Thanks for the Great Feedback, Crowd-Investing Rocks!

As we launched Venture Bonsai last week, we knew we’re doing the right thing. The feedback from the people who joined the service has been very positive. Thank you Finland, thank you UK, thank you Europe!

We thought we’ll share some of the feedback with you.

There are many different kinds of users. Entrepreneurs, serial entrepreneurs, private investors, angels, VC’s, advisors, … It’s a great community.

First of all, there are people who are really in the core of Crowd-Investing. These people are the actual crowd investors.

It’s is exactly these people (and there are many of them) who will help to drive the next revolution of start-up and growth-company funding.

For example, one of our users said:

For some time now, I have searched for possibilities in limited investing (5-20 kEUR/company) without the need to commit to a full-time employment in the company. Usually companies are not looking for such a small investments if they are able to arrange larger investments from business angels or institutional investments. Most probably there are a lot of promising companies that do not get funding from these source or they do not wish to get funding in large chunks because then they also… Continue reading

Press Release: New Crowd Investing Service Venture Bonsai Launched


Venture Bonsai is a new tool for startups running Crowd Investing investment rounds. This means raising money from many parties in small chunks instead of a few larger investments. Venture Bonsai enables versatile pre-investment communication between the investor prospects and the entrepreneurs, combined with social media mechanisms. Venture Bonsai is first of its kind to offer a complete tool set for all parties to manage the whole investment process.

Supporting growth companies is largely seen as important for Europe and its future. However political intentions alone do not help, it is positive action that’s required. That is the idea behind Venture Bonsai, founded by experienced serial entrepreneurs with the courage to implement real and useful tools using private funds.

“Venture Bonsai is the first startup funding tool accessible to any private investor. It allows anybody to become an angel investor with investments just as small as 5000 euro, opening up the opportunity to invest in the next Googles or Facebooks”, says Antti T. Hannula, Chairman of the Board. “I’ve been an entrepreneur for quite many years, and it is amazing what you can achieve nowadays with relatively small investments, for example 100,000 euros.… Continue reading

Press Release: Neuer Crowd-Investing-Service "Venture Bonsai" auf dem Markt

Neuer Crowd-Investing-Service “Venture Bonsai” auf dem Markt

Venture Bonsai ist ein neues Tool für Existenzgründer, die Investitionsrunden im Rahmen von Crowd Investing anstreben. Crowd Investing bedeutet, statt einigen wenigen grossen Investitionen kleinere Mengen an Kapital von mehreren Parteien zu sammeln. Venture Bonsai ermöglicht vielseitige Kommunikation zwischen den Investoren und den Unternehmern in der Vorinvestitionsphase, kombiniert mit Social-Media-Mechanismen. Venture Bonsai ist dadurch, dass er einen kompletten Tool-Satz für alle Parteien zur Verwaltung des gesamten Investitionsprozesses bietet, der erste Service seiner Art.

Die Unterstützung aufstrebender Unternehmen wird für Europa und seine Zukunft weitgehend als sehr wichtig angesehen. Politische Absichten allein helfen jedoch nicht, es bedarf aktiver Unterstützung. Das ist die Idee hinter Venture Bonsai, das von erfahrenen Serienunternehmern gegründet wurde, die die Courage besassen, echte und nützliche Tools mittels privater Gelder zu realisieren.

“Venture Bonsai ist das erste Finanzierungs-Tool für Existenzgründer, das für jeden privaten Investor zugänglich ist. Mit Investitionen in Höhe von lediglich 5000 EUR ist jedermann in der Lage, ein Unternehmensengel zu werden. Ein jeder hat die Möglichkeit, in das nächste Google oder Facebook zu investieren”, erklärte Antti T. Hannula, Aufsichtsratsvorsitzender. “Ich bin seit vielen Jahren Unternehmer, und es ist wirklich erstaunlich, was man heutzutage mit relativ kleinen Investitionen, wie… Continue reading

Soon, the Wait is Over. Launching Venture Bonsai.

The moment we all have been waiting for is soon at hand!

We’re proud to inform you that we’ll be launching Venture Bonsai during the second week of April. If you’re interested in service already now, please request an invite!

Venture Bonsai is a tool for running and managing an Equity Crowdfunding investment round with ease. The service enables versatile pre-investment communication between the investor prospects and entrepreneurs, combined with social media mechanisms. Venture Bonsai also offers a complete tool set for all parties to manage the whole investment process.

For private investors Venture Bonsai is the most trusted and reliable place to discover, follow and invest in the most promising companies with a standardized process and an emphasis on trust and transparency. When investing, the minimum investment for an individual investor is typically 5.000 euros.


