Symbid to Power Herofunding – P2P Equity for Game Developers

Dutch Symbid will power the new platform Herofunding.eu. Herofunding is a new crowd funding platform of Idea Fabrik Plc., creators of the HeroEngine, an integrated platform for online game development and operation. The platform is scheduled to go live in in the beginning of April 2012 and solely concentrates on the video game industry. Interested game developers are already invited to sign up their projects. Once Herofunding is launched the crowd can directly invest in these game projects in exchange for an equity stake in the project. Hint: since Symbid users will also be able to invest, you can already sign up as an investor at Symbid, if you are interested to invest in game projects – then you won’t miss the launch. HEROFUNDING.eu uses a plug and play, white label crowd funding solution for video games developed by Gambitious.

Investments are possible for as little as 20 Euro. Both the investor and the developer (company) must be located in the EU.

Review of Symbid: My first investment in a startup

Time for me to personally test Symbid (see earlier coverage) and try out how smooth the process is and how easy it is to invest in a startup with Symbid.

No matter how remote you live – be it India or Argentina – you can invest in an internet startup online within minutes and get shares – all you need is a credit card

This article is a step by step review of the signup and investment process.

If you have not read the previous articles, watch the brief video on the Symbid homepage which explains the concept.
First step to use Symbid is the free registration. Most parts of the website can be used without a registration, but registration is needed to view detailed company information and to invest.

To register either click on “Join Symbid” via “Start Investing”. Instead of the registration form I expected to see, I got this screen:

It wasn’t obvious at first to me that I need to click on the symbid key symbol to reach the registration form (I did not want to use my Facebook or Twitter account). Next hurdle was the missing country field in sign-up (Symbid is open to international investors – seems they forgot adding it when opening to international). I solved it by adding country into the city field (city, country).

Once registered, I could add some information about me on the profile.

To start investing the next necessary step is to ‘upload’ money (minimum is 20 Euro which equals approx 29 US$). To upload money you first request a security code. They send an email with a link. After I clicked on it I could setup a personal 4 digit code.

With that code the process to upload money is started (‘upgrade Balance’). The selection allows for 20 Euro steps, as 20 Euro is the minimum unit that can be invested.

Continue reading

Interview with Korstiaan Zandvliet, Managing Director Symbid

Symbid was first covered in the P2P-Banking blog two weeks ago. I  interviewed Korstiaan Zandvliet to get a deeper insight into the service.

What is Symbid about?

Symbid is the first online investment platform where the crowd directly invests in the equity of a start-up or existing company! Everybody can be an investor, each part has a nominal value of 20 EUR and you decide how many parts you would like to invest. The minimum is 20 EUR, the maximum is 2,500,000 EUR! The Symbid way of directly investing in equity is unique. It makes investors partial owners of the fully financed (newly founded) company. Entrepreneurs use Symbid as a quick, simple and fun new way to obtain start or growth capital with help from the crowd. Additionally, once fully funded an entrepreneur has the luxury to interact with his community of investors within a closed online collaboration workspace!

How did you get the idea for Symbid?

During my master degree in Entrepreneurship and new business venturing I noticed that many of my classmates did have an entrepreneurial dream but were reluctant to act upon it due to financial constrains. On the other hand I noticed that people became more connected using social networks such as Facebook and Twitter. By combining these ideas I came to the conclusion that social networks could also be used to communicate investment propositions to a large audience.

What’s the process for entrepreneurs?

Symbid provides an online platform where companies and individuals are able to submit a business idea (proposition). When you register your idea at Symbid, you indicate how much capital is required to start or grow your business. Users search for ideas they believe are viable in generating future profits. Investing is possible from €20,- per part and payable through all accepted payment methods.

Symbid uses a secure separate bank account for all investments on the platform. This way investors and entrepreneurs are assured that investments are used for no other purpose than the financing of business ideas. Until the funding goal is met, an investor has the possibility to freely withdraw his investment from Idea A and for example invest it in Idea B. This situation could occur when an entrepreneur has not made the right adjustments to satisfy his investor. When the target amount is met, the total invested amount, investments are fixed and can no longer be withdrawn.

