In episode 15, Kevin spoke to Alex Holtermann and Ian Wright from iCrowdu, an exciting blockchain project set to change the crowdfunding space, potentially forever!
These exciting entrepreneurs are on a mission to disrupt the crowdfunding space with a revolutionary approach to the blockchain.
In this recap article, we will be pulling some of the key quotes from Alex and Ian…
Kevin: So, how did your crypto journey begin?
Alex: It began several years ago, around 5 years ago when I first read and heard about Bitcoin. Then, initially I wasn’t so sure, some friends of mine in Hong Kong asked me about it and whether they should buy some. I was like ‘Ah, buy a bit, sell it, and it will be ok. I don’t think this will be sustainable’.
So, initially, I wasn’t very keen, but then about three years ago, Ian and I had a class together (we did our MBA together) and in a team we worked on the legalities of cryptocurrency and I was introducing Bitcoin to the class, and that’s when I was really getting into it, and these little mining machines and how the technology works behind it.
Then, I came up with a mini business plan and introduced it to quite a few friends and said ‘Look guys, if we can raise half a mission dollars together, I have this place somewhere that electricity is very cheap and we could triple or quadruple the money’. They said ‘Ah, rubbish, all this Bitcoin stuff. Nah, it’s never going to fly!’. Had they listened, this would probably have turned into $50 million today!’
Kevin: From this idea around mining Bitcoin, how did that bring you to start a crypto project?
Ian: Well, for example my first introduction and understanding of cryptocurrency came when Alex gave this lecture at the university about Bitcoin. We set up iCrowdU as a crowdfunding platform, we saw many problems in the crowdfunding industry that needed to be changed – young companies are always going to need capital. It was a clear fit.
From day one, really, we had spoken about the blockchain, and one of our very early investors is actually also a blockchain expert. It was a question of how to actually implement it, and the costs when we were getting set up on our own when funds were very limited. This year, things have changed, we actually just completed out C-round [of investment] and realised our goal of pulling everything onto the Blockchain, and that has resulted in the CrowdToken.
The big goal is to build our own Blockchain and put the entire company and all processes on there.
Kevin: If I had never come across iCrowdU before, Ian, could you explain in Layman’s Terms what the project does, and what problem it solves?
Sure! So, essentially what the CrowdToken begins with is offering any of our customers an immediate return by offering a discount on products, so I suppose to really explain the full story we have to go to our company iCrowdU, where it all began.
We developed a concept, a business model called ‘consolidated crowdfunding’ that enables people who are searching for funding for their companies and projects to actually combine different funding mechanisms, like traditional donations and rewards, but adding Peer-to-Peer lending, equity investments and royalty deals and a way to combine all of these options into one kind of project or package and then present it to a wider range of potential backers, and on an international scale. We are heavily focused on Asia, we have a company set up in China and in Hong Kong, and we want to bring European companies out to the East.
Kevin: Just so I understand this correctly, you’re looking at doing crowdfunding for projects and for physical items as well. I know on your website there’s an example of some sneakers/trainers. If I’m a private manufacturer and I’ve got 20,000 sneakers to sell, I could put them on this platform, right? I’m just confused how the company funding works alongside that. Are there two separate options?
Ian: There are two sides to it, because with the allowing so that existing companies with products [can use it], it’s about opening new markets as well. One of our slogans is that the crowd comes before the funding, and it’s not only about crowdfunding, it’s about connecting companies and projects with a large group of people who can be beneficial to them. So, if you have an existing producer of trainers/sneakers, and they’re in the UK for example, but they want to go to China and access the Chinese market, well, that’s not so easy.
Aaaaand that’s your lot for now! If you want to know how iCrowdU helps companies enter the Chinese market, you will have to listen to the rest of the podcast. You will also hear the full details of Ian and Alex’s journey, including 32 minutes that cover:
- The problem iCrowdu is solving by providing a peer to peer service between producers & consumers. They save a staggering 70% on average bypassing traditional e-commerce or retail channels
- How the crowd token will work to help fund projects
- The power of the crowd to help products go viral!
- Some of the issues around current crowdfunding methods such as Kickstarter