Small investors go to the barricades against Volocopter
Before the start-up's exit, many crowdinvestors fear that they will not profit sufficiently. They write a fire letter to the founders. Some are considering a lawsuit.
Before Volocopter's planned Spac IPO, things are bubbling up: some small investors fear that they will not be sufficiently taken into account. In 2013, 750 investors invested in the flight taxi start-up from Bruchsal via crowdfunding. Within three days, Volocopter reached its funding goal of 1.2 million euros. The reason for the outrage now is a letter from the management to the investors, in which an end of the cooperation is hinted at. "We are pleased to have written a part of aviation pioneer history together with you," the management wrote at the end of March, Capital reports. Crowdinvestors fear being forced out of the company with tiny amounts of money before the Spac IPO is due.
22 investors have now written a letter to the founders. The communication so far gives rise to fears "that Volocopter will discard us as ballast before commercial flights of fancy begin", it says. Therefore, they demand a clear commitment to the further participation of small investors. If push comes to shove, part of the investor group is even considering a lawsuit against the start-up, writes Capital. At the time, the investors put between 250 and 10,000 euros into Volocopter. Today, the start-up is valued at just under one billion euros. This makes Volocopter the most successful crowd-funded start-up in Germany.
The crowdinvestors are not involved in the company as shareholders, but through so-called participatory loans, writes Capital, which could see the contracts. This means they receive a share of the profits and are paid out at the end of the contract. Volocopter has until the end of June to unilaterally terminate the contracts. However, the startup has not generated any profits so far. According to the contract, the investors would be entitled to a bonus interest in the event of an exit - if they are not terminated beforehand. Otherwise, the small investors will only receive an interest rate of one percent per year.
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