Crowdfunding for Equity platform SmartAngels has closed a €1 Million fundraising from 12 Business Angels & 3 VCs in what the company is calling an “symbolic fundraising.” The list of investors includes VCs (Elaia, IDInvest, & Xange) & Business Angels (Xavier Niel, Jean-David Blanc, Denis Payre, Jacques-Antoine Granjon, Marc Simoncini, Pierre Kosciusko-Morizet, Frederic Montagnon & more).
I spoke on the phone yesterday with founder Benoit Bazzocchi, who believes that crowdfunding for equity is going to fill an investment gap that startups are feeling today. SmartAngels isn’t the only platform pushing to democratize the VC world – in the UK, London-based Seedrs raised a round of funding on their own platform (talk about symbolic) in order to expand across Europe. The German SeedMatch is also pursuing a similar path.
I’m still quite skeptical of crowdfunding for equity – I spoke about it last year in a piece outlining the crowdfunding landscape – currently rewards- and loan-based crowdfunding are eating the lion’s share of the crowdfunding market, and I have yet to be convinced that letting in 500 investors into your seed round will be beneficial in the short- or long-run.
Nevertheless, if crwodfunding for equity is going to take hold in Europe – and Neelie Croes sure hopes it does – SmartAngels is in a good position to do so. They have the backing of the very investors they’d like to see on the platform, and they’ve got the most cash in the bank, which will be necessary when looking to convince the next Deezer or Criteo to raise their seed round on their platform.
Image provided via PlaceIt