Symbid

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Symbid
Symbid, The Funding Network logo.jpg
Type of business Public
Type of site
Equity crowdfunding platform
Available in Multilingual (4)
Traded as OTCQBSBID
Founded April 1, 2011
(7 years ago)
 (2011-04-01)
Headquarters Rotterdam, Netherlands
Area served Eurozone (2011–present)
Founder(s)
  • Korstiaan Zandvliet
  • Robin Slakhorst (CCO)
  • Maarten van der Sanden (COO)
  • Sjoerd Geurts
Key people
Industry Crowdfunding
Subsidiaries
  • Equidam
  • Krediet Paspoort
Website symbid.com
Users 30,000 (active, March 2015)
Current status Active

Symbid (also known as The Funding Network) is an online funding platform providing access to traditional and alternative finance for small and medium-sized enterprises. Headquartered in Rotterdam, Netherlands, Symbid was founded in April 2011 by Dutch entrepreneurs Robin Slakhorst and Korstiaan Zandvliet as one of the first equity crowdfunding platforms worldwide.

History

Early years

In 2007, Symbid's founders Robin Slakhorst and Korstiaan Zandvliet met while studying Entrepreneurship & New Business Venturing MSc at Rotterdam School of Management.[1] They have stated that witnessing classmates fail to start their own businesses post-graduation due to a lack of funding was the main inspiration behind Symbid.[citation needed]

Between 2007 and 2010 Zandvlliet and Slakhorst coordinated a fiscal-legal structure allowing non-accredited investors to invest online in start-ups and small businesses. While a number of crowdfunding platforms began to appear online from 2006 onwards, these were associated with creative projects and rewards or donation-based crowdfunding. Few countries had introduced formal equity crowdfunding legislation at this time.[2] Symbid was founded in April 2011 as one of the first equity crowdfunding platforms worldwide.[3]

Symbid was formally incorporated in Utrecht, the Netherlands, as a cooperative entity (Coöperatie) in accordance with Dutch law. A cooperative structure means Symbid is able to complete investment transactions online and store invested capital in a separate third-party (trust) account as an electronically stored monetary value (e-money).[4] As of March 2015, Intersolve, a company operating under license as an electronic money institution and supervised by the De Nederlandsche Bank and the Netherlands Authority for the Financial Markets, was responsible for managing this trust account.[5]

In November 2011, Symbid was granted the Shell LiveWIRE 2011 Audience Award alongside a cash prize after receiving 40% the online vote.[6]

Expansion

During 2012 Symbid established itself as one of several platforms in the rapidly expanding European equity crowdfunding industry.[7]

Symbid became involved in coordinating Dutch crowdfunding legislation at this time, in addition to co-founding initiatives aimed at improving transparency and platform standards within the equity crowdfunding industry. These initiatives include the Crowdfunding Accreditation for Platform Standards (CAPS) in conjunction with Crowdsourcing.org and the European Crowdfunding Network (ECN), a Europe-wide organisation involved in policy discussion and public opinion-building. Symbid is also a member of EBAN, the European Trade Association for Business Angels, Seed Funds and Early Stage Market Players.

Between 2011 and 2013 Symbid grew in size, hiring campaign managers to assist entrepreneurs in their equity crowdfunding efforts. In October 2012, Forbes named Symbid as one of the companies most likely to profit from the pending legalization of equity crowdfunding in the United States in accordance with the U.s. JOBS Act.[8]

Ownership interests

Symbid had ownership interests in Gambitious Coöperatie U.A. and 12% of Gambitious B.V.—the Dutch divisions of crowd funding and video game publishing company Gambitious Digital Entertainment (now Good Shepherd Entertainment) Symbid sold their ownership in 2014. It still has ownership interest in the online business valuation tool Equidam, and the initiative funded by the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs, which operates a tool which enables entrepreneurs to present critical business information to investors in a standardized format, namely Kredietpaspoort, through its parent company, Symbid Corp.[9]

