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NOTE: This episode was recorded in February 2022
Alexander Morsink 00:00
And so we were seeing these challenges faced both on the side of the investors. And also on the side of companies were really it was a very exclusive group of people, both companies that were getting founded, and you know, individuals who are allowed to invest in those same companies. And we wanted to try to level the playing field and improve access and visibility around sort of how all this works and allow more people to participate. The idea of helping people who never consider themselves to be investors to be individuals, investing in a variety of different businesses, where they could start creating more intergenerational wealth was something that was really meaningful to the both of us.
Karen Swyszcz 00:44
You’re listening to The Bacon Bits ‘and ‘n’ Bytes Podcast, and I’m your host, Karen Swyszcz. This is the podcast where a bit of business and a byte of technology come together. Every month I interview entrepreneurs, investors, startup founders, and people in tech to learn about what drives them and what makes them tick. Hello, everyone, and welcome to another episode of The Bacon Bits ‘n’ Bytes Podcast. And I’m your host, Karen Swyszcz. And today on the show I have with me Alexander Morsink. Alexander is a co founder and managing director of Equivesto. Equivesto is a Canadian equity crowdfunding platform that allows all Canadians to directly invest in local businesses and exciting startup companies, starting at as little as $100. Welcome to the show, Alex.
Alexander Morsink 01:48
Thank you for having me, Karen. I’m excited to be here.
Karen Swyszcz 01:50
Yes, I am super excited to have you on the show and talk about equity crowdfunding, which I feel like, is not a really common topic yet. But it is starting to gain more popularity in Canada. So yeah, I’m really excited to chat about your story and like the mission behind Equivesto. So without further ado, I’d like to start off with like, how did you come up with the idea?
Alexander Morsink 02:12
Yeah, so Equivesto was founded by myself and my co-founder, Ryan. And together, we spent a lot of time thinking about some of the challenges faced by founders, and also investors in the startup community, Ryan himself being a multi time founder, he, you know, knew and was also a founder who experienced challenges getting access to capital. And we also knew other individuals who we were friends with who were sort of getting started in their professional careers that had a bit additional capital, and were interested in trying to find different ways to invest that, and they weren’t given access to investing in startups, because the rules didn’t allow it, you had to be a high net worth individual. And so we were seeing these challenges faced both on the side of the investors, and also on the side of companies were really, it was a very exclusive group of people, both companies that were getting founded, and, you know, individuals who are allowed to invest in those same companies. And we wanted to try to, you know, level the playing field and improve access, and visibility around sort of how all this works and allow more people to participate. The idea of helping people who never considered themselves to be investors to be individuals, investing in a variety of different businesses, where they could start creating more intergenerational wealth was something that was really meaningful to the both of us.
Karen Swyszcz 03:36
And do you mind going into detail as to like, why is the criteria that you have to be a high net worth investor in order to invest like, like, traditionally, before, in the past, you had to have a high net worth in order to like, participate in these types of investments?
Alexander Morsink 03:52
Yeah, so I’m gonna kind of go into a bit more technical detail about, you know, how securities law works in Canada and internationally. So bear with me listeners for a moment on this. But essentially, all companies are governed by, you know, the Corporations Act in Canada or in each province. And all of them are also governed by securities laws, obviously, securities being any sort of asset or item of value issued by a company regarding its ownership. So debt, or equity shares, anything like that. Those are all securities. And so even if you have a totally private startup, that company is still governed by securities laws within Canadian securities laws.
Basically, the standard norm for any company that wants to go out and sell those securities to get investment in the business is to force them to go public. If a company doesn’t want to go public, there are things called prospectus exemptions going public requiring a prospectus. Those exemptions give you an exemption from the need to prepare and go public, and it allows you to raise capital in other ways with less reporting and fewer documentary requirements. So, in every province, there’s essentially a list of prospective exemptions that are allowed. And the exemptions that were available before something like equity crowdfunding existed, we’re there to sort of facilitate private investments. And essentially, the belief around the rules, and the creation of these exemptions was really okay. You know, a private company isn’t structured in a way to be able to handle a lot of different investors. And there’s no ongoing reporting requirements where they have to, you know, prepare audited financial statements or anything like that. So we want to make sure that whoever is investing in this company has the wherewithal to know what they’re getting into.
