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!

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


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. 


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.


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.


Stor-Jobal från Krokjala: A Comic book waiting to be released through crowdfunding.

Stor-Jobal från Krokjala: A Comic book waiting to be released through crowdfunding.

Meet Emil Maxén, a freelance illustrator, who previously worked with the music artist Avicii, the swedish Julkalendern (Christmas calendar) “Barnen Hedenhös”, and now he is launching a campaign to crowdfund his upcoming comic book.

Tell us a bit about yourself, for start, where did you grow up and what was your dream back then?
I grew up outside of Sundsvall in Timrå.And my dream was pretty much what I am doing today. But I thought  it was a bigger thing to be an illustrator, being a like a rockstar, but you would draw stuff. Everyone would recognize me as a genius.

When did you start to draw then?
I remember trying to get better in college, really trying to make an effort to improve. I also remember when we were kids, we tried to draw the coolest monster or pretended to draw a portrait of each other and the drawing never turned out as we thought. I was never the best guy at drawing, but I think I had the most fun. That has been what has kept me going.

Why did you want to improve your drawing skills?
I imagined that I was the prodigy of everything, just as when I was little, I had so much fun with it so I thought everyone else would think the same. I could imagine a lot of sketches in my mind, and then I had to make them come alive into real sketches. I could had a picture of the guy with the perfect sword, then I practiced on drawing different kind of swords and armor, so I had all the details. I knew exactly which one I had imagined.

What tools do you use?
I use a lot of sketch books. I keep them everywhere, in the car, by the bed, incase you get flash of genius and then you start drawing in the middle of the night. Then you usually wake up and realize it wasn’t the best idea. But I had to make it anyway. So I sketch a lot. I shared a room when i was l younger, my table was a pillow in my lap and I only drew with graphite then, I rarely used colors, I have learned that afterwards. Today I use Photoshop and  water colors now and then.

Emil Maxen Stor-Jobal Campaign

Do you do this for living?
Yes, I sketch storyboards, posters and I make concept art.

When did you have your breakthrough?
I decided to freelance when I was working for a company in Stockholm. I did not find  the working conditions good enough for me. So I moved back to Sundsvall, because I really like it here. And I decided to go back to Stockholm when I heard that the company I was working for made a deal to make special effects for julkalendern (Christmas calendar), 2013. I was not supposed to know that but I was tight we the director and he wanted me to make storyboards for special effect scenes. I got to work with SFI (Svensk Filmindustri) and got big responsibility for crucial design parts and I got great feedback. Then I thought, maybe I know what I am doing? I felt really confident and decided to move back and started to do this, freelancing.

What would you say is the biggest impact, the drawing has made in your life?
It helped me in my imagination of how it would be, the life of illustrator. I blow up a perfect picture in my mind and its not like that. And its good, because its easy to create something in your head of how things are suppose to be, like moving to Stockholm also. The same is with this campaign at FundedByMe that I am running now. You open and close doors, and now, this has opened a door to my world.

This is a perfect transition, tell us more about Stor-Jobal? Who is he?
He a is half-troll, unaware of it, an outcast, and lives on plundering abandoned houses. Stor-Jobal tries to find his place in society, but its hard for him. The environment is based on Norrland, where I come from. There is a lot of empty houses on the countryside, people have moved into the city. Its the same scenario in this comic book, but it takes place in the 1800’s. One day when plundering, he comes across a special bag, that can fit anything you put in it. Thats when the story really begins.

Do you see yourself in him?
Yes! Not the stealing but I love to make practical jokes, just like Stor-Jobal does. He is like an overgrown child.

How would you describe your style?
Its a mix between legendary Swedish illustrators like Per Åhlin, who has made Dunderklumpen. And I wanted to make a more realistic and dark version of it and have influences from Sven Nordqvist. With a gritty but very fresh color scheme, he puts so much detail – it’s fantastic. Then I blended that with franco belgian comics. I love that culture.

