How would you generally rate the market for alternative forms of funding?
Christopher Grätz: We are in an expanding market. Alternative forms of financing are becoming increasingly important worldwide as well as in Europe. Between 2013 and 2019, the estimated worth of the European market for alternative online funding grew continuously from 1.5 billion US dollars in 2013 to 23.2 billion US dollars in 2019*. 2020 saw a slight decline for the first time since 2013.
Günther Lindenlaub: The decline in 2020 was due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the associated uncertainty in the markets. Many companies have had to adjust their expansion and investment plans and adapt to a new, unknown market environment. As a result, the European market value (excluding the UK) declined from 2019 to 2020 but was still worth 9.9 billion US dollars in 2020*. Only a few countries’ markets, such as Germany’s (from 1.42 billion US dollars to 1.48 billion US dollars), withstood the trend and continued to grow in 2020. Since, on the one hand, investors' willingness to invest has remained stable and, on the other hand, companies have taken up their investment plans again, it can be assumed that we are entering a stronger phase of growth again. Forecasts predict that we will see an annual rate growth of approximately 8.5%*** across Europe.
Where do you see the crowdfunding market going in the next 12 months?
Christopher Grätz: With the background of growth figures like this and our development to date, we have already been occupied with the strategic idea of internationalisation over the last year. The new ECSP regulation, which has enabled uniform rules for crowdfunding in Europe since November 2021, provided these early thoughts with tailwind. Uniform regulations continue to drive the strong expansion trend forward. Through the unification of the 3 independently successful platforms Kapilendo in Germany, Finnest in Austria and Invesdor in Finland, we are already one of the leading players in Europe. From this position of strength, we want to continue to drive our inorganic growth. The Finnish national market is the second largest market in equity crowdfunding after the UK. This gives us an optimal starting point in this field. For further mergers and acquisitions, we are increasingly looking at the BENELUX and Scandinavian national markets. Standing at ranks 2 and rank 5**, they are amongst the countries with the strongest and thus most attractive markets in continental Europe in terms of the worth of alternative funding (per capita). As we are already operating successfully in the corporate finance asset class, the addition of further investment opportunities in the areas of sustainability and renewable energies is also part of our strategic agenda. Increased investments will and must be made in this area in coming years in order to make Europe energy-independent and to be able to exert a significant influence on the climate crisis.
With the new ECSP regulation, the expansion is open to all platforms. What advantages do you have over your competitors when it comes to internationalisation?
Christopher Grätz: We have already learned a lot from our first international business unification. Working together across different cultures and leveraging different strengths in the market of each country is an absolute advantage when it comes to further expansion. Additionally, we have already successfully mastered the technical integration of several platforms once and can continue to do so with other platforms in the future according to the plug-and-play principle. So, we are entering this new market phase with a solid foundation and strong ambitions.
Günther Lindenlaub: Through further expansion, we would like to expand our crowd and bring even more companies throughout Europe closer to the possibility of alternative funding. Many companies also currently want to become more sustainable, resilient and independent, for example from gas and oil. We are convinced that many people in Europe support this transformation of the European economy and can help shape it through crowdfunding. We expect crowdfunding to become an essential funding component for thousands of innovative and future-oriented companies in coming years and that investors will benefit from the success of these companies, as a result of platforms such as Invesdor. Our product range already allows us to support companies in all phases of their funding cycle – from equity to debt capital to stock exchange listings, we have supported everything and can boast strong experience.
Christopher Grätz: In summary, it can be said that all signs point to expansion. We are determined to make the most of this positive market trend and our unique market position and, as one of the leading crowdfunding platforms in Europe, to actively shape the transformation of the crowdfunding business.