We are very happy to present you the interview of Vemagnet and share with you our vision, thoughts, anxieties, obstacles and successful moments we have passed through. We would like to thank you for the support and we want to promise that we are going to give our best to deliver the highest quality of our services.
The content of the interview is as follows:
What is the Vemagnet, when was it founded and what is the purpose?
The Vemagnet is a new reward-based crowdfunding platform founded in October 2017 by Stavros and Anastasia Berberoglou and it is based in London. Its mission is to simplify and optimise the funding process for innovative businesses through an electronic platform, based on AI tools and a global network of partners. Our goal is to eliminate the possibility of a start-up failure by providing effective guidance and specialized consultancy services.
How does the platform work? How can someone join your platform and what is offered to users of Vemagnet? Are there any specific criteria?
Our users have to simply create an account, giving only the very necessary information (name & e-mail). The platform is dedicated exclusively to innovative and sustainable startups operating primarily on the B2C model and from the other side, to people who want to support entrepreneurship and receive products and services before they are launched to the market from as little as 10€. The process starts as following: the startup representative creates the fundraising campaign in cooperation with our mentors, sets the funding target, the rewards given to the crowd and the timetable for the project implementation. The business should be incorporated in one of the 25 countries we support and the funding target starts from 30.000€, while an MVP must have been already developed. Our key advantages over other platforms are that we do not charge startups any commission on the raised amount, we provide guidance and consultancy services during the whole procedure and finally, we integrate specific marketing tools into the campaigns to optimize their probability of success. We are looking forward to expanding our network to more countries in early 2018.
What was the idea, the inspiration behind the creation?
The idea was born in early 2016 when we noticed the difficulty of SMEs in obtaining funding through European funds and the traditional financing sector. The need of developing a new financing model became more prominent when we realized that this problem is not limited to a single country but is a pan-European phenomenon. The technology evolution can give us a fully decentralized business financing system, without the intermediation of the large financial institutions, giving the chance to the community itself to choose whether to fund a project or not. That is what we thought and we rolled up our sleeves!
What obstacles did you face in the early beginning and how did you overcome them?
There are many obstacles we needed to overcome in various areas. The fact that we were living in a small town did not give us the opportunity to easily get in touch with accelerators, incubators, but even with investors who will believe in our idea. This has resulted in several pivots and turns in Vemagnet’s business model until we came up with what we are doing. In addition, when a person starts a new business, he must be willing to make a number of changes to his personal life in order to cope with the new facts, such as quitting a safe job, changing place or a way of life. Nevertheless, I think we have found our balance and we are making positive steps in both professional and personal aspect.
Vemagnet was selected by the Web Summit, the world’s largest tech conference, as one of the promising Fintech start-ups. Tell us about it.
It was a great pleasure for us to attend and participate in Web Summit in the early November 2017. Furthermore, it was very positive the fact that during the conference we officially launched our platform and we contacted many innovative and fresh startups that participated in the conference. From our point of view, Web Summit is the ultimate conference for startups that want to communicate their products or services to the world, to get in touch with investors and, of course, to create new partnerships through networking. All these factors, in combination with the beautiful Lisbon, make us highly recommend this conference.
What do you want Vemagnet to achieve in 5 years from now?
We have just started so we cannot make predictions easily. However, our plan is to be able to establish Vemagnet in the European market as one of the most credible and pioneering crowdfunding platforms. At a later stage, we are going to integrate the ability to raise capital by giving back equity of company’s share capital or by issuing bonds. Finally, over a period of 3 to 5 years, an autonomous investment system will be developed that will enable Big Data and allocate the investment funds according to the risk of each investment.
Can someone launch a startup without money and investors?
Without investors yes, without money no! From the very first days, an entrepreneur needs to spend money to transform the idea into a business. However, a large budget is not necessary and in some occasions, it could be even dangerous, because it can easily be wasted if there is no experience of how, when and where the funds will be distributed. As far as the investors, they will come to the next stage when it is proved that the prototype is fully operational and necessary to the market.
What tips would you give to the young entrepreneurs?
Firstly, they have to rely on the human resources which are available and try to develop the first product, the prototype. They have to stay focused on their goal and passionately serve their vision. Furthermore, we would advise them to write down as soon as possible the business model, the competition, and the market research. So, they are able to define the basic principles on which the project will be developed. Finally, regarding the fundraising and the launch of the startup, a crowdfunding campaign is considered to be the best solution to introduce something new to the general public. That’s why we urge young entrepreneurs to get in touch with us and we will build together their business strategy.