged_FundedByMe_campaign

Tell us a little about Lovetagged, what is it?
I call Lovetagged a killer app, because no one has done this before. We have made a tool for matchmaking your friends’ friends on Facebook.

Why do you see a potential in this field?
The dating market is a 4 billion$ industry and growing, we believe we can disrupt the market by introducing real people in the matching process by targeting Facebook users and their friends friends.

Based on stasticis the average facebook users each have 300 friends in average, and these friends will have another 300 friends – that makes 90000 friends that could be matched. These matches will be sorted by gender, relationship status, age and so on. However statically we will end up with at least 1000 matches, this is a huge potential.
I know there is a lot of matchmakers out there. People do it naturally, because they believe it is rewarding, and we want to give them the tools to do it. This is what Lovetagged aims to do.

How did the idea come to life?
The idea about Lovetagged started about 10 month ago at my brothers wedding in Poland. At the wedding I met my brothers bestman, a nice polish man called Lucasz. The funny story about Luckasz is that he is not in anyway my brother’s best friend; but he is the guy who introduced him to his wife. Luckasz had arranged a blind date for my brother and his wife and was very proud of his achievement in matching a date that ended in a marriage. This inspired me to make a tool that allows users to more formally match their friends for dates.

What is your business model?
The app is live on Facebook and it is free for everyone. We are currently testing different business models. First of all we need to get people into Lovetagged. Some people will do it because they derive satisfaction from matching friends for dates. Others might need another encouragement. Thus we built the app around gamification. By matching your friends you earn points, these points can be translated into deals and offers sponsored by our partners. We believe there is a potential with this way of advertising for partners and we offer a broad range of sponsor options.

Another model would be let users pay for their friend’s matches. A match would come at a small fee e.g. EUR1 to activate the chat function. We are also looking at offering premium models, where paying members can have access to add-on tools like: search, notifications upon status change, messages etc.

FundedByMe_Lovetagged

How is Lovetagged different from other dating sites?
Lovetagged is in a blue ocean, meaning we are one of the first to do what we are doing. Traditional dating sites offer tech driven and untrustworthy matches based on algorithms. We only conduct matching made by people and high trust. Meanwhile other platforms have been infamous for being time consuming, expensive and inaccurate.

We can compete with the big platforms instantly as we don’t need the same critical masses. Using Facebook friends for matching, all our users are in theory one critical mass. We have talked to many single people who are tired of traditional platforms and welcome this service.

What will you use the money for?
We have already launched our app on Facebook, and have users. We are at the moment looking at developing an app for mobile, tablets, adding a premium functions and more partnerships.

The most important priority is marketing and that is where we will be spending our money. Marketing is also the reason why we selected crowdfunding and FundedByMe as a way to raise funds. We want to include investors as ambassadors for the brand and welcome their inputs. Ideas from investors and dating experts is gold. Hopefully we close our crowdfunding round soon, and launch with immense strength and reach.

What have you received from the crowd?
We have received a lot of constructive advice from the crowd. People are sending good ideas and feedback. A Swedish psychologist has contacted us, he has been very interested in Lovetagged since he has finished a research about happiness, proving that people derive happiness from matchmaking. Other people have helped us with marketing advice and so on. It means so much to us to have these people in our network. And we are already looking forward working together in the future.

 

Crowdfunding Entrepreneur and Author Johan Norberg

Crowdfunding Entrepreneur and Author Johan Norberg

Johan Norberg

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

I am a historian of ideas and writer who works with many different forms of media to promote what I think makes the world go around – individual freedom and economic and technological progress. So I write books and columns and I lecture and produce documentary films: And I do all of this on a freelance basis, which has always been a personal ambition. I want to be in charge of my ideas and my time and control the process, and have no one above or beneath me.

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

It was the easiest choice ever. Since the book that I am writing is about the power of connected crowds who organise without organisations, to disrupt everything. And that includes crowdfunding – I thought the production and funding of the book should be part of what I write a book, a result of the process that I am celebrating. I put my money where my mouth is, basically, and I am delighted that so many people believed in it.

FundedByMe appealed to me because friends of mine had already used it and recommended it, and it seemed like both a simple and useful platform.

Talk us through your campaign on FundedByMe – what were some of the highlights and what activities did you do to help ensure that your campaign was successful?

First of all I used my position in social media, most of all Twitter and Facebook, both to find donors, but also to get the story out there. And then I talked to them and journalists about the bigger story of the campaign – that I did it to prove or challenge my theory of the power of crowds, and that this is part of a bigger trend. And then the incredibly quick success of the campaign became a story in itself, so others wrote about it and spread the message.

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

The best thing was the excellent and rapid assistance I got from Cathrine Åsklint and others at FundedByMe every time I ran into problems or needed to understand something that was new to me. When you are in strange, new territory, that’s extremely important.

And what was a challenge about running a campaign on FundedByMe?

The biggest problem was getting things done through PayPal, since I got more donations than we expected and my account was temporarily closed according to EU regulations, but that is not really because I worked with FundedByMe.

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

Oh yes, I am sure that this is the future. The chance that we will find that extra someone with all the capital we need is nothing compared to what happens when we are able to ask everybody, and use the accumulated interest from the masses. But I think it’s very important to build a presence and contacts via social media before that happens.

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

Well, I’d better write that book now, right? It’s actually quite a responsibility. It used to be that I would only disappoint a publisher if I wrote a bad book, now I would offend all those who believe in me!