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Benefits of Standardized Startup Documents (Revised)

This is a revised edition of the original blog entry in August, 2010. At that time we set to implement the first set of standardized documents for European entrepreneurs and private investors. We worked together with Borenius&Kemppinen and the documents were released in January 2011 as Venture Bonsai Legal Framework. This blog entry is to explain our view on the importance of the standardized documents for the startup ecosystem in Europe.

Traditionally, running an investment round has meant a lot of work with the legal documents. Getting the Term Sheet and Shareholders’ Agreement into such a document that all parties agree on, can mean a lot of work and legal costs. Quite often it’s also the investors who bring the initial document on the table (as often the entrepreneurs don’t have those in the first place). It certainly makes sense to improve this process with higher quality of documents and more transparent understanding of acceptable and on the other hand, not acceptable terms.

But what is the definition of a standardized document?

For me it is a document that is acceptable for all parties (investors and entrepreneurs alike) as such, without any tough negotiation concerning the key issues. The… Continue reading

Introducing Venture Bonsai Legal Framework

Venture Bonsai Legal Framework

The purpose of the Venture Bonsai Legal Framework is to provide a set of ready-to-use documents and a simple process to run a Share Issue to raise private capital for a growth company. The process is in compliance with European Union regulations and related national laws.

This framework is built in such a way that the Share Issue can be arranged within the service as easily as possibly while still following the regulation related to private placements within the European Union. The example documents have been built in such a way that they can modified to meet the minor differences in each national legislation. The example documents are built for companies domiciled in Finland.

Detailed and full version attachments (as referenced in this document) are available to Venture Bonsai customers and partners.

Preparing for the Investment Round

Preparation Phase within Venture Bonsai

The Venture Bonsai service guides you through each step while setting up your investment round. You will upload to the service the official documents mentioned below, have them checked by a Venture Bonsai authorised lawyer and you can start your investment round.

There are also other documents to be uploaded (such as business plan… Continue reading

About Investing with Venture Bonsai

You may have wondered when using Venture Bonsai, where is actually all the action? One of the principal user interface design strategies has been that you only should see those features that are relevant for each user in each phase.

In the illustration below you see for example the screen for an investor who has just made an investment.

Before investing the investor can (among other things) view the “Investor Pitch Video”, use the Q & A section to find answers to those questions that are important for him (all communication is visible to all investor prospects, as required by the law), as well as review the documents in the data room.

After the investment has been made, the investor can keep communicating with the company and follow how the investment target is reached. The investor can also invite his investor-friends for the round.

Certain documents, such as the Vendor Due Diligence, are produced with an easy-to-do process and is typically verified by an external lawyer.

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Venture Bonsai, The Invitation Edition

We’re very happy to announce that Venture Bonsai is now open as a Invitation Only edition. Companies  and investors domiciled within European Union can now register, for free of charge, for the service. Companies domiciled in Finland can already run a funding round, and investors from any continental european country can become an investor. More details within the service.

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The Statue of Liberty was Crowdfunded

So you knew crowdfunding is not actually a new idea. It has been used, after all, for years in the music and movie industry.

But did you know that it dates way before that? Even The Statue of Liberty in New York was in a way “crowdfunded”. The statue was a gift to the United States from the people of France. They agreed that the French finance the statue and the Americans provide the pedestal and the site.

But the Americans ran out of money.

Here’s the story…

The price tag for building the pedestal and erecting the Statue topped $300,000. The American Committee raised half this sum between 1877 and 1884. Then a crisis occurred: the Statue was due to arrive, funds had run out, and work on the pedestal stopped. In March 1885, publisher Joseph Pulitzer and his newspaper, The World, came to the rescue with a highly successful six-month fund raising campaign.

As it turned out, a lot of people were willing to donate money for this project. Many of them having an emotional binding to the things the statue was to represent.

The response to Joseph Pulitzer’s campaign was overwhelming – $100,000 (the equivalent of… Continue reading

Demystifying (Vendor) Due Diligence

If you’re a company preparing for a financing round in the near future, you should already know what is Due Diligence (commonly known also as DD). If not, read on. If you do know what Due Diligence is, you might be interested how to produce one cost-efficiently.

Wikipedia defines Due Diligence as follows:

Due Diligence is a term used for a number of concepts involving either the performance of an investigation of a business or person prior to signing of a contract, or the performance of an act with a certain standard of care.

Nowadays there are many kinds of Due Diligences, for example Legal, Financial, Technical, Commercial and Environmental. The scope of the Due Diligence will depend on the size and scale of the transaction and the surrounding risks.

We will focus here  on investment-round related Legal Due Diligence, and more specifically on Vendor Due Diligence which is done by the company itself in the preparation phase of the investment round. Due Diligence prepared for an acquisition is in many aspects similar to what we discuss here, but has naturally its own specific issues.

Legal Due Diligence focuses on showing that the future prospects… Continue reading