05 February, 2014

The Capital Club Dubai, Cass Business School and Eureeca shed light on Crowd Investment

The Capital Club, Dubai's premier private business club and member of the ENSHAA group of companies, recently organised a panel discussion to shed light on the concept of crowdinvesting, which is increasingly coming to the fore as a viable and effective method for SMEs to acquire the funding they need to take the next step in their evolution.

The Capital Club Dubai, Cass Business School and Eureeca shed light on Crowd Investment
05 February 2014
Exciting new financing method
The Capital Club, Dubai's premier private business club and member of the ENSHAA group of companies, recently organised a panel discussion to shed light on the concept of crowdinvesting, which is increasingly coming to the fore as a viable and effective method for SMEs to acquire the funding they need to take the next step in their evolution.

Chris Thomas from the crowdinvesting company Eureeca clarified the differences in the way that crowdinvesting platforms operate in comparison to crowdfunding platforms, "The single biggest difference is the investment aspect. Eureeca is an equity platform for businesses that uses the principles of crowdfunding and crowd dynamics - i.e. getting many individuals to club together to make the investment to hit your funding target. Effectively think of Eureeca as an investment platform to syndicate all parts of a funding in one place online. Eureeca allows growing businesses to launch 90day funding campaigns to leverage their networks to invest in them in exchange for shares in the business.

Entitled 'Importance of Technology on SME Financing' and organised by the crowd investment platform Eureeca along with Cass Business School, part of City University London, and the Capital Club, the discussion was moderated by Narain Jashanmal and featured Chris Thomas, Co-Founder and CEO of Eureeca, Loulou Khazen Baz, Founder & CEO of Nabbesh.com, Christian Mouchbahani, Founding and Managing Partner at M Capital Group, and Dany Farha, Founder and CEO of BECO Capital.

Emma Cullen, The Capital Club General Manager, commented on the event, saying, "SMEs are a special focus point of The Capital Club in 2014 and we were delighted to see such a large turnout for this event. Crowd investment is an extremely exciting development in the world of business financing and it was very gratifying to see the lively and highly pertinent discourse that this panel discussion elicited, both in terms of questions and answers and on the Twitter feed that was running during the discussion. We look forward to continue our exploration of the various issues that affect the SME sector in future panel discussions as the year progresses."

Ehsan Razavizadeh, Regional Director, MENA and Head of the Cass Dubai Centre said: "Access to funding is major priority of any SME and as such we were delighted to partner with Eureeca and Capital Club Dubai to host an event exploring alternative financing. Increasing awareness of initiatives such as Eureeca to entrepreneurs and SMEs is a key focus of Cass Business School in Dubai. Our EMBA courses have been supporting the needs of business executives in the region since 2007 and continue to attract a vast pool of skilled and multilingual talent from all over the world. Our entrepreneurship stream includes modules in new venture creation, private equity, and innovation and entrepreneurship."

Chris Thomas emphasised that the aim of Eureeca as a platform was to address a gap in the financing market at the growth stage level, remarking that many small businesses were hampered in their growth because the funding they need to take the next step in expansion falls short of the funding range that VC, PE, and even Angel Investors operate in. "These businesses often struggle to raise funds because either they are in the wrong sector or geography or too early stage for many traditional funding vehicles, especially as access to debt type funding has become nearly non-existent," he expanded.

Loulou Khazen Baz highlighted another key benefit of crowd investing platforms - the transfer of knowledge and experience. Platforms such as Eureeca are geared towards encouraging dialogue and discussion between investors and investees, with a forum that allows for in depth questioning of every aspect of the business plan and future projections. This in essence means that businesses immediately have access to the knowledge of often a diverse set of investors, who have a vested interest in imparting their knowledge because they have a stake in the success of the business. This in turn ensures that these businesses have a much higher probability for success, as their growth and development are much more structured and organised.

