Interview at MyMicroInvest, the leading equity crowdfunding platform in Belgium

Opinions

Date: 26.02.2018

We did an analysis on the most successful campaigns notably in order to find the common points
between them. We have identified four, which we call internally the ‘sexy touches’:
1. Is there a professional investor investing in the company?
Sia Partners | Interview at MyMicroInvest, the leading equity crowdfunding platform in Belgium | December 2017| 3
2. Has the entrepreneur proven track record? Have they already realised some business in the
past?
3. What was the growth curve for the past couple of years?
4. Did the company receive some awards from start-up competitions or similar events?
These are the four items that really convince people to invest.
Did MyMicroInvest obtain an accreditation as a crowdfunding platform from the FSMA by now?
Yes, we received the accreditation on the 24th April; we were the first in Belgium. This means that the
MyMicroInvest has been deemed organized in a proper way considering its activities and that the
investors can benefit from the start-up tax shelter when investing in start-ups through our
crowdfunding platform. MyMicroInvest was the first platform to have received the accreditation by
means of the FSMA procedure of scrutiny.
Do you think it would be a good idea for crowdfunding platforms to launch a secondary market?
Would it be profitable? Indeed, if investors want to sell their notes, they need to find someone on
their own. Are there other companies that already experienced it?
We did one trade of equity-linked notes through the Euronext Expert Market once, to show that it
was possible. I think that if the market grows, it is certainly something that can become a possibility
or an option that we could add to our platform. However, for the moment there is not enough
liquidity in the market. Some noteholders are willing to sell, but the volume is very small so, at
present, it is not worth the effort.
Don’t you think that it scares people away from investing, knowing that the exit is not obvious in
the long term?
Yes, of course. It is indeed so that, as an investor, you do not know if the exit is going to be 5 years
away, 10 years away or will never occur. Therefore, you should only invest money that you are sure
you do not need for the next 10 years. This is also a reason for investors to diversify their
investments, in different asset classes but also in different investment opportunities in those classes.
Ideally, investors should invest in at least 10 start-up opportunities to be really diversified.
Has there already been an exit for the crowd?
We had two so far. The first one was Newsmonkey, where the investors recuperated the amount
invested with a capital gain of 10%, which resulted, net of the initial investment fees in a loss 3%. The
second one is Yoga Room and happened quite recently, in September 2017. Yoga Room aims at
opening several yoga studios in Belgium, and their first one in Ixelles was a direct hit: after 20
months, they welcome 10,000 people per month for their different yoga classes. Yoga Room used
crowdfunding for visibility when launching their first studio, and after 20 months the shares of the
crowd where bought back to consolidate the shareholder structure. The investors received twice the
amount they invested, net of costs. This was a very nice exit and we obviously hope it will not end
there.
Can you tell us a bit more about the fund Inventures II?
Inventures is actually intended to be a series of funds, at present we have Inventures I and
Inventures II. Inventures I is a fund that was created in 2011, at the same time as MyMicroInvest.
Sia Partners | Interview at MyMicroInvest, the leading equity crowdfunding platform in Belgium | December 2017| 4
Inventures I has been created as a fund to co-invest with the crowd. The fund only invested in
projects solving societal challenges in five domains: health care, environment, education, sharing
economy and society. This first fund, amounting to 15 million euro, was closed mid-2016. There are
15 investments and all the money is allocated to the various projects.
Inventures II is a new fund, currently amounting to 15 million euro as well but with the objective to
increase that figure. It has the same co-investment philosophy as Inventures I. The societal impact
criterion has been maintained and has even been formalised to enable adequate monitoring of the
actual impact realised: we now use the 17 Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations as
framework for our impact measurement.
Do you think new entrants could represent a threat to MyMicroInvest? What about banks with
platforms such as e.g. Bolero?
I think that at this stage these can be seen as a threat but also as a benefit, in the sense that the
market is relatively young and still growing. There are therefore multiple players advocating
crowdfunding and evangelising the market, reducing the need to take on such efforts from our side. I
think this is good for us as it reinforces the message as it comes from different parties.
Some entrepreneurs compare us with the competition. Whether they choose us, or another platform
really depends on the feeling they have. It is key to continue working hard and to keep on shaping
the market. As a conclusion, I do not see the arrival of new actors as a substantial threat for the
moment.
Can you give an example of how MyMicroInvest is innovating?
We have recently launched our Tracer service. A Tracer is a tool helping investors build a diversified
portfolio of start-ups. Thanks to the Tracers, investors are able to invest in a predefined number of
businesses that fit a set of objective criteria. It is an automated, hassle-free way of investing with an
opt-out option if the proposed start-up is of no interest to an investor for one reason or another.
In concreto, we propose two Tracers at the moment: a Tax Shelter Tracer, investing in 10 tax shelter
eligible start-ups as of 2018 and an Impact Venture Capital Tracer, which invests in 10 companies
generating positive societal impact in co-investment with Inventures II. More information can be
found on our website.
How do you explain that MyMicroInvest became one of the largest crowdfunding platforms in
Belgium (the largest one in equity crowdfunding)? In which way does MyMicroInvest differ from
other platforms? How do you see the future for the company?
I think the fact that we are quite strong is because MyMicroInvest was founded by entrepreneurs
themselves, and not by banks. What entrepreneurs like is the fact that we are entrepreneurs for
entrepreneurs, that we talk the same language. If they talk about problems, we know better how to
handle them since we have quite a significant experience in entrepreneurship. Thanks to the fact that
some of the founders came from start-ups, it was for us rather easy to attract projects, which gave us
a kick-start in the beginning, as soon as we launched our activities. We directly heard about
interesting projects with owners who wanted to work with us and be innovative.
Were all of the projects that you put on your website successful?
I would say around 80% were. There is a minimum amount to reach, which usually is around 50.000
euro. If the campaign does not reach the minimum, it means that the crowd did not believe enough
Sia Partners | Interview at MyMicroInvest, the leading equity crowdfunding platform in Belgium | December 2017| 5
in the project and we therefore terminate the campaign. All investors simply get reimbursed in that
case.
Where exactly do MMI’s revenues come from? For equity and for debt crowdfunding?
For equity, we ask 5% in fees from investors and 5% from entrepreneurs, so 10% in total. For the
debt, it is a 5% fee for the entrepreneurs and none for the investors.
Something that might be interesting to add is that for premium investors (people investing more
than 25.000 euro a year), we have a regressive pricing offer. It starts with 5%, but if you invest more
the percentage diminishes until 1%. You will find more information about that on our website by
navigating towards the ‘Premium Programme’.

http://en.finance.sia-partners.com/20171218/interview-mymicroinvest-leading-equity-crowdfunding-platform-belgium

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