What does WeOwn do?
WeOwn is an open financial marketplace providing alternative business funding, to help SMEs accelerate company growth.
We currently offer online equity fundraising, and we will soon be launching a peer-to-peer business loan marketplace, to give growing businesses more choice in how you raise capital.
The WeOwn platform offers straightforward and liquid access to finance, with less fuss, lower fees and fewer middlemen than traditional methods.
Our technology-driven approach cuts through the red tape, to stop SMEs from jumping through hoops to raise capital. We’re already attracting fast-growing SMEs and forward-thinking investors, who want to establish direct, lifelong relationships.
Why does WeOwn use its own blockchain?
We explored existing general-purpose blockchains when we first started out, but they didn’t offer us the functionality we needed to create the best products and services for our users.
By building our own blockchain, we know it can function exactly as we need to enable speedy, secure transaction processing, and scalability as our number of users grow.
For more about our rationale, read this blog post: 5 reasons we built our own blockchain.
Who can use WeOwn?
WeOwn is an accessible business finance platform, but our exact user profile depends on whether you’re planning to get a peer-to-peer loan or carry out equity fundraising.
Our primary business users are SMEs, who find it most difficult to access business funding through traditional routes such as bank loans and IPOs. WeOwn’s digital marketplace is ideal for small businesses, as it’s simple to sign-up to, easy to use, and can manage every aspect of raising capital online.
Loan applicants must be based in either Germany, Liechtenstein, Austria or Switzerland, and your company must be at least two years old. Equity fundraising applicants can be based in most countries worldwide (with a few exceptions), and can be any maturity level.
We also welcome large enterprise users, who may wish to white-label the platform with your own company branding.
WeOwn attracts institutional and semi-professional investors, who want to back the ‘next big thing’ while it’s still in high growth stage. We also have a number of retail investor users, who want affordable access to online investment opportunities in a transparent, trustworthy environment.
Who are the team behind WeOwn?
WeOwn was founded by three experts in the fields of financial services, technology and business intelligence: Sascha Ragtschaa, Florian Batliner-Staber and Ermin Dzinic. Our founders worked together at Computershare and underpin all our technical developments with their knowledge and expertise of the corporate sector.
Today, WeOwn has more than 15 employees, with specialties in blockchain architecture and FinTech development, sales, marketing, content and business analytics. We pride ourselves on finding the best people in each field – which is why our team is spread widely across Europe!
Visit our team page to find out more about who we are.
Do you offer user support services?
Yes – if you encounter a challenge when using our platform, or you’re unsure how to do something, email firstname.lastname@example.org and one of our experts will get back to you.
Where are you based?
Our strategic head office is in Munich, Germany, whilst our development centre is in Sarajevo, Bosnia. However, we have business hubs throughout Europe including Liechtenstein (an important location for FinTech legislation) and the UK.
We also have a network of official brand ambassadors across the globe, who represent WeOwn in their local region. Our ambassadors have a wide geographical presence spanning North America, Europe and the Asia-Pacific region.
Visit our contact page for specific office addresses or view our community page to see where our ambassadors are located.
Where can I get news and updates from WeOwn?
Can I manage my existing investors through your platform?
Yes – you can either add individual investor records to the platform, or you can import your investor database as a single file.
From here, you can choose whether to offer existing shareholders the same investment opportunities as new shareholders, or you can launch exclusive offers as a reward for their support, and to increase their stake in your company.
Is my data secure – and where is it stored?
It’s very secure! All our data is processed by and stored on the blockchain.
Not only are we using cutting-edge blockchain technology to manage secure data transactions, we built our own blockchain from scratch to offer even greater levels of protection than users receive through a general purpose, public blockchain.
Blockchain technology offers a number of security advantages, including immediate ratification and synchronisation of data, to ensure that any approved user accessing the system has an up-to-date picture of their business or investor activity.
Our purpose-built blockchain increases this security by operating as a dual public-private blockchain network, which essentially means that we store sensitive and transactional data differently to publicly accessible information, to safeguard personal details.
How do I know if equity fundraising or lending is the better option for me?
WeOwn’s online marketplace offers two business finance options: peer-to-peer loans and equity fundraising (sometimes referred to as a Security Token Offer, or STO). These are both great opportunities for SMEs, but the most suitable route will depend on the size and location of your business, how much you want to borrow/raise, and how quickly you need access to capital.
The best way to find out which option is right for your business is to read this blog post. However, it will also help you to know the general terms of each finance option:
Our peer-to-peer loan marketplace offers businesses the opportunity to borrow €20,000 to €1million. The application process takes minutes and, subject to approval, we aim to match you with a lender within 7 working days. The exact interest rate and repayment terms will be guided by your lending match.