How do you handle a tough period? When you have no inspiration?
This project has taken quite some time, and when it comes to writing, I have had periods when I feel blocked. To constantly come up with new ideas to the plot. And I think its because of the pressure also, that I have to deliver. A good inspiring video from the illustrator, Stephen Silver, about “how to become more creative” gave me a lot more energy again.

How come you chose crowdfunding, did you know about it before?
I knew about crowdfunding, mostly Kickstarter, but it was for the american audience. Then I found FundedByMe and saw my opportunity to create a campaign. Now I realize how much work it is to put in a campaign and a comic. Because I have the idea, I am the director, and the designer. So I have to draw and write everything. You have three jobs at the same time. It s super exciting and I got a lot of more support, a lot more likes on the Facebook page. People has really responded and its a great learning experience. Now I have to attract bigger audience, I have been active and posted in forums but its hard.

Do you have any other goals, except for a successful campaign?
Its around 32 days left now on my 45 days campaign and if everyone who supports me, if they donate the smallest amount it would be cool to get 1000 euros. I just reached 300 fans on facebook, its big for me since i never released anything.

What is next project?
I would really would like to go to book conventions when the book is released, try to get a translation, reach Europe, have it in german, spanish and english.


Equity Crowdfunding on FundedByMe – a visual explanation

Everyone is talking about Equity Crowdfunding and, while you may “kind of” understand the concept, we thought this great visual explanation of crowd equity, created by FundedByMe friend Peter Sandberg would be spot on.

FundedByMe Equity Crowdfunding Explained - by PoppeTotte

What do you think? Click here to explore some of the trending equity crowdfunding rounds on FundedByMe right now!

Crowdfunding Investor profile – Angie Skazka

My favourite thing about crowdfunding investor Angie Skazka is that this case proves again that anyone – even a student – can become a business angel and invest to become part of the next big thing. We asked Angie to participate in our popular crowdfunding investor profile session and convince you why you too should consider this modern type of investment!

Angie Skazka is a crowdfunding investor on FundedByMe

Angie, introduce yourself – what is your background, passions and ‘day job’?

I am 24, Russian-Swedish. I graduated from Ural Federal University as an engineer (5 years) of Industrial Automation and Control Systems. Then I spent 2 years at Real Time Soft, Yekaterinburg, as a SCADA designer and automation developer. At that time I created automated dispatcher systems for ridiculously huge and dangerous ore-processing plants. Particularly enjoying creating user interfaces, I then switched my focus entirely to it by studying on my own and working part-time as a UI-designer in Ocean bank, Moscow. I designed user interfaces for online payment agent Robokassa (Russian analog of Klarna), which are used nowdays by over 10k customers per day and over 22k merchants overall. I also did a year of PHD in Russia, but I quit because I hate research.

Now I am a master student of EIT ICT Labs, studying Interaction Design with first year at KTH and second year in Aalto University, Helsinki. My professional interests include user interface design, infographics, graphic design and entrepreneurship. I aim to build awesome interaction for specific usage contexts and enjoy creating cool data visualizations.

Currently I am a co-founder and usability troll at RunTroll, a real-time multiplayer game that makes it fun to run (I mean physically, with your legs). I believe that entrepreneurship is a way to bring more long-term value to society, and my social aim within RunTroll project is to get people away from computer and TV screens to exercise and be healthy. I spend my free time in Solna climbing center or out in mountains, traversing the snowy peaks and glaciers.


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

Daniel the CEO of FundedByMe gave a guest lecture at KTH in one of our courses. Crowdfunding appeals to me because I can invest small amounts of money and get equity in early stage companies before they became ridiculously expensive. Also openness, involvement, connection to startup frontier, networking.


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

I invested in FundedByMe and Nerdy by Nerds. The first one has a great idea and promising return, the other one is cute. Unfortunately I missed fire alarms by Elinnovation.


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

I want to sustain myself with return on investments and run my own creative projects without a need to work for money. I want to learn how to invest, get experience, get a network so that I can possibly work or cooperate with people involved in startups.


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

A crazy one: don’t spend weeks of your time to do a proper evaluation. Instead go for quantity with small sums. As long as the revenue model is clear you are pretty much fine to go.