So basically, the set of rules that existed before, which still exists, essentially limited companies to raising money from people that they that knew the founders quite well, which is the friends and family exemption. So you actually had to document the nature of your relationship, how well you knew the person, all sorts of things like that. And then the other option is to raise from what’s called an accredited investor. And the government has a definition of what an accredited investor is. And essentially, they basically say, you an accredited investor is someone who makes either 200,000 In total income per year, or has over a million dollars in net financial assets, excluding your primary residence, essentially, high net worth individual, and the belief being people who have this amount of money, have done enough with money in their life that they know what they’re doing. And they can withstand the financial loss of, you know, an investment in one of these companies going down and being worth nothing. And so basically, the government slightly on purpose and slightly accidentally, essentially just gatekeeped who could participate based on the amount of wealth they had and said, Well, if you’re wealthy, you know about money. And if you’re not wealthy, you must not know anything about money. So you can’t participate.
Karen Swyszcz 07:12
Yeah, that’s really interesting. Because, you know, I know, like some people who have wealth or their high income earners, but in my opinion, like, I feel like they don’t know that much about money. And whereas like I’ve, you know, encountered some people who may not, you know, have that six figure salary, but from, you know, their conversations and like, the investments they’ve done, it sounds like they do know a lot about building wealth, and like, they’ve implemented those strategies, and they’re on their way to building wealth. It’s just like, they’re not there yet.
Alexander Morsink 07:44
So exactly. And that speaks exactly to why, you know, there was a change in the rules to sort of facilitate more people being able to make these kinds of investments. And, you know, that’s exactly why we created this business, because there’s a lot of people who are interested in investing in building wealth, and do either want to learn more about investing or know about investing, and want to have access that couldn’t.
Karen Swyszcz 08:09
And when you first started Equivesto, it was back in 2017. And correct me if I’m wrong. What were some obstacles like you’ve encountered? And how did you push through them? Because you know, you’re your founders, yourself, and you’re helping other founders. So I’m sure you can definitely relate.
Alexander Morsink 08:25
Yeah, most most certainly, one thing that’s important to know for people learning about equity crowdfunding in Equivesto is to be able to operate an equity crowdfunding platform in Canada or in the United States, the company operating it needs to be licensed. So in Canada, the main license used to operate an equity crowdfunding platform is what’s called an exempt market dealer license. And there’s a very, very long list of requirements. For a license of that type, essentially, private investments are investments in the exempt market, they’re exempt from reporting requirements and issuing a perspective. So that’s why it’s called exempt market. And being an exempt market dealer is a company that’s licensed to actually sell exempt market investment securities to other investors and provide financial advice about those investments. And so basically, it’s a, you know, financial institution, and to be able to even have a single deal to introduce one investor to one company and even do the first piece of our business. We had to be fully licensed and approved as an exempt market dealer. And that process took us three and a half years to complete.
Karen Swyszcz 09:48
Good for you for pushing through.
Alexander Morsink 09:51
Thank you. Yeah, it took took a while,
So I think in terms of time, cost materials and everything, it was probably a million dollars of work and effort and everything before we could get a single client. So I definitely, I definitely miss the startup environment where you can sort of test things out and pivot, but certainly a lot of interesting experiences along the way.
Karen Swyszcz 10:45
Yeah, for sure. And, like, just given the, like the nature of what you had to do in order to get started, like, I’m curious to know, like, what helped you stay motivated? Like, how did you and your co founder, Ryan, like, stay motivated, like I’m guessing, you know, like, having a co founder definitely helps in that you can motivate each other right?
Alexander Morsink 11:03
Most certainly, we were very lucky to have each other, it was a very long road. And there were a couple, you know, bumps that were bigger than bumps kind of along the process that really kind of makes you question things, I think, because, you know, we were really passionate about what we wanted to do. And we were lucky enough that equity crowdfunding was already a thing in other countries, getting set up in Canada, as, as I’ve kind of explained, is quite challenging.
