The bra tycoon and her boyfriend are kicking off a new kind of VC firm where investors can buy the company’s cryptocurrency to support startups
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From launching her lingerie brand Ultimo without any prior business experience to publicly fighting depression, Michelle Mone is hardly a stranger to tackling challenges head on. And her latest venture is equally ambitious: turning the world of VC investment on its head. Having teamed up with her boyfriend and businessman Doug Barrowman, she has just announced the launch of EQUI, a cryptocurrency-powered investment platform.
EQUI plans to use blockchain technology to sell its own cryptocurrency – named EQUItokens – to empower entrepreneurs to realise their visions. The firm is particularly interested in startups in the tech and blockchain space, each of which will be vetted, selected and supported by a team of established investors led by Barrowman. People interested in supporting projects on the platforms can buy EQUItokens to get a stake in the budding businesses and upon realisation of the investments, returns are distributed among the investors.
To raise EQUI’s initial fund, the pair has announced an initial coin offering (ICO). A pre-sale of the ICO will run between March 1 and March 8 with the minimum investment level set at $100,000, with the subsequent public offering going on until March 31. Among other aspects of the business, the raise will be used to develop the firm’s technology and infrastructure.
Commenting on the new project, Mone said: "EQUI will find the next generation of successful entrepreneurs and help to build the business success stories of tomorrow, primarily in the areas of technology and blockchain. EQUI will source the best investment opportunities in real-world assets and champion innovators.” She added: “As a successful entrepreneur myself, I know how important it is to have access to the right resources. Great entrepreneurs can build great companies when they have access to the platform. This is what excites me about EQUI. Together, we can make a real difference."
While it’s exciting to see ambitious bids to revolutionise the traditional investment landscape, the timing of the launch is potentially less than ideal. For instance, last week Facebook banned all ICO and cryptocurrency ads on its platform to avoid fraud and scams. Moreover, the past 24 hours have seen all major cryptocurrencies’ market values fall by double-digits, with bitcoin having slumped by 69% since its December high. Nevertheless, given Mone’s impressive history of fighting against the odds, we’re optimistic about her chances to pull this venture off.