When an idea is fully funded and all the final investors are known, they are gathered in one legal entity. The process occurs online and is completed when the entrepreneur and investors are being granted access to a secured online collaboration community. Subsequently, the entity buys the predetermined amount of shares with the attracted funding. People within the collaboration community can join forces to bring the newborn company to a successful organization. This online community offers various collaboration tools to actively manage and monitor the progress of the company and interact as one with the entrepreneur or management team. Every individual share is tradable, which makes it even more interesting to invest through Symbid and become a shareholder in a newly founded or existing company.

How is Symbid more attractive than other potential sources of capital (VCs, business angels, banks, …) for founders?

With Symbid, entrepreneurs are able to onboard a large group of shareholders combined into one entity. This group of people can be used for market research but also as launching customer group.  By giving away equity to his investors, the entrepreneur can make sure all incentives and motivations are aligned from an entrepreneur perspective as well as from an investor perspective. Hereby an entrepreneur’s crowd becomes a think-tank for the respective company.

In comparison to the cost of capital, the 5% success fee is for most businesses lower than the average costs of receiving capital via a bank. If these businesses would get financing from the bank at all.

Who is able to invest? And what are the advantages?

Symbid allows investments from 20 Euro onward. Everyone can invest however for the moment we only serve Dutch companies. All investments done via Symbid are transferred into shares with voting rights, direct transfer- ability and dividends. This leads to the highest chance of a sound financial return, financing success and liquidity. Continue reading

P2P Lending Sites in Europe

Visualizations are great to show data that would otherwise just be a long list. I decided to create a map of the p2p lending landscape in Europe. It shows active and discontinued p2p lending services in Europe (including p2p microfinance). Not listed are sites that are in pre-launch stage. All of these marketplaces have been featured earlier in the P2P-Banking.com blog. If you want more information about any of them just enter the name in the search box on the top right of this blog.

Notice to other websites: You are free to copy and use this map, provided you agree not to alter or resize the image and you will set a link to this article.

Notice to p2p lending sites: If you want to be included in a future version of this map, contact me to learn how.

Boober Failure Hurts Lenders

As reported earlier Dutch site Boober.nl failed. Richard van den Toorn, speaking for the association of lenders PIVN, estimates that about 1,200 lenders are affected. While part of the total loan volume of 1.65 million Euro had been repayed over the loan term before the failure, overall borrower’s willingness to pay dwindled after the failure. Still PIVN hopes to recover 50-80% of the outstanding amounts on behalf of the lenders.

(Source: ANP via Nu.nl)

Dutch P2P Lending Site Boober Fails

In the Netherlands p2p lending service Boober apparently has ceased operations. The website Boober.nl has been inaccessible for days and no one was available for comment as the phone went unanswered.

There are reports by lenders, who complain that loans are not serviced as usual. Even one borrower is seeking help, because he cannot get the monthly payment through to Boober.

As of the moment it was not possible to determine how outstanding loans will be dealt with.

Demand at Boober NL slows

Demand at Boober.nl is slowing. When I checked today only two loan listings were open. The following curve showing unique loan requests definitly shapes in the wrong direction. Boober lenders discus this development in this forum thread.


(Source Booberwatch.nl)

Since the launch 15 months ago, about 2.4 million Euro (about 3.8M US$) loan volume has been funded through Boober.

German Smava.de has funded about the same volume (2.3 million Euro) but after a slower start 14 months ago, lately the volume growth accelerated moderately.

Smava loan volume
(Smava loan volume, Source: Smava loan stats at Wiseclerk.com).

On Smava as well as on Boober average borrower interest rates have risen considerably since the start. This reduces the attractiveness for borrowers.

Does ABN Amro Bank offer p2p lending?

Yesterday the headline of Dutch De Financiele Telegraph read "ABN AMRO brings together borrowers and lenders". ABN Amro is a large bank in the Netherlands. The article mentioned Boober and that ABN Amro is offering a different service.

So what is ABN Amro offering? P2P lending?

Actually the service in question can be found on this page and it is a free download document that lenders and borrowers can use to agree on a loan contract between them. Other the supplying the download ABN Amro is not involved in any resulting loans. In fact the site states (in Dutch):

… The general information on this page has not been meant as a recommendation. ABN Amro will not take liability …

I guess that can be filed under marketing using the 'peer-to-peer loan' buzz or at best under customer service.