A talk with Mads Dalsgaard

by | Dec 20, 2016

 

Hi! Today we have a chat with Mads Dalsgaard, who will talk on our Main Stage at BLAST 2017. Mads Dalsgaard, Ex-Cofounder @ TrunkBird, is CMO @ Funderbeam, the world’s first primary and secondary marketplace for early-stage investments, secured by the blockchain.  Let’s get to know him better!

1. Let’s start from the beginning: who is Mads Dalsgaard?

I’m from Denmark, and dropped out of university to pursue my own startup and move to Berlin. When this failed, I heard about Funderbeam, and decided to move to Estonia to join the small team here. We’ve grown a bit since then, but we’re still a tight-nit little crew, determined to fundamentally change how companies are funded worldwide.

 

2. Let’s talk about Funderbeam:  tell us more about it!

First step in our master plan was to build 1) a data intelligence platform for startups and investors, 2) a platform for syndicated equity investment, and 3) a platform for trading these investments on the blockchain.

The next step is to take this platform to the rest of the world, starting with neighbouring countries and the rest of Europe. In order to best access nations around the globe we’ll need to be ahead of the legal curve and focus on establishing strategic partnerships. By doing so, we’ll always remain compliant with the law and will ideally attract the best investors and growth companies to our platform.
At the same time, we will be facilitating more ways to fund growth, such as listing existing assets and issuing bonds.

 

3. Which are the biggest challenges you faced in launching this startup?

I think our biggest challenge is also our greatest strength: Regulation.

We are trailblazing new legal territory, and that is never easy. We have some amazing people within the IT and Business Law, so I strongly believe, that if anyone can make this happen, it is us.

 

 4. Funderbeam is a pioneer in blockchain. What do you see in this technology?

We see Blockchain as an infant technology with an incomprehensible potential once it grows up. Our true innovation is not in using Blockchain, but the way we’ve structured startup investing in a way that allows investors to trade their investments. This allows investors to not just choose how much to invest, but also how long to hold on to their investments. Building it on blockchain is an experiment; we want to know what we can do with it and be the first in the world to do it.

 

5. How is the European funding into startups situation?

Funding has decreased significantly from 2015 to 2016, and this goes for Europe as well. The year is almost at an end, and so far 22{c653bac874e230c60cb5d5d5e780b44e2af54b021d2579c749fcb3ad96398bd8} less funding has been invested into European startups than last year. This is a significant drop, but in my personal opinion this could be healthy, as we saw “bubble-like” soars in 2015. I’d much rather see a slow settling than a real burst, and I think that’s what we’ll see in 2017: a stable, perhaps slightly decreasing amount of funding. Also notable is that the average deal-size has gone significantly up. (25{c653bac874e230c60cb5d5d5e780b44e2af54b021d2579c749fcb3ad96398bd8} since last year). Fewer investments are being made, but they are made in later stages with larger amounts, which I see as a sign of maturing of investors.
6. I would like to discuss with youthe need for a secondary market for investors: Crowdfunding hub recently released a whitepaper on the potential risks and liabilities as the equity crowdfunding industry grows. What’s your opinion about this?

If we are thinking of the same report, one of the main points of this was that there is a need for a secondary market exactly because of the increased risks and liabilities. I wrote a bit on it here.

 

7. With Funderbeam you achieved a huge milestone: you surpassed 1,000 approved investors from more than 50 countries, how did you obtain this result?

We are growing steadily, and most of it is a result of our users loving what we do.
As a marketer, I try to amplify the reach of everything we do, but at the end of the day, what sells product, is good product.

 

 8. You will make a talk on our Main Stage. Do you have an advice for giving talks that have impact?

I think the most important thing is to be present. People can instantly tell if you are engaged in the people in front of you, or simply ranting of some talk for the Xth time. I go to tonnes of conferences a year, and see 100s of talks (although I actually mostly avoid talks and prioritize networking). I always judge the talks by looking at the crowd, and I think it’s important to do the same when you are the speaker yourself. If people are not with you, ask them a question. If the look bored, make a joke. If they look excited, keep them locked in.

 

9. What about your future goals?

We are born with a global mindset, and we are going global from the beginning. We are already in partnerships with amazing organizations around the world, and we have many more to come.

 

10. Finally, what do you see in BLAST? Which is the reason why you decided to become a speaker of this great event?

I looked over the event, and it looks super exciting. On top, I think Italy in general has a huge potential as a startup nation. I don’t think there’s anyone in the world who doesn’t own, or at least wishes to own, goods made in Italy. I think this can be transferred directly to early stage investments, and we’re eager to meet cool companies and investors from here.

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