Toronto based SVX is a local, impact first platform that connects investors with local ventures that have a demonstrable social or environmental impact. This may also include non-profits or for profit entities. Investors viewed pre-screened opportunities and the ventures get more visibility to access funding.
Reportedly 12 startups issuing securities through the platform have raised a total of $650,000 (loonies) since their launch this past September. The goal is to raise $2.5 million their first year in operation.
Although we have established some early market traction with these first investments, we have also learned a number of lessons over the past six months:
Planning and operating are different. Preparing a business plan, writing terms of operation, or designing the mechanics of a website is vastly different from operating an enterprise, implementing terms, and managing a private, password protected portal. It isn’t like building a house or organizing an event. It’s like fashion. It’s never finished. We have made numerous adaptations to the model in line our resources and market rules/norms to pursue our mission and objectives.
Investing takes time. Launching the SVX was not like opening a major stock market; we did not press a button to open the platform then watch as thousands of transactions crossed the digital market threshold between eager buyers and sellers. Indeed, investors and issuers are eager, but the investment process takes time. Although the process has been made more efficient, there is still a need to work through investment committees, additional due diligence, and relationship building between investors and ventures.
We are in the relationship business. We sink or swim based on the relationships we build. Any success we have achieved is due to the relationships we have built with our partners, regulators, and the investors and ventures we serve, as well as between these same investors and ventures. The relationship building process is particularly important when it comes to bringing investors on to the platform. As this is a relatively new and novel field, there is a significant amount of stewardship and time required to bring them fully on board. But the up-front investment is well worth the returns.
The company is also looking to expand their platform into Quebec and then the rest of Canada.