Our equity fundraising platform offers businesses the opportunity to raise at least €100,000 with no upper limit. Depending on your region, the requirements for doing an equity fundraise change based on the amount you are borrowing, so it is worth discussing this with WeOwn before you launch your fundraising round. It takes around 10 weeks to put together your fundraising offer, and up to 3 months to secure investment – although it can be much quicker if you are raising a smaller amount and have private investors interested in backing your company already.
Can WeOwn help with my investor marketing?
Yes – our Digital Marketplace has built-in analytics tools that support effective investor marketing campaigns. Log into your personal dashboard and access the analytics section to see how many investors you have, their holding and location.
Dynamic analysis tools enable you to see who your most valuable investors are, so you can prioritise marketing communications around your most influential shareholders. You can also identify which investors are not engaging with online communications and voting, to create targeted campaigns that encourage their involvement.
How do you help companies to manage investors?
Our digital marketplace is built on the blockchain, which means all investor data is stored instantly, securely and accurately to ensure high levels of compliance. Businesses can access your investor records at any time to update individual details, and investors are also able to update their personal information independently e.g. if they change address.
By storing all data on the blockchain, we ensure that all updates are synchronised, so that every user sees one version of the truth. No single person has authority over the data, and it is incredibly secure and tamper-proof to ensure accuracy of information.
In addition, our platform has built-in tools that help companies to increase your investor value. Company news and updates can be sent to shareholders online, and investors can participate in online voting polls, rather than having to send email correspondence or wait until an AGM to get feedback on company resolutions.
The platform also includes dynamic analysis and reporting features, which enable businesses to understand exactly who their investors are, and which shareholders are most influential. This can inform marketing communications and prioritise who to engage first when launching new voting opportunities.
Can I white-label your platform to run my own private market?
Yes – our Digital Marketplace can be used off-the-shelf as an WeOwn branded product, or we can work with you to customise its features, branding and colour scheme to white-label it for your business.
What sectors do you work with?
We work across many sectors, helping businesses to generate the capital they need in order to reach the next level. We’re open to working with most companies, but there are some ‘red flag’ high risk sectors that unfortunately we cannot collaborate with at this point in time.
- Art trade and antique dealing
- Diamond trading
- Public enterprise occupations
- Occupation for an international organisation (e.g. FIFA, IOX)
- Commodity trading
What are the business benefits of a capital increase?
Cash flow is king in business, yet many SMEs struggle to access financial support affordably through traditional, mainstream routes such as bank loans, public listings and private equity. These methods are either too demanding, to slow, or simply too expensive.
Increased capital generates new resources you need to accelerate business growth, but too many SMEs spend a long time trying to secure finance. WeOwn’s aim is to create alternative business funding opportunities without having to go through long, complex application process or pay high fees to third party intermediaries.
How does WeOwn’s equity fundraising model work?
Our digital marketplace allows companies to launch a Security Token Offer (STO). You create digital ‘tokens’, which investors can then purchase and trade through our platform.
As our assets are digital, your company can determine token prices, and investors can purchase tokens to fit their budget, making the process highly affordable. At the end of the fundraise, you will have immediate access to capital, with no lock-up or settlement periods.
WeOwn’s equity fundraising platform is built on our bespoke blockchain, ensuring that all transactions are secure, quick and reliable. Once your STO is complete, you can analyse your shareholder base and manage investor details through the platform, using login details to access your own personal dashboard.
What exactly is equity fundraising?
Equity fundraising is the process of getting people to back your business because they believe it has growth potential. The injection of capital generated by this process gives you more resources to develop your business, which investors hope/believe will increase its value, and therefore the value of their investment.
There are several different ways that SMEs can raise equity, and WeOwn operates a process called a Security Token Offering (STO). This is an online model that allows investors to buy digital tokens that represent a stake in your business. We’ve chosen this model because it is highly sustainable, cuts down on paperwork, and allows us to run everything through our online financial marketplace, rather than involving third party partners.
As a result, WeOwn can provide quicker, cheaper access to business funding than rival platforms and methods, and SMEs can retain complete control over the financing process. We also offer complete liquidity, so companies can access capital as soon as the raise is complete.
How much time and money is required to complete an equity fundraise?
One of the key benefits of WeOwn’s online financial marketplace is the flexibility it gives our business users. Because companies are selling digital tokens to investors, you can determine how much each token is worth, and even give investors the opportunity to purchase fractions of a token.
The exact cost of equity fundraising through the WeOwn platform will depend on how much you are trying to raise, and the background process needed to put together a legally compliant application for the region that your business operates in. However, because our model is lean and fully online, we are able to offer competitive costs compared to rival platforms and fundraising methods.
A typical fundraising offer takes around 10 weeks to put together and launch on the WeOwnplatform. From there, it can take up to 3 months to reach your fundraising target – however, if you are raising a small amount, or you have some private investment already lined up, this target can be reached in a matter of weeks.
How is equity fundraising through WeOwn different to other business funding platforms?
