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On Friday, 23 November the Executive MSc in International Finance (MIF) together with Holland Fintech, organised a Speaker Event discussing the roadmap to a successful Initial Coin Offering (ICO). Bringing together insights from the regulatory environment, legal aspects, current research as well as in-depth knowledge from companies with ICO experience.

During the speaker session, Jens Martin, Programme Director of the MIF, presented recent academic findings of success factors of ICOs. Based on the research he concluded that having anchor investors in ICOs as well as increasing transparency and corporate governance, such as longer provisions of founders, is highly correlated with a successful ICO.

Chris R. Dawe (Co-Founder & CEO at Effect.AI) took the audience on his journey of raising more than 10 million EUR in their Coin Offering at the beginning of 2018. He recounted the many challenges he faced during the fundraising, in particular due to the novelty and lack of experience of market participants. Chris emphasized that a company should do their utmost possible to be transparent in its ICO process, have a strong dialogue with regulators and potential investors, as well as have a stringent Know Your Customer (KYC) policy.

Leonard Franken (Technology & Innovation Advisor at AFM, the Netherlands Authority for the Financial Markets) highlighted the viewpoint and challenges regulators are facing when supervising ICOs. He stressed the importance of the companies to consult the AFM on their plans to avoid any potential legal or regulatory challenges.

In the following lively panel discussion, Jochem Wieringa, (Co-founder and Head of Research at Maven 11 Capital) and Zachary Newmark (Marketing Advisor at Spotcoin) pointed out the current bear market will profit professional investors with a long-term view. Jochem emphasized the high risk involved and the need for thorough due diligence of the ICO, which makes this market very challenging for individual investors.

After the session, our students and alumni of the executive programmes together with Holland Fintech members and our corporate contacts continued the discussions with drinks at the networking part.

About the speakers:

Chris R. Dawe, Co-Founder & CEO at Effect.AI

Chris is a driven entrepreneur with over 15 years leading teams and projects to success. From early 2003- 2012 Chris lead international efforts of European and North American energy initiative projects through his company Choice Energy.

After networking through the tech world for years, in 2016 Chris was asked to take a lead role with a Blockchain and Artificial Intelligence solution project Effect.AI. In March of 2018, Effect.AI completed its successful Token Sale with over 5000 participants and more than 11 million euro raised, setting new compliance standards in the process. In addition to his position as CEO of Effect.AI, Chris is spending time advising other Eurozone startups on Token Sale, STO and crowdfunding processes.

Jochem Wieringa, Co-founder and Head of Research at Maven 11 Capital

Jochem has been investing in the blockchain industry since early 2011. After initially experimenting with short-term trading, he settled on investing with a strong long-term focus from 2013 onward. The combination of a thorough technical background (MSc in Systems Engineering from TU Delft) and his commercial experience as co-founder of several startups in a range of different industries (telecom, drones, internet, B2B as well as B2C) allows Jochem to quickly dissect the technical as well as the commercial side of projects. More about Maven 11 Capital

Leonard Franken, Technology & Innovation Advisor at AFM

Leonard works at AFM's (&DNB's) innovation Hub. He is advising the AFM about the implications of new technologies like AI, DL, ML & blockchain, and supporting fintech's and incumbent's driving innovation and in their journey using these technologies. One day a week, Leonard works as Researcher and Visiting Lecturer at TU Delft Computer Science department working with Delft Blockchain lab. Leonard earned a PhD degree in Computer Science in informatics/mathematics field from TU Twente.

Zachary M. Newmark, Marketing Advisor at Spotcoin

Zack is an energetic and passionate business mentor drawing upon 20 years in media and consulting to help startups grow through scale-up and acquisition. For the past year, he has been the marketing advisor for Spotcoin, a digital currency exchange which completed its ICO in October. His journalism venture NL Times, launched in 2013, now generates millions of page views from people seeking timely, accurate news in English about the Netherlands. His work in television news was awarded an Emmy in 2001, and Zack earned an Executive MBA from the University of Amsterdam in 2007.

About Speaker Events

The Speaker Events of the Executive MSc in International Finance are organised during the academic year. The events aim to serve as inspiration and provide networking opportunities to MIF students, alumni, friends, colleagues, and other interested members of the Executive MSc in International Finance community.

For information on upcoming events or opportunities to speak in the series, contact the director of the MIF programme, Dr Jens Martin.