by: Markus Lampinen

October 27 – London, New York & Hong Kong – ‘Virtual Silicon Valley’ platform creator Grow VC has launched a new service for 3rd parties to create and run their own startup and funding network as easily as a Facebook page, WordPress blog or LinkedIn group. The online venture community and micro funding network has grown to 11,000 entrepreneurs, investors and experts from 200 different countries.

“First, Grow VC created a marketplace where anyone can look for funding or invest in a startup. Now we take the funding market to a totally new dimension: anyone can also create a startup community or funding network. Angel networks, incubators, investors and many other organizations can easily complement their current activity with an efficient online service”, states Grow VC Chairman and Co-founder Jouko Ahvenainen. “Our aim has always been to create #1 equity crowdfunding environment in the world. It doesn’t make sense that all parties build individual platforms as separate silos, where users are suffering to find them, learn to use them, build and maintain their profiles in each one of them. It is better to create a networked model where each party can create value and uncover synergies with other parties. We created this Network Model based on our users’ and partners’ vision for the future.” Ahvenainen continues.

Grow VC started to test the model with exclusive partners in September and now launches the Network Model for a public beta phase. Organizations interested in starting their own startup community, investor or crowdfunding network can apply to the beta program. Later, Grow VC will open a self-service model, where each organization can easily set up its own network from the online service itself.

Grow VC already has over 40 pilot partners that are running their own networks. These partners represent different kinds of startup, investment or incubator organizations, but also include universities, networks focused on local markets and niche specific networks. Partners are all around the world in the US, Latin America, Africa, Europe, Asia and Australia. The following examples illustrate the versatility of the networks:

OnSuccess – a startup and angel network from South Korea that is focused on global impact
BBDO Venture network – run by BBDO Germany, pioneering a new innovative way to look for funding and work with an advertising agency
Caypen Fund network – a network of entrepreneurs and investors in Southern California
New Enterprise Exchange (NEXT) – a startup network that works together with many parts of the South East Asian startup and investor ecosystem
NYC Business Networking Group – a comprehensive professional network in New York
Innovation Warehouse – formed by a group of entrepreneurs in collaboration with the City of London Corporation, providing a community and runway for businesses to achieve sustainability and high growth
Amity University – a startup and investor community of Amity University, the leading education group of India with over 80,000 students.
NextPerience – a creative incubator from Buenos Aires, Argentina
Greekers – Israeli startup community, green geeks network
ENOVA – Entrepreneurship Society of the New University of Lisbon, Portugal

“There is instant value of the network effect for network partners to start using our tools, with access to over 11,000 entrepreneurs and investors. Now users can simply take their profile from one network to another one with a few clicks instead of registering to individual networks and maintaining multiple profiles in various silos. Entrepreneurs and investors are busy enough with their real business, that they must not waste time creating multiple profiles and studying several systems. Grow VC continues to innovate and develop these tools and models with our network partners and also opens opportunities for any developers to build new tools and offer them to these network partners using the recently published API” comments Grow VC CEO Valto Loikkanen. “We are extremely humbled to already have so many great network partners signed up and share this vision with us”, Loikkanen continues.

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About the author

Markus Lampinen Passionate, driven entrepreneur. CEO at Crowd Valley, the crowd funding infrastructure, Senior Partner at the Grow VC Group. Markus has also worked with actors in both the private and public sector, to improve the infrastructure for entrepreneurship and serves as a frequent public speaker on related themes. Follow Markus on Twitter, LinkedIn & Google

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This entry was posted on Thursday, October 27th, 2011 at 11:00 am and is filed under Entrepreneur Inspiration. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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