Kameo is ready to launch after a million dollar financing round.
Kameo is one of a number of Swedish startups in the crowdfunding business. The company has chosen a slightly different direction than Swedish peers Fundedbyme and Pepins.
Kameo is a platform where individuals partner to finance loans to specific companies, also known as crowdlending.
“We started with the idea to lend to any small business owner, but now we have such a inflow from real estate, that we have chosen to focus on this industry specifically. In addition, real estate is a good security,” said Sebastian Harung, co-founder and CEO of Kameo.
Harung says they are primarily focused on small construction companies that use Kameo to supplement bank loans for building projects. Kameo takes a commission from each loan a company takes out via the site.
Kameo was founded in 2014, but the launch of the website has been delayed.
“Initially, we wanted to use a Saas-platform, but the one we chose wasn’t approved by the Danish FSA. So, we chose to develop our own.” said Mr. Harung.
Earlier this year, Kameo raised about $1.2 million from a number of Norwegian heavyweights from the financial world.
Mr. Harung had Avanza Bank financier Bjørn Braaten onboard from the start. With nearly 40 percent of the share, Mr. Braaten is currently the largest shareholder in Kameo. The company also counts Svein S. Jacobsen as chairman, who has also served on the board of Nordea Bank.
Although Mr. Harung and most of the backers are Norwegian, the company has placed its headquarters in Sweden. Somewhat paradoxically, this decision is based in the fact that there is more competition in Sweden.
“We believe that serious competitions benefits us, as it gives the industry greater legitimacy. In addition, Sweden is a market twice the size of Norway and has clear rules for the industry. But the goal is to launch in Norway soon,” said Harung.
The service has already been live in Sweden for a while, but now it’s time to bang the drum and start promoting the site.
To that end, the company has brought in $1.2 million in venture capital. But in this latest round, none of the existing owners invested further.
“It is an explicit strategy on our part to broaden the cap table. We want many owners who want to use the service, and help promote the brand,” said Mr. Harung.
The company now has some 20 shareholders, the names of whom Sebastian Harung is mostly keeping to himself. But, he shares that the largest new investor is Norwegian Ola Heldal, who has experience from trading in credit and risk at Morgan Stanley.
“It’s a good business model, a really professional team, which is extremely important when you are moving in the highly regulated world of finance,” said Mr. Heldal. “I’m always looking for value creation when I invest. Kameo brings this lending money to small businesses that traditional banks often decline.”
Mr. Heldaldeclined to comment on exactly how much he has invested himself, but he says it is “in the region of a few million SEK.”
An exact valuation was not disclosed.
“What I can say, is that we are at a completely different level than, for example, Lendify (a loan broker who recently raised $6.5 million. – Ed. Note) but it is a share dilution that we can definitely live with,” said Sebastian Harung.