And so no one there weren’t really that many market participants in Canada, but internationally, equity, crowdfunding was really starting to take off and be quite successful. And so we, we sort of knew that the model would work. And so we felt confident about that. And then it was really just about staying the course. And, you know, continuing to put the work in to try to make this successful, we really believed in what we wanted to do. And, you know, it didn’t hurt that, at that point, we had already taken some capital from investors to build everything that we were looking to build. And so, you know, these were, you know, friends and family from that initial round, we really wanted to not let down any of these individuals as well.
Karen Swyszcz 12:16
And you had mentioned that equity crowdfunding is, is popular in like other countries, I was only aware that like they did it in the US. I’m curious to know, what are the other countries and also, like, how is it different? Like, have you noticed, like certain trends with equity crowdfunding in certain countries?
Alexander Morsink 12:35
Yeah, so equity, crowdfunding is legal in one form of another in, I think, over 20, 25 different countries, I don’t even know all of them. I know, in Europe, it’s exceptionally popular, as well. But I know there’s platforms in Australia and Mexico and Chile. And all over the place.
There’s equity crowdfunding, I think, from a sort of general public perspective, when we think about equity crowdfunding, we’re thinking, Okay, it’s a platform where a startup could go, talk about what they’re doing, and allow people to invest in the startup. But in reality, that concept can be represented in so many different ways, in different rules based on each, you know, securities regulator of each country.
And so, there might be so many different ways that each country interprets how those rules need to be implemented. Really, we look at the US and the UK as the two main examples of, you know, a lot of success. There’s certainly some success as well at the sort of drawing international recognition in Israel.
But I usually stick to the US and the UK as the main examples because the securities regulators are so different, and the securities laws are relatively different in each country. It’s sort of like an apples to oranges comparison. Even though from the public’s perspective, you’re still doing the same thing, all the different pieces of it are quite different. One example that, as far as I’m aware, anyways, that is quite sizable is, for example, between the Canadian rules and the UK rules.
So in the UK, a company can prepare all their materials, run their entire campaign, gather all the funds with the platform, and then only after the campaign has ended, does the platform have to actually do the due diligence on the company. And so they can have all the money there. If they’re doing the due diligence, and they come up with something that’s wrong or whatever, then of course, they they send all the money back, but they’re able to pull all the funds before the campaign and so from the platform’s perspective, the amount of time and effort and, you know, hours of individuals, reviewing all the legal documentation and preparing all that, that can all be done after they’ve already raised all the money and they know it’s there. And then so they only spend that time and effort on a company that’s raised successfully.
In Canada, all of that has to be prepared well before the campaign. And so even though Equivesto charges an upfront fee, for issuers that are looking to raise on our platform, we’re probably spending, like $50,000 of time and effort to get a company ready. And we’re certainly not charging $50,000 up front, right. So every issuer we put forward on the platform has taken so much time and effort and it’s only after the campaign is launched, do we even see, is this going to work or not? Will we get sort of paid back, so even the platform is taking a chance with every issue where we let on. And in the UK, they don’t have to do it that way. So that’s sort of a very tangible and clear example there. From the perspective of an investor, though, it’s going to be relatively similar, there’s going to be maximum amounts that the government is going to let investors put into the startups, the startups are going to have a maximum amount that they can raise per year through equity crowdfunding, and it’s going to be structured in some way, by the platform. So you can’t just go straight to a company’s website and invest with them, you’re gonna have to invest through a platform, and it’ll be kind of regulated, there will probably be some sort of legal document summarizing the offering that an investor can look at. So all those pieces will will be the same.
Karen Swyszcz 16:26
And given the fact that you’re spending, you know, how many hours like vetting these companies? I’m curious to know. Number one, how do you find the companies that would be suitable for equity crowdfunding? And also how do you decide which ones to you know, which ones should have campaigns on your platform?
Alexander Morsink 16:47
Yeah, two great questions. So we have partnerships. And we work with a lot of different community partners in the sort of startup entrepreneur space in Canada. So we have partnerships with accelerators, and incubators, like the DMZ with different universities like the Forge at Hamilton, McMaster, and with Queens and, you know, chatting with accelerators and incubators associated with cities like platform, Calgary. So there’s all these different community players that we’re sort of talking to and helping. And so we get potentially, companies coming there. We have companies just looking for us in general.
