Invesdor: “We can now support the entrepreneur from seed stage to IPO”
2Pears – the team that creates opportunities and events to inform, educate and connect entrepreneurs, startups and investors in music, media and technology, including all things 4.5 – recently partnered with Invesdor, the first fully licenced EEA-wide debt and equity crowdfunding service. We’re thrilled with this on so many levels, not least because it brings a new, vibrant investor presence to our TechPitch 4.5 series of start-up pitching competitions. We sat down with the person leading Invesdor’s UK helm, Henrik Ottosson, to chat about how Invesdor works, what it looks for in a start-up, and its unique, personalised offering to both start-ups and investors.
-Thanks for taking the time to talk with us today, Henrik. It’s been a few months since 2Pears announced our partnership with your company, Invesdor. For the uninitiated, what is Invesdor?
Invesdor is Europe’s first fully EU-wide regulated crowdfunding platform. Crowdfunding is a modern way to raise funding online from an expanding network of international investors.
We help businesses from all fields and development stages – from technology start-ups to listed companies in more traditional industries – to raise funding online, efficiently and securely. We are the market leader in equity crowdfunding in the Nordics and a strong challenger in the tech sector in the UK.
-How does Invesdor work exactly, especially if you’re a start-up on the “receiving” end? How much input does Invesdor have to a start-up’s evolution and – ideally – its exit?
I usually describe the crowdfunding process as the tip of the iceberg. We don’t just put a pitch on our platform and hope it will be successful. In fact, our data shows that 90% of the campaigns would fail if we did that. What you don’t see is the long haul before we go live; all the endless planning and preparation. On average it takes us around 70 days to get the entrepreneur ready. We get really involved in the businesses that we work with.
The journey with Invesdor usually starts with a marketing workshop where our marketing team works out a plan together with the entrepreneur. Once the plan is in place and the pitch is ready, it gets released to the entrepreneurs’ lead investors in what we call a “hidden phase”. The aim of this phase is to get the lead investors onboard so that they can validate the pitch. Once we see that things are working, we then take the pitch public. When the fundraising is complete we will also provide the entrepreneur with all the investor relations tools needed to communicate with his or her new shareholders.
Invesdor divides our companies into four categories. Seed Stage, Early, Growth and IPO. Our ambition is to be able to support the company with funding through all the stages. We recently closed the first ever crowdfunded IPO on the NASDAQ. We helped the technology company Siili Solutions with their exit plans. There has not been much technological innovation in IPOs in the past. Now we are demonstrating that we can make IPOs much more accessible and fun. You no longer need a broker in a pinstripe suit; our pink Invesdor t-shirts worked perfectly fine.
-You’ve quickly become a familiar face at our TechPitch 4.5 pitching competition events. What has your impression of these events been, and how have they perhaps differed from similar events you’ve been to?
Over 50% of our deal flow is in the technology sector, so we are always on the outlook for new and interesting tech companies. We attend lots of technology events in Europe. What is striking with TechPitch 4.5 is the quality of the pitches and the companies that we are meeting there. TechPitch 4.5 also provides an amazing opportunity to network in a very informal environment. We love to stay and chat over beer and pizza until we get kicked out.
-When you’re at TechPitch 4.5, what are you looking for in a start-up? Has it also been useful in terms of meeting other investors?
It may sound cliché, but it’s all about team, team, and team. Fundraising is really hard work and if we are going to work with an entrepreneur day and night for three months it has to be with the right people.
We are always on the outlook for investors. Needless to say, we love their money, but more importantly they are usually the best people to introduce interesting companies to us. That’s what crowdfunding is all about. Together we make things happen.
-You were here (in London) when Brexit was announced. Has this affected Invesdor in terms of commitment to the UK’s innovation ecosystem, or has it made you more discerning over how many start-ups you’re likely to invest in? Or none of the above, but something else entirely
It’s key for any FinTech company like Invesdor to be able to scale quickly. Invesdor was the first crowdfunding platform to be regulated all over Europe. In simple terms, we were given a “European passport” to provide our services across all of Europe.
We will continue to be able to “travel freely” across Europe, but we now need to follow the developments very closely in the UK. Following Brexit, it became even more important for us to have a physical presence in the UK, which is why we will soon be opening up a branch in the UK.
UK is an amazing place for entrepreneurs to operate in. We are confident that the government will continue to support businesses here.
-If a start-up wants to get in touch with Invesdor, what’s the best way to approach you?
Come and find me at TechPitch 4.5. I never miss an event!