My story, leading to where we are with FrontFundr today, started over eight years ago. I had a pretty good career in the banking industry. Mainly based in Amsterdam, but traveling the world for the bank.
While I enjoyed it and had the opportunity to do some really interesting assignments, I decided that I was not going to retire in the banking industry.
In 2008, I made up my mind. I was going to move on, down the entrepreneurial path. Around that time my wife and I also decided that we wanted to move somewhere else; somewhere new for our two children and us. We were seeking adventure and new opportunities. We started the lengthy immigration process to move to Canada. Nearly two years later, in the beginning of 2010, we finally got our permanent residence status. The decision was made over a glass of wine. That summer, my wife and I both resigned from our jobs in Amsterdam and moved to Vancouver.
We started from scratch in Vancouver. Exciting but also challenging times. Coming from secure and comfortable employment in banking, this was an entirely new ball game for me. I learned entrepreneurship the hard way. It was learning by doing and by making mistakes. I explored different business ideas and worked with several startups.
It was during that time that I realized how challenging it is for startups to raise capital, certainly in Canada. Moreover, there was no real market connecting young companies with investors. And, that no technology at all was used to support the capital raising process for startups and private companies in general.
There are two fundamental problems:
- The public is locked out from investing in private companies
- There are no efficient channels connecting companies with investors
These problems exist here in Canada, but also in most other geographies.
In 2013, I decided to jump into this opportunity with the ambition to build The New Capital Market in Canada. I pictured an inclusive market connecting young companies with everyone who believes in these companies and wants to invest in them. Creating an online funding and investment platform connecting private companies with the public. Today it is typically called equity crowdfunding.
Building this platform was not an easy task. I had moments along the way where I questioned whether it was ever going to work. There were multiple moving parts from technology, complex securities regulation, due diligence expertise, to building the two-sided online market getting companies and investors on the platform. Working with a fantastic team, we figured it all out.
FrontFundr launched in May 2015. At that time it was clear: One day, rather sooner than later, we were going to practice what we preach, drink our own whiskey. Put FrontFundr on FrontFundr to create awareness around what we are doing and to raise capital for ourselves.
And now we are doing it! After successfully closing 7 funding deals over our platform, traction from coast to coast in Canada and with an amazing multidisciplinary team of professionals, we are making it happen.
On August 31st, FrontFundr launched on our own Prospect Lounge, open for pre-pledging. For as little as CA$500 everyone can become an owner in FrontFundr.
Whether you are an entrepreneur looking for funding, a seasoned investor, or anyone else that likes to support new companies that they believe in, FrontFundr is now turning this into reality.
We are democratizing investing in private companies by connecting new promising companies with the wider investor community. We’re igniting the Investor Revolution and redefining the way that funding and investing works in the private capital markets in Canada (and soon internationally). We help promising companies get funded, and empower anyone to support these companies, ultimately driving entrepreneurship, innovation, economic growth and job creation.
We are offering anyone the opportunity to become an owner in FrontFundr and share in our future success is certainly a dream come true for me as an entrepreneur.
I am inviting everyone to invest in The Investor Revolution and Invest in FrontFundr. Want to find out how? Read more here.*
Peter-Paul Van Hoeken
Peter-Paul Van Hoeken is founder and CEO of FrontFundr, an online funding and investment platform operating across Canada. He is a member of the national Board of Directors of the Private Capital Markets Association of Canada (PCMA).
*FrontFundr is currently gauging interest from potential investors. There is no securities offering yet. At the time the offering opens, further offering information will be made available on FrontFundr including investor deck and offering memorandum. This securities distribution will be in accordance with Canadian and U.S. securities legislation.