So we tried to really provide a lot of essentially free service and support to the community. And then if there ends up being a fit for equity crowdfunding, we’ll work with a client after that, how we vet companies, is quite interesting. You know, if you think about the way it works with an angel group, or a venture capital firm, those are actually individual investors. So they are using either their own money like an angel, or they’re working for a fund, who has, you know, their own clients money that they’ve taken. And they have to use that to sort of generate specific returns. So they have a specific mandate as the investor around how they want to deploy their money.
As a platform, we are facilitating and helping these companies get access to community investment, but we are not the ones deploying the capital. So the way we approach it, and because we’re trying to increase accessibility and remove barriers for all companies in raising capital, our approach is the company of course, legitimate, and everything, you know, set up properly. Is the business model sound does there? Have they done the right work and steps to sort of get everything ready? Have we verified all of the material statements that they’re making as part of their offering? Are all these things true? You know, if they say, Oh, I found this from Harvard have we verified that if they say we have 10 Customers have we verified that. And then once we sort of have checked all those pieces, what we want to do is sort of allow and give them that opportunity to raise capital without applying our own either conscious or subconscious biases to kind of get in the way of that.
Karen Swyszcz 19:30
Really interesting. Um, so we initially talked about like the obstacles that Equivesto encountered. So on the flip side, what would you say is Equivesto’s biggest achievement to date?
Alexander Morsink 19:43
Besides simply, you know, getting a license to operate as an exempt market dealer. I think our biggest achievement and one that we’re exceptionally proud of is when equity crowdfunding was first, legalized and sort of approved in Canada. The Canadian Securities regulators are different in each province. And so that meant there was different equity crowdfunding rules in every single province in Canada, and not all of them kind of agreed. So one province would say, you can raise up to $500,000. And you need this document and you can take up to $1,000 per person. A different province would say, you can raise up to $1 million, but you need this other document. And you can take up to $500 from a person and like, all the rules would be kind of mismatched.
So we were very proud to be able to sort of respond to requests for comment from the regulators and engage in their process. And then finally, have them actually introduced in September of 2021, harmonized rules that around equity crowdfunding for all of Canada.
Karen Swyszcz 21:05
Mm hmm. Yeah. And it’s really great that you guys did that, because it definitely makes things a lot more easier for both like the founder and an investor. So like, as an investor in Ontario, I’ve, you know, I can easily invest in a company that’s like, based in like British Columbia. So with regarding provinces, Equivesto is in sorry, which provinces again, like there’s BC, Alberta, Nova Scotia, Ontario. Sorry, is there are there any other provinces I’m missing.
Alexander Morsink 21:34
So those are currently the four provinces that are licensed in. So that means we can assist investors living in those four locations. We’re looking to expand Canada Wide quite soon. But we haven’t done that just yet. But we hope to do that in this this year.
Karen Swyszcz 21:50
Okay. And like with respect to you know, like being licensed in the other provinces is that also like, a huge process on its on its own to do like province by province.
Alexander Morsink 22:01
So you can’t sort of get approved all at once, basically, you have to approve initially in your original province. And then there’s a system that allows you to sort of copy that approval over from province to province. And so that’s the system that we would be using to expand the license, it’s not a massive additional undertaking to add the rest of the provinces, there’s just some certain fees associated with that, which are not necessarily small. And so we haven’t sort of chosen to undertake those yet, one main barrier is, of course, going to Quebec. If we go to Quebec, we then have to offer every single piece of our website, our Learning Center, but also the legal documentation of a business in French. And so that becomes, you know, a very expensive undertaking. But it’s certainly something that we want to do. And we very much like to accept Quebec investors as soon as possible.
Karen Swyszcz 22:58
Yeah, for sure. What would you say are some misconceptions that people have when it comes to equity crowdfunding?
