Claudiu Minea, CEO & Co-Founder of SeedOn, tells us about the crowdfunding industry.
Tell us about you, your career, and how you founded SeedOn.
Claudiu Minea: I am a self-taught software developer with 6+ years of experience building high-quality digital products for international companies. My associate Tudor and I have always been attracted to the entrepreneurial area. Thus we started working towards creating a solution and a business that would bring value to both our stakeholders and people working with us. We have had several other attempts to build other software solutions, but some didn’t succeed. It was all part of the learning path that led us to the road we are on today.
We’ve worked for around a year to put in place every possible scenario for SeedOn. Everything from the business model, benefits, issues, best-case scenarios, worst-case scenarios, expenses, and long-term goals has been researched, discussed, and put into place to always be prepared. Due to our hard work and emphasis on transparency, our solution was welcomed rapidly among investors, entrepreneurs, and our current community members.
How does SeedOn innovate?
Claudiu Minea: Even if crowdfunding is a good alternative for businesses to raise capital, it has a few drawbacks that usually increase the investors’ skepticism when contributing to a project. A solution for these pain points could be the use of blockchain technology. We’re the first solution that makes and meets between a funding portal, blockchain technology, and cryptocurrencies. Thus, all investments will always be transparent and visible to all investors, having clarity on where the money is going.
Moreover, we’ll be using our Smart Contract Escrow model to ensure that we’ll be minimizing investments risks and reducing fraud. Our smart contract will provide a controlled startup’s capital infusion, and the total capital invested is released into stages. This means that the entrepreneur will have a limited amount of cash flow until further objectives or targets are completed.
In the unlikely event of a fraudulent project, the investors’ loss will be kept to a minimum, having the rest of the capital returned to investors if the startup hasn’t completed its first stage objectives.
Furthermore, the most encountered drawbacks, among others, in the crowdfunding industry are lack of trust, lack of realistic targets and deadlines set by entrepreneurs, lack of accountability on the project fulfillment, lack of a structured channel for post-raise communication, managing copyright issues, reduced possibilities to invest in technology and service startups, and no cryptocurrency payments.
Through each problem we’ve been addressing about the crowdfunding industry and the solution we’ve proposed to them, I truly believe we will build, nurture and change the investor-entrepreneur business relationship into a more safe, trusting, and transparent attitude towards one another.
How did the coronavirus pandemic affect your business?
Claudiu Minea: The pandemic has undoubtedly changed the way we were used to working, interacting, and living. It did have a negative impact on several aspects, but it did, however, bring out the real value technology can offer. Moreover, there has been a highlight on the importance of digitizing processes in various industries. It provided companies with the perfect time and place to innovate, and it pushed a fast-forward button to the overall digitalization of businesses.
Our business hasn’t been affected by the pandemic. It was quite the contrary because it boosted it. Many people have understood the importance of an online presence and the intangible value that software brings. Moreover, there has been a startup boom during the Covid-19 pandemic, especially in the United States. As these startups are looking for funding in their beginning stages, some of them have sought the option of crowdfunding. As there were a few issues in this recurrent sector, we’ve thought of a way to facilitate the interaction between investors and entrepreneurs so they could build long-lasting business partnerships.
What are the current trends in the crowdfunding industry, and how fast does it change?
Claudiu Minea: The crowdfunding phenomenon has surely changed how a startup or innovative products are funded. There’s a sign that crowdfunding platforms are starting to outline stricter guidelines when it comes to crowdfunding trends. Current crowdfunding players will tighten up their reviewing processes and pay more attention to the product and its claims.
Next, I believe that most successful products or services will have to be truly unique and solve an existing, recurrent need. While this might seem frightening for future entrepreneurs, it is actually a good thing. It will encourage entrepreneurs to think outside the box and be creative, research their market thoroughly and find a gap in the market or a product/service that could be greatly improved.
Last but not least, crowdfunding is becoming accessible for all. Equity crowdfunding continues to build a foundation for people to have access to meaningful investments. Now, no matter the social status or annual income, anyone can invest in companies that have meaning for them.
Who is the target audience SeedOn? Do you have any interesting partnerships?
Claudiu Minea: Our audience consists of both investors and entrepreneurs alike, as we want to address all their concerns and create a platform that would facilitate their future business partnerships. When it comes to investors, we’ve taken into consideration crypto investors as well, as they could also invest in the startups on our platform by using our cryptocurrency, SEON, or can just invest using fiat money if they’re not into the crypto space.
