Wefunder raises funding for startups across sectors including sustainability, food industry and tech sectors. Twelve European companies are already listed on the platform.
European companies can now also raise money through the American crowdfunder Wefunder. This platform has been active in the United States since 2013 and is the first American crowdfunder to cross over to Europe. So far, 12 European companies are listed with Wefunder, including Dutch company Stack, a technology company building an alternative internet browser.
“We mostly raise for companies that are active in sustainability, in the food industry or in the technology sector,” says Asbjørn Holmlund, fundraiser at Wefunder’s European branch. ‘Those companies often have a loyal following.’
‘Kind of stock market’
Wefunder has its US headquarters in San Francisco and its European in Berlin. In January, the platform applied for its European license from the Dutch regulator Autoriteit Financiële Markten.
Whereas European crowdfunding usually involves loans, through Wefunder only risk capital can be raised. This includes shares or products linked to shares such as convertible loans or options. And so-called “revenue-based loans” are also in the range. Here, a company pays off more as sales increase.
“We mostly raise for companies that are active in sustainability, in the food industry or in the technology sector.”Asbjørn Holmlund, fundraiser at Wefunder’s European branch.
In its own words, Wefunder is a “new kind of stock market”. “Unlike the Nasdaq, we focus on start-ups and small companies.”
Stock marketability is also different at the Nasdaq than at Wefunder. At the Nasdaq, investors can exit at any time during the interim; at Wefunder, they must wait until a new buyer presents itself.
‘Win big or lose everything’
With Wefunder, there is no collateral, so lenders are more at risk. “Win big or lose everything,” says an advertising slogan of Wefunder. Many times, companies also use Wefunder to tighten ties with supporters. ‘We can now raise capital and connect with our users,’ said George Laliashvili, CEO of Stack.
‘There is a great need in Europe for this kind of platform,’ said Jeroen ter Huurne of Collin Crowdfund, a platform where companies can offer loans. ‘For example, startups are usually poorly served by banks and traditional crowdfunders. After all, they cannot offer collateral.’
Collin itself has no plans to enable equity campaigns. “We are targeting investors who will settle for net returns averaging between 4% and 6% in exchange for collateral.”
The original and longer version of this article appeared in Dutch business newspaper FD, on 16 February 2023