Raising funding through an ICO: Advice from 8 startups

Startups have raised nearly $450 million in initial coin offerings in January, the most since October 2017, according to cryptocurrency market data website Coinist. Despite this rise, dubious coins and scams have fuelled mixed feelings towards cryptocurrencies and ICOs.

As a steady stream of startups plan on launching their own currencies and tokens using this method we decided to ask 8 startups who have raised, or currently raising, money through an ICO what advice they would give to other startup founders who want to raise funding this way.

Here’s what they had to say…

Nadine Dambion (HydroMiner) – hydrominer.org  @hydro_miner

“Be prepared to be transparent and communicative, it is a new field for all of us and a lot of investors will need your guidance.”

Alvaro Ramirez (eHarvestHub) – eharvesthub.com  @eHarvestHub

“Definitely attend as many Blockchain/crypto conferences as possible and spread the word there. Spend more time trying to identify the best marketing channels. Some even after paying delayed our announces including some big firms like TechCrunch and others in the crypto space.

Regardless of the end result, plan your marketing well and allow time to research the best channels. Engage your investors and advisors to talk about your ICO. Be transparent and make sure you follow all the necessary regulations that could affect your offering.”

Claudio Perlini (Boule) – boule.one  @BouleCoin

“Do not pay entry fee, only success and performance fee. Do not follow easy spammy marketing, it doesn’t work. Find more time between pre sale and ICO to let the project organically grow.”

Marc Degen (Modum) – modum.io  @modum

“Get somebody in, that already has funded through an ICO – no matter whether it’s a successful one or not – just the plain experience is key. Actually, one that went wrong might be even better than one that went well…

Don’t invent law – find a way to structure your token so it suits your domestic legal jurisdiction well and exclude cross border legislations which might impose any surprises.

Don’t think just because others went a certain route, that this route might be already paved. Capital market laws are quite clearly defined, and whatever utility/security token you do – you will for sure cross the capital market laws either because you launched a security or a payment system. And don’t forget the taxes, consider them for your company, the token receiver (if any), your team, etc. – don’t try to evade taxes with creative NGO setups, as either the financial market regulator or the tax authorities will catch you one day.

Don’t do an ICO and do an Airdrop instead if you have the money to build your product and hire the teams (which might be anyways the case as you cannot run ICO’s with no money anymore) then you will have an evolving value if you catch the attention and your token get’s used.”

Muhammad Gali (Publiq) – ito.publiq.network  @publiq

“Be aware of the changing environment and get quality legal advice and backing both in your respective countries and internationally. We strongly recommend consulting with US legal experts when structuring the ICO, no matter where is it happening. Be ready to address global audience and needs, both internally and externally.

Create quality communication with your backers, and build it constantly. Be very selective when deciding which events you need to participate in: your investor is most likely waiting for you there. Do not neglect crypto-channels and make sure you are visible.”

Shawn Gordon (Saav Games) – saavgames.com  @SAAVgames

“Be careful because ICO news and listing sites are pay to play, but this isn’t disclosed until after you contact them. Prices can range from a 1 Ether to 5 Bitcoin and they all have very negligible impact on interest in the ICO.”

Gerbert Vandenberghe – fundrequest.io  @fundrequest

“We postponed our ICO to Q1 2018 to focus more on product development, create the traction we need in the meantime and set up partnerships with other interesting blockchain startups. Take your time to do development and create a decent first version of your product while building up a community that supports your vision. Do not try to rush it and make sure you are legally covered.”

 

Andrius Putna (BitDegree) – bitdegree.org  @bitdegree.org

“Be extremely aware of scammers. Anything that seems to be too good to be true, 99% of the time will be.”

Summary

We’ve picked out some of the key points from the responses to help prepare and guide you through your own ICO.

  • Be transparent & visible to your investors and community
  • Seek quality legal advice (particularly around regulation and taxes)
  • Engage with investors & your community
  • Attend crypto/blockchain conferences
  • Be prepared to address the needs of a global community

We’d like to say a huge thanks to all the startups for taking part in our survey and offering advice for other startups who might want to do an ICO.

If you’d like to chat about your startup, blockchain idea or ICO you can contact us at www.simpleweb.co.uk/contact/.

If you're an early stage business or startup, why not talk to us?