Caution Crowdinvesting: Loss is more likely than profit

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news Caution Crowdinvesting: Loss is more likely than profit News always well informed Monday, 06.06.16 , written by Cora Christine Döhn Even more experienced investors are looking for new ways to increase their money in the low-interest phase. Crowdinvesting seems to many as an interesting option. But be careful here. In an interview with, Anne-Katrin Maier of crowdfunding investors explains what dangers threaten and what investors must pay attention to. > Anne-Katrin Maier im Interview Anne-Katrin Maier is a crowdinvesting expert for crowdfunding investors

The ongoing period of low interest rates is forcing investors to rethink. When choosing a suitable investment, the focus is increasingly on innovations in the investment universe . We're talking about crowdinvesting. Here, investors invest in a startup that they consider promising. Anyone venturing such an investment must be aware, however, that the promised return will be achieved only by a small proportion of companies. Bigger is the likelihood of the startup's failure and thus the complete loss of the investment, admonishes Anne-Katrin Maier. Crowdinvesting is therefore part of very risky assets that should not be underestimated.

What are the risks associated with crowd investing via so-called subordinate loan arrangements?

Anne-Katrin Maier: Participating in the development of startups with a shareholder subordinated loan is a great thing at first. Investors join the founders, spread their ideas, generate revenue, and are a regular part of young success stories. But it's not all gold that glitters: investors must be aware before investing that their money is exposed to several risks:

  • Instead of annual interest, investors get the right to part of a later value, such as turnover or profit. But you only get that share for the year in which you cancel the contract, the startup terminates the contract or if an exit takes place. What this value actually is in five or seven years is hard to predict at the time of the investment. By the way, startups often value optimism here. Investors always make a bet on a future value.
  • Even if investors knew that they would win the bet , risks accumulate over time that threaten returns. This starts with the possibly far too high valuation of the startup in the funding, which leads to a direct reduction of the participation of the investors. There is also the possibility of dilution of the shares or unfavorable buy-outs by financially strong venture capital firms. Furthermore, the young company could restructure over time, separating the unprofitable (crowdfunded!) From the profitable businesses.
  • In addition, there is a fairly high risk that the startup simply fails and crowdfunding investors are served by the subordination only as penultimate or even last out of the bankruptcy estate.

Are there other forms of equity investment in crowd investing than subordinate subordinated loans? If so, what are the risks for investors?

Anne-Katrin Maier: The subordination is what characterizes crowdinvesting. In addition to the shareholder subordinated loan, there is also participation in this type of crowdfunding via subordinated loans, without the shareholder law. There, the investment amount is fixed interest, but in the case of insolvency but the subordination agreed. This form of crowd investing is currently very popular in real estate crowdfunding. It is popular with investors because interest rates are quite good , with comparatively short maturities.

It can be problematic here if the project runs badly or even fails . The interest has been agreed, but the subordination prevents investors from insisting on the payout, if the company would slip into bankruptcy.

In order to prevent the worst case of insolvency, investors in the Investment Information Bulletin could consider whether it is a simple or a qualified subordination. In the case of simple subordination, the investor is served in the event of insolvency before the equity investors, in the case of the qualified person together with them.

If the subordination is too uncertain, you can also resort to another crowdfunding alternative, crowd lending. There the rank resignation does not matter. In the case of non-payment, a debt collection company takes care of the settlement, in the case of bankruptcy, the investor is treated equally with the other creditors from the bankrupt estate.

Crowdinvesting briefly explained

If Crowdinvesting is completely new, you can find out about the advantages, disadvantages and requirements here.

What do you think is the likelihood that a crowdfunding startup will make a return?

Anne-Katrin Maier: The rule of thumb of professional investors says that 7 out of 10 startups fail, 2 muddle through and only one is really successful. Every investor sees this a little differently, but in principle the failure is much more likely than the success. For investors in individual projects, this means they are more likely to lose their money than to make an investment profit with it.

But if one out of every 10 startups involved early on is really successful, then the leverage can be great. But the startup must go right through the ceiling like a rocket and compensate for all losses of the seven failed startups in the portfolio.

What tips do you have for retail investors who would like to supplement their investment portfolio with one or more crowdinvestings?

Anne-Katrin Maier:

  • Only invest money that you can afford to lose. You are here taking bets that have a certain potential but also considerable risk.
  • Spread your money as best you can: on different crowdfunding types and multiple projects. This increases the total return of your portfolio.
  • Stay critical: Can you agree with what's in the project description? For example, can a company that wants to offer yoga classes really be worth six million euros before the first euro turnover?

Under what circumstances does it even make sense for retail investors to invest in crowdinvesting? Do you generally advise retail investors to invest in crowdfunding?

Anne-Katrin Maier: No, crowdfunding can be interesting for every investor. The question that investors should ask themselves, particularly with subordinated subordinated loans from startups, is: How much risk do I want to have in my investment? How much loss of my savings could I endure? Only this money should flow into partiary subordinated loans from startups.

In my opinion, the optimal attitude to crowdinvesting with subordinate subordinate loans is to support only selected startups, because they are considered supportive, and not because they see a great chance of winning. Only then does the investment develop its charm. Because when you are on board with such an attitude as a crowd investor, you experience the early years of startups very differently. You are emotionally connected, happy about successes, hoping for the big litter, but also not devastated if it does not work out.

Thank you for the interview, Ms. Maier.


Cora Christine Döhn

editorial staff

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