Startup stock exchange Funderbeam today announced that early-stage startups have raised over €5 million ($5.8 million) from investors in nearly 100 countries through its blockchain-powered platform.
Funderbeam allows companies to fundraise and trade using blockchain technology. Founded in 2013 and launched in 2016, the Estonia-based company has already secured seed funding of more than $7 million from noteworthy investors, including Jaan Tallinn, cofounder of Skype; venture capitalist Tim Draper; and Mistletoe’s Taizo Son.
It is important to note what Funderbeam is and what it is not. A primary and secondary marketplace for early-stage investments, Funderbeam offers the opportunity for startups to raise growth capital, thereby providing immediate liquidity to investors worldwide. In essence, it is a stock exchange for pre-IPO growth companies, and anyone can invest and trade through the platform.
“The key here is ‘pre-IPO’, meaning companies that are not publicly trading and no stocks have been created,” Funderbeam cofounder Urmas Peiker told VentureBeat in an interview. “It’s a private market for investing in companies (similar to Seedrs) and a secondary market that allows investors to trade their investment. The secondary market is based on one-to-one trades and has no partial matching.” Peiker noted that “an exchange is a metaphor for people to understand what we do, but it’s important that it is only used as a metaphor.”
What is significant about Funderbeam is that it gives early-stage companies across the globe a chance to compete and grow, even when they would have difficulty accessing traditional financial support.
For investors, Funderbeam offers complete control over their investments, meaning they can cash out whenever they want. It also allows for smaller investments, reducing the barrier to entry.
Funderbeam credits blockchain technology with making this possible.
“Blockchain enables us to facilitate investing, trading, and post-trade activities without intermediates,” Kaidi Ruusalepp, founder and CEO at Funderbeam, told VentureBeat. “It provides the necessary trust that is in the traditional financial sector provided by the institutions. In the future, and thus in the case of Funderbeam, technology is the global trust provider.”
Of course, with any fundraising and trading solution, providing users with risk management advice is an important part of the puzzle.
“One of our goals from the beginning has been to provide standardized and transparent information to all the investors so that they could be equally informed and actually understand the underlying risks before making their investment decision,” Ruusalepp said. “This is paramount in both the pre and post-investment phase, particularly where there is an existing secondary market for ongoing liquidity.”
Ruusalepp is also aware of the importance of helping users manage risk in an ICO-powered environment.
“In light of the recent rise of ICOs, it is clear now more than ever that early-stage investments, along with efficient and functioning secondary markets, need more transparency, validation, and standardized approaches,” Ruusalepp said. “Funderbeam unites the technology with the industry, regulators, and community members.”
So, what’s next for Funderbeam?
“Funderbeam is uniting like-minded investors from different countries (more than 100) and rounds,” Ruusalepp said. “This means we will not only provide investment and trading with early-stage startups but move, step-by-step, closer to SMB and institutional investors.”