How to invest in startups: the theory of pistils and stamens

    The world we live in is definitely crazy for startups. And there is something - the imagination of entrepreneurs and potential investors excites the stories of the dizzying success of small IT companies, which at one time seemingly stepped out of co-working with a couple of employees in the state, into the business elite with multi-million dollar funding.

    Fuel to the fire pour Apple and Google. These are simply buying up talents in the bud, without exchanging investments. The first one recently reported on 29 acquired companies, its main competitor did not disclose the number of purchased assets, but called the amount spent over six months on purchases - $ 4.2 billion.

    But leave the giants alone - they have their own standards. Private investors are also actively interested in startups. The scandalous social network Secret, created only to spread gossip with impunity, has recently received $ 25 million in funding, a ridiculous monosyllabic messenger Yo, where only one word Yo can be sent to contacts from the phone book - a million. A million dollars has been invested in an application created in a day with one single purpose - so that the boss can call the secretary by touching the display.

    Path, a social network for closed people (nonsense, but the way it is), recently raised $ 30 million. Investing in startups is now fashionable in Hollywood, as DiCaprio and Toby Maguire recently proved by investing in Israeli Mobli.

    The examples are impressive, it would seem, know only invest, create, develop and earn. One question is haunting - how to start all this?

    For the sale of dreams

    Which of us didn’t dwell on the dream of an impeccable business idea in all respects and, plunging into Morpheus’s arms, didn’t think it through to the nuances. But in the morning the alarm clock called for work, translating the brilliant plan into the category of unfulfilled dreams for one simple reason - a completely obvious idea clearly formed in my fresh head that there was nowhere to take money for the embodiment of the idea.

    You can, of course, convince a couple of friends to break their piggy banks, but they will not provide the necessary amount to start. And where to find a general investor who believes in the seriousness of your intentions and the potential of the project, after which he will generously support it, did not seem at all. Even parents, and those not to infiltrate - Gazprom shares are more familiar and reliable.

    Further, on the way to work, the idea was smoothly erased from the memory by pressing concerns, then completely forgotten, and after half a year or a year it became known from the news that someone had embodied it nevertheless (moreover, to the accuracy of the nuances you thought out before going to bed), earned a ton of money and enjoys life. And no plagiarism - you didn’t even manage to share it with anyone. Just practical thought often comes in a few goals. The only difference is that these heads found an investor for its implementation, and yours did not.

    Or the situation is completely opposite - there are no special ideas, but there is money. Let them, not big ones, but their own ones, blood ones, are dead weight and very slowly multiplied by a modest bank interest. And there is a textbook truth that “Money should work,” but there is no understanding of exactly how. As a result, the failed venture capitalist also goes to his work, postponing the issue of financial investments until better times.

    Now imagine that these very times have finally come. From now on, a novice investor and a talented, but non-cash, startups will not pass by each other. Our project, the first and only real crowdinvesting platform in Russia, will help them meet happily and combine their ideas and investments in a successful start. An international company registered in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, with headquarters in Minsk and an international team from Russia, Israel and Belarus.

    Imagining its essence, for some reason, analogies from school biology come to mind, namely, the process of pollination in seed. So here. In the language of botany, VCStart is the same receptacle where every creative pestle will find an investment stamen. And not one.


    Mass investment

    The fashionable word “crowd” today, in English meaning “crowd” or any formation of more than two people united by a common idea, has become the main component of a number of business terms of our time. Crowdfunding, crowdsourcing and even crowd consulting have confidently taken root in Russia, and they no longer require a translation, as well as explanations of what it is eaten with. Interesting projects have long and successfully been funded on the Planet and Boomstarter, people simply donate money to ideas that they think are worthy.

    The thought begs itself - after all, if in this way you can give, you will probably succeed and invest? The prospect of bestowal, albeit long-term, will warm the soul much more pride in donating to a goal, albeit a noble one, but still not your own.

    But with crowdinvesting, it’s more complicated. In the West, this kind of crowdfunding already has real seedlings - according to Crowdsurfer, there are more than 250 platforms in the world that successfully attract investment in startups. Angel List, Indiegogo, Crowdcube, Seedrs, BanktotheFuture - everyone has their own audience, features and a different niche focus. They have one thing in common - the experience of attracting millions in hard currency to promising projects.

    In Russia, startups are helped to find financing by sites such as StarTrack, RusBase and Spark, but they cannot help a middle-class representative who intends to invest in a new project. The first limited the amount of deposits to a threshold of 100 thousand rubles, which is clearly more than the amount that a system administrator, teacher or doctor can afford for venture capital investments. Startups, too, are far from all going through a rigorous selection of platform experts. Spark and RusBase are more informational in nature, introducing potential investors to investment objects, after which they themselves already find a common language. Nobody works with micro-investors who want to “scatter 10 thousand rubles for various projects to see how things go”.

    Nobody except us

    The VCstart project offers both start-ups and hunters financial participation in their development, a fundamentally different model. We do this for people like us, middle-income people who want to invest in young IT companies. The principle of VCstart is more comparable with crowdfunding projects such as Kickstarter than with the mechanisms of most investment sites. Features of the platform provide ample opportunities, primarily for micro-investments in several different projects. Of course, undertaking such a large-scale project, we carefully studied the materiel and studied all kinds of rake of colleagues so as not to step on them ourselves.


