Crowdfunding / crowdinvesting / crowdlending
FinTechs belonging to this category operate crowdfunding, crowdinvesting and crowdlending platforms on which money is raised to invest in various projects, mainly start-up companies and real estate projects.
Crowdfunding is not a defined financial service, but generally used to describe donation-based crowdfunding (the investor donates the money to the project), reward-based crowdfunding (the investor receives an often symbolic consideration for his investment), equity-based crowdfunding (crowdinvesting: the investor participates in the profits of the financed project or acquires shares or debt instruments) or lending-based crowdfunding (crowdlending: the investor is reimbursed at the end of the project with or without interest).
Attitude of the country towards crowdfunding, crowdinvesting and crowdlending platforms
The social and political climate towards crowdfunding platforms in North Macedonia is positive. In 2013, Letsfundit, the first crowdfunding platform in North Macedonia, was established. In 2019, the then Minister of Finance has stated that crowdfunding as a concept is of utmost importance for startups or companies that are in their early phase of development. In 2019, the Macedonian Stock Exchange and the Zagreb Stock Exchange together with Funderbeam SEE signed a cooperation agreement which introduced crowdfunding to the companies in North Macedonia. The MoF is drafting a National Strategy for Capital markets which should further map out the activities and measures that need to be taken for broader adoption of crowdfunding platforms.
Obligations and requirements to provide crowdfunding, crowdinvesting and crowdlending platforms described above
At the moment, crowdfunding platforms are not regulated by law, nor a license is required in order to run a crowdfunding platform.
Additional comments regarding the legal situation for crowdfunding, crowdinvesting and crowdlending platforms or what FinTech’s must be aware of in this business area
Crowdfunding as a way of financing companies is still in early development in North Macedonia. According to the survey conducted in 2020, 89% of the respondents were of the stance that North Macedonia needs to further develop FinTech.
At the moment, Funderbeam CEE is the most popular crowdfunding platform available for companies in North Macedonia. As such limited liability companies, companies that are in their early phase of development and/or companies that need resources in order to finance their ideas and prototypes for products, services, or other development projects, are eligible for raising funds. Joint stock companies and other types of companies that are established in accordance with the law of North Macedonia cannot campaign through the Funderbeam CEE platform. The investor will have to register as a shareholder within the Trade Registry in the scope of the Central Registry. Depending on whether the investor acquires a share in the share capital with a decision-making right of over 10% in the company, the company will have to report the investment within the Register of Foreign Investments in scope of the Central Registry.
Investors that invest via Funderbeam CEE have no obligation to register individually or collectively or to report in advance to NBRM for foreign exchange transactions with the Investment Company. At the same time, investors do not have obligations for submission of any additional documents to the banks for realisation of the foreign exchange payments to the Investment Company (except for standard foreign currency payment orders) and for receipt of foreign exchange inflows from the Investment Company. The Macedonian Stock Exchange will perform summary reporting to the NBRM for all foreign exchange transactions through the Funderbeam CEE platform.
Market size for crowdfunding, crowdinvesting and crowdlending platforms and biggest companies in this business area
There is not much data available regarding the market for crowdfunding. Very few crowdfunding platforms are available in North Macedonia and the development is mainly limited due to lack of legal framework. According to a 2021 Report by the Fund for Innovation and Technological Developments and Startup Macedonia, percentagewise start-ups and companies in their early development fund their business mostly by personal savings with 65.3%: 54.7% by reinvesting the profits; 41.3% from funds by the Fund for Innovation and Technological Development; 22.7% from family funds and friends; 13.3% by grants; 13.3% from angel investment; 12.0% from accelerators; 6.7% from bank/loans; 5.3% by corporate venture capital; and 4% by public funding. None of the respondents stated that they intend to fund their business via crowdfunding.
Additional comments regarding the economic situation for crowdfunding, crowdinvesting and crowdlending platforms or what FinTech’s must be aware of in this business area