Like many businesses which have taken inspiration from global heavyweights such as Airbnb and Uber, tendr has modelled itself on the slick interface of dating app Tinder – but is tasked with finding investors suitable companies to back, rather than a date for that evening. We found out more from its founder Lex Deak.(1) What is the new venture, and how did you come up with it? Tendr is a mobile app that aggregates the top equity crowdfunding platforms in the UK via a Tinder style swipe interface. By keeping things simple, we’re making investors lives easier – providing easy access to all the crowd deals in the market and hopefully driving an increase in capital to all of our platform partners. The idea was inspired by recognising the increasing need to be concise, especially when dealing with investors. The essence of the majority of investments is generally quite simple, especially in early-stage venture. (2) How does it differ from what you’ve done before? I founded a private investment club for sophisticated investors called QVentures in partnership with Quintessentially, a leading luxury brand and the world’s largest network of high net-worth individuals with offices in over 60 countries. This is a heavily relationship driven business and, although we’ve built an online platform to help support the network, it is a million miles away from a technology endeavour which provides a healthy contrast. Prior to that I founded and exited businesses in retail, hospitality and technology.
(3) What have been the challenges in getting it to this stage? It is vital that we have the support of the industry, I’ve spent time in consultation with the platform owners to make sure our interests are aligned. From a technology perspective the front end is fairly straightforward, what happens behind the scenes is more complex. We’re planning to keep things ultra simple in the short term, so in truth the real challenges haven’t yet started. They will, of course, but I look forward to crossing that bridge when we get to it. (4) What do you hope it will be able to accomplish? A lot of people are waiting for negative news around crowdfunding, it’s understandable and the default position for the swathes of conservative spectators that observe the market. The truth is that crowdfunding, whether in equity or via debt (P2P), is an increasingly important contributor to the disintermediation of the banks and we’re really only at one minute past midnight. Crowdfunding on the leading UK platforms has enabled hundreds of businesses to start, grow and flourish, and thousands of jobs have been created. Read more about crowdfunding:
- Finally, crowdfunding witnesses its first exit deal
- Why the UK’s newest crowdfunding firm is aiming investors at emerging markets
- Business saved from going under by crowdfunding campaign
(6) In what way do you think the alternative finance market will adapt in the next few years? I expect there will be a proliferation in niche offerings to cater for almost every funding requirement, after this there will be some consolidation. I expect the consolidation to be quite aggressive with the banks playing their part in the M&A. I expect some level of commoditisation of early-stage equity investing and significantly more ancillary business springing up to support it from secondary liquidity markets to downside insurance offerings and more. We are very lucky in the UK to have a regulator with a progressive approach, if other countries follow suit we would expect to see a globalisation of early stage investing which would be very interesting indeed. (7) What kind of legislation do you think we need to give it longevity? I think the current framework provides a good starting point for the alternative finance sector, with London being the fintech capital of the world we are best placed to engineer long term stable legislation. In order to allow it to mature, it is vital that retail investors are made aware of the risks. This starts with education and is bolstered by transparency and severe penalties for those who fail to act in a way that is clear, fair and not misleading. (8) What else have you been up to, and how does it complement the new venture? QVentures has been my primary focus, aside from that I have a handful of other interests where I am lucky enough to be working with some very talented and inspiring people. Generally my focus is on technology with a particular interest in how it ties in with the future of finance. Tendr is the perfect complement to QVentures, giving us an opportunity to work with all flavours of investors and some of the brilliant entrepreneurs in the space.
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