Alexander Morsink 23:07
So I’ll talk about potentially misconceptions that maybe founders might have first, and I could talk about some misconceptions that investors might have afterwards. I think one misconception that founders have is that by just getting their offering on the platform, all of the existing investors on the platform will come and invest in it. And they try to do like a bit of a math calculation. So they’re like, Okay, there’s 3000 investors on your platform, if my minimum investment is $1,000 each, but only a third of them invest, I’m going to get, you know, $100,000, this is amazing, aw way we go. Where the reality is, especially with something kind of more public facing going out to what we call retail investors or the general public. It’s not as much as purely sort of, is this offering a great financial opportunity for me. It’s more about, you know, does this offering speak to me? Do I care about it? Do I know it? Is it something that I resonate with, and so in that situation, it’s really about founders actually inviting in their own extended network and converting those people into investors. And then after the company has already passed its minimum raise goal, and it’s going on and on and continuing to be more successful. That’s when you might gather the attention of existing investors on the Equivesto platform, or on any platform or something like that.
So rather than approaching it with the belief that everybody here is just going to come and find me, which is great. And then maybe I’ll get a few other people after that. It’s a sort of different approach there.
Karen Swyszcz 24:42
Right. Oh, that’s really interesting. And with respect to like, campaigns, has there been any situations where founders have not reached their goal?
Alexander Morsink 24:54
Yeah, there have. So we’ve run over 20 campaigns on Equivesto. And we have over, I think at this point, it’s a 75% success rate. We really try to differentiate ourselves in terms of the experience with founders, by really taking the extra time to make sure that you know, when they do run the campaign, and it does launch, that it is going to be successful. So we would rather take an extra one or two months, and maybe delay a launch or something to make sure that the founder is in a position to be successful. But there have been companies that have not been successful. And if you ask, you know, what is the core differentiator between a successful and not successful campaign, it’s really going to come down to marketing preparation. If you think about what a company would go through to get ready for a Kickstarter campaign, or something like that, I think it’s a sort of comparable situation where, okay, you want to make sure you have months of time and preparation to prepare the marketing materials, kind of build that community, and then bring people in to invest during the campaign.
With equity crowdfunding, you almost want to think of the campaign itself as being like a product launch or a moment of conversion, but building up that community, building up that interest is something you want to do for months beforehand. And then when the campaign launches, that’s just sort of when people actually transact. But they’ve been kind of getting ready for a while before that.
Karen Swyszcz 26:21
Yeah, yeah, that that totally makes sense. So what kind of returns can investors expect from a private investment?
Alexander Morsink 26:30
So that is a good question. And it’s not one that I can necessarily kind of generalize, investing in private companies does come with additional risks that you wouldn’t face when investing in a public company. We really outline them in detail on our website, and if anyone is considering making an investment, I would recommend them reaching out to talk to one of our dealing representatives in detail about the potential of any of the investments and the associated risks with that individual investment. At a high level, I can say, you know, typically, the, the idea is, you’re accessing potentially greater returns. But with that comes, you know, additional potential risks, two of the main risks that investors would need to be aware of when investing in a private business is the lack of liquidity, and less frequent and detailed access to information. So really, it’s by liquidity, I mean, because it’s a private investment, and it’s not public on the stock market, after you’ve made your investment, you can simply turn around and sell it whenever you feel like so, being aware that, okay, you know, maybe yes, you put, you know, $1,000 into this investment, it’s not the same as if you put $1,000 into a stock, but then suddenly, you know, you you need it for like a, you know, you broke your phone, and now you need to sell that to take the money back out and buy a new phone, you won’t be able to do that your money’s kind of locked in for an extended period of time.
And then on the information side, one of the requirements of public companies is sort of this continuous reporting situation. So public companies have their financial statements audited every year, they provide quarterly financial statements, and they have all this sort of regimented reporting, they have to do with a private company, there are much fewer, or potentially no ongoing reporting requirements. And so you, you know, you’ll have potentially quarterly email updates from the founder, but there’s not going to be like a location where you can track the valuation of the business. Or you can see like, you know, what, all the details are going on with the company. So you do have more risk there. But there is typically the potential as well for higher returns.
Karen Swyszcz 28:43
And, like, sorry, can you talk a little bit more about like, what type of return so if, perhaps, like, if they’re going to go for like an IPO, or if they end up like selling the company? That’s kind of a benefit?