Speaking about her personal experience with crowd investment, Loulou Khazen Baz remarked, "We raised $100,000 in 12 days from 23 crowd investors, and the wonderful thing is that as a business you immediately gain these 23 people who are all of a sudden fully invested in the success of your business, they could be potential clients, or potential end users. We of course also made use of other funding methods, as each of these have their own set of benefits, depending on where you are at as a business."

Commenting on the role of crowd investment in the industry, Christian Mouchbahani from M Capital Group said, "Downturns in the market are inevitable, because the nature of the economy is cyclical, but there will also always be supply and demand. This is one more platform for entrepreneurs to access, it is one more vehicle to screen the viability of new businesses to ensure that when a downturn does occur these businesses are healthy enough to weather the difficulties, and hopefully it is also one more network that supports these businesses."

Cass Dubai Centre was established in 2007 in collaboration with Dubai International Financial Centre, as a regional centre of educational excellence for the Middle East and North Africa (MENA).  The Centre operates as a not-for-profit venture. It offers the internationally acclaimed Cass Executive MBA (EMBA), tailor-made executive education, business services including consulting and high profile networking events and MSc programmes in Aviation.  The EMBA offers MENA-based executives and professionals the opportunity to combine demanding work schedules with study near their home and work environments. The programme also attracts students from as far afield as Singapore, the USA and Azerbaijan.  It was the world's first EMBA programme to offer specialist Islamic finance and energy modules and students can choose to specialise in entrepreneurship, finance or general management.  The quality of education is guaranteed with London-based faculty flying in to provide the programme:  www.cass.city.ac.uk/dubaicentre.

Cass Business School in London is part of City University London.  Located in the heart of one of the world's leading financial centres, Cass is the business school for the City of London.  It delivers innovative, relevant and forward-looking education, consultancy and research.  Cass offers one of the widest portfolios of specialist Masters programmes and has the largest faculties of Finance and Actuarial Science & Insurance in Europe. It is ranked in the top 10 UK business schools for business, management and finance research with leading research centers in areas including Mergers and Acquisitions and Pensions.  Entrepreneurship is another strength with Cass's Peter Cullum Centre for Entrepreneurship, venture capital fund and sector research.  The 2013 Financial Times EMBA rankings placed Cass fifth in the UK and 14th in Europe.  The School is in the top one per cent of business schools worldwide to have received the gold standard of 'triple-crown' accreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), the Association of MBAs (AMBA) and the European Quality Improvement System (EQUIS).  It has a strong alumni network of over 35,000, which extends worldwide across a wide variety of companies and professions: www.cass.city.ac.uk.

City University London is a global University committed to academic excellence, with a focus on business and the professions and an enviable central London location.  It is in the top five per cent of universities in the world according to the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2013/14 and in the top thirty universities in the UK according to the Times Higher Education Table of Tables 2012. It is ranked in the top 10 in the UK for both graduate-level jobs (The Good University Guide 2014) and in the top 5 for graduate starting salaries (Lloyds Bank). The University attracts over 17,000 students (35% at postgraduate level) from more than 150 countries and academic staff from over 50 countries.  Its academic range is broadly-based with world leading strengths in business; law; health sciences; engineering; mathematical sciences; informatics; social sciences; and the arts including journalism and music. The University's history dates back to 1894, with the foundation of the Northampton Institute on what is now the main part of City's campus. In 1966, City was granted University status by Royal Charter and the Lord Mayor of London was invited to be Chancellor, a unique arrangement that continues today. Professor Paul Curran has been Vice-Chancellor of City University London since 2010:


About the Capital Club:
The Capital Club is owned by Capital Club Limited, a single-purpose company registered under the DIFC. The major shareholder of the company is Signature Clubs International, which is responsible for the development and operation of the Club. Capital Club Limited is owned by the Dubai-based investment and development firm ENSHAA, and managed by Signature Clubs International, founded in 2005. The group has sister properties in Bahrain Financial Harbor's East Tower and Capital Club (East Africa) located in Westland's, Nairobi. www.capitalclubdubai.com

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