IN EFFORTS to accelerate the growth of equity crowdfunding (ECF) in Malaysia, Ata Plus recently launched its Discourse Series to provide an avenue for entrepreneurs, investors and other players in the ecosystem to interact and exchange viewpoints.
“The ECF industry is still in nascent stage of development, and such initiative, not only helps raise awareness and understanding, but also improves the effectiveness and efficiency of the industry,” said Kyri Andreou, co-founder and director of Ata Plus.
“Since our launch in 2016, Ata Plus had facilitated a total of eight ECF campaigns, raising over RM5.2mil for companies across a wide-range of industries, such as education, health & wellness, fashion & lifestyle and eSports.
“In the two-year journey, we have gathered substantial information and established a wide network of stakeholders. Therefore, we believe it is timely that we put together an initiative where we can share the knowledge and network with a larger group of people in the ecosystem,” added Elain Lockman, co-founder and director of Ata Plus.
To kickstart the series, Ata Plus, a licensed ECF platform, brought in chief executive officers of five of its previous issuers to share their experiences in raising funds through ECF.
Finspark CEO Alvin Tan noted the importance of community engagement in creating a successful ECF campaign.
“Every ECF campaign should involve a robust engagement of the crowd, starting with your own community. Include them in your marketing strategy during the campaign period, allowing them to be your advocates and extended voice, so that you are able to leverage their network to reach a wider group of audience who would potentially be interested in your company offerings as they do,” said Tan.
But Mecapan CEO Naula Kamila concurred, noting that engagement with stakeholders could also open up new business opportunities.
“Try to attend or organise your own networking events so that you have more opportunities to meet with potential investors who can also open up new markets and business opportunities. Apart from funding, it is also important to look out for potential partners with expertise and resources that may be beneficial for your company,” said Naula.
“Timing is also key. If possible, schedule your ECF campaign in conjunction with key occasions related to your business. It helps build up the momentum and gives your company a better exposure. The occasions can potentially open up more channels for conversations, thus help drive better results for your ECF campaign, and business opportunities to top it all of,” added Hazman Hassan, CEO of Kitamen.
Meanwhile, PurelyB’s Jesrina Arshad reminded potential issuers and entrepreneurs to connect with retail investors on the emotional front.
“Unlike institutional investors who are usually more driven by financial data, ECF investors invest passionately in companies that they can resonate with in values and could even be their customer. Therefore, it is crucial to have a clarity of your business angle, your mission and values, then craft a compelling story and learn the ability to tell it effectively. The most important thing is to be authentic,” she said.
PasarTap CEO Hisham Talib also noted the process of raising funds through ECF has taught him how to value his company and structure an investment offering to potential investors, an important lesson for future fundraising.
The event also featured Midana Capital, New Entrepreneurs Foundation (myNEF) and Quest MasteryAsia Group.
“ECF is part of the larger entrepreneurial ecosystem, and it should not need to work in isolation. There is an immense opportunity for different stakeholders in the ecosystem to join forces with ECF so that it can grow to its full potential,” sai Chris Tan, general partner of Midana Capital.
“The funding landscape is rapidly evolving to accommodate the new economy with the emergence of many new alternative funding options. ECF gives an opportunity for investors, especially retail investors, to access and invest in what can potentially be the next unicorn. Prior to ECF, only VCs and Angels are privy to these type of companies,“ concluded KC See, CEO of Quest MasteryAsia.