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Russian venture fund Life.SREDA announces SmartMarket, a platform for crowdfunding startups. Billed as an “eBay for shareholders”, this service will enable startups to raise capital by appealing directly to the general public. I spoke with Nastya Pozdnyakova, PR representative from Life, and she told me that this new platform will allow those willing to put a minimum of $1000 into a project to share in a portion of future revenue, depending on how much they are willing to invest.
Visiting the site, you will find that SmartMarket is a fairly typical crowd-sourcing. The site is in Russian and it’s geared towards a Russian audience, but you’ll find that the profiles for each startup are basically what you might find on a different site. Each startup lists the service for which it hopes to attract funding, potential rivals, the members of its team, and a timeline for development. Also listed are other promotional materials for the startup and the financial terms that it offers to potential investors. For their part, potential investors also have the ability to comment on projects on the startup’s profile page. According to the SmartMarket site, there are more than 4,000 potential investors who have begun using the service so far. At the moment, there are 11 startups listed on the site and 5 currently seeking funding. There doesn’t seem to have been any major success stories yet, but wedding-organization startup “be married” seems to be leading the way so far, having raised 930,000 rubles (23,255 euro) from its goal of 2.49 million rubles (60,300 euro).
On their own page, Life.SREDA lists SharesPost and SecondMarket as primary rivals. Kickstarter is probably the most well-known crowd-funding site at the moment, but SmartMarket differs in that it allows investors to share ultimately share in later revenues. I’m told that investors will be able to earn back their money with up to 100-200% if the startups are ultimately successful.
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