News Crowdinvesting: New ways for small investors in the low-interest phase
Wednesday, 11.05.16 , written by Anja Schlicht In 2015, EUR 47 million went into crowd-raising and fund-raising in startups, real estate and more. In view of the large volume of financing, politics has recently tightened the rules governing flock financing. However, the legislature does not give the impression as if he had understood the impact of crowd investing, says crowdfunding expert Steffen
Crowdinvesting offers high returns
With the support of the crowd to become a successful company – many startups have this dream. How big the potential is, figures from the crowdfunding monitor by For-Gründer.de: Nearly ten million euros have collected various crowdfunding platforms in Germany in 2015. This successfully financed more than 1,200 projects . In this form of flock financing, supporters receive a performance or product for their money, such as an autographed CD or a special printed T-shirt. “This is why we also speak of reward-based crowdfunding, ” explains crowdfunding expert Steffen Doberstein finanzen.de. “If the project owner has fulfilled his promised performance, there is no legal relationship between funders and support directly related to the funding.”
Supporter or Investor: Different forms of cross-financing
Crowdfunding is often used interchangeably with crowdfunding , which can be explained by the “increasing awareness of the possibility of investing and financing”, explains Tobias Körner from the crowdinvesting platform Seedmatch towards finanzen.de. There is, however, a big difference between the two forms. While crowdfunding can be equated with a “sale on cash in advance” or a kind of donation, crowdinvesting is an investment, says Doberstein. The invested money “should later be repaid , ideally a multiple of the investment amount.” With more than 37 million euros in 2015, the financing volume is significantly larger than crowdfunding. Of this, the crowd invested about 17 million euros in startups.
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Crowdinvesting: More and more money is flowing into real estate instead of startups
In addition to financing startups, money is increasingly flowing into real estate projects . Compared to 2014, this form recorded an increase of 80 percent in 2015 to a total investment of 13 million euros. Companisto set up a “European crowd-investing record” according to founder David Rhotert. The crowdinvesting platform collected 7.5 million euros for the real estate project Weissenhaus . Altogether Rhotert sees “that in times of the low interest rate policy the investors look for new investment possibilities and here also new ways go.” Seedmatch also observes a growing importance of real estate financing over Crowdinvesting, “which is due to the current situation in the real estate and financial market”, explained Spokesman Körner. With the new platform Mezzany, the company has adapted to this trend.
Crowdinvesting expert Doberstein also expects a growing share of real estate discovery. Because “investments in real estate is used to the German.” Advantages are, for example, the apparent lower risk and the fact that a property does not disappear. “Even with the insolvency of the operator, there is a value that may minimize the loss through the sale.” Due to the growing popularity in real estate investing, “competition for the investment funds.” However, it can not be assumed that “the cannibalization 1: 1 will take place, because real estate is suitable to address new sections of the population, which can do nothing with startups. “
Crowd puts less money into startups
In the first quarter of 2016, the crowdinvesting funding volume for startups decreased by 55 percent. Instead of 6.5 million euros flowed now only 2.9 million euros to them. At the same time, real estate financing posted an increase of 53 percent to 5.2 million euros.
Crowdinvesting benefits for investors and entrepreneurs
Crowdinvesting is ideally a win-win situation for investors and entrepreneurs. Investors have the chance of a very high return . In doing so, they are “usually involved in a so-called subsidiary subordinated loan on the economic success of the young companies,” Seedmatch spokesman Körner knows. If the company makes profit or is sold, the investors receive a share. However, such loans have the disadvantage that in the event of the bankruptcy of the company, investors are the last creditors to whom money is paid. In the worst case threatens the total loss . Accordingly, investors should “only invest money whose losses they can afford,” warns Körner.
One benefit of crowdinvesting is the potential financing of their project for startups. However, this is not always the main reason why they choose crowdinvesting. Often they could also borrow classical money from the bank. But then the companies do not profit from the second big advantage: advertising . Anyone who is allowed to present his project on a large platform for whom “the level of awareness increases considerably from one day to the next”, says Doberstein. The feedback that startups receive directly from their investors should not be underestimated.
Crowdinvesting platforms with different focuses
Two heavy-weight crowdinvesting platforms are Companisto and Seedmatch . The latter was the “first platform in Germany that made direct investments in startup possible,” says Körner. Investors can invest in Seedmatch from 250 euros . “The initial hurdle is therefore deliberately higher than other platforms and should reflect the seriousness associated with an investment decision.” Companisto uses another strategy. There is no limit here , instead the company relies on an enlightened investor. According to founder David Rhotert, Companisto is the market leader in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. The “model is designed especially for follow-up financing, so that the companies can continue to develop.” With the so-called crowd voting Companisto also provides a kind of safety net. Here startups are paid only two-thirds of the investment. Later, the involved investors can decide whether the last third will be paid to them or to the project.
Improved investor protection in crowdinvesting since mid-2015
Since 2011, crowdfunding and investment has gained popularity in Germany. In order to protect investors from unfair offers, the lawmakers set new rules for crowd investing in the past year as part of the Retail Investor Protection Act. For example, since July 1, 2015, the obligation for prospectuses applies to companies with an investment project starting at 2.5 million euros. This informs investors about, among other things, the company’s assets, liabilities and future prospects.
Crowdfunding star Stromberg – the movie
The most famous German crowdfunding project is the Stromberg film. More than 3,000 investors gave their money for the filming of the series. In return, they were financially involved in the success. The campaign ran in 2011 and paid out in 2014 with a return of 17 percent.
Limitation of the investment sum to 10,000 euros for private investors
With the Small Investor Protection Act, the government also introduced an investment limit. A maximum of 10,000 euros is now allowed per investor and startup. If the investor puts more than 1,000 euros into a project , he must confirm via self-disclosure that he either has assets of at least 100,000 euros or does not invest more than two monthly salaries. For Tobias Körner, the law thus goes in the right direction, “namely the protection of investors against unfair investment offers.” Seedmatch is, however, critical of the regulations. Thus, the “necessary in any case education on financial investments should not be regulated solely by barriers or even prohibitions.”
Legislators do not seem to understand “impact, opportunities and risks in crowdinvesting”
The Verbraucherzentrale Bundesverband demanded in advance of the legislation even a limitation of the investment sum to 1,000 euros . For Companisto founder Rhotert this would have been “an extreme tutelage of the investors” . Crowdinvesting expert Doberstein also sees such a low amount limit as critical and considers it to be “simply absurd.” Instead, he proposes income-dependent limits. Also important is greater transparency . “So the information should always be, which information was checked by the platform or by independent and which not.”
In addition, independent representations of interests for investors would make sense for a balanced balance of power. “These are then also contact persons for the legislator, who, unfortunately, has to say so, does not make the impression impact, opportunities and risks in crowd investing to understand,” criticized Doberstein. Seedmatch also demands that “promoting the crowdfunding and startup scene should play a more central role in legislation” .
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