Libersy: Venture Capital-Backed Company Now Crowdfunding - for Equity


Libersy, "the appointment maximizers", received VC investment while also crowdfunding You'll often hear that crowdfunding is reducing the role of traditional finance. While it's true that alternative finance as a whole is disrupting the financial services industry, recently it's been shown that crowdfunding can work alongside other forms of finance. In particular, the interplay between venture capital and crowdfunding is becoming more important. An increasing number of venture-backed startups are choosing to launch products on Kickstarter, for instance.

VCs are not blind to the advantages of crowdfunding, especially on reward-based sites like Kickstarter. Successful campaigns provide validation, connections and cost-effective marketing. Venture-backed firms like Misfit Wearables and cosmetics-maker Julep have both turned to crowdfunding to launch products. In fact, VCs are sourcing deals via crowdfunding platforms more and more. Nearly 10% of all crowdfunded projects above $100,000 receive VC funding post-campaign. As of mid-2014, more than $300 million in venture capital had been committed to these companies.

Professional and private investors: a win-win?

However, it's still rare to hear about a venture-backed startup opting for equity crowdfunding because, well, why would it? Yet Libersy - a growing calendar software company active in the Netherlands, Germany, Belgium and the UK - is now scaling up its business via equity crowdfunding after investment from Amsterdam-based VC firm henQ and two other investment funds. We spoke to Libersy founder Adriaan van der Hek about why he opted for equity crowdfunding and why, so far, it's paying off.

Libersy are crowdfunding now on Symbid, view their full pitch and invest here.

  1. Briefly, what's the vision behind Libersy?

Libersy founder Adriaan van der Hek

Everybody knows how hard it is to get an appointment at a doctor, dentist, physiotherapist or hairdresser when you need one. You have to call during the day, and sometimes end up talking to an answering machine. The available times don't fit your schedule, and all those appointments can be hard to keep track of. The same applies for business appointments. Chances are, you'll forget one occasionally. Libersy is streamlining this process using the power of the internet.

I'm truly passionate about how online technologies can prevent missed opportunities, and wasted time. Libersy enables people to book appointments online, 24/7. Online booking via Libersy makes small businesses accessible outside their opening hours and saves time on calendar planning. Automatic email confirmations and reminders make sure both sides are there on time. Libersy's affordable, cloud-based software makes small businesses more efficient.

  1. It's not often we see a VC-backed company running an equity crowdfunding campaign - how did it all happen?

We have a strong relationship with our VC-backers, and they fully supported the reasoning behind our Symbid campaign. In fact, henQ even pledged €30.000 to the campaign, in addition to the €500.000 they've invested to support our continued growth since we launched in 2006. In fact, two investment funds are also participating in the campaign, including Value Creation and Company.

At Libersy we're very keen to improve healthcare by maximising hospital appointments, and we try to get involved in a lot of community programmes to raise awareness about healthcare issues. We all have a responsibility to maintain an efficient and affordable healthcare system. Therefore, involving the crowd was a logical choice. Of course, crowdfunding campaigns also provide added value in terms of marketing and publicity. The VC firm also recognised these benefits.

  1. What does the VC investment mean for your crowdfunding investors?

henQ are an established, Amsterdam-based VC firm

The investment of henQ shows that professional investors believe in the scalability of our model and our underlying vision. Ultimately, we hope it serves as a convincing proof-of-concept for potential crowdfunding investors. Furthermore, it means that our crowdfunding investors can benefit from the knowledge and networks of henQ - a VC firm with a proven track record across several years. Their involvement can only help us to become more successful.

  1. Your campaign is still live, but what do you hope will be the outcome?

For Libersy, we expect the combination of venture capital and crowdfunding to help us scale up faster because we're involving more investors, raising more capital, and gaining way more exposure. The campaign has already raised awareness of Libersy and what we're trying to achieve in maximising the efficiency of meetings and appointments in healthcare, business and service industries.

(Video is in Dutch)  

  1. Can you see more companies combining different types of funding in the future?

Definitely. For Libersy, attracting both institutional and private investors feels like we're getting the best of both worlds. We gain access to the high-level support networks of professional investors, while also being able to rely on a large crowd of investors with a wide range of knowledge and expertise. Plus there's the boost in publicity.

We believe the crowd is able to take our company to the next level. Our VC investors helped us to kick this off.

Libersy are crowdfunding now on Symbid, view their full pitch and invest here.