We took some time with Pierre de Schaetzen, CEO and co-founder of the company Billy, to look back on his fundraising with Spreds which helped him raise €223,100.
What was your fundraising experience with Spreds?
The experience with Spreds was very very good. You have a multidisciplinary team that was able to support us on different aspects. That's very important when you start a fundraising.
The context was quite special since we were at the very beginning of the pandemic, so it was obviously more complicated to raise the same amount of money as our previous fundraisings since we had to reach many more people. But we were well surrounded to do so.
If you could remember three things from this experience, what would they be?
I often bothered you with all my questions. I had a lot of comments and ideas but I always had answers. So I will remember your availability, expertise and patience as the big things to remember from this experience with Spreds.
What contributed to the success of your campaign?
Parallel to this fundraising, and despite the fact that it fell in the middle of the corona crisis (and therefore people had less money to invest), there was still the whole political and sociological context that was in the favorable to shared bikes.
We were fortunate to have the media talking about us and to have new laws and measures passed (40km of bike paths were added). So it clearly helped us to bring traffic on the platform.
Spreds was there to do the last bit of the work (which is the most complicated), that is to say the conversion of all these people into investors. So it was very important to have a partner like Spreds to close and convince these people of the seriousness of the campaign and to get them to invest.
What are the future plans for Billy?
The idea of this campaign was to start Billy's expansion and in this case it was to prepare for an additional production of bikes. Today everything is in place so all we have to do is push the button.
We are organizing a new fundraising round that will allow us to raise funds to finance 650 bikes that should arrive next spring. This will allow us to cover all of Brussels and to have a large enough concentration to become a real mobility service in Brussels.
The plans then are to reach profitability in Brussels and become the world's leading player in shared electric bikes that is sustainable, profitable and orderly. We will be able to make Brussels a showcase and a springboard to prove what we are capable of and replicate this in other cities.
What advice would you give to entrepreneurs looking to raise funds?
It's mainly advice for B2C companies: it's interesting to combine traditional funds (which bring financial solidity and the ability to follow-up) with business angels (who bring their expertise and advice) and crowdfunding, which brings a large number of brand ambassadors and a certain marketing (to defend ourselves against competitors) and political weight (to have a strong story to tell in the media).