Alternative Finance in Serbia

Monzo raises £20m | ESMA pushes for ICO regulation

This week some articles that show that crowdfunding and alternative finance becomes more accepted for larger funding round and by co-financing of banks. Monzo raises quickly £20 million and Rabobank is combining bank-loans with tradeable crowd-financed bonds for their customers.

This week we focus on the Status of Alternative Finance in Serbia with Vladica Jovanović and present the successful crowdfunding case of Ainé Behan with Coretechs.

Further news this week:

  • Monzo raises £20m through crowdfunding
  • Rabobank combines crowd-financed bond trading and bank loans for SME business financing
  • European Securities and Markets Authority Tells European Commission that ICOs and Crypto Assets Need an EU Wide Regulatory Approach
  • ECWT review with : Ainé Behan – Coretechs
  • European Expert : Vladica Jovanović (Serbia)

Monzo raises £20m through crowdfunding – AltFi News

The bank reached its goal after opening to its general customers in less than three hours.

Leading digital bank Monzo opened its crowdfund to all eligible account holders today. The company hoped to raise £20m which it reached after only three hours of being open to its general customers.

Existing investors with Monzo accounts were eligible to start investing on Monday.

Following the two day window for existing investors (who in previous rounds backed the bank via the Crowdcube platform), Monzo raised a total of £10m from general account holders after just a few short minutes. A further £5m was raised in the next half an hour, getting the firm to 75 per cent of its fundraising target.

The shares are worth just over £7.71, significantly higher than their price in Monzo’s last funding round, where they were valued at £2.36. Monzo’s customers can invest up to £2,000 in the bank which can – for some controversially – be funded using Monzo overdrafts.

New investors will be invited to the annual general meetings as well as Q&As with Monzo’s CEO Tom Blomfield. Investors’ iconic coral card will also receive a makeover to highlight their contribution.

Rabobank combines crowd-financed bond trading and bank loans for SME business financing

Rabobank is partnering with “Next Generation Stock Exchange” Nxchange to provide small and medium size businesses access to a tradable bond platform for loan financing.

The Rabo&Crowd service combines a bank loan with funding from private investors through the integrated stock exchange of Nxchange. Companies on the platform can issue a bond for investors to buy and sell on the secondary market after issuance. 

Investors can join the Rabo&Crowd community for as little as €100, investing in businesses by purchasing bonds over Nxchange. Businesses can issue both short-term and long-term bond loans, while investors can sell bonds before the expiration date. The minimum application amount is €200,000.

European Securities and Markets Authority Tells European Commission that ICOs and Crypto Assets Need an EU Wide Regulatory Approach

The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has just published its “Advice” on “Initial Coin Offerings and Crypto-Assets.”

In the past, ESMA has issued several warnings regarding crypto-assets and virtual currencies.

The Advice outlines ESMA’s position on the issues that exist in the rules within ESMA’s remit when “crypto-assets qualify as financial instruments and the risks that are left unaddressed when crypto-assets do not qualify as financial instruments.”

Located in Paris, ESMA is a financial regulatory agency and “European Supervisory Authority.” ESMA seeks to improve the functioning of financial markets in Europe acting as a “watch-dog” and advising on market efficacy and investor protection.

The Advice provides ESMA’s opinion on digital assets during a time of debate and discussion in Europe as to how to best manage the emerging sector of finance. ESMA reports that it has been working with National Competent Authorities (NCAs) on analysing the different business models of crypto-assets, including risks and benefits.

ESMA says they have identified several areas of concern:

  • For crypto-assets that qualify as financial instruments under MiFID, there are areas that require potential interpretation or re-consideration of specific requirements to allow for an effective application of existing regulations
  • Where these assets do not qualify as financial instruments, the absence of applicable financial rules leaves investors exposed to substantial risks. At a minimum, ESMA believes that Anti Money Laundering (AML) requirements should apply to all crypto-assets and activities involving crypto-assets. There should also be appropriate risk disclosure in place, so that consumers can be made aware of the potential risks prior to committing funds to crypto-assets.

ECWT review with : Ainé Behan – Coretechs

In 2014 Ainé was the runner up at the Lady Pitch Night in Paris, when out of 178 applicants from 22 countries across Europe 4,000+ Twitter followers voted Cortechs as their favorite pitch of the night.