Going public

On December 6, 2013 Symbid, through its parent company Symbid Corp., acquired a public listing in the United States on OTCQB Markets. As of July 2014, Symbid became one of the first publicly traded crowdfunding platforms worldwide.[10] In addition to going public, Symbid Corp. conducted a private placement offering (PPO), raising a gross total of (US)$2,926,695.[11] In accordance with this public listing, Symbid Corp. opened offices in New York City, United States.[12]

Further expansion & relocation

In February 2014 Symbid introduced a new user interface to its crowdfunding platform. Early 2014 saw Symbid feature several high-profile campaigns on its equity crowdfunding platform including Greendaddy which raised $333,960 (€245,000) in 47 hours in May 2014, setting a new record for the Dutch crowdfunding industry.[13] Other prominent campaigns included the Archimedes - a wind turbine research and development company.[14] - and Bidroom, a hotel booking platform on which hotels bid directly for guests.[15]

Symbid HQ in the Rotterdam Science Tower

Symbid relocated to its current headquarters in the Erasmus Centre for Entrepreneurship in the Rotterdam Science Tower in March 2014.[16]

Later in 2014, Symbid signed a cooperation agreement with A-Film Benelux, whereby Symbid will fund upcoming Dutch movie titles including ‘De Surprise’ from Oscar-winning director Mike van Diem.[17] In September of that same year, Symbid announced its equity crowdfunding platform had passed the €5 million funding milestone.[18]

The launch of The Funding Network

Symbid and financial advisory firm Credion signed a partnership agreement in December 2014, creating the largest Dutch online funding platform by transaction volume.[19] The partnership sees Credion using the Symbid platform to connect its nationwide network of investors and entrepreneurs, combining alternative and traditional sources of funding.[20] Credion Director Carlo van der Weg described the partnership as “streamlining the way in which entrepreneurs find that crucial investment." [21] Although not revealed at the time, this partnership was the precursor to the launch of The Funding Network in March 2015.[citation needed]

In March, 2015, Symbid relaunched its website and rebranded as Symbid, The Funding Network. Previously an equity crowdfunding platform, as of March 2015 Symbid began offering other financial products and services for start-ups and small businesses including financial advice, monitoring and traditional and alternative financing options.[22] In addition to a redesigned website, Symbid released a new monitoring product based on XBRL data.

As of March 2015, Symbid claims to have connected 30,000 private (crowdfunding) investors and 40 institutional investors to The Funding Network, plus other online funding platforms active in niche industries, such as FarmersFunding.[23] Following the launch, on 24 March Symbid and Economic Board Utrecht (EBU) announced a partnership to provide local, sustainable initiatives with loan capital via The Funding Network. EBU has committed $1 million in growth capital to entrepreneurs on The Funding Network in 2015.[24]

International expansion

Symbid announced the incorporation of Symbid Italia on 10 March 2015, in partnership with Gruppo Banca Sella. The launch of Symbid Italia represents the first international expansion of the Symbid equity crowdfunding platform.[25] Although connected to The Funding Network, Symbid Italia will function purely as an equity crowdfunding platform. Marco Bicocchi Pichi, Italian Business Angel of the Year 2014, occupies the role of Managing Director.[26] The partnership between Symbid and Gruppo Banca Sella involves Symbid's use of the banking group's payment solutions, banking services and network. In 2016, Symbid Italia was deemed economically inviable and on April 29, 2016, a shareholders meeting determined to liquidate Symbid Italia.[27]

Financial troubles

In 2014 and 2015 Symbid reported low turnover ($267,358 and $282,155 respectively) and a net losses of $2,821,794 (2014) and $2,299,275 (2015).[28] In April 2015 the complete non-executive board of directors resigned in what Symbid reports as a "differences with remaining management concerning the Company’s strategic direction".[29] Also in April 2016 it was reported that Symbid made their development team redundant.[30] More losses of $2,005,751 in the first half year of 2016 "raise substantial doubt about the Company’s ability to continue as a going concern".[31] On October 12, 2016, the remaining three directors decided to reduce their salary to zero,"retroactive to August 1, 2016".[32] They also stated that "the company is investigating the options available for further cost reductions.".[33]

