Launched today, SeedingVR
is a new platform designed to offer consumers the opportunity to invest in startups and projects within the augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) space. Similar in effect to Kickstarter but with one important difference: investors are exactly that, receiving equity in exchange for their finance opposed to ‘rewards’ which typically constitute of the end product and little else. VRFocus
recently spoke with Jason Ballor, CEO of SeedingVR, to find out exactly what this means for AR and VR.
What is SeedingVR?
Jason Ballor [JB]: We are the only equity crowdfunding portal specific to the virtual reality industry and offer exclusive investment access to some of the stealthiest VR tech.VRFocus: Will SeedingVR only offer VR projects? Or can we expect AR, MR and other immersive technologies on the platform?
JB: We are not limited to just VR and will be offering products and services supporting all immersive technologies. The reason we call ourselves SeedingVR is because many novice individuals are yet to distinguish between the industry terms. For the sake of simplicity and a much shorter URL name, we put VR, AR and MR into the same bucket and call it VR.VRFocus: How does SeedingVR differ from other crowdfunding platforms? Kickstarter and Indiegogo, for example.
JB: These two platforms are rewards based. Rewards based crowdfunding is a unique way startups can raise funds to bring an idea to life. For each pound donated to a project the donator gets a reward, such as lunch with the founder, a T-shirt or an exclusive early release of a product. Donating is not the same as investing. SeedingVR is an equity crowdfunding platform. We are an investing platform offering regulated promotions of financial products (shares in non publicly traded companies). For each pound an investor invests, they get a certain amount of company ownership (equity).VRFocus: What kind of rewards will someone get for investing in a project on SeedingVR?
JB: Just to clarify, SeedingVR does not offer rewards. We offer investors the opportunity to invest in a company for a return of equity (ownership) of that company. If the startup goes on to do great things (pay out dividends or get acquired through a buyout), the investor can share in that success proportionate to the amount of company shares they own.VRFocus: How are the projects selected/accepted onto the SeedingVR platform?
JB: Projects are selected based upon delivery of the following 10 points of information:
1: Who makes up the management team2: What Is the product/service and what problems does it address
3: Traction or momentum
4: What’s the market size within your niche
5: What’s the competitive landscape
6: What’s the go to market strategy
7: What’s the Social Proof
8: What’s the target raise budget and where do the investment funds precisely go
9: Monetisation strategy
10: How much equity is offered and what are the termsVRFocus: Can anyone apply to have their project funded via SeedingVR?
JB: Right now we are focusing on UK and European VR startups. In the future we will expand to include North American entities on a separate North American regulated platform. The entity raising funds must be a UK or European registered, for profit, private company. All company directors and current company shareholders above 10% must go through compliance and regulatory vetting such as AML and KYC checks.VRFocus: What kind of vetting process do you undertake to ensure that those who invest receive what they are promised?
JB: All investor funds are held in a third party escrow until:
1: The campaign is successful and hits the minimum target raise amount within 90 days. If the campaign is successful, the startup will receive the funds to their bank account minus any fees after full compliance and regulatory reviews are completed. Once the funds have been transferred, each investor will receive a share certificate from SeedingVR including the date, the investor name, the entity name, the amount of shares purchased and the purchase amount. The entity will be required to update the appropriate government company registrar with the new company share owners details.
2: the campaign is not successful in 90 days. If the campaign does not hit the minimum target raise amount by the 90 days all investor funds will be refunded to their trading account. Investors can choose to use these funds to invest in other projects or withdraw completely back to the originating bank account.VRFocus:
What do you expect to see offered by the platform over the coming year?
JB: You know what’s great about this industry? We have no idea and any detailed speculation would be false. The VR industry has the potential to disrupt so much of our everyday lives and activities. Virtually (pun intended) any industry you can think of could have a VR, AR or MR component. From industries such as medical, educational, aerospace and gaming. To marketing, film, architecture, real estate, manufacturing and more. Who knows what the coming year will bring? But we suspect it could be something big.