Cuentis, an online publisher specializing in customizing illustrated books for both children and adults, has closed a €70.000 seed round using Bihoop’s equity crowdfunding platform. This is a major milestone for all parties involved as it marks the first successful exit on Bihoop and comes during a peak investment period for crowdfunding platforms worldwide.
Bihoop was created in 2011 by a team of five entrepreneurs in Barcelona with a multi-purpose mission: build an equity-driven, crowdfunding platform while developing the entrepreneurial ecosystem. If that weren’t enough, Bihoop’s headquarters, located in Barcelona Activa’s Almogavers Business Factory, also acts as an incubator and launch pad for creating more startups in Barcelona.
Cuentis is the first startup to take advantage of all three. The project was co-founded by Meli Fernandez and Eduard Altarriba and was incubated in-house at Bihoop’s headquarters. The incubator’s mentor-driven services include helping to generate a business plan, incorporating the startup, and making contact with potential key partners in the Barcelona ecosystem such as lawyers, hosting platforms, and potential new team members. This gave Meli the opportunity to focus directly on her value proposition, her product, and securing her initial customers.
Well, it must have worked because last week she closed her seed round with a €70.000 investment via the Bihoop platform. Meli had the following to say about her experience: “As I founder, I was afraid that the search for the viability of my project and its financing could lead to the loss of the core identity of the project. At Bihoop, I found a team not only willing to advise me on the project and its viability (in addition to finding mentors and funding), but also a team that values entrepreneurship, creativity, and is willing to listen and stay true to the interests of the project and its founders.”
The news comes at a great time for Bihoop and the rest of the crowdfunding world that has never been stronger than it is right now. Research firm, Massolution, reported last week that crowdfunding sites worldwide will close $5.1 billion (€3.88 billion) in 2013, almost twice the amount raised via crowdfunding worldwide in 2012. With programs sprouting up throughout Southeast Asia and the BRIC countries, this wave will only continue to gain momentum.
True to its vision of supporting the entire entrepreneurial ecosystem, Bihoop is closely related to EADA Business School and is currently entering a partnership to incubate student-led projects and offer a discount to EADA´s recently announced Entrepreneurship Program. Up to 8 projects per year will enter Bihoop’s incubation program directly upon graduating from EADA and will enjoy the same benefits that Cuentis just capitalized on.
Congratulations to Bihoop and Cuentis on your first big success!