Johan Norberg’s (crowdfunding entrepreneur) campaign closed at over 200% of goal, raising ca €23,000 for him to write his book. You can see his campaign here and find other campaigns to back in our browse section.

Seven tips for crowfunding success

Arno Smit shares his crowdfunding success tipsAt FundedByMe we are reliant on the crowdfunding success of our entrepreneurs – when they succeed in their financing goals, we succeed!

Over the next couple of months we will pull together some tips and share them on the blog with you.

Today we offer you some crowdfunding success tips from our CTO and co-founder, Arno Smit.

Top tips for crowdfunding success from Arno Smit

1. Create a compelling story

People are more likely to invest in a business that they are passionate about or a story that is very compelling – something that they can relate to. Your campaign should be one, or both, of these things. What makes your business unique? And how will you take advantage of this opportunity?

It is important that your story is clear and easy to understand. Don’t overcomplicate what you are trying to achieve, be clear and professional. Build trust in your idea. Use images, references and cite your own track record and past successes. Create a great campaign video and be honest and polite in everything you say. Also, importantly, check for spelling and grammar before you hit ‘submit’.

2. Who is on your team?

It may seem obvious, but the more people you have working to promote your campaign the greater your chance for success. Do you know of any groups who are already passionate about your cause? Management, employees, suppliers and existing customers are all likely to be big advocates of your brand and what you are trying to achieve. Encourage these people to join your team and teach them how to spread the word effectively.

3. Making a video

An awesome video can make the difference between success and failure for your campaign on FundedByMe. A promotional video is a powerful tool for you to communicate what you are trying to do and gives you a platform from which to build trust. It will help bring your campaign to life, show that you are serious and add credibility to your idea. This is your opportunity to show potential investors that you are passionate, smart and worthy of their investment – don’t waste the opportunity.

You don’t need to be Steven Spielberg to make a short video nowadays – simply grab your smartphone, get a good setting with good light, look straight at the camera and…action! A video should be no longer than a couple of minutes maximum. In this case, less is definitely more.

4. Tell people what you plan to do with the money they invest

People work hard for their money and they will want to know how you are planning to use it before making the decision to invest in your business. You need to tell people exactly what your need the money for and how you will spend it once you reach your financing threshold.

5. Reward people for their generosity

Campaigns – both equity and reward-based, that offer really good rewards are likely to be more successful than those without. By adding value rewards to your campaign you’ll attract a different type of investor. Rewards give investors a return on their investment in the short term. The power in giving something unique, or getting access to the next big thing before it hits the shelves, is amazing. Think about what people are likely to find compelling and then link your rewards to entice people into investing more.

6. Be prepared to spread the word

Once your campaign is live on FundedByMe, you and your team need to actively promote it and spread the word. Successful projects are those where the entrepreneur doesn’t sit back but is very active in letting everyone know about the opportunity they are offering potential investors. Of course the launch announcement is hugely important, but plan ahead to try and maintain a drip feed and future activities as well. Actively manage your campaign so that you maximise every opportunity and don’t fall into a ‘lull’ where nothing is happening.

What is your best tip for an entrepreneur’s crowdfunding success? Leave it as a comment below!

In the News: Nerdy by Nerds: A ShopFactory Concept – Denimhunters

Nerdy by Nerds Jeans on FundedByMe crowdfunding platform

Hand made jeans sewn right before your eyes in a ShopFactory. That’s the concept of Malmö-based Nerdy by Nerds. With a stabile business plan and a great deal of commitment the three friends who coined the concept in the fall of 2011 only needed a little help finding the funds to realise their idea. This is why they submitted the Nerdy by Nerds project to FundedByMe to find people who are willing to invest in helping them establish their ShopFactory. And this fall the concept will become reality.

via Nerdy by Nerds: A ShopFactory Concept – Denimhunters.

Your business idea pitch – tips to help you succeed

On a crowdfunding platform like FundedByMe your business idea pitch is one of many others. And what’s great about our platform is that we have thousands of potential investors regularly checking in to see what new projects we have that they could invest their money into. As an entrepreneur, your challenge is to get your business idea across to the right investor and provide a compelling case that they feel readily convinced to put their money behind your plan!

crowdfunding via Forbes.com

Easier said than done, we know! But here are some tips to get you thinking about how you can put together a really strong pitch for your business idea:

  • Be specific on what product you are building. You may have a very clear vision in your head, but that doesn’t mean we all ‘get it’!
  • Give examples of who your customers are/will be, how many of them there might be and why they will buy your solution
  • What is the specific problem that you are solving? Many entrepreneurs are not able to quickly answer this question. In order to secure funding, you need to have this answer at your fingertips!
  • State who your competitors are and why your solution is better than theirs. You may choose not to list them by names, but often a description will suffice, think ‘Big fast-food chains that serve mass-produced food’, for example.
  • Be specific on how big a business opportunity this is and what revenues will look like in three to five years. While many investors are interested in VFI (value from investment), the majority is looking for ROI (return on investment) – are you committed to making a profit? How will you do this?
  • Tell potential investors where you are in the formation process: do you have a prototype / demo / alpha / beta version, what are your current revenues, etc.
  • Be sure to introduce the team behind your business idea, highlighting the relevant strengths and backgrounds they bring to your project.

Finally, before you hit ‘submit’ on your project page, get others to give you their feedback. What are they missing from your business idea pitch? Are there any facts that are missing that could convince them to support your idea?

Do you have any other tips that we should add to this list of great business pitch presentation ideas? Share them with us in the comments!