Experts see this as the beginning of a consolidation battle in the industry.
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.
"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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Co-founder of Aqurate
As a startup founder, I am happy to witness SeedBlink’s dedication to expanding their support for early-stage companies beyond funding, towards a healthy equity management via Nimity. A solution to help better navigate relations with stakeholders, employees and future investors is needed in Europe. Less admin work and bringing transparency to the cap table are immediate benefits I was able to test.
SeedBlink is a transparent solution that connects entrepreneurs with great business plans, with investors, at different stages in their development. It is a great tool for us, a democratization of access to funding, I would say.
We really loved the SeedBlink journey. We reached our fundraising goal within hours of launching. About 100 investors joined our vision and invested almost $2 million in FLOWX.AI through the Private Deal Room. At the same time, working with SeedBlink to prepare for the funding round was an excellent exercise for our entire team, and we received and felt the support from the SeedBlink team members who took on an advisory role.
SeedBlink made the (investment) process run smoothly. We appreciate all the support SeedBlink's professional team has provided.
Founder and CEO
It's important to look for and choose a platform that you resonate with, that shares your mission with, a platform & its people with which you feel you can have good working relationships. we got an excellent relationship going forward; we talked a lot and we were in touch on a lot of matters and I think this was important. Having people who believe in your idea is of great help.
Founder and CEO
Running the financing round was like any other fundraising; we had to be active in our community as well as in SeedBlink's investor community. After the launch, everything happened very quickly, and SeedBlink organized several pitch events for investors, which we found very useful for the round momentum.
Founder and CEO
We immediately clicked with the SeedBlink team as their fundraising expertise was immediately obvious and their no-nonsense approach really appealed to us. After all, fundraising is only a means to an end, and we liked how the SeedBlink team was really focusing on supporting us and on getting things done.
Our main expectation has been to raise the amount we were aiming for, and both rounds launched on Seedblink exceeded our targets, so we’re very happy with that! Even though the launched funding campaigns have been purely crowdfunding rounds, we are thrilled to actually receive extra support from some of the investors, who have chosen to get involved and help us generate product awareness, whenever they can.
I am recommending SeedBlink without hesitation, to every founder that raises capital, especially early-stage tech startups. SeedBlink is a crowd investment platform that will also provide their startup with visibility, for Angels and VCs.
Founder and CEO
In the early stages, we have been funded by several early (angel) investors, and one and a half year ago through an equity crowdfunding campaign on SeedBlink. Of course, this impacted our growth in many positive ways, partly due to the cash influx that, evidently, was sorely needed, but in a larger part due to the fact that our responsibility towards our shareholders has become more stringent and explicit, becoming embodied in our market approach.
Co-founder and CEO
Given the accelerated growth we observed at the end of last year and the beginning of 2021, we want a new capitalization, quickly. This is a bridge round that we will use for one year, and the advantages that SeedBlink offers are the speed at which we were able to list for financing and the experience that we gain as a result of this public listing, similar to a listing on the stock exchange.
Co-Founder & CEO
As a platform that only serves technology ventures, SeedBlink can connect the start-up with more than just money. SeedBlink investors are primarily technocrats who understand the objectives of the fundraising company and are also able to post-funding contribute with business opportunities. The minimum investment threshold, and technology focus, differentiates SeedBlink from other fundraising platforms. A perfect fit for a technology start-up seeking intelligent funding.
Co-Founder & CEO
SeedBlink boosted our brand exposure and facilitated the financial support we were seeking. Having a campaign on the platform allowed us not only to meet a team of professionals - that guided and helped us prepare the necessary materials - but also opened doors for increasing our brand awareness and have discussions with VCs & angel investors we have never reached before. This campaign gave us the encouragement we needed to push the product further, while the record-breaking fundraising (only 2 hours from the launch of the campaign!) was a great confirmation that our product is needed in this market and that we should continue innovating.
CEO & Co-founder
SeedBlink has created a vital ecosystem for startups at the beginning of their journey by equipping entrepreneurs with expertise, encouraging honest and sometimes uncomfortable but necessary discussions about risks and vulnerabilities through a suite of tools, and facilitating connections with investors who share the founders' vision and can contribute to their success. I have greatly appreciated the constant support of Eric and the entire team at all stages of the campaign. Thank you so much!
SeedBlink S.A. is registered in the Register of the Romanian Financial Supervisory Authority (ASF), under number PJR28FSFPR/400001, as of 03.11.2022 with an EU passport as per European Securities and Market Authority (ESMA) register of crowdfunding services providers.