It took a while (and they pushed back at the thrust of my blogging) but Tradeqoin has now revised their business plans, lowered their crowdfunding ask and devalued their entire business as well. Great!
In this post I analyse their new figures, comment on their business plan changes and ask more questions of the entire Tradeqoin scam that exposes the Equidam valuation tool and perhaps the entire Symbid system. It’s a messy cresspit of ‘funny-ness’ that I believe should be examined in much more detail by the thought-leaders in the Dutch business community.
First though, congratulations to Rob van Hilten and the team for doing something positive about the horrible situation they were in. They simply had to, of course, as I had revealed too much BS in their business, completed a damning membership analysis and had asked too many questions that were simply common-sense at the end of the day.
Rob van Hilten’s initial approach of attacking the messenger failed miserably, as it was shown up for what it was – ad hominem. Attacking the messenger works with the shallow-thinking. Investors are not that stupid though and ad hominem plus his continued refusal to answer key questions was an embarrassment to anyone with a brain. It was a bit of foot-in-mouth disease if you ask me!
Funniest of them all though, was Executive Director of IRTA, Ron Whitney’s comments that explained it all away by saying that my blogging “lacked credibility”! This of course from the very guy that had worked with me for months to expose and write-up conman Daniel Evans’ Ormita fraud and shouted out in a highly public manner how thorough, accurate and credible I was. Credibility indeed now that Tradeqoin has adjusted their pipe-dream down substantially!
Nevertheless Tradeqoin has adjusted their dreams substantially. Well done for listening to me and acting. It will be a cold day in hell before Rob van Hilten thanks me for advising them of their folly, but I don’t work, think, blog or live for thanks from people like him, so I’m happy no matter what.
Here is Rob’s post explaining the backdown:
Eric Schmidt, topman van Google, sprak ooit de wijze woorden: ‘Bedrijfsplannen zijn prima, maar ze kloppen nooit.’
Bij TradeQoin zijn we ambitieus, en dat zie je terug in ons bedrijfsplan. Grote dromen, grote doelen.
Schmidt zei ook: ‘Zodra je echt aan de slag gaat, kom je tot nieuwe inzichten, en pas je je bedrijfsplan aan.’
Schmidts woorden gelden zeker voor ons.
Onze conclusie na een paar weken crowdfunden is dat ons bedrijfsplan op dit moment een tikje overmoedig is.
Daarom passen we onze bedrijfsstrategie aan:
We richten ons voorlopig op de TradeQoin-community Amsterdam/Haarlem/Alkmaar/Hoorn. In deze community zitten de meeste deelnemers.
We willen groeien met zo’n 50 deelnemers per kwartaal en over ongeveer een jaar rond de 1000 TQ per deelnemer per maand aan handel realiseren.
Binnen 1 jaar verwachten we winstgevend te zijn binnen deze community.
Ondertussen werken we vanuit moederbedrijf Qoin door aan de ambities van ons aanvankelijke bedrijfsplan om snel door te pakken en om meerdere communities op te zetten in Noord West Europa.
Om bovenstaande goed voor elkaar te krijgen, hebben wij de waardering van TradeQoin opnieuw bepaald op 747.000 euro (met behulp van de Equidam tool). Verder verlagen we het bedrag dat we met crowdfunding willen behalen van € 150.000 naar € 50.000
Voor jou als investeerder betekent dit dat je een grote aandeel krijgt in TradeQoin voor je investering. Met ons aangepaste plan komt dat neer op 6,3% voor een investering van €50K, wat volgens onze oude waardering 2,8% zou zijn geweest.
Kortom: onze ambitie blijft dezelfde. Maar we nemen iets bescheidener stapjes om er te komen.
Google helps English speakers with the following attempt at translation:
Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google, once spoke wise words: “Business plans are fine, but they never knock.”
At TradeQoin we are ambitious, and that is reflected in our business plan. Big dreams, big goals.
Schmidt also said, “Once you really get to work, you come to new insights, and adjust your business plan to.”
Schmidt’s words certainly apply to us.
Our conclusion after a few weeks crowdfunden is that our business at this time is a little overconfident.
We modified our business strategy:
We focus initially on the TradeQoin community Amsterdam / Haarlem / Alkmaar / Hoorn. In this community, most participants. Sit
We want to grow by about 50 participants per quarter and realized about a year around 1000 TQ per participant per month trade.
Within one year, we expect to be profitable within this community.
Meanwhile, we work from parent company Qoin by the ambitions of our initial business to quickly pack and to multiple communities to set up in North West Europe.
We have to get together, well above the valuation of TradeQoin reassessed at 747,000 euro (using the Equidam tool). Furthermore, we reduce the amount we want to achieve with crowdfunding from € 150,000 to € 50,000
For you as an investor this means you get a big share in TradeQoin for your investment. With our customized plan that amounts to 6.3% for an investment of € 50K, which would have been 2.8% according to our old appreciation.
In short, our ambition remains the same. But we take more modest steps to get there.
I have many questions and comments I could make . . . but my first simple question is about the comment “Our conclusion after a few weeks crowdfunden is that our business at this time is a little overconfident“.
It is your conclusion after what . . . a few weeks of Crowdfunding . . . that you were a little overconfident?
