A leading French equity platform, Anaxago is launching an asset management firm, Anaxago Capital, to attract more institutional investors and ready itself to fund larger projects. With this, Anaxago expects to double its outstanding investments by 2020.
We spoke with Caroline Lamaud, Co-founder and Chairman of the board of Anaxago and member of the board of the French Fintech Association.
Anaxago’s Track Record Helped the Agreement Process
In the six years since its launch as an equity crowdfunding platform, Anaxago raised more than 100 million euros and funded nearly 200 companies. Some 70% of the funding raised went to short-term real estate development projects. The remainder being start-up funding. Real estate projects have largely contributed to the platform’s positive track record. These projects served an average annual return of nearly 10% and accounted for 80% of the positive exits in the crowdinvestment sector.
In early 2018, the three founders of Anaxago, Caroline Lamaud, then Marketing director, Joachim Dupont, then CEO, and François Carbone, then managing director, decided to shift gear and apply for an asset management license from the French markets and securities regulator, the AMF (Autorité des Marchés Financiers). The license was granted earlier this week.
The company’s track record greatly helped. In the words of Caroline Lamaud:
“When we launched our equity crowdfunding platform, we were a bunch of 20-some-year old finance students. People thought we were mad. They called us hippies and told us it would never work. Six year later, we were able to back our application for an institutional license with a track record I don’t think many applicants have.”
Institutional Investors Will Accelerate the Growth of Anaxago
The creation of the asset management company will help Anaxago meet the needs of institutional investors and thereby accelerate its growth.
Currently, institutional investors represent almost 30% of the amounts invested through the equity crowdfunding platform.
“When we started we had not anticipated such a strong demand from institutional investors. We thought these investors had access to all the products they needed. We then discovered that, in reality, institutional investors have a strong appetite for our asset classes.” Caroline Lamaud adds.
However, the equity crowdfunding platform was not well-suited to meet the demands of institutional investors. These investors need to be able to take larger stakes in more diversified investments. They also prefer standard products. Anaxago Capital will meet these requirements.
Anaxago Capital will also enable Anaxago to finance more mature companies with larger funding. As an equity crowdfunding platform, Anaxago was limited to €2.5 million investments. Now, with the asset management arm, its capacity increases to €10 million.
Anaxago Remains Committed to Retail Investors
Anaxago Capital will co-invest alongside the members of the crowdfunding platform under the same terms.
In line with Anaxago, the asset management company will develop three investment themes in alternative asset classes to support the development of French and European SMEs:
- Private equity real estate
- Venture capital
- Private debt
In the same vein as the crowdfunding platform made these asset classes available to retail investors with a low minimum investment of €2,000, Anaxago capital will allow them to invest with an entry ticket as low as 10,000 euros. Retail investors with no time or knowledge to analyze individual projects on the crowdfunding platform will enjoy automatic diversification on 15 to 20 investment lines.
The co-founders split themselves between the two companies.
The other co-founders of Anaxago, François Carbone and Caroline Lamaud, are now respectively Chairman and CEO of the equity crowdfunding platform. The plaform employs around 30 people.
Sabrina Lenczner, a lawyer specialized in banking and financial law, formerly with the AMF, joins Anaxago Capital as managing director in charge of compliance and internal control.
Aiming to Double in Size by the end of 2020
Anaxago Capital aims at bringing Anaxago to €200 million of outstanding investments and loans by 2020.
The firm will first launch a real estate private equity fund open to both retail and institutional investors. Its increased investment capacity of up to € 10 million should be particularly attractive to real estate developers and help strengthen the company’s presence in this sector.
Therese Torris, PhD, is a Senior Contributing Editor to Crowdfund Insider. She is an entrepreneur and consultant in eFinance and eCommerce based in Paris. She has covered crowdfunding and P2P lending since the early days when Zopa was created in the United Kingdom. She was a director of research and consulting at Gartner Group Europe, Senior VP at Forrester Research and Content VP at Twenga. She publishes a French personal finance blog, Le Blog Finance Pratique.