Eureeca.com, the first comprehensive online marketplace where Middle East businesses can source investment from the general public in exchange for equity, brings exciting new opportunity to the region’s entrepreneurs and SMEs. Making its beta debut in Dubai this week, Eureeca offers a game changing alternative to traditional venture capitalism that will support entrepreneurial enterprise from startup to global expansion of home-grown brands. It will also offer investors the opportunity to earn equity in a business for as little as USD 100.
With approximately 200,000 SMEs currently in operation in the UAE alone, the contribution of this key business sector to the country’s economy is significant. According to Dubai SME, the government agency mandated to develop the SME sector, not only do SMEs generate up to 46% of the UAE’s GDP, they are also responsible for 86% of the country’s total employment.
Founded by former investment bankers and entrepreneurs, Chris Thomas and Sam Quawasmi, Eureeca harnesses the power of the web – and a potential investor audience of over 2.2 billion internet users – to enable new and existing businesses to find funding. For as little as $100, investors can contribute to a business for which they will earn equity. The crowd funding or crowd investing business concepton which Eureeca is based is a proven financial model in the UK and was legislated in the USlast April, when President Barak Obama approved the JOBS Act. Eureeca.com is also a founding member of the U.S-based National Crowd Funding Association (NLCFA).
Chris Thomas, CEO of Eureeca explained: “Small and medium businesses are the lifeblood of the economy, yet access to financing remains their biggest challenge. It’s the number one reason why SMEs fail, globally. Eureeca will help facilitate new and easy routes to capital through crowd investing, enabling new and existing businesses to raise money in small chunks from large numbers of investors in exchange for equity. Essentially, we are demystifying the world of investment banking and venture capitalism, and making investment opportunities far more accessible.”
For businesses, both start up and those seeking expansion funding, Eureeca.com presents a quick, convenient and unrivalled showcase to a vast potential investor audience. To participate, businesses pay a nominal registration fee to covera third party due diligence process that ensures compliance with ‘Know Your Client’. Business pitches remain on the Eureeca site for 90 days, and enjoy regular rotation on the site’s landing page to ensure maximum exposure.
Eureeca.com only releases the funds to businesses that attain 100 percent of their capital goal. Should the funding target not be reached by the end of the 90-day period, any funds raised will be returned to investors.
According to Eureeca’s Managing Director, Sam Quawasmi, there are additional valuable benefits to their proposition: “Eureeca is so much more than just a platform for crowd investing – what we are creating here is an ecosystem of experts and service providers who can support every step of an entrepreneur’s journey. Businesses can learn everything they need know to support the growth of their company – from deal structuring, to legal documentation to marketing, HR expertise and shareholder communications. Never have there been more possibilities for entrepreneurs than right here, right now.”
For would-be investors, Eureeca provides a marketplace of great businesses with investment potential. Registration to become a member of Eureeca is simple, with no membership fees required, to gain access to the business pitches showcased on the site. Investment deals are clearly explained in the term sheet associated with each business pitch. Funds are held in an Escrow account until all legal documentation has been completed. And, should a business pitch not reach its fundraising target, all funds are returned to investors.
Interaction between investors and entrepreneurs is encouraged on the site, with a number of dynamic tools available to facilitate transparent discussion that can be viewed publicly. This will provide invaluable insights and information for other entrepreneurs preparing their business pitches and increase their chances of successful funding, while the investor dialogue will help inform other potential investors.
Registration is now open on www.eureeca.comfor entrepreneurs, investors, and industry experts such as IT developers, lawyers and designers interested in offering their services to entrepreneurs. Eureeca beta will remain accessible to registered users only with a public launch planned for Q3 2012.
“By encouraging investment in young companies in the region, Eureeca will help foster innovation, support the next generation of successful businesses, help create new job opportunities and ultimately boost local economies. Eureeca really does bring a new age of investment to a market ripe with bankable entrepreneurial potential. This is an exciting time,” said Chris Thomas.
For more information, visit www.eureeca.com
Before joining SME Advisor, I worked as a producer/reporter for Forbes Media in New York. I obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism and International Studies at the University of South Florida in the US. I am currently in Dubai working as Sub-Editor for SME Advisor Middle East, which is a business magazine published by CPI. You can follow me on Twitter: @joumanasaad or @SMEadvisorME and (Joumana Saad) or (SME Advisor) on LinkedIn.