Venture Bonsai, the crowdfunding platform we’ve covered in the past, has as of today, launched officially. Through the platform, any European based company can request begin a financing round and any investor from the region can take part in that round. The site is still invitation only, to keep the quality of the community high, but you can easily request an invite through a form on the site.
The service itself resembles a social network for entrepreneurs and investors. Both companies and investors can have profiles. Members of the community can follow both companies and people. You’re also able to send messages to other members in the community.
The UI of the service is very clean and it’s extremely easy to use. Each user/person profile has also three metrics; followers, has met and trust. Once you visit a person’s profile you’re able to show the depth of your relationship through three of these metrics. The only downside of this is that anyone can see and dig into the profiles that have met you and trust you. Transparency is good, but I’m not sure people value too much transparency in a community like Venture Bonsai where privacy is a key to get things done.
Once you start looking for funding, you can initiate an investment round inside the service. Others can apply access to see the round details by messaging you. It is up to the people behind the company to decide whether they want to give access or not.
Services like Venture Bonsai and other similar crowdfunding platforms are extremely important to stimulate activity in early stage investing. Why? In many cases it’s not about these platforms taking the investment rounds all the way to the end through them, but in many cases they help the investors and companies to actually find each other.
A positive problem in the future we might see, as more and more of similar services emerge in the future that you will have to choose the platform you want to initiate the investment round on. For example in Venture Bonsai’s case, the company creates revenue from taking a small commission on enabling the investment.
The idea for the service emerged after Antti Hannula and Marko Lehtimäki, the co-founders of the service talked about the difficulties of getting funding for your company in 2009. The service has standardized legal documents for operating in Europe. It is free as an investor to join the service.