This week, Kafadesk met with Arkadiusz Regiec, the CEO of the equity trading platform Beesfund on which Polish Football Club Wisla Krakow recently raised over one million euros in 24h. He tells us more about this initiative and shares his views on Poland’s vibrant business ecosystem.
Firstly, could you tell us more about Beesfund? What is an equity trading platform?
Beesfund is the largest equity crowdfunding platform in Central Eastern Europe. How does a platform like ours work? Well, it’s a place which allows investors to buy shares of joint-stock companies using classical crowdfunding tools. Beesfund’s competitive advantage is a large and diverse investor base which includes over 14,000 active members. Since 2007, we have conducted 39 share issues, raising over 17.5 million PLN in total.
So, 4 million PLN in 24h, congratulations! How did you get involved in this initiative? Were you even a Wisla fan? Are you one now…?
Thank you very much. We were really pleased to cooperate with one of the most titled and successful football clubs in Poland. I come from Olsztyn so obviously, I support my local team, Stomil Olsztyn, but I wish Wisla Krakow many victories (not against Stomil Olsztyn, of course). As regards Wisla – they have been struggling for a while due to their financial problems. The situation was very dire and Wisla was threatened with a relegation from Ekstraklasa, the top Polish Football League. However, a few businessmen from Krakow decided to help Wisla and they asked us if we could launch an equity crowdfunding campaign for Wisla. And the rest is history, already.
You say this could potentially revolutionize football, how so? Can you imagine a world where players and teams are owned and sold by VCs around the world through equity trading platforms?
I don’t think equity crowdfunding will revolutionize football. I am sure that equity crowdfunding will change the face of every sport discipline in the world. After the success of Wisla’s equity crowdfunding campaign we received offers from over 20 sport clubs in Poland and beyond!
Teams like Real Madrid and Barcelona are owned by the fans – the socios – do you think what happened with Wisla could help democratize the football bubble?
Equity crowdfunding is the way to democratize any kind of business. In this particular case, it democratizes football clubs. I can’t imagine a more adjusted source of finance. This is a win-win situation. Clubs raise money to make new transfers or develop their infrastructure. Moreover, supporters can become legal partners of their favourite club. The difference between socios and owners is very clear. It is the owners – people who buy their shares – who can exercise the true decision power on the business (clubs) they own.
Warsaw has often been described as a vibrant and dynamic city when it comes to business, why do you think that is?
Poland has become Europe’s growth champion recently. In the near future, the government will start building the Centralny Port Lotniczy airport located near our capital city. Warsaw used to be called the Paris of the East and I think this statement is still valid. The city is a perfect combination of modern history with modernity.
How would you describe the start-up ecosystem? How would it compare to other capitals in the region, let’s say Prague and Budapest?
I don’t want to undervalue Prague and Budapest but I think Warsaw is the best city to launch your business. Polish legislation is very supportive for aspiring entrepreneurs. Besides, Poland is a much bigger country than Czech Republic or Hungary and therefore our domestic market is significantly bigger.
Recent polls have suggested that young poles are increasingly turning to the right, how do you see this affecting the business environment in the country? Could this lead to young entrepreneurs leaving the country, as we have seen in Hungary for example?
Since Middle Ages, Poland has been known as a tolerant and open-minded country. Polish start-up environment has never been friendlier. The Polish government is going to legislate a regulation that will establish a new type of company called Prosta Spółka Akcyjna (eng. simple limited company). It will provide entrepreneurs with many benefits such as fast registration (in less than 24 hours), 1 PLN for the start of your business, or easier access to your finance (there is no minimum capital requirement).
Finally, a successful entrepreneur with a booming business, what’s next for Arkadiusz Regiec?
I have plenty of ideas for new businesses. One of them, Token Bridge, is about to start. What is Token Bridge? This is a new platform which allows people to buy shares of international companies using cryptocurrencies. The project is targeted at people across the globe and I can tell you right now that there is a lot of interest in the company. I invite all of you to visit our website www.beesfund.com I assure you that every investor will find something interesting for himself/herself.