Alexander Morsink 28:58
Yeah. So how would you get your money out of a private investment? How would you actually have those returns come to you. There’s really three ways that you can have an earn a return on an investment, that in a private business, the first is if the private business does go public. So if it goes public, if it has an initial public offering, or IPO, then it lists itself on a stock market. And now there is a secondary market, meaning investors can buy and sell stock from each other. And now you as an investor, have the ability to sell your stock to another interested in investor. So if a company is looking to sort of scale rapidly and then eventually go public in a number of years, you know, okay, it might take a little while, maybe there’ll be some delays along the way. But when they get there and they do go public, then I’ll be able to sell my investment to another investor and then that’s when I would get my money back.
Another option is dividends. And so dividends are essentially payments from the company to its investors from essentially the net income of the company. So if the company has made a bunch of profits in that year, the company can then decide to issue a dividend and sort of pay that profit out to all of their investors. So let’s say you’ve invested in a private company that’s not looking to go public, but they’re looking to really generate a lot of profits, what they would do is potentially have a dividend plan. So they would say, okay, you know, once we start making profit at this level, now, we’re going to start paying out a percentage of that profit to all of our investors. And so because you’re holding shares, you would automatically get those dividends. The third option for a potential exit, and to get your returns from the company would be if the company itself was acquired. So sometimes startups, when they’re scaling, instead of looking to get really big and go public themselves, their goal is to, you know, enter the market, demonstrate some real value, and then have a similar company that’s much larger in the space, acquire them for some nice, big valuation. And then at that time, all of the existing investors, including you would have your shares bought at a higher value, hopefully, than what you paid for them, and then you would get your money out there.
Karen Swyszcz 31:17
Hmm. Yeah, like, even though there is a big risk, like, at the end of the day, like if you’re, if you’re willing to wait, there can potentially be some, like big rewards,
Alexander Morsink 31:26
Certainly. And, you know, that’s, that’s something that it’s hard to sort of speak about, generally, because, you know, every company is different. And so, if you’re hoping for me to come on, and say, like, Oh, you’re gonna make 1,000% return, I’m sorry, I can’t do that. Because it’s you know, it’s very different and it really depends sort of company to company, what I can say is, a lot of the ultra wealthy individuals around the world have created their wealth through investing in private companies that have either remained private, or have eventually gone public. And so if you think about the journey of a company, companies all always start pretty much private. And they get bigger, and they slowly scale and scale and their value grows and grows and grows, and then they eventually go public. And so if you’re thinking about it from the perspective of an investor, and you’re thinking about some company that’s on this sort of great trajectory of growth, the part where you know, the company is worth very little, and your investment can make a big difference. And then it can really sort of scale up massively is the part where the company is private, and before equity crowdfunding, most investors wouldn’t have had access to that.
And so us as the general public, we’re all excited when a new company that’s exciting IPOs. And then you’re like, Oh, this is fantastic. I want to kind of get involved and invest, and you’re doing all this work that’s coming, after all of the super wealthy people have made their massive returns, and you’re kind of you’re excited to invest when they’re all getting out?
Karen Swyszcz 33:00
Yeah, yeah, for sure. And it’s really cool. Like to be able to, you know, help them grow, you know, to kind of, it seems like, you know, like, how do I say it’s like, it’s like, oh, you have like an additional sense of purpose, like, Oh, I’m helping them, like grow their company, so that they can, you know, like, build their MVP, so that they can like expand their team so that they, you know, can increase the marketing budget, like, I really liked that idea. So.
Alexander Morsink 33:26
Totally, and I want to touch on that for a minute. Because it is really impactful.
When you’re buying a stock in the public markets. That’s a secondary market. So I’m buying the stock from another investor, none of the money is actually going to the company unless the company is IPO in that at that moment, or issuing new shares to the market. So as an investor in a public company, you know, I see the stock going up or down of Netflix or Amazon, I’m buying or selling my shares. It’s, if I’m trading with you, it’s you who’s getting the money that I’m giving into it. It’s not actually the company itself. So I’m not helping the company do anything new necessarily, like you would in a private company.
Karen Swyszcz 34:24
Hmm. And one thing that I wanted to touch on was that Equivesto recently launched their investor community, where individuals that can access tons of education about becoming an investor, and then also like, connect with other investors. So do you mind chatting a bit more about that?
