When we as founders started thinking about creating a “matchmaking” platform, we were still quite far from the final shape and meaning as we have finally achieved. We have learned by ourselves that in the digital world you actually create as you think. And because you keep thinking (and hopefully you think better with time), your newest creation is usually the best. So what we have now is pretty much the best we have created so far (although most probably will keep improving with time).
But now we should take a short break to analyse what we have and re-examine the meaning of what we have created. And also to explain it – to those who are still confused about our goals, or those who have the impression we are dreaming, or perhaps even think that “they are not really serious about it”.
Our main goal with creating f4p was to find an easy digital way to connect entrepreneurs who have good business ideas and business projects with investors, banks and other service companies that may help them turn their projects into reality. You may say “well that’s not original, there are many platforms and webpages that do that”. It’s true, there are other matchmaking platforms. The majority however work as financial intermediaries, like for example crowdfunding platforms. In essence, the matchmaking service of those platforms – or financing – is raised/provided at exchange for a commission or percent of the amount raised. But we at f4p did not want to be intermediaries; we just wanted to be “extreme facilitators”. If a project is easily financially supported, or has an immediate great idea behind, then almost any platform will be able to provide help. But what happens when the projects are not properly prepared? What happens when entrepreneurs do not know exactly what to present to banks and investors and how, and need help with the very first steps? What happens when besides financing they also need help with other services? This is where we want to focus primarily.
And then there was the other issue – the fact that banking is changing and banks (or other investors) need to start thinking about originating business and assets in a different manner than they have done so far. The entrepreneurs of the future will not go around visiting banks to present them their projects. They will need online digital solutions and tools to do so. And we believe they will prefer to do it in a platform that allows them to reach several investors and several banks simultaneously. They will want to maximize their reach and optimize their alternative choices.
So this is what f4p offers and what it differentiates us from others. We are a digital tool to connect entrepreneurs with several banks or investors at the same time, while providing support to the entrepreneurs on the content of what banks need to receive from them in order to get their request for financing analysed.
Essentially, f4p works within two zones, a public and a private one, and the major value added is in the way these two zones connect with each other to make businesses happen.
The Public zone. Available to anyone, entrepreneur, investor, or service company. They all may share their business needs or promote their services, advertise their products, look for private partnerships or browse business opportunities. All projects/adds posted on the page are pre-checked by the f4p team, to make sure they are trustworthy.
The Private zone. Available to Corporate Partners, usually banks, investment funds or other type of project related companies. Within the private zone there are two different products/private dedicated spaces to choose from, depending on the goals of the Corporate Partner.
A Commercial Bank for example will most likely subscribe for PDSS1, where business origination will flow directly from the public to the private space, i.e., entrepreneurs will send their requests for financing directly to registered banks. F4p banking team pre-checks the projects and makes sure banks receive complete and serious financing requests, and not non-bankable projects.
A Multilateral Bank for example, or an NGO, will probably benefit also from the PDSS2, which is more an organic way of business generation, by inviting specific companies or project holders from several countries/member states or locations to share business needs to the private space.
Our platform is mostly an online communication tool to allow businesses to connect, and also Corporate Partners to have their business origination activities organised in one space, in a transparent manner, fully secured and encrypted, while being able to offer their clients a library for templates and formulars and an online communication service.
Entrepreneurs no longer need to go around visiting banks and presenting their projects, they can do it digitally with f4p’s help.