Tokenized Venture Capital Platform Is Vision Of Barrowman and the Baronessbr>
Scottish billionaire Doug Barrowman and Baroness Michelle Mone OBE have launched EQUI, a cryptocurrency-powered investment platform that is envisioned as opening up venture capital to a wider audience while providing access to vetted, early-stage high-growth tech companies.
Businesses on the platform have been hand-selected by a team of established venture capitalists, led by Barrowman, who has 30-plus years experience in identifying investments that deliver outstanding returns. Mone brings marketing skills honed in her own fashion lines.
The vision for EQUI will champion high-tech innovators and entrepreneurs, providing a new route to investment. More than this, businesses brought on to the EQUI platform will benefit from the guidance of the experienced team, including two of the UK’s most successful business people.
EQUI is a web-based application leveraging the ethereum blockchain. Projects are showcased on the platform and participants use EQUItokens to acquire a stake in projects. Upon realization, returns are distributed to investors in the projects.
“EQUI brings venture capital investing into the modern technological era and opens the investment playing-field up to non-industry professionals, enabling them to back the next hot investment that is traditionally the preserve of institutions and ultra-high net worth individuals,” said Barrowman.
“EQUI will find the next generation of successful entrepreneurs and help to build the business success stories of tomorrow, primarily in the areas of technology and blockchain,” said Mone.
The partners talked with Block Tribune about the new project.
BLOCK TRIBUNE: Let’s start out with a fundamental question. This is a cryptocurrency-powered investment platform that’s taking on the venture capital sector. Can you explain exactly what it is?
DOUG BARROWMAN: Okay, well, obviously Equi brings back to capital investors into the modern era. So what we’ve done is we’ve built the Equi token on the Ethereum blockchain platform, an ERC20 token. And what that enables individuals to do is to buy Equi tokens and to then invest them into our projects directly where we will showcase on the Equi platform invest opportunities which traditionally would be the preserve of venture capital funds, institutions, and ultra high networks, you know?
So we’re trying to allow the non-professional investors, the people investing power into this space.
BLOCK TRIBUNE: How will you vett companies that you present these opportunities on?
DOUG BARROWMAN: Yes, a good question. Well, when you see the whitepaper, and you look at the team we have and the experience, have been this game for 30 years. Michelle is an experienced investor. Essentially, the same diligence that we would apply to our own investments, our own funds as investors. So therefore, there’ll be extensive due diligence. We backed [inaudible 00:03:39] management. We backed teams that have credibility. We checkout every aspect of the investment as you would do.
I think the first thing is that we’re allowing individuals the opportunity to play in this space. So there is no requirement for anyone to use the tokens to invest in the space. They can choose to hold the tokens and the platform uninvested or they can actually choose not to invest in anything. They can actually choose to trade the way you would a conventional cryptocurrency.
So there’s something for everyone here depending on what you’re preferences are.
BLOCK TRIBUNE:: Are you targeting any particular sectors for investment like health or energy or transportation?
DOUG BARROWMAN: No. I think what we’ve done is we’ve stayed with … we’re obviously interested heavily in technology. We’re interested in cryptospace itself. We’re also interested in biotech. So essentially, we’ll build a blended portfolio of investments across these sectors. They will not all be startups or LLCs. It could be a round of development capital for a more established technology company. The trick here is to have a balance and blended portfolio that over a 12, 18 months period grows into a significant number of investments to allow diversity for those that want to participate across the range, you know?
BLOCK TRIBUNE:: Will there be equity surrendered by the companies that are listed on your platform?
DOUG BARROWMAN: Yes. It’s no different from a conventional venture capital fund. We will look at the amount they’re required to be invested in. We will agree a percentage. We’ll be fully transparent on our website. It will then … a case will be made, you know, what the investment will be. And then we will ask the wider Equi community what will they like this investment. And the ones that like it will use their Equi tokens which they’ll buy on exchanges in order to participate in our investment on a case by case basis.
BLOCK TRIBUNE: What are you accepting for your coin offering on the token? Are you accepting bicoin or just ethereum?
DOUG BARROWMAN: Essentially everything to start with will be converted into ethereum. It’s obviously built on ethereum blockchain. But from ethereum, we will then convert that into Equi tokens. We will take the Ethereum, and we will then deploy into fiat currency for the specific investments because obviously they need dollars, euros, pounds in order to develop their businesses at this stage. Perhaps in the future, that will not be the case.
BLOCK TRIBUNE:: Here’s a report that’s out today that’s based on a Bloomberg story regarding Bitfinex and possible market manipulation in virtual currencies. Are you familiar with the story, and does that cast a sort of shadow upon the whole sector?
DOUG BARROWMAN: Let me give you a general observation. And that is the beauty of Equi is that the value of the token is underpinned the perceived value of the investment. So the token has real utility value because it’s [collectively 00:06:47] based on real world assets.
So if we’ve got a balanced portfolio, we’ve got a blockbuster or two in there, people can form their own views as to whether we’ll do the next Snapchat or whatever it may be. And therefore, when the token rises, it’s not rising over market manipulation. It’s rising because on our website people will have formed a view and a judgment on the value of our investments that underpin the currency.
So this is why I think not only as a game changer to venture capital, but it’s actually a game change to the ICO market because people have got transparency in they’ve got some measure to base value off of.
BLOCK TRIBUNE: Baroness, how did you get involved?
MICHELLE MONE: I got involved with this as well with Doug, who, as he says, he’s been 30 years inside the equity and one of the most successful business guys in the country. I’m successful as well. And I think this whole space is all about trust. This is about 1,400 ICOs, and it’s not all about … all these ICOs, they’re not all people that you know and that are successful, and you can trust them.
So with us, we brought together this team of very successful entrepreneurs who were set in a board, and handpicked the blockbuster investments of tomorrow. And that’s what excited me because I did a review for the former Prime Minister a few years ago. And when I traveled up and down the country and especially tech companies, the biggest bank site was then trying to get investment for their idea. And then that is a real … it’s real hassle for them.
But also, getting advice from successful entrepreneurs as well. So this board will be there to help them as well as investment which is a very powerful thing. So that’s why I was extremely successful. I know it’s going to be successful, why I was extremely excited to be doing this and to be joined in the Equi board.
BLOCK TRIBUNE:: Where will the offices be based for this?
MICHELLE MONE: In the UK. In London.
BLOCK TRIBUNE: Okay. Great.
MICHELLE MONE: But it is a global ICO. We will be looking at a global … businesses as well.