Can companies issue shares in their success without using stock or options? This startup thinks so • TechCrunch

So-called ‘stakeholder capitalism’ is not the most illustrious history. Yes, there were ‘Walmart Associations’ that could own stock in the company, or the ‘John Lewis Company’ (in the UK), but that hardly made the average person well off. At least they have something? However, in tech startups, tech founders are helped by a lot of people, most of whom will never work for the company but can be hugely influential at an early stage. head. For example, an introduction to an investor can be a game changer. But tech founders have what’s known as “amnesiac founders,” which means that when they finally get out of those $20 billion, they’ll somehow forget about everyone who help them along the way.

Koos (in Estonian, meaning ‘together’ and ‘together’) provides a standardized API that allows companies to offer a form of ‘stake’ in the company’s success and – breaking news – it doesn’t use blockchain tokens to do that.

Unlike a loyalty program, Koos’s ‘equity-like’ platform only pays stakeholders when the company meets predefined business goals. Koos claims this means the platform has a much more positive ROI and rewards those who have contributed to the company’s success, unlike a simple loyalty program for customers.

How it works: a company defines its business goals; set when business goals are met; record meaningful actions through its tokens (not blockchain tokens); and payments through the Koos platform based on results.

Founded earlier this year by serial entrepreneur and former CIO of the Estonian Civil Service, Taavi Kotka, Koos says it can be used by companies to issue ‘shares’ (but not options). or shares) in companies easier than to issue said options or shares. , it claims.

It has now raised $4 million in seed funds due to relatively new VC Europe Manywith participation from investors including LocalGlobe, and Matt Clifford, co-founder of Entrepreneur First.

This followed a $600,000 angel seed round from several Estonian founders such as Taavet Hinrikus, former Wise CEO Sten Tamkivi, Teleport co-founder Markus Villig, founder founded Bolt and Kaarel Kotkas, founder and CEO of Verrif.

It will now build its foundation across the UK and Europe, with a regulatory framework compliant with European Union and UK legislation.

Kotka, who has led Estonian government policies on digital democracy and e-government for four years, said in a statement: “We have launched a digital tool that enables businesses join and reward their community, widening the circle of people who have access to equity-like incentives, thus increasing the number of people who support the business and want the business successful. “

The startup says there are currently 27 companies operating its platform, including startups, NGOs, SMEs and larger corporations. Koos earns through membership fees, monthly holders, and 1% of all rewards (tokens) generated by programs on the Koos platform.

For any service used on the Forus platform, 1% will be given as Koos tokens to customers, 1% to service providers, and 1% to contributors.

Sten Tamkivi, advisor and co-founder of Plural Platform, said in the statement: “Plural wants to invest to help create a more equal society. We believe that broader community ownership leads to more theocratic systems so that wealth can be distributed based on actual contributions. Koos came up with a way to track the support of all stakeholders in a community or business without having to give away equity. We anticipate that the platform Koos is building will become an essential building block of many startups, foundations, and communities including charities and NGOs.”

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