    To investors

    For the investor, it looks like this. You see a description of the project and its purpose, that is, the amount of investment necessary to launch, the share in the project determined in accordance with it, and you can also independently evaluate the prospects of the project based on the timing, number of backers and the size of the investments made before you.

    The money you want to invest is transferred from a card or electronic wallet (except for VISA and Mastercard, the platform accepts Webmoney and QIWI) to your internal account. Then everything is simple - choose a project, buy a share in it. Moreover, the author of the project will receive funding only after the fundraising campaign is successfully completed. If the funding goal is not achieved, depositors will automatically be returned their money to internal accounts, after which they will either invest it in other startups or withdraw it to the card.

    Legally, the platform’s relations with the investor are drawn up by the investment agreement, while in relations with the project’s author, the total share of investors is actually bought by the platform, which represents the interests of all users who invested in it.

    To startupers

    The author of the project, who needs financing, carefully studies the rules of the platform , posts all the information about the project that the potential investor needs on the website, calculates the real budget (for the implementation of the project, and not for his personal goals) and clicks on the “Start” button for him your project. "

    Next, the project goes through moderation and enters the next phase for itself - gathering the community. Funding does not start right away - a startup should recruit like-minded people, most of whom will subsequently become its investors. Then begins the stage of financing itself, limited to 120 days. It is noteworthy that the author of the project will receive investments only after the goal is achieved. In this case, the money is transferred to a specially created legal entity, otherwise they are returned to depositors.

    Start bucks

    The project has another unique feature - you can become an investor without money. Unbelievable, but it is a fact. For this, a special virtual currency is provided on our platform. What for? To attract users to attract other users. You can get Start Bucks in two ways - invite your friends to participate in the project, receiving $ 5 (Start Bucks) for each new registered user who came via your referral link and $ 50 for a newcomer who made his first investment, and you can just buy (money will go on the development of the project). Moreover, to buy two times cheaper than face value.

    Non-full-fledged means of payment Start Bucks are invested in projects, like ordinary money, but with a limit to a certain amount. The ability to invest in virtual currency pays for the startup, allocating a small portion of the shares for early users.

    The final countdown

    What else? Many different “goodies”, such as personal project blogs, the most worthy start-ups in “Editor’s Choice” and “Projects of the Day”.

    And most importantly - we are starting soon! The platform will fully work for investors in exactly 42 days , September 22 - the countdown is available on our website . To register potential investors and place projects, is working now.

    We decided to encourage pioneers of our platform from among startupers in a special way. For projects sent for moderation before 23:00 September 15, 2014, the commission is 1.75% instead of 7%. This condition applies exclusively to projects with a video and is valid for the first 20 projects posted.

    We are waiting for all creative and talented start-ups who need more than investment for success. Remember, hundreds of thousands of users, future venture capitalists, are constantly looking for worthy objects for investment. Now you have a chance to introduce them to your ideas.

    imageIlya Osipov, angel investor, founder of several technology companies:
    “An interesting idea, probably I will participate. "I liked the ownership scheme for shares in new companies, I think similar schemes can be applied not only to microinvestments, but also to angel investments of small and medium size."

    imageStanislav Sazhin, founder and leader of the Doctor at Work:

    “Five years ago, when we launched Doctor at Work, there was no concept of collective investment, or even affordable investment in Russia. Five years later, venture money in our country remains available only to the most successful teams. Therefore, in my eyes, is, above all, a great opportunity for young teams and novice investors. What the DPR team lacked so much in 2009. Go ahead, good luck! ”

    imageAlexey Dubrovsky, head of the portal and Crowdconsulting:

    “, a crowdfunding technology portal and Crowdconsulting, welcome the emergence of the collective investment platform. We wish the project team a quick start, an active take-off and launch of first-class projects in the field of crowd technology. Good luck to you, colleagues! ”

    imageAnastasia Podberyozkina, chief editor of

    “Crowdinvesting is an interesting concept that can create new opportunities for micro-investors and startups, if the parties to the process respect each other's interests, interact wisely and honestly."

    imageSergey Kravtsov, CEO 4talk:
    “I really like -“ Everything that is possible to imagine is possible! ””

    imageAlexander Zhurba, investor:

    “I will observe with interest what my colleagues will do. I hope that the project will be able to gather a critical mass of investors and projects on the site! ”

    imageDmitry Kurkovich Aizmedia CEO, serial entrepreneur:

    “A working crowd investing platform is what the market has long been lacking! Demand, in my opinion, has long been ripe, the only thing left is to start a successful project. I sincerely wish success to the project and to the founders. ”

    imageIgor Shoyfot (The Dude, TMT Investments, Happy Farm Business Incubator):

    “Good luck in the hard and desperate business of online investment!” Any investor knows how important it is to quickly and efficiently find start-ups that fit their profile, and any startup knows how hard it is to reach investors through trenches, minefields and barbed wire. A service that makes such communication easy and effective will be successful. ”

    Friends, leave your comments about our project in the comments.

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