Grow VC launches today an invitiation-only private beta of their “Venture Capital 2.0” service. Grow VC aims to better enable early stage funding for mobile and web 2.0 startup companies by using a community-based approach. The size of investments Grow VC is looking to facilitate ranges from USD $10,000 to $1M. Grow VC has been founded by Finnish serial entrepreneurs Jouko Ahvenainen and Valto Loikkanen.
The problem Grow VC is trying to solve is the traditional venture capital claimed being too locally-focused, and difficult and cumbersome to obtain for many new web and mobile startups. The founders Valto and Jouko state that VC firms do not nowadays need or want to get involved with smaller investments, while web and mobile 2.0 startups do not need big funding in the early stage. Another problem Grow VC is looking to solve is the difficulty of attracting angel investors outside the entrepreneurs’ local network and on the other hand angels’ lack of a structure for global diversification.
The plans for the service are big. Valto Loikkanen, acting as CEO, explains that they want to build the first truly transparent, international, and community-based approach to early stage funding. The service allows entrepreneurs and investors to find and connect with each other globally. It also provides tools for facilitating the process. Information is said to be shared transparently in the community, offering interactive approach to funding instead of the traditional one-sided VC process.
The service seems like a quite normal web community in that entrepreneurs and investors create profiles of themselves and their businesses. Everyone’s profile will be open for community’s comments to allow for reputation building.
During the private Beta one can join free with an invitation, but later on, Grow VC will collect membership fees starting from USD $150, based on the size of the funding sought. Part of the private Beta is already a partner program, in which different local or regional incubators, event organisers, law firms, and similar service providers can make themselves known to the service community. The public launch of Grow VC will follow later in 2009, and is said to include “more innovative investment methods”.
If you want to try out the service, we have 50 invitations for ArcticStartup readers: the code is AS50.