With more than 2,000 registered users, Vevolution’s new deal flow management platform uses dating-UI to match start-ups with investors. Utilizing high user functionality, members can present their unique brand and investment pitches to investors looking for like-minded companies. Start-ups can create a profile in about ten minutes with minimal information. Investors can filter pitches with their specifications to connect with start-ups and co-investors.
Nicole Astra: Welcome to Talking Plant Protein. If you are a startup in the plant protein space or an investor, I invite you to settle in. We have an interesting new tool that you're going to want to utilize, to have the best match between startups and investors. Please welcome Erik Amundson with Vevolution. Erik, welcome to the show. Give me a little bit of the history behind the Vevolution and your role there.
Erik Amundson: Good morning. Thanks for having me. Yeah, we, I love that you said match, certainly matchmaking is the game here. So Vevolution started about four or five years ago in London co-founders Damien and Judy husband, a wife duo. They had created a really successful event, and media based business. And the point of the events were very simple. Spring startups together who were in the plant-based sector, help them share ideas, and accelerate their growth. Not really an exhibitor style event, not really any products that were selling there. So, very naturally it became sort of this broker between investors that would come to the events or different partners. So really established, really, one of the first plant based communities in the UK let alone the world. There really wasn't much of a community being built anywhere. So, that was going really well. They hosted a thousand person plus festival every year, I think had three of those, and long story short, due to that pandemic, they had no longer able to run events based business.
Events are one of the few things that are still not close to being fully back yet. They had met Michiel van Deursen, he is the founder of Capital V, which is one of the original plant-based venture capital funds. They had invested in Impossible Foods and some of the bigger European brands like Hero Foods and Vegetarian Butcher. So he was sort of this investor side of things. They were this community side of things, and it seemed as though the natural next step would be to create a technology platform. So, they went forward. Luckily, everything has turned out so far, we relaunched in December of 2020. And we create technology to help plant-based, and cell-based startups grow in a multiple of ways. So, I'm happy to get into that as well.
Nicole Astra: So, I'd like to say you guys are a tech company with heart, not just a tech company at heart, but tell me about the platform that you launched in December.
Erik Amundson: Yeah, so we have a few different products, but the first product that we released is our fundraising tool. So it is technology. There are other platforms that exist, that I would advise plant-based startups to explore. There are different databases, there are different syndicates. So, depending on what your needs are, certainly explore all those different options. But for our technology, it's very simple. As a startup, you can upload your investment round information to our technology, to our tool. So, that's some pretty basic high-level information. We don't require too much of the financials or anything like that. And our investors are able to access that deal flow, and reach out to the startups and start having conversations with them. They can actually co-invest with other investors on the platform. We have different ratings in different ways for the investors to kind of track and filter through the startups. So, it's really, just easy to use software for our startups and for our investors.
Nicole Astra: And what would you say is the difference in your approach to some of the other platforms and competitors out there?
Erik Amundson: Yeah, I think a few key differences We definitely, aren't global. We have startups and investors from all around the globe. So, the kind of obvious, most popular destination being the US, the UK and Europe. So, that's really great to have kind of a global presence. Like I said before, we're not as syndicates, so we don't handle any due diligence for the investors. We don't handle any transactions. So I think that makes things a lot more approachable and easy going, and really allows investors and the startups to kind of utilize the software, or the technology, how they like.
Whether it be more passive. We're not holding anyone to any extremely tight timelines, or anything like that. So I think those things help us stand out and as well as we really still do foster community. We host regular events to provide free information to our startups who are part of our community. And I think we'll talk about in a minute, but we have a few new ways that we're kind of fostering community as well. So, if you're looking for a good place to grow and a community [inaudible] to connect with while also possibly fundraising, I think this is a good place for you.
Nicole Astra: So walk me through some of the highlights of using the platform as a startup.
Erik Amundson: Yeah. So, [inaudible] it's relatively simple. You should be able to sign up in less than 10 minutes a startup. So you'll add your basic information. You can just link yourself to LinkedIn and then create an account really easily. Then you can add your organization. You're able to add your other team members under your organizational profile on Vevolution. And then if you're ready to upload your investment rounds, it's pretty simple what we ask for. So, we're asking just who you are, what kind of business you're running, and you can select from many different categories. We have more than just a all protein, we have material companies, we have beauty companies, and snack companies. I think that separates us as well, but go back to your previous questions. We're not just an all protein community.
We definitely have categories of essentially anything that's plant-based or cell-based. So from there, you'll add how much you're looking to raise, your evaluation, cap, if you have a cap, your revenue that you've had in the last year, and your pitch deck. So, it's pretty light, pretty easy. And most of our startups don't have any trouble at all signing up to the platform.
Nicole Astra: And how many startups are there for investors to discover?
Erik Amundson: Yeah. So, it's been quite the ride since, since December. I think our team is, I think we're pretty critical ourselves, and we have so many more goals, and things that we've accomplished, but it's been really amazing. Since December, we have more than 2000 total users on the platform about a thousand organizations, again, from all around the world. Of those a thousand organizations, nearly 400 of them have actually added their investment round to the platform. So, investors can expect to have access to hundreds of... Some of the most sought after deals that exist.
Nicole Astra: Tell me about using the platform as an investor.