At the same time, Symbid will have to apply for a license as investment firm under the MiFIDto continue our equity based crowdfunding activities as required by the Dutch AFM, the Netherlands Authority for the Financial Markets, for all equity-based crowdfunding activities.[34]

See also

References

  1. ^ Robin Slakhorst, co-founder of Symbid, discusses collaboration between old & new financial institutions at TEDxRSM. November 18, 2013. http://tedxtalks.ted.com/video/Collaborations-between-traditio;search%3Atag%3A%22tedxrsm%22
  2. ^ "What the U.S. Can Learn From the Netherlands About Equity Crowdfunding", Entrepreneur, September 27, 2013. http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/228627
  3. ^ "Filling the bank-shaped hole", The Economist. December 15, 2012. https://www.economist.com/news/briefing/21568365-europes-banks-are-shrinking-what-will-take-their-place-filling-bank-shaped-hole
  4. ^ 'How it works', Symbid. https://www.symbid.com/pages/how_it_works
  5. ^ 'Partners', Symbid. https://www.symbid.com/pages/partners
  6. ^ 'Symbid finalist in Shell LiveWIRE Award 2011', Symbid. https://www.symbid.com/press/3-symbid-finalist-in-shell-livewire-award-2011
  7. ^ "Unlocking the global trillion-dollar crowdfunding market", VentureBeat, December 24, 2012. https://venturebeat.com/2012/12/24/crowdfunding-market/
  8. ^ "10 Companies Poised to Profit from the JOBS Act", Forbes, October 04, 2012. https://www.forbes.com/sites/jjcolao/2012/04/10/back-to-the-jobs-act-10-companies-poised-to-take-advantage/
  9. ^ "Symbid Corp. Portoflio - Investor Relations". Symbid Corp. Retrieved 14 August 2015.
  10. ^ "Leading Continental Crowdfunder Eyes World Domination". AltFi News, 10 July 2014. http://www.altfi.com/news/289
  11. ^ "S-1", General form for registration of securities under the Securities Act of 1933, SEC filing, 26 May 2014. http://www.otcmarkets.com/edgar/GetFilingHtml?FilingID=10064106
  12. ^ "Symbid, Equity Crowdfunding Platform, Begins Trading on OTCQB", Crowdfund Insider, 24 February 2014. http://www.crowdfundinsider.com/2014/02/32690-symbid-equity-crowdfunding-platform-begins-trading-otcqb/
  13. ^ "Greendaddy Sets New Dutch Crowdfunding Record While Securing $331,707 For Bamboo-Based Clothing". Crowdfund Insider, 15 June 2014. http://www.crowdfundinsider.com/2014/06/41928-greendaddy-sets-new-dutch-crowdfunding-record-securing-331707-bamboo-based-clothing/
  14. ^ "Is this odd-looking wind turbine the most efficient you can buy?" The Washington Post. 10 June 2014. https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/innovations/wp/2014/06/10/is-this-odd-looking-wind-turbine-the-most-efficient-you-can-buy/
  15. ^ "Bidroom: the holiday booking site that gets hotels to bid for guests." The Guardian, 23 January 2014. https://www.theguardian.com/travel/2014/jan/23/bidroom-the-site-where-hotels-compete-for-guests
  16. ^ Dutch PM Mark Rutte opens Symbid HQ. 13 March 2014. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o9nizIQHuWk
  17. ^ "Symbid Partners with A-Film Benelux to Crowdfund Films." Crowdfund Insider, 24 May 2014. http://www.crowdfundinsider.com/2014/05/40266-symbid-partners-film-benelux-crowdfund-films/
  18. ^ (Press Release) "Symbid Breaks EUR 5 Million ($6.4 Million) Investment Crowdfunding Milestone", Symbid Corp., September 23, 2014. http://symbidcorp.com/symbid-breaks-eur-5-million-6-4-million-investment-crowdfunding-milestone/
