Running an early-stage startup is a lot like being a first-time parent — many things you learn on the go and making mistakes is simply inevitable.

As a young entrepreneur, I’ve had my fair share of mistakes and learnings. But many of the challenges I’ve faced were not unique to me and my business only; fellow entrepreneurs ran into them too — obstacles we had little or no control over, leading to mistakes that hampered the growth of our businesses over and over again.

Flawed by design

But why? It comes down to the way we have structured the startup ecosystem and the dynamics between its actors. A design flaw that fuels a disproportionality between what the startup needs and what the ecosystem seeks. On one hand, as founders and entrepreneurs we need space and flexibility to move fast and bring our vision to life. On the other, we get stuck in dealing with process-heavy setups that distract and obstruct us from getting to our goal fast enough.

Some of the most common problems I encountered:

  • Structure. European startups are structured in an inflexible way. Our entities cause permanent disorder in Cap Tables and make it very complex and expensive to properly reward stakeholders (e.g. employees) at different stages of a company’s lifecycle.
  • Focus. Co-founders are too busy with managing their shareholders and fundraising. In my experience, I dare say that this absorbed at least 70% of my time in the first 3 years. With less focus on the actual business as a result.
  • Processes & costs. The investment process is typically very bureaucratic and expensive. A lot of complexity has emerged with various excessive legal & tax procedures. At the same time, the costs of legal and tax advice are unnecessarily high. Costs that can be better spent on things that contribute directly to the growth of an early stage start-up than on all kinds of bureaucracy.
  • Shareholder relationship. There is often a lot of disagreement about a follow-up investment between investors and co-founders. Usually the discussion is about milestones that have or have not been achieved and about the valuation of the startup.

The Intranet for shareholders — Less hassle. Just business.

The above issues can spur the growth of companies at any stage of their lifecycle. Dealing with them is a hassle and can result not only in costs for the business but more importantly, in missed opportunities.

It’s time to do things differently and transform how modern companies are structured and run. Minimize the hassle and focus on business.

WE.VESTR is a digital venture equity platform powering that shift. We are digitizing the investment supply chain to simplify shareholder management and unlock the free flow of capital within the venture ecosystem.

We’ve designed WE.VESTR based on the input and the interaction we have with entrepreneurs and investors. We’re building this for them. Our platform brings a set of components to streamline and harmonize shareholder relations. These can be combined in an integral solution or implemented independently of each other:

  • A new-age organizational framework

A global legal framework enabling cross border investments, worldwide. A cooperative model that works on a cut-to-size slicing pie model. With this framework employees can easily be rewarded based on sweat which encourages co-ownership and makes it possible to attract the best people for the job.

  • Shareholder management in one transparent and interactive environment

We digitize the venture’s assets, cap tables, legal agreements, compliance, KPI reporting, finance & administration management to eliminate the inherent complexity of shareholder management. We strive to relieve the burden and accelerate businesses by restructuring shareholder management in a clear, transparent environment.

  • A digital exchange that makes shares tradable from day-1

Intervention of notaries and lawyers in the event of a share transfer will no longer be necessary. No more complexity and everything clear in an interactive, live cap table. Our exchange will contribute to efficient and low cost shareholder management. No more high notary fees when change of ownership occurs.

Behind the scenes of WE.VESTR

We’ve started back in March. Since then, we validated our proposition with over 70 early-stage startup founders and investors. We made some tweaks where necessary and now we are well on our way to launching a low-threshold MVP.

It’s our ambition to bring WE.VESTR to market at a fast pace. In achieving this, we have secured a sufficient funding to cross the valley of death. A significant committed investment (up to series A) that allows us to attract highly skilled people who can work together on the very best user experience.

The team is also starting to come together with 3 new, fresh forces on board. A diverse and talented team who embarked on our adventure to build a great product that serves both entrepreneurs and investors!

In the next few weeks, we’ll be sharing more articles and short posts where we’ll go deeper into the existing problems and the solutions we will provide. Next-up: Explanation of the cooperative model and our designed Startup Coop.

Thanks for reading! Send me PM or reach out to me at floris@wevestr.com, if you want to learn more about what we are building and see a demo. Happy to answer any questions and feedback is more than welcome!

Co-founder & CEO at We.Vestr