WeOwn is an online business finance platform. By adopting a technology-first approach, we cut out unnecessary middlemen to make raising capital more affordable and accessible than traditional fundraising methods such as IPOs and private equity.
WeOwn simplifies and speeds-up funding. There’s no burdensome demands or distracting requirements; we make it easy to check your eligibility and secure funding, so your time isn’t wasted on piles of paperwork and red tape.
New members are signing up to the WeOwn platform every day. We’ll help you engage with the right people and build valuable, long-lasting relationships.
Does WeOwn do anything else in addition to providing an equity finance platform?
Yes – WeOwn is a pioneer in the equity fundraising/security token offering (STO) space, and we work a network of strategic partners to progress industry legislation and best practice. We founded the STO Alliance in Liechtenstein to collaborate with like-minded organisations and progress STO adoption in Europe and beyond.
Everything your business needs to launch an equity fundraising offer and manage investors secured through your fundraising round can be done through our financial marketplace. This includes keeping investor records up-to-date, conducting online voting (as an alternative to AGMs), communicating company updates and analysing your investor database.
We also offer added-value services through our strategic partner network, including tax return technology and charitable donations via DustAid.
How quickly can I access funds raised through WeOwn?
As soon as they are available! One of the major benefits of our investment model is that companies enjoy immediate liquidity; when someone invests in your business, you can access those resources – there is no lock-in period.
Investors also benefit from this same immediacy, so if you want to withdraw your investment or transfer it to a different company, there is no waiting or settlement period.
What is a peer-to-peer loan marketplace?
WeOwn’s financial marketplace allows SMEs to find investors looking to loan money online to growing businesses.
As it’s peer-to-peer, we don’t lend our own business capital to companies or set the interest rate or loan terms; our job is to match companies with lenders who want to back their business, and also take care of all the admin involved in the process.
To secure a loan, SMEs need to complete a simple online application process. If the application is approved, your company profile will be published on our marketplace for appropriate potential lenders to review.
Lenders will then have the opportunity to select your business and lend you some or all of the money you require, for set interest rate and repayment terms.
Peer-to-peer lending is an alternative to bank loans, which many SMEs struggle to secure, as mainstream banks are unwilling to lend small amounts or support companies that they deem to be high risk because of their size or young age.
How is the WeOwn loan marketplace different to other corporate financing platforms?
Our aim is to make access to capital as quick and simple as possible, which is why we’ve adopted a technology-driven approach to financial services.
While other platforms might have an online application process, it can still take several days for companies to secure the approvals they need to start looking for lenders. In contrast, the WeOwn loan application can be completed in minutes, and we aim to match companies with lenders in 7 working days or less.
Who is performing the independent credit rating?
To ensure accountability, reliability and impartiality, WeOwn has partnered with Creditreform to perform independent credit checks for all loan applications.
As an official Creditform Solution Partner, we can confidently provide potential lenders with an accurate review of each company’s credit rating, from which their loan terms can be decided.
What interest rates can I expect?
The exact interest rate offered to any company will be guided by the lender they have been matched with, depending on your size, maturity, sector, and the amount you wish to borrow.
Typically, a company with a strong credit rating can be offered peer-to-peer loans with an interest rate as low as 3%, and companies with a weaker credit rating can still get a 9-10% interest rate loan.
Can I approve or reject pledges from lenders?
Yes – while it’s WeOwn’s job to match companies with appropriate lenders, it is your decision whether you wish to proceed with a loan offer.
How do I start using WeOwn to invest?
It only takes a few minutes to get up-and-running on our investor platform. Click here to visit our investor portal and fill in your basic personal information – we need to know this for legal purposes. Please note you will need to share some form of ID as part of this process.
Once you’ve created a profile, an WeOwn expert will verify your identity and credentials and – all being well – approve your registration. At this point you will have the opportunity to complete your investor profile, if you have not done so already.
Following a quick credentials check (known as KYC), you will then be shown relevant investment offers whenever you log into the portal, and you can create a digital wallet to start investing.
Is there a minimum amount I need to invest?
Not necessarily – every company using the portal will set their own requirements on the minimum and maximum stake that people can invest.
One of the major advantages of our platform is that businesses can choose to offer fractional assets, which lowers the cost of entry for anyone who is on a strict budget, or if you just want to test the water with a new company you’ve seen on the platform.
Can I invest using traditional currencies, or do I need to use cryptocurrency?
We like to offer investors as much flexibility as possible, which is why we allow people to invest with traditional currencies (known as fiat) such as the pound, dollar or Euro, as well as cryptocurrencies. This makes it really easy for people to make investments in the way they feel most comfortable.
Is there a limit to how many companies I can invest in?
No – you can invest in as many business opportunities as you like, so long as you have the funds available.
One major benefit of our platform is that we are focused on bringing the right companies and investors together. You will see all our live offers when you log into your dashboard, but the option to register or buy tokens will only appear if you are eligible to invest.
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- WeOwn's utility token update – April 2020