Alexander Morsink 34:41
Certainly. Yeah, we’re very excited about this. But, you know, we have developed a lot of content about investing in general investing in private companies, what it’s like to be an investor things you want to think about when making investment choices, but also, you know, from a company perspective, what you need to do to run it crowdfunding platform things you need to think about when managing a business, all this sort of stuff. And we created that content over the years through our own experience and working with members in the community. And we realized, why not take that content and packag it in a way that is so much more accessible to interested members of the community where they can also connect with each other and be with other like minded individuals who want to grow and improve their investing knowledge together. And so that’s why we launched the Equivesto community. It’s great. We’ve just got it got started. It’s been open for basically just a week. And we’re continuing to post a lot of great informational content there. We’re also going to be hosting, you know, webinars and events with the companies on the platform. And there’s private groups also within that space for existing investors who are already approved on Equivesto.
Karen Swyszcz 35:53
Yeah, that’s really interesting. And I was just also thinking to like, being able to connect with other investors, how you can also talk about, like, your the different investments you made, or if you have any questions, or if, you know, you’re curious to know, like, why this person invested in a particular company? And then once they tell you their why, like the reasons like oh, okay, like, yeah, that that doesn’t make sense. I think I might have invest in that company as well. So yeah, a lot of the times, you know, we tend to do things like based on other people’s recommendations. Mm hmm. All right. So with respect to your entrepreneur journey, looking back on your journey so far, was there anything that surprised you along the way? And what was it?
Alexander Morsink 36:32
Yeah, I think there’s definitely, you know, a lot of surprises, some, some good and some bad. I certainly became very aware of my sort of privileged position as a young white guy from a sort of upper middle class background when going out to raise capital. And even you know, there were situations where myself and my co founder would enter a room, you know, my co founder, Ryan, he’s Canadian, but he’s have sort of mixed background. So he’s a, he’s BIPOC. And when we would enter a room, the people that we were facing would look like me, not like him, and they would talk to me and not him. And just these kind of like, little things were really eye opening. In terms of the experience, it’s obviously the reality of, of his and many other founders lives as well. And just sort of seeing that experience and seeing Wow, okay, like the vast majority of, of entrepreneurs and companies getting founded by venture capital, angel investing, are all white male background, seeing that sort of disparity and kind of being faced with that directly, it was really eye opening for me. And the fact that it’s eye opening is also from a place of privilege, but just being aware of that was sort of a big thing. But then also on the flip side, seeing how the entrepreneurial community really comes together to try to help support and encourage other founders has also been really exciting. There’s so many different community groups that I’ve been a part of, through Equivesto. And that Equivesto has been a part of that is just, it’s just such a collaborative and supportive experience. We really enjoyed that.
Karen Swyszcz 38:12
Oh, that’s really interesting. Thank you for sharing. All right, so if you could have a coffee and chat with any entrepreneur, who would it be with and why?
Alexander Morsink 38:21
So I’m a very big car nut. And so my choice won’t necessarily be something super insightful or or eye opening, but the entrepreneur I would love to chat with is Mate Rimac, who’s the founder of Rimac . Automobiles and essentially, Rimac is a new sort of hypercar supercar manufacturer that makes fully electric cars. And their technology, specifically, their battery technology is so innovative and exciting, that they’ve sort of changed the entire electric car industry with a lot of car companies using batteries and battery technology provided by Rimac. And they got so successful, and they achieved so much notoriety that Porsche obviously a very big car company actually acquired a large portion of Rimac. And as part of that whole deal that Porsche also owns Bugatti, they gave control of the Bugatti brand and everything to Rimac which is such an exciting this huge kind of groundbreaking move in the sort of car automobile industry.
Karen Swyszcz 39:30
Yeah, for sure. Thanks for sharing that. And if people want to learn more about Equivesto and you, where can they find you online?
Alexander Morsink 39:37
They can find Equivesto everywhere online on all social medias @Equivesto. E-Q-U-I-V-E-S-TO. You can also visit our website at equivesto.com where we have all of our live deals lots of information in our Learning Center and on our website. You can also join our community which we talked about earlier. If you’re interested in chatting with other entrepreneurs And of course you can find me, Alexander Morsink on LinkedIn under my name.
Karen Swyszcz 40:05
Amazing. Thank you so much for chatting with me today Alex. I really enjoyed this conversation.
Alexander Morsink 40:10
Thanks, Karen. I enjoyed it very much as well.
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