Funderbeam, stock exchange for startups, teams up with Taizo Son for Asia expansion

Funderbeam’s Kaidi Ruusalepp shaking hands with Mistletoe’s Taizo Son
Image credit: Koichiro Shimojo / Slush Tokyo 2017

See the original story in Japanese.
This is a part of our on-site coverage of Slush Tokyo 2017.

Funderbeam, originally from Estonia, offers a blockchain-based stock exchange platform for startups. The startup’s founder and CEO Kaidi Ruusalepp took the stage at Slush Tokyo 2017 today where she announced that they have secured 2 million euros from Mistletoe, led by Japanese renowned entrepreneur/angel investor Taizo Son, and will seek to advance into the Asia-Pacific region, including Japan, under a strategic alliance.

Funderbeam was founded in 2013 by Kaidi Ruusalepp, who previously served as CEO of the Estonian stock exchange Nasdaq Tallinn. Beginning in April of 2016, they added a platform that allows startups to receive funding, and a platform on which startup stocks can be traded. According to Funderbeam, the cumulative funding to date is 4.8 million dollars (according to Crunchbase it is 4.75 million dollars). Their early investors include Skype co-founder Janne Tallinn. In addition, they have fundraised 424,000 euros from their own funding platform.

Funderbeam’s funding/profile page on the Funderbeam platform

Funderbeam already has an office in the financial hub of London, and has already established its solid presence in the European market through business tie-ups with the Zagreb Stock Exchange in Croatia and the Ljubljana Stock Exchange in Slovenia, but in terms of global expansion, their partnership with Mistletoe and entry into the Asia-Pacific region is a first for them.

In an interview with The Bridge, Ruusalepp emphasized that priority was given to expanding into the Asia-Pacific region rather than entering the US in light of the rapid growth of the market, and that for the purpose of promoting global development they seek alliances with optimal partners who best understand the market in their regions, thus the decision was made that Mistletoe would be their strongest partner in the Asia-Pacific region.

In this vertical, the Thai Stock Exchange revealed last year that it will open a startup-focused stock trading platform in the third quarter of 2017. Additionally, in relation to startup databases, Hong Kong’s OddUp, the US’s Mattermark and CB Insights may be in competition, but for Ruusalepp, Funderbeam’s strength lies in the combination of their data (holding data analytics of 150,000 startups around the world that investors can use for investment decisions), funding, and trading.

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Since the platform launch last April, the company says that investors have invested more than 2 million euros through the Funderbeam platform, and the amount of transactions total 100,000 euros in more than 80 countries.

Mistletoe’s President and CEO Taizo Son elaborated on why they invested and allied themselves with Funderbeam in the following statement. (Excerpt)

Mistletoe engages in various activities to support and grow a startup ecosystem in which entrepreneurs and startups can grow freely.

And for the healthy development of this ecosystem, a transparent and open fundraising process is one of its critical components.

With regards to how the platform is expanding into the Asia-Pacific region, both companies will explore a concrete strategy from now on.

Translated by Amanda Imasaka
Edited by Masaru Ikeda