Berlin-based blockchain fundraising platform Neufund grabbed headlines around the world earlier this month when it secured a partnership with Binance and the Malta Stock Exchange.
Finance Magnates had the opportunity to speak to Neufund co-founder Zoe Adamovicz about the inspiration behind Neufund, what the platform is hoping to do in the crypto space, and why Germany was chosen as Neufund’s home base.
Neufund Recognized Blockchain and Cryptocurrency as an “Emerging Tech”
Zoe explained that Neufund “happened” to her and her business partner, Marcin Rudolph, as the result of two sources of inspiration. One was a company that both of them served as executives for: “it was a publicly listed company. In the time that we were there, which was a year, the company went through two or maybe even three rounds of financing. Which, in one year, is a lot of financing rounds.”
“For me, coming from the venture capital kind of experience, [which meant] taking the pitch deck every now and then every time I need money from one investor to another and telling the same story, and then building syndicates, and then answering the questions of all the associates, and going through through this really manual process of raising capital…I was like, wow, you know. It was stunning. I didn’t know that it works like that.”
“More or less at the same time,” she continued, “the ICO craze started, and also the DAO, which was this project in Berlin…it was one of the first ICOs that raised $200 million, and there was this big hack and then everything collapsed.”
Zoe said that she and Marcin “looked at this and thought, ‘you know what, that’s an emerging tech. We’ve been in crypto for a while, so we had some Ether and some Bitcoin already and we liked it a lot, and it was so close to impacting society with all these blockchain things.”
Neufund for the Tokenization of Startup Capital: ”Let Them All Fundraise and Build”
She explained that although both she and Marcin were ready to retire, “we thought, ‘ok, that’s too cool to let it go. Let’s take these two things and let’s bring public funding to blockchain.”
“‘Let’s bring ICOs to the legal sphere…let’s create a token that represents shareholder rights, that’s easy to acquire (that you don’t need any brokers for); that you can easily issue (that you don’t need to have a million dollars to start off with an IPO); that can bear any ticket size (so you can invest in a company if you have a thousand euro or a hundred euro or a hundred million euro,)’” she said.
“[We thought], ‘let’s do all that, and let’s do it within this amazing crypto community, which is an early adopters’ tech-crazy, tech-frenzy community within itself, so let’s just do all that. And let’s open it up to companies that aren’t necessarily blockchain-based. So any company–it can be a restaurant, it can be Tesla, whatever. Let them all fundraise and build.’”
What do we mean when we talk about #transparency, #community-owned and #inclusivity? Our communications Manager @jeremi_jak explains what Neufund is all about.https://t.co/G1cbXflZgV pic.twitter.com/cfjZsIpjIa
— Neufund (not giving away ETH) (@neufundorg) July 27, 2018
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Zoe explained that in order to participate as an investor on Neufund, users are required to go through a KYC check. Currently, the minimum ticket size on the platform is 1 ETH token.
When it Comes to Crypto Regulation, ”The German Government Has the Best Product and the Sh*ttiest Marketing”
We asked Zoe why Neufund was incorporated in Germany, as opposed to one of the more popular destination for cryptocurrency and blockchain startups (like Switzerland, Malta, or Gibraltar.)
“Germany always has the same problem, for centuries now–or decades, at least–which is that Germany has the best product, and the shittiest marketing,” she said.
“For whatever reason, the German government just cannot sell what is going on here. I’m actually part of the Innovation Council under the [German Minister of State, Dorothee Bär], so I even spoke to her a little bit about this,” she said.
Neufund Chose Germany Because ”We Wanted to Be a Proper Company,” not a “Tax Paradise Company”
Zoe declared that when it comes to opportunities and legal support for the blockchain and crypto industry, “[Germany has] everything that Switzerland has and more, but we just don’t talk about it. On the other hand, you see the advertisement of the so-called ‘Crypto Valley’ (so the Cantonese [government], maybe it’s not at the federal level) is buying sponsored posts in the German newspapers to promote the jurisdiction. But Germany would never do anything like this, you know,” she said.
— Jesus Rodriguez (@jrdothoughts) July 26, 2018
“There is a lot of regulatory arbitrage going on in the world right now about who’s gonna regulate the most simple way. Historically, [Zug has been] a brass-plate Canton. It has a history of hosting companies and being a tax paradise, and so on.”
Similarly, “Malta is a tiny country, with only 450,000 people, and a very dynamic and a very amazing government. So they can afford to put blockchain as the priority for the government, which Germany cannot really do because we have refugees and roads…it just cannot be on the top of the list.
Still, “Germany is doing a lot of great stuff, it’s just a lot more careful and very reasonable. And, unfortunately, it’s also very quiet.”
“Truth be told,” she continued, “we are still kind of waiting for this one politician who’s just going to stand up and say ‘blockchain welcome’, just like Merkel stood up and said ‘refugees welcome.’ The law here is good, and we consciously chose this law because we didn’t want to be some tax paradise company, we wanted to be a proper company.”