B2B Speed-funding Program, Firebird Speed, will give qualified US investors the opportunity to interact, via on-line scheduled events, with Russian and C.I.S.-based startups as well as established companies seeking expansion. Firebird Speed is the first-ever Speed-funding site, where verified Russian and C.I.S. entrepreneurs can pitch personally to targeted, potential investors en masse. Investors will be able to choose their favorites, facilitate further communication and due diligence, with Firebird’s support and via secure escrow, make investments in real time.
Firebird Speed consists of forums for investors looking to source companies to invest in Russia and the surrounding regions, and will provide 5 minute “dating”-like sessions, rotating between entrepreneurs and investors, giving investors, in between pitches, the means to rate the companies and pursue additional communication confidentially and securely via a separate “conferencing” room on the site. Firebird will provide investors all necessary information on the companies and help them to pursue the necessary due diligence needed to make investment decisions. Both investors and companies, before being allowed to participate, will need to go through a thorough registration process including extensive background checks.
The site will also allow investors to see, attached to projects, commentary and advice from experts and analysts at Goldman Sachs, VTB, Troika Dialog, McKinsey, PwC, Bain, and other companies known for their local expertise.
“On-line speed-dating itself is a new concept. On-line speed-funding is even more monumental. However, we feel investors, even very high worth investors, have long wanted to be able to participate, with certain confidentiality, in the exciting, booming Russia and C.I.S. tech markets, in a manner that provides maximum security, without having to deal with long and complicated processes. They want to personally know whom they are investing in and be able to invest when the valuation is at its lowest, have certain control over the company’s future development without exceeding their bandwith, and receive a type of access to the markets and the smaller and mid-sized players that even many local accelerators and incubators have issues in obtaining.”
The companies and investors will communicate based on assigned ID numbers, in place of direct phones and emails, although generalized info on the companies and investors, when they enter the process of negotiating deals, will be fully accessible. Once an investor has received enough information that it feels ready to invest, it may assure itself exclusivity by placing monies in a secure escrow account that will only be released upon its official approval. Firebird will take a percentage of the monies placed into escrow, regardless of the final decision, and open up all contact information, as well as helping the companies to perform the final due diligence required by the investors. Several on-line contracts, via software integrated through RightSignature.com, will also be signed between Firebird and the Investor, and the Russian/C.I.S. company or project developer throughout the process so as to increase the comfort level of the investor and company. Finally, Firebird will help the investor receive all proper documentation needed to assure its legal status as a shareholder in the company.