Coming from a research background, Ainé believes there are science-based solutions that don’t involve medication, which can be used to improve symptoms of certain mental health conditions. Ainé gave up her permanent job as a research lecturer at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland to set up her own company, Cortechs and now develops digital tools that could help lead to better brain functioning in areas such as attention, concentration and calm.

In 2015 Cortechs was selected as the winner of FutureHealth pre-accelerator at NDRC Ireland and received €15,000 worth of mentor-ship services from Ernst & Young across a range of business services. In 2016 Cortechs was invited to join NDRC´s Catalyser portfolio Cortech´s first commercial product, “Zip and the Misty Mountain game”, is aimed at children aged six to 12 and combines game play with elements of neurofeedback. The game is used in conjunction with headsets that children wear while playing it. The Android app was released winter 2015 and an iPad version in 2017.

Between 2016-2018 Cortechs participated in FocusLocus, an EU HORIZON 2020 co-financed project that developed a gamified intervention program for the management of ADHD conditions.

In 2018 Cortechs has raised additional €1.3m in EU HORIZON 2020 funding to help commercialize its innovative ADHD treatment solution, CereBrill, whereby children learn to improve their attention levels through reward-based computer games.

This is the link for the campaign if you want see more :

For her project there has been a long list of different types of alternative financing starting with:

Expert of the week : Vladica Jovanović (Serbia)

What is the current status of Alternative Finance?

In 2017 and first half of 2018 there is a noticeable increase in interest and financing through crowdfunding. Serbian regulation bears multiple obstacles for both crowdfunding and alternative finance in general. Our current legislation has no framework for neither crowd-lending nor crowdinvesting, while rewards-based crowdfunding even though unregulated suffers from policies which regulate general administration, tax and legal issues for startups and regular businesses, with procedures which are lengthy, complicated and costly. 

However, our data shows a significant increase in turning to rewards-based crowdfunding as a finance tool for initial seed-funding and go-to-market strategy (more than 700.000 USD raised during 2017 on three different platforms – Indiegogo, Kickstarter, Katana). There has been progress in the field of crowdinvesting – Funderbeam and Belgrade Stock Market are preparing to launch Funderbeam in Serbia in 2018, which will lead to easier early stage investment system for businesses interested in offering equity to their initial supporters.

According to the total transaction value in alternative finance amounts to 1 million USD in 2018, with an expected growth of 45% in the next four years.

Can you give us an inspiring case from your country?

Serbian market has no local platforms for crowdfunding, except for, which targets nonprofit and charity oriented campaigns.

However, there is a platform managed by Brodoto (social impact and crowdfunding agency based in Serbia and Croatia) and developed in partnership with German-Serbian Initiative for Sustainable Growth and Employment . is an educational platform, both online and offline. Online – the platform contains weekly blogs and news from crowdfunding and similar content and topics, as well as a database of useful resources. In the offline space, offers several events which significantly contribute to ecosystem building of crowdfunding and alternative finance in Serbia. Crowdfunding Bootcamps are one-day intensive events on crowdfunding, but the focus lies on two flagship events: Crowdfunding Academy and Belgrade Crowdfunding Convention.

Crowdfunding Academy teaches and prepares teams for launching their own crowdfunding campaigns, and is mostly oriented at startups, social businesses, SMEs and creative industry, with an average of 100 teams applying for support and training. 

Belgrade Crowdfunding Convention is an annual one-day conference which brings together European and regional leaders in crowdfunding to share trends and success stories with 200+ participants, with a focus on rewards-based and equity crowdfunding.

What are the biggest obstacles for growth?

Lack of educational content for crowdfunding and alternative finance in general and business development and access to finance education for (early) entrepreneurs and SMEs, as well as other target groups – businesses, social entrepreneurs, creative industry, etc.

Legal and tax issues and challenges, which impact crowdfunding campaigns in all phases of crowdfunding campaigns – different legal entities are subject to different taxes, there are procedures for receiving funds, and existing regulation does not create an enabling environment for these types of giving and investment.



Stefan Von Imhof

Stefan Von Imhof

Stefan lives and breathes asset analysis and valuations. Before co-founding Alts, he created a Due Diligence Service for evaluating website & micro PE deals. In his spare time he enjoys record collecting and managing his short-term vacation rentals. Originally from Boston and later Santa Barbara, CA, he now lives with his wife in Australia.

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