  19. ^ (Press Release) "Symbid & Credion Create Largest Dutch Online Funding Platform", Symbid Corp., 11 December 2014. http://symbidcorp.com/symbid-credion-create-largest-dutch-online-funding-platform/
  20. ^ "Credion en Symbid creëren samen Nederlands’ grootste financieringsplatform voor MKB", Emerce, 11 December 2014. http://www.emerce.nl/wire/credion-symbid-creren-samen-nederlands-grootste-financieringsplatform-mkb
  21. ^ "Credion en Symbid creëren samen Nederlands grootste financieringsplatform voor MKB", Credion, 11 December 2014. http://www.credion.nl/actueel/2014/12/credion-en-symbid-creeren-samen-nederlands-grootste-financieringsplatform-voor-mkb
  22. ^ (Press Release) "Symbid Launches The Funding Network for Start-ups and Small Businesses", Symbid Corp., 04 March, 2015. http://symbidcorp.com/symbid-launches-funding-network-start-ups-small-businesses/
  23. ^ 'Services', Symbid Corp. http://www.symbidcorp.com/services www.symbidcorp.com/services
  24. ^ "Economic Board Utrecht biedt MKB’ers nieuwe financieringsmogelijkheid", EBU, 24 March 2015. http://www.economicboardutrecht.nl/nieuws/economic-board-utrecht-biedt-mkb%E2%80%99ers-nieuwe-financieringsmogelijkheid
  25. ^ (Press Release) "Symbid and Gruppo Banca Sella Create New Italian Investment Platform, Symbid Italia", Symbid Corp., 10 March 2015. http://symbidcorp.com/symbid-gruppo-banca-sella-create-new-italian-investment-platform-symbid-italia/
  26. ^ "Symbid & Gruppo Banca Sella Partner on Italian Investment Platform", Crowdfund Insider, 10 March 2015. http://www.crowdfundinsider.com/2015/03/64102-symbid-gruppo-banca-sella-partner-on-italian-investment-platform/
  27. ^ K-8 filing regarding the liquidation of Symbid Italia. https://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/1532595/000135448816007234/sbid_8k.htm, retrieved 21 October 2016
  28. ^ Crowdfund Insider: Symbid Releases Full Year 2015 Financial Results. http://www.crowdfundinsider.com/2016/03/83488-symbid-releases-full-year-2015-financial-results/, retrieved 21 October 2016
  29. ^ Symbid Form 8-K filing concerning the resignations from the board of directors. https://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/1532595/000135448816006917/sbid_8k.htm, retrieved 21 October 2016
  30. ^ Emerce: Symbid zet ontwikkelaars aan de kant. http://www.emerce.nl/nieuws/symbid-zet-ontwikkelaars-aan-kant, Retrieved 21 October 2016
  31. ^ Quarterly report, 2nd quarter 2016. https://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/1532595/000165495416001545/sbid_10q.htm, retrieved 21 October 2016
  32. ^ K-8 filing regarding the amendments to employment contracts of directors, https://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/1532595/000165495416002850/sbid_8k.htm, retrieved 21 October 2016
  33. ^ K-8 filing regarding the amendments to employment contracts of directors, https://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/1532595/000165495416002850/sbid_8k.htm, retrieved 21 October 2016
  34. ^ AFM: Wanneer heeft u een vergunning nodig voor crowdfunding? https://www.afm.nl/nl-nl/professionals/doelgroepen/crowdfundingplatformen/vergunning-vereisten/vergunning, retrieved 21 October 2016

External links

  • Official website
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