Monday, June 17, 2013

It's Kickstarter meets works of art!

Raj Agrawal is the founder and CEO of YourArtBay                    

YourArtBay is an online platform linking the buyers and sellers
of art.

Guardian Thursday 11 April 2013 16.02 BST 
Name: YourArtBay
City: London
YourArtBay is an online platform linking the buyers and sellers of art. It connects sellers of art with a crowd of buyers who contribute small amounts of funding for collective equity in artwork for both short and long-term asset building opportunities. It is a people's platform to buy and sell shares in art and antiques.
Our business model in itself is efficient: we're completely online, so art lovers don't have to physically visit anywhere or collect the artwork. They can see detailed information about the art, artist, pictures, videos and independent valuation of the art on our site. Being online is also more efficient for us as we have far fewer overheads.
What has made us really efficient is the market research we undertook before starting YourArtBay. From our long survey into the current art market, we found that the major hassle for people and businesses is visiting the galleries and auction houses. It costs extra time and money; we also found that people were concerned about the affordability of the art and commission charges they could end up paying. So we came up with the idea to provide an online platform to trade shares in art and antiques.
Because of this market research we have an insight into the art world and have benefited greatly in positioning our service offerings and added value to our customers.
We also outsourced the valuation and authenticity check of the artworks on our site, which frees us to concentrate on our core area of business.
Raj Agrawal is the founder and CEO of YourArtBay

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Take 5: Investing in start-ups through crowdfunding

New online platforms are making venture capital easier than ever. This week MM guides you through the steps to success

By Geordie Clarke | Published May 17, 2013 |

A brace of crowdfunding platforms have launched in the past year that make investing in start-up companies and enterprise investment schemes (EIS) more accessible than ever. With just £10 needed to invest in fledgling companies through websites like Abundance Generation, CrowdBnk, Crowdcube and Seedrs, suddenly anyone can say they are backing start-up companies. But while these platforms have brought venture capital to the masses, there are plenty of risks involved and care is needed when committing any amount of money to a project. Here are our top tips for getting started.

1. Make sure it is right for the client. Like any asset class, the first thing to do is ensure it is suitable for the client. EIS and seed EIS (SEIS) investments are by their nature very risky assets to hold, so the client needs to have both the appetite for risk and the desire to invest in start-ups for this to be the right choice for them. Most start-up companies are expected to fail at some point, so this is a point that needs to be made clear from the start.

2. Choose a platform. Today there is no shortage of crowdfunding websites. With the exception of Abundance Generation, which involves investing in debentures tied to renewable energy projects, the major platforms out there – CrowdBnk, Crowdcube and Seedrs – involve investing in the equity of fledgling small businesses. Some platforms, such as Seedrs, hold the company shares on a nominee basis, while others simply act as an intermediary and the investor’s relationship with the company is direct. Either situation works, but the legal structure is different and one might be more advantageous than the other.

3. Select investments based on the client’s interests. The old saying “invest in what you know” certainly holds true with start-up firms, so too the adage that it is best to invest in your passions. Look for companies in a market the client understands; this will make it much easier to project a company’s potential success.

4. Diversify. The advantage of a crowdfunding platform is the ability to spread small amounts of money across a wide range of companies. Traditionally EIS required thousands of pounds just to commit to one investment. Crowdfunding makes it possible to pledge £10 to one company. If £1,000 is spread across a wide range of companies, it increases the chances of finding a winning company and mitigates losses when one of them fails.

5. Be patient. Just because it is easy to invest in start-ups through a crowdfunding platform does not mean returns come any quicker. EIS and SEIS investments can take years to produce results and it is necessary to hold shares for a minimum of three years for them to be exempt from capital gains tax. This is by no means a short-term investment.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Crowd Source Capital buys domain for an undisclosed sum.

"Crowd Source Capital Limited (UK) has purchased the USA domain and for an undisclosed sum and now has a footprint in the United States as well as Europe. Its directors believe in crowd sourcing as a 2013 trend and beyond. It can only trend upwards and as social media proliferates, crowd sourcing and crowd funding has gained acceptance in more and more traditional financial sectors says James de Rin a director and USA consultant for C.S.C. United Kingdom. The disruption of raising capital has compounded since CSC was first created in 2009.