This tech startup raises funding without ever planning to exit
PRESS RELEASE Helsinki, 19 April 2018 – Sharetribe, the Finnish software provider, just launched an unusual equity crowdfunding campaign and smashed their minimum target of €500k within the first 48 hours.
The campaign is unusual because, unlike most tech startups, Sharetribe is not working towards an exit. Instead, the company is seeking an investment to build a financially sustainable business that will be around for the long term. The equity release is structured so that voting shares are held only by active team members and can never be sold outside the team. Investors get their pre-agreed and capped returns from the company's profits over the next 10 years.
“This is the first of this kind of model that we have seen on our investment platform”, says Lasse Mäkelä, the CEO of Invesdor, the funding platform. “Judging by the overwhelming initial response, Sharetribe’s model strikes a chord, as investments so far have been made by both seasoned angel investors and newer investors”.
Sharetribe's technology helps entrepreneurs and organizations to create their own sharing economy platforms, a bit like Airbnb or Uber, for 5-10% of the cost compared to building one from scratch. The company has a social mission – to democratize the sharing economy by making platform technology accessible to everyone.
“We want to see a world where thousands of local financially sustainable platforms thrive, instead of a small number of global giants,” says co-founder and CEO Juho Makkonen “For us, profits are not a goal in themselves, but simply a means to an end: achieving our social mission. Investors will still get their exit, though: we commit to buying back their shares for a price five times greater than the purchase price.”
Sharetribe’s equity crowdfunding is an opportunity to not only generate a solid return on investment, but to support the growth and democratisation of the sharing economy.
"The sharing economy promises many great benefits to the society, like efficient use of resources, connected communities, and more work opportunities for everyone. However, today it also has many problems. Global giants like Uber, Deliveroo and Airbnb extract a relatively large cut from each transaction, and this money will go to the hands of very few people. At the same time people working through these platforms are often struggling financially, without the usual benefits of the employees. We want to help build a better, fairer sharing economy, that brings our society all its benefits without the downsides. After we make the technology powering sharing economy platforms accessible to everyone, people treated poorly by the giant platforms can simply bypass them and build their own platforms instead."
Because of Sharetribe's "steward-ownership" structure, it can guarantee its users that it will never become one of the extractive giants. "We will never be in a situation where we'd have to choose maximizing our profits at the expense of our mission. Because of our structure, we will always be able to put our mission first." Invest here at https://www.invesdor.com/en/pitches/903
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Notes to editors
Sharetribe.com wants to democratize the sharing economy by making platform technology accessible to everyone.
Sharetribe already has 700 paying customers running their marketplace websites on its Sharetribe Go software. In March Sharetribe launched its second product, Sharetribe Flex, which allows its customers a lot more flexibility, including the ability to build their own mobile app, have a completely unique branding or integrate it with third party software.
Besides technology, Sharetribe also offers expertise in building sharing economy platforms, freely to anyone on the web, through the Marketplace Academy, which gets more than 10,000 visitors per month. In February, they released a book, The Lean Marketplace, which went directly into Amazon's bestsellers list in the "Starting a Business" category and was the #1 New Release in the "Product Management" category. Sharetribe was co-founded by Juho Makkonen and Antti Virolainen. They have been building sharing economy platforms together for more than ten years.
Sharetribe has launched a public equity crowdfunding campaign, through the Finnish platform Invesdor, where anyone around the world can invest in growth companies.
Steward-ownership is a new type of company structure that is gaining popularity among mission-driven businesses all over the world. It's modelled after foundation-owned businesses like Bosch and Zeiss, and it's being developed by The Purpose Network. Read more about the model.
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Invesdor in brief
A financial technology (fintech) company founded in Finland in 2012, Invesdor operates an online investment platform that connects ambitious European growth companies with investors worldwide. Invesdor has helped raise more than 48 million euros for more than a hundred businesses. Its clients include private and publicly traded companies from Finland, the UK, Sweden, Norway and Denmark as well as investors from more than 70 countries. Invesdor has offices in Helsinki, Stockholm and London. More information at https://home.invesdor.com/en/for-media