How long does it take an average startup to sign a deal with investors? How fast do investors find quality projects with high prospects for returns? Mostly, both sides experience certain difficulties while searching for business opportunities. What could make the whole process more efficient and convenient is some sort of organized communication between the pools of business counterparts. Equerest, a new investment platform in Ukraine, has all the chances to facilitate that constantly growing flow of deals led by local startups and capitalists. The platform positions itself as a specific search service allowing entrepreneurs to introduce their projects to accredited investors. The application process is already on.
Equerest mainly focuses on real sector projects – HoReCA, alternative energy, agriculture – but they also accept requests from e-commerce and tech startups. So far, the startup projects Pickoose and Molotok have managed to raise $250 000 of seed investment within the test working mode of Equerest and are currently looking for round A investments. Since July 22nd, Equerest is a fully operating investment platform, which is now hosting 9 funding applications: a dating website, a branded shoe shop, a project on developing infrastructure for plastic waste recycling and others request for sums ranging from $30 000 to $560 000. For entrepreneurs it is a magnificent support in presenting their projects to a wide audience of the local investment sector. For investors, the service solves the problem of incoming projects’ standardization, which significantly reduces the amount of time spent on their analysis and assessment: Equerest works on a specially designed scoring model based on numerous projects’ statistics.
Initially, Equerest was meant to be a closed platform for a group of private investors, which would operate as an estimation tool for business models’ efficiency and projects’ investment risks. It took 1,5 years to come up with the final project version, taking into account that the project idea and concept were worked out during the last year. Hypotheses testing and niche search were conducted until May 2016. Soon the first investors, considering $50 000 – 500 000 investment deals got interested in Equerest MVP. This is how the platform was introduced to the market.
So how do entrepreneurs work with Equerest?
First, an investment request is to be uploaded on the platform website: projects on various stages (from those owning product prototypes to the ones managing fully working businesses) must feel free to do that. The application should contain detailed information on the business idea and the goal of fundraising. As soon as the request is uploaded, Equerest expert team assesses the startup, assists with the financial model refinement and places the investment request according to the special convenient format. The standard service fee is $100, but it is also possible to publish a free-of-charge investment request in case the project is socially significant or possesses a great market-changing potential. Later the project presentations appear on Equerest website and get assessed by a group of accredited investors (currently 40 people, and the number promises to rise).
In fact, any investor can try getting accredited for Equerest: as soon as the profile is approved, he or she gets full access to the information about all the registered projects. If an investor finds a suitable project to pour their money in, the funding conditions are discussed directly with the entrepreneur. The platform performs as a contracting party on investment search and protects the entrepreneurs’ interests. As soon as the investment is claimed to be attracted, the project realization, as well as profits, become a subject of the agreement between the two sides, but Equerest charges a 10% commission or can even participate in equity sharing, which depends on the deal signed by the entrepreneur and investor.
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