What is your background?
At the age of 20, I was the only IT lawyer in Estonia. It was the mid-1990s, and Estonia had only recently regained its independence when I was hired by the Prime Minister’s office to co-write the country’s Digital Signatures Act – one of the first in the world. From there, my journey took me to the Estonian Central Securities Depository to build up a funded pension platform and then as an executive chair at the NASDAQ Tallinn Stock Exchange.
After 12 years working in the trading, clearing, and settlement industry I decided to give entrepreneurship a shot. At the time, I thought to myself, “If I don’t do it now, I will regret it for the rest of my life.”
— Funderbeam (@funderbeam) December 31, 2016
Is it a logical progression to what you do now?
I would say so. I think this progression is attributable to both my professional and personal experiences. Professionally, my background in law, technology, and stock markets has driven me to undertake my current mission to democratize investing and trading. Personally, growing up in Estonia’s vibrant and resilient entrepreneurial culture has fostered my desire for the challenges of impacting the fintech industry as a founder. Plus Estonia with only 1.3m inhabitants forces you think big from the beginning.
1 min pitch for Funderbeam?
Funderbeam is a global startup stock exchange built on blockchain technology. It makes growth capital easier to access, more liquid, and available across borders, without irrelevant intermediaries. Think if Crunchbase, AngelList, and NASDAQ had a baby.
— Funderbeam (@funderbeam) January 27, 2017
What are your plans for 2017?
Our plan is to expand Funderbeam’s influence by establishing new partnerships and launching syndicates continuously throughout Europe as well as enter the UK and APAC markets.
Tertiary to this, we will also be attending numerous events where we will be speaking or nominated for an award. For example, if you’re reading this ahead of the Dublin Tech Summit you should definitely attend our panel discussion on the 16th of Feb. at 3:10 p.m. and ask me some questions.
We’re always interested in speaking with new people so we encourage anyone interested to please reach out.
How was 2016, what worked well, what didn’t move as quickly as you would have liked?
2016 was incredible! We officially launched the syndication platform in April and successfully funded three startups at record crowdfunding amounts in Estonia. Then we opened trading about a month later and began opening new syndicates, adding depth to the trading market. Throughout this time we won a few awards, spoke at a number of conferences, and met some great startups and investors.
As is always the case, tackling legal hurdles, such as applying for exchange licenses takes time, care, and expertise. We’d obviously like to enter more markets quicker. However, one should never sacrifice long-term quality for short-term speed in world of fintech.
— Funderbeam (@funderbeam) January 24, 2017
What tips would you give to people looking to build and develop blockchain solutions?
Before doing anything, find a great CTO who understands both the technical and business hurdles. And think if Blockchain really adds value for your customers.
Which blockchain influencers and websites do you follow to keep up to date with the latest developments?
How can people find out more about what you guys are working on?
Visit https://funderbeam.com, create a free account, and apply for investor status to get the insider’s look into what we are doing and where we are headed.
Anything else you’d like to add / we should have asked?
I’d like to add more about why people should care about what Funderbeam is trying to accomplish. At its most basic, there are two problems we are trying to solve.
The first: investors increasingly come to the conclusion that startup and other growth based investments are difficult to make. There are a number of reasons for this but primarily it comes down to the fact, cross-border investing involves too many intermediaries and the liquidity of these investments are very limited.
The second: entrepreneurs always require investments to fund their growth. However, their options are fairly limited, often involve needless burdens, and in many cases aren’t enticing options for their current investors.
At Funderbeam, we’re trying to take a huge step in joining other progressive startups whose mission is to establish a global economy. We’d encourage anyone who is frustrated by the way investing and trading investments is currently done to check us out. Same goes for those curious about the future of this industry.