SeedBlink Chief Business Officer (CBO) Laurentiu Ghenciu Source: SeedBlink
BUCHAREST (Romania), November 21 (SeeNews) - Romanian investing platform for tech startups SeedBlink plans to further expand in Europe in 2023, both organically and through new acquisitions, chief business officer (CBO) Laurentiu Ghenciu told SeeNews.
"Next year is about accelerating European expansion, launching the first early-stage funds as offerings, implementing the strategy to attract larger investors and scale-ups and expanding into new markets with a local presence. The strong network effect is driven by the technology and ecosystem we are building to offer opportunities for collaboration between founders and investors, private and institutional," Ghenciu told SeeNews in an e-mailed recent interview.
In August, SeedBlink acquired the Netherlands-based investment crowdfunding platform Symbid in a push to significantly broaden its investor pool and consolidate its European footprint.
The moves outline a clear strategy, also described by SeedBlink CBO, based on three pillars: organic growth in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE), mergers and acquisitions (M&A) for Western Europe, and cross-border activities generating a strong network effect in the EU.
"There are fewer alternative investment solutions in CEE. That’s why we are going for organic growth in these markets, with offices already in Bulgaria and Greece and soon the Czech Republic. When it comes to Western European markets, they are larger and more mature from a venture capital perspective, with more alternative funding sources for startups and more opportunities and tools/platforms for private investors to invest," Ghenciu explained.
"Therefore, we try to enter these markets by leveraging the existing brands and investor networks of other crowdfunding platforms or business angel clubs," he added, stressing that the company is actively looking into similar opportunities such as the Symbid acquisition.
In June, the company opened its second branch outside Romania in Athens, Greece, after expanding in Sofia, Bulgaria, in May.
By focusing on Europe, SeedBlink aims to become "the European Tech Investment Infrastructure" that will transform the entrepreneurship ecosystem by financing and supporting the growth of tech companies that will, in turn, help Europe revive its innovation and catch up with the current strong markets, namely the U.S. and Asia.
However, the European market has specific challenges for growing and sustaining technology innovation after the scale-up phase, primarily related to securing funding, building strong boards and advisors, and overcoming institutional challenges in a very fragmented market, Ghenciu said.
But the tide is turning, he added, as private markets are opening and providing opportunities for different segments of the population to share in the benefits of equities. Technological innovation, regulatory advances and macroeconomic factors also play a positive role in the European startup ecosystem growth.
Earlier this month, SeedBlink received a licence from Romania's financial regulator, ASF, to provide crowdfunding services under the European Crowdfunding Services Providers Regulation (ECSPR). The licence will enable SeedBlink to strengthen its operational framework and pursue its European strategy.
SeedBlink is now the first CEE alternative co-investment platform authorized under the new regulation. At European level, four other platforms have received this licence from local jurisdictions - in Spain, Latvia, the Netherlands and France.
The not so optimistic economic outcome might be an obstacle for this plan, as it could affect the appetite for investing in riskier assets such as venture capital, but SeedBlink plans to mitigate this by securing sufficient funding to sustain operations and ensure that its investors have access to better deals as funding will generally be scarce, Ghenciu added.
Despite this, the macroeconomic context supports investing in startups to avoid inflation if the selected startups have a healthy strategy to avoid being heavily impacted by the crisis. Investing in startups is a medium-term investment, targeting liquidity events in 5-7 years, Ghenciu explained. "There is momentum for collaboration among various players at the EU level, more co-investors participating in rounds and adjusted valuations."
Launched in early 2020, SeedBlink is a specialized technology investment platform that enables individual investors to put money in leading European startups and scaleups alongside established institutional investors.
The company has thus far mobilised 145 million euro ($150 million) from more than 63,000 investors from 73 countries and has a portfolio of 255 funded European companies.
SeedBlink has offices in Romania, Bulgaria, Greece, Ireland and the Netherlands.
PublishedNovember 22, 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.