Nah! It’s nothing to do with the Crowdfunding. You, Rob van Hilten were shown up to be an amateur, a child playing in the real world of Barter & Trade Exchanges by a blogger in the middle of the South Pacific who simply asked questions, commented on your Tradeqoin scam and nailed you to the wall with logic, experience and common sense! A few others on the Symbid took up the cause and asked questions of you but in my book it is the cold hard logic; the facts; the insanity of your own figures and my investigation that showed your Tradeqoin exchange of 200 members to be a fraud that are the causative agents that has brought these changes to your business plans.
As I see it the changes relate to three key aspects:
- Their crowdfunding goals – reduced from 150k to 50k Euros (which also extends their campaign by another 100 days)
- Their growth projections – reduced enormously
- Their company valuation – reduced by a million Euros
No matter how you couch it, this is a serious backdown and probably the biggest kick-in-the-guts that Rob van Hilten has had for a long time. He’s a talker . . . a man who likes to present himself and his partners as experts in the field. He’s screwed-up so badly on this Tradeqoin thing and has done it in such a public manner that it will clearly haunt him forever, well, certainly as long as he works in the Alternative Currency space.
You see, Rob van Hilten is proud to be on the Board of IRTA, the International Reciprocal Trade Association; he calls himself an expert; he’s secured multiple millions in public funding over the years on the basis that Qoin are those experts, yet his own flagship trade exchange was poorly thought through and as I explained clearly in my posts was an amateurish attempt at actually DOing something himself that many others have done for many years better.
Here’s his own words about this:
TradeQoin is an initiative of Qoin – Agency for Community Currencies. Qoin is an expert when it comes to alternative payment systems. Qoin is involved in about 25 alternative money systems worldwide and provides this knowledge, advice and software. Additionally Qoin increasingly focuses on own programs. TradeQoin is a particularly significant example.
Any CEO or Board Chairman who was responsible for this kind of fiasco in a ‘real’ commercial environment would be sacked forthwith, and be unemployable thereafter.
Tradqoin is a scam based on fraudulent information and claims. It matters not what some valuation tool spits out at me, when a company lies about its existing business, it will certainly lie about its intended use of investors funds AND cannot be trusted with its projections. It now admits that it got it wrong once. On what basis can anyone be sure that it will not be wrong twice? Now it only needs a third of what it needed before . . . Hmmm? Possibly because they could see that they were never going to get what they first asked for?
Remember that the Tradeqoin claim of 200 existing members is proven false by my telemarketing investigation, yet it is still a claim on the prime page of the Symid website:
200 companies TradeQoin are now connected.
Aside from the fact that Symbid is continuing with campaign with full knowledge of the fraudulent claims, that the business plan still includes the Achterhoek region that has zero income planned (and much more) this outright deception of current membership is a BIG RED FLAG.
I’m interested in the relationship between Symbid, Equidam, Qoin and Tradeqoin. I suspect that there is a closer relationship than simple commercial transactions between these companies and that it might be hidden. I would like to know what disclosure has taken place on the part of Symbid if they are participants or beneficiaries of any Qoin activity (apart from of course any commissions due as a result of a successful campaign). Obviously I have analysed the Tradeqoin membership quite thoroughly, and it is possible to view interconnected company shareholdings [if you know what I mean] . . .
I’d like to know the inputs of the Equidam valuation process and how they were adjusted to shave off a million Euros from the Tradeqoin devaluation. Somehow the Tradeqoin valuation just dissolved! How, why?
I can see more questions over the Equidam/Symbid relationship and the way that Equidam works revealing something pretty funny going on. It does seem that there are a lot of questions from potential investors on Symbid raising doubts about large valuations of many ideas/start-ups. I for one would also love to have a piece of software that my Bank Manager relied upon that my company valuation can slip up (or down) by a million Euros at the flick of a switch! My bank manager however would be nuts to lend against anything other than real figures – EBIT is a common guide. Equidam’s golden goose software? Hmmm!
Symbid’s valuation by Equidam is some 13.3 million Euros! What?
Symbid’s handling of the questioning from investors has me curious. I would be VERY concerned for my credibility if I were them if it be found that Tradeqoin has told some porkies or has refused to answer specific questions on their Q&A platform and wants to do it offsite. Both of these are true BTW, as my investigation revealed fraudulent claims of 200 Members and Rob van Hilten has more than once pushed questions and questioners out to third party locations from the Symbid platform. I’m fully available to validate my claims. Symbid has never contacted me for validation of my claims of fraud. Funny that eh? Perhaps self-interest? Perhaps an agenda?
Symbid’s continuation of this one makes me raise my eyebrows too. I understand that a campaign is normally 90 days, yet by my calculations this campaign will have run for 250 days by the time it is finally over and done with. How can this be? This is not a sign of normality, nor [dare I say it] credibility!
Symbid’s track record has me curious too . . . how many successful projects have they had and which ones have returned an ROI to their investors? If it be found that Symbid attracts a string of duds then what does that do for their credibility in the long run? Getting their cut from this Tradeqoin scam may be attractive if they are desperate for some cash too, but if one dodgy investment follows a list of other duds, how can future investors ever trust Symbid’s offerings? I’d like to know more.
Many of my original questions are still valid even with the revised Tradeqoin figures. A leopard can’t change its spots, regardless of whether it runs or walks. My advice to potential investors is the same: DO NOT INVEST. You will never see an ROI from this Tradeqoin crowdfunding campaign. My advice to Symbid is to ask some serious questions of this offering and probably pull it, or flick it to save your own reputation.