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Zoe Adamovicz, CEO & Cofounder of Neufund – Interview Series

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Zoe Adamovicz is the CEO and co-founder at Neufund. She is an experienced entrepreneur and occasional angel investor.

Zoe is passionate about building technology businesses that are impactful, positive and at the same time profitable and powerful. Prior to Neufund, she founded Xyo, a company that re-imagines how people discover apps, Priori Data (app store intelligence), and Concise Software which provides software development and engineering services.

 

RS: Neufund has been described as a “stock exchange without the operator in the back”.  What kind of similarities and dissimilarities has Neufund to a traditional stock exchange?

ZA: On one hand, Neufund provides companies with a technical ecosystem that allows them to tokenize their equity, and on the other hand it serves as a primary market for securities offerings, making it easy for companies to conduct a quasi-IPO on Blockchain. The latter may remind investors of the typical role of a stock exchange. However, secondary trading of such tokenized securities is happening outside of the Neufund platform. Equity which is tokenized through our protocol is ERC20 compliant, meaning that on a technical level it is possible to trade the tokens on any crypto exchange.

 

RS: What is the advantage of conducting a quasi-IPO on Blockchain over going public on a typical stock exchange?

ZA: Conducting an STO is much more accessible to companies than going public on a traditional stock exchange. You can conduct a public offering on Blockchain at almost no cost and at any stage of growth. It is interesting to observe, which gap in the existing fundraising market STOs will fill. We think it is a natural fit for a pre-IPO stage, when a company is too big for a typical VC round, and too small to file for an IPO.

Going public on Blockchain carries different benefits both pre- and post-offering. Companies no longer need to involve multiple middleman on the various stages of their offering, their cap table is updated in real time and investor can now manage their assets with greater flexibility. Also worth noting is the programmability of tokenized assets, which means that issuers can include utility functions in the asset itself such as automated dividend distribution. At the same time, making a public offering on Blockchain includes all typical advantages of going public, as well as the ability to conduct secondary offerings easily.

 

RS: What types of investors do you think will be attracted to Neufund’s ecosystem?

ZA: During our recent and also first Security Token Offering we have attracted a very diverse group of investors, which includes prominent venture capital firms like Atlantic Labs or Freigeist Capital, as well as angel investors, many of whom had no previous experience in this area. We find this especially interesting with the ongoing debate in mind  on how Blockchain will impact the venture capital world. To us, conducting the offering on Blockchain isn’t contrary to typical investment rounds but rather enhances them, bringing much needed liquidity which so far only existed in capital markets.

But that’s not all, we also receive wide interest from many crypto and retail investors. The former see Neufund as a safe way to invest their crypto capital, while the latter appreciate the ease with which they can make their investments and manage assets at a later stage.

 

RS: Why is Neufund a good platform for investors to make their investments?

ZA: Neufund serves as a market with different offerings, coming from different companies and we encourage all of the investors to review each opportunity independently. However, all equity tokens offered through Neufund have similar advantages over paper-based assets that are known from traditional markets.

First, token holders will potentially have, once regulated, access to a global pool of investors across multiple secondary exchanges which potentially increases liquidity. Second, they are programmable assets which makes it possible to embed utility functions such as automated dividend distribution or voting mechanisms. Third, one real world asset can be represented by many tokens which lowers barriers to entry for retail investors.

What makes Neufund stand out from the crowd of primary issuance platforms, many of which were created over the last months, are our unique token economics – for every investment conducted through our platform investors are becoming economical co-owners of the Neufund platform itself, and thus can claim shares in the revenue that we generate. We often compare it to investing through NASDAQ in Facebook, but on top of equity in Facebook investors get a piece of NASDAQ itself.

 

RS: What types of companies are best suited to launch with Neufund?

ZA: We have a lot of companies in our pipeline and many more businesses  which showed their interest in fundraising with us.  Eleven of those were  already publicly announced in 2018. They are at different stages of growth (seed, series A, B, D) and with different products (Banking, IoT, Mobility). What is important is that they don’t have to be necessarily connected with Blockchain.

 

RS: Why should companies launch on Neufund versus other competing platforms?

ZA: First, Neufund stands with the crowd, as we aim to make the offerings accessible to people from across the globe with different financial status, with a  minimum ticket as small as a couple of hundred euros. This makes it possible to address the offering to a global community of investors. Secondly, we provide the companies with full technical and legal support over the course of the preparations for their Security Token Offerings, for instance, we are providing them even with a prospectus template, if needed.

 

RS: Last summer you partnered with MSX (an innovation division of the Malta Stock Exchange), how will this benefit Neufund? And you also announced a  partnership with industry leader Binance last summer, could you tell us more about the Binance partnership and what it entails?

ZA: Both partnerships aim to bring much needed liquidity and create a complete environment for the issuance and, at a later stage, secondary trading of the security tokens issued through Neufund’s set of protocols.

 

RS: What is the biggest challenge that Neufund faces with the launch of your first security token and how do you plan to overcome that?

ZA: We have faced most of the challenges at the pre-offering stage. It included making sure our legal architecture is compliant and technical solutions secure. Now, that the tokens are about to be released, which will happen after the signing period, we focus on building the governance system and the UX around it.

 

RS: Neufund did an ICO in 2017 and raised approximately $15M.  What will happen to the utility tokens when Neufund launches the new equity token?

ZA: During our ICBM (Initial Capital Building Mechanism) we have managed to secure an equivalent of €12.5m. It is important to note, that Neufund had no access to those funds. The committed ETH and EUR got locked on a smart contract and investors will be able to invest them into coming offerings placed through Neufund. In exchange for their early commitment investors have been rewarded with NEU tokens, that represent economical co-ownership in the platform. With those, investors can claim their share in the revenue Neufund makes.

 

RS: You’re based out of Berlin which has a great blockchain community.  Has this community helped foster the development of Neufund?

ZA: Yes, absolutely. Neufund is surrounded with an amazing community here in Berlin which offers access and the support from top minds in Blockchain development. Germany is at an interesting intersection between traditional VC, innovative spirit of startups and a regulatory gateway to the EU.

 

RS: Is there anything else you would like to tell the readers about Neufund? 

ZA: Blockchain is one of the greatest opportunities we’ve been presented with in modern history. Decentralization is ultimately about equalizing opportunities, so a young entrepreneur from the third world  receives the same access as a wealthy investor. Building solutions that perpetuate the mistakes of existing markets solely for the purpose of increasing revenues is not enough. We, as a Blockchain community, can and should do better.

Rebecca has a keen attention to detail and is an investment analyst and entrepreneur. Some early investments include Spotify and Lyft.

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