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Romanian investment platform SeedBlink acquires Dutch platform Symbid.

Experts see this as the beginning of a consolidation battle in the industry.

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Article published in The Dutch Financial Times, on August 16.

In the Netherlands, there is no more than room for ten parties," says lecturer Lex van Teeffelen. More than forty crowdfunding providers are active in the corporate market, most of which are too small to cover costs.

SeedBlink already has offices in Greece, Bulgaria and Austria, and expects to be active in France and the Czech Republic soon. We want to be present in all countries of the European Union," says Radu Georgescu , the chairman of this crowdfunder, "we will announce new acquisitions in the next year and a half.

Ultimately, Radu Georgescu aims for a global platform with a local presence. This is because investors prefer to invest their money in companies they know," he says. In this way, we hope to gather references from reputable parties who can also persuade foreign investors to join us.

The amount paid to acquire Symbid has not been disclosed. It is a significant amount," says founder Robin Slakhorst. The entire amount will be paid in shares of SeedBlink, and Slakhorst will retain a stake in the new combination.

While many crowdfunding providers focus mainly on selling loans in all sectors, SeedBlink and Symbid focus only on shares in technology companies. These transactions have a high risk profile: more than 30% of the companies that raised money through Symbid have since been declared insolvent.

Symbid is relatively small. Since its inception in 2011, this platform has sold shares worth €35 million in two hundred deals. In 2020, the volume traded fell to less than €300,000, but last year there was a recovery to almost €2 million.

We have been around since 2011, making us one of the oldest crowdfunders in Europe," says Slakhorst. While exploring the market, we were plagued by setbacks that other parties could learn from.

For example, Symbid was listed in the United States in 2013 with the intention of expanding globally. At the time, legislation seemed imminent that would also allow the sale of shares in America through our platform," Slakhorst says. But that legislation took too long, and in 2015 we decided to delist again. In the meantime, the company had paid up to $2 million in related costs.

New rules

"Symbid has a long history," says Georgescu of SeedBlink . "They know their stuff, and that's very helpful in our expansion plans. Ten years ago, our expansion plans failed in the maze of local legislation, but now they will succeed," Slakhorst adds. In this way, we get a second chance, so to speak.

According to experts, the Symbid acquisition is the starting point for a consolidation battle in the industry. This consolidation is mainly caused by the introduction of new European rules in November 2023. These rules harmonise the regulations in the member states of the European Union and make it attractive for local crowdfunders to also look for possible takeover candidates across borders.

To qualify for a licence, crowdfunding providers will have to better protect their investors, publish more data, and accurately describe and monitor all their processes. That comes at an additional cost," says Gijsbert Koren of the crowdfunding website in Figures. "And I do not think many of the smaller platforms can afford that."

Many small parties

Crowdfunding in Figures shows that there are sixteen crowdfunders with more than €10 million invested in 2021. NLInvesteert was the absolute leader with an amount of more than €125 million. Thirteen parties invested amounts between €1 and €10 million, while investments in thirteen other crowdfunders were less than €1 million in 2021.

'I know there is talk in the industry about acquisitions,' says Lex van Teeffelen, lecturer in SME finance at the Hogeschool van Utrecht. I just do not know which parties are talking to each other. According to Van Teeffelen, this is a logical development, because a platform must raise at least 50 million euros annually. Otherwise, crowdfunders will not be able to recoup their costs.

PublishedAugust 16, 2022


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SeedBlink Crowd SA (registration number PJR28FSFPR/400001 from 3rd of November, 2022) is authorised and supervised by the Romanian Financial Supervisory Authority (ASF).

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