An entrepreneurial “animal” broke out, and I realised I am not going back to my corporate position, Riga TechGirls
Riga, Latvia – Kaidi is a former CEO of Nasdaq Tallinn Stock Exchange and of the Central Securities Depository, Co-Founder of Estonian Service Industry Association, and a Member of the Startup Europe Advisory Board at European Commission. A lawyer by education, she co-authored the Estonian Digital Signatures Act of 2000 — landmark legislation act that enables secure digital identities and, in turn, the country’s booming electronic economy. Now she has created Funderbeam, fuelling the companies of the future with one blockchain-powered exchange.
Funderbeam introduces tradable private investments to the world. The platform allows investors to access fast, standardised deals in highly curated companies that can be instantly traded. Founders can raise funds to fuel their growth from both retail and professional investors in more than 100 countries. Furthermore, Funderbeam provides a free to use data intelligence tool, giving valuable insights for both founders and investors.
Evita: You were in the top executive position in Estonia — CEO of Nasdaq OMX Tallinn — and you decided to leave it to establish your own company. How did you make this decision?
Kaidi: I was on the maternity leave with my second child, walking with the baby carriage, when the entrepreneurial “animal” inside me broke out, and I realised that I am not going back to the corporate world. To do something professionally meaningful I had 3 choices — to have another 10 years at an international corporation, to go abroad or to build my own company. I choose the latter. My thinking was — if I don’t do it now I will regret it for the rest of my life.
Evita: Funderbeam has a unique business model — you are calling it a baby of Bloomberg, Angellistings and Nasdaq. How did you come up with such an idea?
Kaidi: Initially, our idea was to develop a stock trading game for youngsters and teenagers, so that they could do all the mistakes in the game, but not on the main markets, and lose lots of money. So, we thought that investing in startups (virtually) would be a good start. While analysing the market pains and needs, however, we discovered, that we are going to build a real trading platform, not a game. And so, we developed a global stock exchange for startups.
Evita: When it comes to a global value or mission of Funderbeam — are you disrupting any of the existing intermediates in stock financing business? Or even more — are you facilitating growth of economy by enabling more free financing of companies?
Kaidi: There is a large gap of accessing capital all around the world. As we are more and more globally connected, also the business ideas and capital should be connected globally. The other problem is “liquidity” for investors — once you have private investments in your portfolio, how do you get out? So, getting an access for global capital with liquidity is the pain we solve for investors and startups.
We saw too many inefficiencies in the process of money moving from investor to enterprise with the traditional stock exchange system. Moreover, the stock exchanges are moving more for exiting rather than raising money for the business growth. With the Blockchain technology it is possible to significantly shorten the number of steps from investor to company, plus it is possible to ensure the liquidity in startup funding.
And one more value — we are giving an opportunity for the coolest and craziest business ideas to get funded, which would otherwise be overlooked by venture capitalists. Our platform allows a free flow of capital from and to any place. For example, you as a Latvian can have investments in Africa, if you wish.
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Evita Lune joined Pedersen & Partners in 2005; she is a Partner who develops and implements the firm’s Global Digital Economy strategy, while simultaneously leading the Retail Practice Group and overseeing the Latvia, Poland, and Belarus teams. Currently she has a deep-seated focus on FinTech assignments, partnering with global clients to build digitisation capabilities and reinvent core organisational elements through critical talent acquisition strategies. As Partner, Ms. Lune also takes on regional oversight, and through completing numerous senior-level assignments, she has established strong cooperation with clients in Poland, the Baltics, Scandinavia, Russia, and CIS across the Banking, FinTech, Consumer Goods, Retail, Pharmaceutical, Manufacturing, and the Professional Services sectors. Her previous experience includes three years with the Stockholm School of Economics in Riga as the Executive MBA Program Director and six years with Shell in international and regional marketing management functions in Riga, Budapest, and Brussels.
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