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

Yes, I am looking mainly for physical stuff: Garpenbergs castle is interesting, Mutewatch already proved their idea with sales, and Rosey is quite close to me since I am a (former) automation engineer.

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.

Entrepreneur tips: An awesome crowdfunding pitch video

The secret sauce to a successful crowdfunding round on FundedByMe contains a number of ingredients but it’s no secret that:

A great crowdfunding pitch presentation = A great crowdfunding round

In order to help you succeed and create a super pitch presentation that will show your company’s best side and get investors lining up to support you we will highlight a number of tips to help you put together a great crowdfunding pitch over the coming weeks.  Your presentation is the first introduction for future investors into your business – so make it count!

Today we look at your introduction video – here are some of our favourites on FundedByMe right now:

HolyManta Internal ND Lense Adapters

Nerdy by Nerds


What makes a good presentation video for crowdfunding on FundedByMe?

1) Introduce yourself and your team Investors are supporting your brand, that’s true, but they’re mostly buying into you as the team behind the idea. By being straightforward and honest you can create trust – which is vital for a successful crowdfunding round. If there are more members to your team than just you, introduce them. Tell the viewer what makes you and your team the ideal candidates for this ‘job’.

2) Tell a story How did you come up with this idea? What are your passions? Is this a solution to a problem you always had?

3) Talk about the money How are you going to use the money that gets raised in this round? (And no…the investor doesn’t want to buy you the latest handbag / shoes / apartment!). Show that you have a strategy.

4) Why crowdfunding? What is it that you hope to get from the crowd?

5) What’s in it for me? As an investor I want to know what I’m getting in return for giving you my money. Is it equity? How much equity are you offering? Is it the chance to be part of the latest cool innovation? Tell your audience what they’re getting in return for their support.

6) KISS – Keep It Simple (Stupid) Don’t get too technical in your introduction video. If an investor wants to know more details they can always contact you directly to ask for it. You want to appeal to a wide audience and in order to do so, you should keep it simple.

7) Look good You are the star of the show and you should look it! Wash your hair. Brush your teeth…and smile! Because then you truly are irresistible.

8) Show us your stuff If you have a prototype or a sample product, show it off. Introduce computer animated rendering if you don’t. Use your video to clearly share with viewers what your product / brand / idea is all about.

9) Respect copyrights Don’t use music that you are not licensed to use. The same goes for photography. Check with the creators that it’s okay for you to include their work in your video.

10) Go professional if you can At FundedByMe we support you doing everything on a tight budget – we’ve been there too! Creating a beautiful video doesn’t need to cost you an arm and a leg. But it needs to look good. Ask a friend or a design student to help you create an awesome video if you can’t do it yourself. And if you can afford a professional one, go for it. In the end, your video could make or break your campaign.


Do you have any additional tips for creating an amazing crowdfunding video? Are you an entrepreneur with strong opinions about what a great introduction video should contain? Why not leave us a comment below?

View other presentation tips here.

FundedByMe Equity video – a simple explanation

In November 2012 we launched FundedByMe Equity to supplement the booming traditional crowdfunding site that was the original concept for FundedByMe. We spotted a huge potential to offer crowd investors the chance to own a piece of equity in the brands they love and support and thus FundedByMe Equity was born. (See our great FundedByMe Equity video below!)

In the five months since then we have closed five successful equity rounds for some of the most exciting brands around and our investor crowd has invested a total of SEK17 million / over Euro 2 million. And there is no sign of slowing down…we have many exciting new rounds just waiting to launch.

In case you missed it, here are some of the latest FundedByMe Equity rounds we’ve closed since November:

Virtuous Vodka

A Private Story

Nordic Design Collective

FundedByMe (yes, it was FundedByMe ON FundedByMe!)

Elinnovation AB

FundedByMe Equity video

Watch this easy introduction video to FundedByMe Equity – and share it with everyone who needs to be part of the next big thing!

Are you looking for equity crowdfunding for your business? Why not approach us to help you find the right investors?