Erik Amundson: I think that it's great because, again, it does work for angel investors, or for the larger funds or impact funds or VCs. So, again, it's pretty straightforward. So you'll sign up as an investor where you have a short questionnaire that you'll have to fill out as far as what your thesis looks like, essentially, clarifying that you are a accredited investor. So, we have a little bit of a questionnaire there. But from there really the investor is going to kind of set their preferences, what they're looking for. So we're able to filter the deals for the investor. We want them to find exactly what they're looking for really, really easily, right? So, if they're an investor in the Asia Pacific and they're looking for all protein, they can filter our deals by those specific filters. If you're an investor and you're looking for, maybe you're an angel investor and you're looking for ticket sizes that are between 10 and 25,000, we have plenty of those, and you can again use our technology to filter that.
So, that way you're not distracted and seeing a bunch of other opportunities that are, frankly, just not going to work for you. We want to make sure that when you're on the platform, you're seeing exactly what you need. So, from there, it's really sort of this like dating UX, which I think our investors really enjoy. It's clear many people around the world are enjoying that sort of UX with a lot of different things. So, the investor will mark the start-up interested or passed. So, two things will happen if they mark it as passed, they can leave feedback for the startup, which is really, really important. We want to make sure the startups know why the investor maybe didn't reach out to them. So it could be something as simple as their portfolio is already filled in that space, or maybe they're just not investing in that space.
So, our investors are leaving feedback to our startups, which is really helpful. So, and then if they're interested in the startup, then that'll go into their sort of short list or concern list. And from there, they can reach out to the founder individually. They can actually reach out and talk amongst the other potential co-investors before they speak to the individual founder. So that's when we're starting to see some of these conversations and questions around kind of like the beginning of the due diligence process, I'd say.
Nicole Astra: And this is a minor detail, but I think it's important to say for the investors we talked about that the startups can not contact the investors before there is an initial invitation to do so. Which, again, just, just part of that thoughtful process that has gone into developing this technology.
Erik Amundson: Yeah, I think it is really thoughtful. Again, that was one of the issues that our partner, Michiel van Deursen, he was having before Vevolution was created. As an investor, he'd have 50 to a hundred pitch decks in his inbox every single week. So having a place where he can really manage that and really make it a more appropriate, but kind of equitable process that being said, we recognize that it can be a little bit difficult for startups to stand out to these investors. If you're a new round on the platform, how can you stand out and grab their attention? We're creating more functionality for that as well, for the startups, so some of the new features that we have for the startups, they can now add a video pitch to their profile, which is great, shows a little more personality.
They can indicate the percentage of the round and how much of it is committed. So, that is really great to create a little FOMO. maybe an investor is interested in your round. They lose track of time. It's been a couple of weeks, all of a sudden, and you say, "Hey, we're 90% full or ready to roll. This is your last chance to get in on this round." So. There's a few other features that we're adding, that are available now to kind of help the startups, even the playing field up a little bit, I think.
Nicole Astra: Share some success stories.
Erik Amundson: Yeah. So, again, really been about six, seven months since we relaunched, but we do have some great startups that have found investment on our platform. So, we have the alternative protein creator, No Evil Foods here in the US. And we have the first African plant-based alternative protein startup in Africa, as I mentioned, Veggie Victory. We also have, it's a UK based any frozen plant-based products. They do direct to consumer delivery for those frozen products. That was a really big issue in the UK, given it's kind of geography. They're called Mighty Plants. They found investment on the platform. And then another one that I'll mention is the Indian based, egg alternative Evo Foods. So those are just a few really, really amazing startups that have found fundraising on Vevolution. We guess that there are dozens more on a platform, or somewhere along the due diligence process. Once they started meeting these investors and talking about financials and things like that, it can take a few months to wrap up that fundraising round. So, we expect to see a lot more success stories later this year.
Nicole Astra: We've talked that Vevolution is community minded. And before I go, I want you to tell us about your peer to peer platform.
Erik Amundson: Yeah. So that was something that I was really excited about before I joined the Vevolution team. We have this amazing technology, how do we bring in the community aspect to it? So, from my prior experience, we really wanted to create this peer to peer learning technology. How do we make it more so than just a place where startups can message each other? And we need to go beyond that. And there were just really, isn't a safe place for startups to ask those really, really challenging questions. Those bottlenecks that they just can't break through, whether it be in manufacturing in marketing or in finding a co-founder or whatever it may be. So what we've created is called Vevolution hubs. It's a great place for startups to ask questions.
They can choose to make them public so everyone can see it, or if they want a little bit more privacy, they can make these questions available to specific members of our site. So, we do have some great conversations on there, like I mentioned, on like manufacturing negotiation, or finding your co-founder or some more thoughtful pieces around like the masculinity of plant-based and how does that shape the future of your business and things like that. And we're seeing these amazing three, four paragraph answers, these startups and these co-founders, they really care about each other, even though they may not know each other. And I think even though we've just launched this new feature we're really seeing some great engagement and some great conversations there. So, Vevolution hubs, if you'd like to check that out, and you're really in this kind of learning mode, and I think that's a great place for you as well.
Nicole Astra: Well, congratulations on all of your success. I see you climbing much, much higher and even faster in the future, so please keep us posted. And thank you again for your insights, and your focus on collaboration for this industry. We appreciate it.
Erik Amundson: Thanks so much for having me, and it's been great speaking to you all.