Tell us more about your platform/technology.
Claudiu Minea: Before starting SeedOn, we identified some of the most recurrent and crucial problems that investors and entrepreneurs face in the crowdfunding sector. We’ve identified problems such as copyright issues management, unrealistic valuations, lack of accountability and structured communication channels, rug pulling scams, lack of options of technology and service startups, and no cryptocurrency payments.
According to these findings, we’ve developed several solutions specifically tailored to solve them. We’ll be presenting two different ways for two different contexts for copyright management issues. First, there will be a public way in which we will be giving a limited amount of information. The public information will consist of a brief project description, presentation video, campaign goal & team presentation. Those will be available for all users, registered or not, on our platform.
However, registered investors (those who have undergone the registration and screening process) will be able to see the full project details provided by the entrepreneur to make an informed decision regarding their investments.
When it comes to unrealistic valuations, I believe I should explain what I mean. Businesses listed on crowdfunding platforms usually have their valuation set by entrepreneurs themselves, often enough resulting in unrealistic expectations. Sometimes this representation may not be accurate, and they might not often be worth as much as their entrepreneurs think they do.
Thus, our team will evaluate the project according to the details submitted by its entrepreneur. They will work closely with the entrepreneur so the startup will have its value accurately and adequately estimated.
Addressing the lack of accountability on the part of the startup business to ensure that the money is spent wisely or as planned, our platform will offer clear visibility on each project stage’s raised capital. Historical capital data can always be accessed for all projects funded through our platform, under the form of a timeline. Each funded stage includes all specific details with the success/failure rate for each objective. We want to ensure that by releasing the capital into phases, the entrepreneur will focus on completing the milestones to enable the execution of the next capital infusion.
Lack of structured communication channels refers to an issue that crowdfunding platforms have slowly addressed. There are post-raise areas where entrepreneur-investor communication should continue. They can share updates and discuss the project’s progress so that investors won’t be concerned that their investments aren’t used wisely.
To solve this issue, our platform will require entrepreneurs to organize monthly, quarterly, or bi-annual meetings in which they will present to investors the company’s progress in the current stage.
When it comes to rug pulling, we have created a system in which an entrepreneur has to provide additional details that will further contribute to the definition of the project stages. Their startup roadmap will be split into stages. Each of them has a detailed collection of objectives set and needed to be met by the entrepreneur to unlock the next capital stage. This refers to the Smart Contract Escrow model that I’ve detailed in a previous question.
Then we have the last two issues we’re addressing are the limited possibilities for investing in technology and service startups or investing with cryptocurrency. For the former, we have a SeedOn SAFE contract suitable for equity crowdfunding, as we want to facilitate both: back a project by donating and acquiring equity from startups. For the latter, we’ve ensured that investors will be able to obtain equity from startups listed on our platform through our native cryptocurrency, SEON.
We’ve carefully analyzed the circumstances and possible solutions to all these identified problems. Thus, we outlined a 7-step plan to encompass and solve all current issues in the crowdfunding landscape.
With all these problems that we’ve identified and the solutions we’ve come up with to solve them, we outlined a 7-step plan to encompass and solve all current issues in the crowdfunding landscape. You can find that 7-step plan on our website, with comprehensive details and explanations for each step.
How do you see the future of SeedOn? What are the next steps for the company?
Claudiu Minea: We are currently working on building the platform and releasing the v1 in August of this year. In the meantime, we’re working on becoming an authorized funding portal in the United States of America.
When thinking about the future, we see SeedOn as one of the leading crowdfunding platforms and a top-of-mind choice whenever there’s a discussion regarding ways a startup could get funding. We see ourselves continuously working on the platform, researching and developing it according to our end-users and market’s needs, and, ultimately, changing the way we’re doing crowdfunding today.
Your final thoughts?
Claudiu Minea: Crowdfunding is one of the most overlooked industries in blockchain adoption and implementation. We want to expand blockchain’s use into the crowdfunding landscape as it perfectly fits the blockchain implementation profile. This technology holds significant potential to revolutionize the way we do crowdfunding today, as their merge will significantly add to a more secure and transparent ecosystem.
All my links: https://allmylinks.com/seedonventure
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