On the 1st of June, the Selangor Information Technology and E-Commerce Council (SITEC) organised a panel session titled “Equity Crowdfunding: Harnessing the Power of the People” at the Selangor Digital Creative Centre (SDCC), which drew about 50 attendees keen on learning more about equity crowdfunding (ECF) as well as to hear from the experiences of three notable ECF platform operators.

The three guest panelists were Elain Lockman, co-founder and director of Ata Plus, and instrumental in establishing Ata Plus’ partnerships, deal screenings, and operations framework, while also actively involved in the startup community; Sam Shafie, co-founder and CEO of pitchIN, and also the founder of tech accelerator Watchtower and Friends, who spent 15 years in the public sector before becoming an entrepreneur in 2009; and Angelld Quah, co-founder and COO of FBM Crowdtech (the company behind FundedByMe and Alixco), a serial entrepreneur who has over 10 years of experience in entrepreneurship, and is passionate about helping startups and SMEs reaching success. The session was moderated by SITEC’s own Startup Manager, Ann Lee.

L-R: Elain Lockman, Sam Shafie, Angelld Quah, Ann Lee

The panel discussed several topics, such as common challenges faced by project owners that go in for ECF and the objectives of ECF besides raising funds, and shared anecdotes from their own experiences, as well as several cases that illustrated certain points they were making. For example, on the topic of starting an ECF run for the purpose of product validation and brand exposure, Lockman shared the story of FinSpark, one of their successful projects that managed to not only achieve and surpass their requested target, was actually a project that was looking for validation and branding.

The panel also discussed common key factors of success for an ECF campaign, with one particular key factor being the strength and compatibility of the founding teams themselves, and just how well they can brand or market themselves.

“It comes down to just how well they can tell their story. The better they can tell their story and connect to their audience, the higher the chances they will succeed,” noted Sam Shafie.

The panelists also noted that an ECF campaign’s investors also tend to be from the project’s own existing customer base. These are customers that have already used the product or service offered by the project and trust in its effectiveness, or already believe in the project’s brand.

Another topic that was discussed was the regulatory framework for ECF in Malaysia. All three panelists agreed that the framework in Malaysia was healthy and progressive, with Malaysia having been the first in Southeast Asia to come up with a framework for ECF.

After the panel session was concluded, a total of 13 1-on-1 product review/consultation sessions were held with the panelists, bringing the event to a close.

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