Ecrins Therapeutics, the company we interviewed last week, has successfully finished its first crowdfunding fundraiser, reaching €535k on WiSEED’s platform. The capital will allow the company to launch the large-scale chemical synthesis and regulatory toxicology studies, essential groundwork for the start of clinical Phase I/IIa. A second fundraise is already programmed in 2016 to finance these clinical studies.
WiSEED is a pioneer platform of equity crowdfunding that allows individuals to invest in technology start-ups, particularly in the biotech and medtech fields. So far, the platform has financed eight companies already. We exclusively interviewed Dr. Louise Chopinet, Health and Development Manager at WiSEED, about Écrins fundraising and the platform.
Dr. Chopinet, who has a Ph.D. in biophysics applied to gene vectorization, stated: “We are pleased to have participated in the capital increase of this young company and to contribute to the development of its flagship product, ET-D5. Subscriptions are from many individuals, who, beyond the financial interest, the investment was in line with their personal commitment to contribute to the fight against cancer”.
WiSEED has a truly innovative approach, as the company is a crowdfunding platform based on equity-shares, which means that individuals who invest become shareholders of start-ups. WiSEED is not only the French leader, but also the world pioneer in equity crowdfunding, as it funded 54 companies distributing more than €18M since 2009. The eight funded biotech and medtech projects place WiSEED as one of the leaders in crowdequity for healthcare companies. WiSEED’s last campaign with Ecrins Therapeutics was one of the biggest equity crowdfunding campaigns in the healthcare sector ever. Indeed, the amount raised by the crowd constitutes a huge victory for the platform!
But how does WiSEED’s crowfunding process work?
– First of all, WiSEED has a well-defined 3 steps selection process that includes a review by an internal comity, a selection by the collective intelligence of the crowdfunders (e-vote), and a due-diligence.
– Secondly, the investments are solely realized through the establishment of a holding to manage all of the individuals’ subscriptions. As we already explained in the article “Biotech’s crowdfunding: is France top of the class?”, since October 2014, there is a new French regulation on crowdfunding. The new law allows crowdfunding platforms to raise between 100k to €1M through a holding. The use of these holdings benefits to both parties: it guarantees a better shareholder representation of the crowdfunders, and the entrepreneur has only one representative on board whilst WiSEED manages every interaction between the crowdfunders and the company (vote, reporting …).
– Then, most of the time, the platform carries out syndications with VCs or Business Angels. Here again, the use of holdings is crucial as they not only allow syndication, as I just mentioned, but they and also insure a flexible exit.
WiSEED also differs from its competitors. The platform offers guidance and support to start-ups after the closing. With teams counting decades of professional experience, not to mention its community of 45000 WiSEEDers to date, the platform embodies an ideal partner to help start-ups develop. Yet, WiSEED wants to go further. Ultimately, it’s goal is to create synergy between crowdfunders and entrepreneurs, not only on funding issues, but also on matters such as development or expertise. Consequently, the platform offers organized support after the fundraising as a shareholder.
The company is thinking big and wants to develop internationally. A first step will be for the platform to establish itself into the other European French-speaking countries. Only then can the company aim for the rest. WiSEED with its admirable commitment to support projects which, consequently, generate many social impacts, is clearly betting on healthcare and greentech sectors, in which biotechnology is well represented.
Once again, thanks to Dr. Louise Chopinet for answering our questions on this fundraising.