In the early days of crypto fundraising, you could gather millions by only having ‘3 magical Ws’ – a website, a whitepaper, and a wallet. Some say, those were the golden days, while others are crying over the lost capital — nevertheless, all of those ICOs where doing something that would never fly in 2018.
Today, any company that issues personal tokens must be fully compliant with the regulators, meaning – they must know who their investors are and where their money comes from.
Mark Kirby, a CEO and Co-Founder of Coincierge, provides advices to those crypto companies that want to make all the things right.
Coincierge is a SaaS technology company that provides crypto companies a bespoke platform to accept contributions from known contributors that have had to complete a strict, secure, and regulations compliant process to invest. They also have a ‘Cabinet’ platform created to support companies that require token management for their investors and their administration team allowing token minting, dividend payouts, vesting contracts to be managed correctly.
What would be your advice for a newcomer ICOs founder on compliance? What is that one thing you see founders tend to forget?
I think that any founder needs to have a good understanding of their clientele and to build a compliance infrastructure around that. Most founders forget their vision; it gets blurred by certain hypes and market news. If they genuinely believe in what they are building and see it as a solution or a revolution within that specific industry, then they should keep going and never stop.
What trends do you see in crypto fundraising industry?
With the current bearish market, we still see successful raises into projects that we are working with, and this is due to their business model and focus on the solution where blockchain technology will provide to their industry sector. Many of our clients are concentrated on a private placement raise, and some have created a security token backed by an asset or share class.The institutional interests are growing, and this will only increase as we see more innovative projects coming into the blockchain space.
If anyone is looking to blockchain technology as a way of providing a solution within an industry sector, they need to have extensive knowledge of that current market and be able to justify why that answer will be beneficial. They also need to identify if there needs to be a token or if they are just trying to fit one in to raise funds because if it doesn’t, don’t force it. Build a business plan and whitepaper that will be attractive to investors and raise funds privately for equity, the traditional way.
What are the biggest challenges your clients are facing? How do you empower them to solve those?
The challenges we see are people, there is a considerable amount of knowledgeable blockchain personnel but finding the right people to bring initiative and solutions with the understanding of the targeted industry sector is difficult. There are blockchain advisors some of which bring value but many who enjoyed the ride last year and are now seeing that their role and knowledge may not constitute to the current token sale world.
Raising funds is always going to be a key focus of any start-up so you must make sure that your business plan / white paper is consistent and accurate. There is no need to oversell something that you can not achieve. If your project is as good as you believe it is, then trust yourself and put in the hard work to network with investors and present it with pride and passion.
What are your thoughts on STOs? STO’s are a great way of providing multiple investors access to certain asset classes which they might not have been able to have access to, along with a financial benefit that they have complete transparency on the value. Private placements from the institutional world will become more apparent, and the bulk of the funding will come from fiat currency until we have a stabilized cryptocurrency market.
Do you think STOs are the future of crypto fundraising or will the utility tokens still be largely issued?
I do think that STO’s are the future, but concerning crypto fundraising, I am not too sure because we see more fiat money being invested and this is predominantly due to the control of the market is by a few dominant players. Until the market is stabilized, I would expect more funds to be raised in fiat. Regarding utility tokens, yes I think there is a use case, but I haven’t seen a utility that is not being used a financial asset.
What are the two lessons you learned ‘the hard way’ and would like to share with our readers so that they could learn from your mistakes?I think the main lesson in life is to surround yourself with good people, people who want to help you as much as you would like to help them. Having had two start-up businesses, you learn how to grow and learn that every penny counts, so you need to have a clear mind to ensure that growth is consistent and allows you to focus on sticking to the road map you created from the start. Yes, changes of direction may happen, but you need to stay in control of everything you do, trust the people you have around you and the budget for everything want to do.
How does the crypto market look in the UK? Does it differ from other countries such as Malta and Gibraltar?
The UK market is growing extensively, and every week we are being approached by companies looking for our support which is great to see. The FCA are gaining more understanding and knowledge, and I am confident, that the UK will become a significant player in the blockchain. Countries like Malta and Gibraltar, whom Coincierge work very closely with, are also very active in concluding their regulation around blockchain and crypto.
What useful resources would you recommend to any ICO founder?
Any founder of any business needs first to identify everything that they are trying to achieve, if they rush into it they will make mistakes whether that is from an employment or even a budget perspective. Research everything and speak to influential people that you made sure have created positive impacts within blockchain. One great thing with this space is that people are very open to talking and supporting new companies because collectively we are trying to create new opportunities for many industry sectors through the use of blockchain technology.