Q&A: Investment platform unites investors and entrepreneurs

Summary

The student who set up the Winwinner marketplace for investments explains the idea behind his platform

Financial matchmaker

Winwin loans were introduced by the government of Flanders in the mid-2000s to make it easier for small business owners to raise money from their friends and relatives. Artevelde University College student Matthias Browaeys, 22, the brainchild behind Winwinner, explains how his platform helps entrepreneurs in need of cash to connect with such potential investors.

What is the Winwinner platform?

Winwinner is an online matchmaking platform that spotlights entrepreneurs with an investment need and matches them with people who want to invest in their companies. We don’t secure the loans; that part is handled by ParticipatieMaatschappij Vlaanderen.

How did the idea for the platform develop?

It was born from a Bachelor’s assignment here at the Artevelde University College in Ghent that required us to launch an innovative idea. We knew the winwin loan existed and that it was gaining popularity, but we also knew there was no marketplace for it – no place where offer and demand could come together. There was no physical location where people who were interested in funding a company could reach companies seeking to raise money through winwin.

What’s the aim of the socioeconomic label you recently introduced?

We noticed that there were a lot of investors who were interested in investing in socioeconomic projects. So we met this desire by establishing a social committee under the helm of Jef Tavernier [former Groen politician]. Companies that have been vetted and screened by the social committee will now also be allowed to promote themselves as a socioeconomic company.

What will you focus on in assessing these companies?

The most important thing is that, in terms of the three Ps of people, planet and profit, profit should come last. So the idea is that the company is more committed to sustainable entrepreneurship and socially responsible entrepreneurship, for instance, than it is focused on profit.

What’s your larger mission with the Winwinner platform?

The platform exists purely for companies. I see that a lot of companies are seeking capital and that they want to grow, and that’s something I find heart-warming. That’s the reason I do this every day; to make companies that want to grow stronger. And of course, when there’s been a match, it’s nice to see a company be able to expand.