“Since we launched the platform in 2010, we have been listening to our community for the right time to move to the next level. With our new model, we open our service and startup funding opportunities to a larger audience. Users can now use the service for free and gain easier access to the community of entrepreneurs and investors”, Grow VC Chairman and Co-founder Jouko Ahvenainen says. The micro investment membership model has also been improved. Users can now efficiently make micro investments in startups and startups can raise capital from these micro investments in milestones. “We believe this will create a healthy dynamic, as startups will be incentivized to look for the appropriate amount of capital that they need to get to the next level, all the while being validated by the crowd” Ahvenainen continues.
Grow VC aims to excite the non-traditional startup investors to start exploring startups as another way to diversify their investment portfolio. It will also serve to open the doors for more people to join startup companies early on. That’s why our new update also boasts new visuals for the service, an iPhone application and new features and tools to create meaningful matches in the service. This is a result of Grow VC’s long-term strategy to listen to our users and provide ongoing improvements to benefit the community.
“We believe that startup investing should be democratized and more people should have access to supporting early stage ventures,” states Grow VC CEO and Co-founder Valto Loikkanen. “By including the crowd in the early stages of startup funding, the entire process can be simplified and made more effective. For non-professional investors, this also creates an easy way to be part of a startups journey, something that until now has not been possible. In the age of online democracy, the future of startup funding should involve more individuals, rather than being available to only a select few” Loikkanen points out.
Grow VC has also recently successfully closed its first round of external investments in the company, including the crowd as shareholders in the organization. “In building a solution for entrepreneurs and investors, it is important to include the crowd in the organization itself. There is a community sense in what we are building, and we are glad to invite the entire community to join us on this quest for democratizing startup funding” Loikkanen emphasizes.
Grow VC will continue to focus on building operations, their global organization already has a strong foundation in North America, Europe, China and India and has entered markets like South America and Africa with plans to build sustainable, long-term operations. “Having operations on a global level, we can see that what we are building suits a lot of different environments. Creating a healthy, transparent and purposeful paradigm to startup funding can not only help alleviate the challenges faced in local regions, but also lead to valuable synergies via cross border collaborations. We have our own team, a total of 50 people in almost all major markets, North America, South America, Europe, Africa, India, and China. We continue to look for new people and partners to join our community,” says Ahvenainen.
“From the very beginning, we realized that the numbers required to establish a funding network would not work as a local service. Building a global network is the only viable option,” Ahvenainen states. “Initially we decided to pilot our service as a paid platform to study the market but now with the overwhelming market response and sufficient testing, it’s time to make our service free and more accessible for an even broader audience.”