December 15, 2017
With demand comes supply, and the old truth proved to be working in 2017 when we saw a significant proliferation of Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs). Regulatory bodies have come through for an innovative way to fund an enterprise, extending the opportunity to invest to larger audiences.
The total amount raised by startups via ICOs reached nearly $800 million in value in Q2 2017. Combined with the first quarter, that total ICO funds raised during the first half of the year came in at $1.13 billion, TechCrunch reports. CoinDesk’s ICO tracker shows that from January 2017 to the end of November 2017, the volume of funding collected through ICOs reached close to $3.48 billion.
To meet the demand for the latest funding model, a range of companies started offering ICO launching services.
ICO Box offers a tiered suite of services for companies launching their ICOs. Basic service includes a solution for token development (ERC-20 simple token to simplify integration with exchanges and other services, smart contract management system), book building platform, legal services for compliance with US regulations, and, as a bonus, business and marketing consulting. Startups can accept payments for tokens in fiat and 70+ coins. ICO Box offers technology package and legal package separately for companies that seek only or another part of the solution.
Another example is ICO Launchpad by TokenMarket with a core product providing everything from token creation to token sale. The company has built decentralized services including exchanges, smart contracts for large ICOs, and on-demand code auditing. The areas in which the company provides assistance are KYC, capital conversions, investor outreach, marketing, multisig wallets, milestone-based escrow, partial underwriting.
IBC – International Blockchain Consulting – offers a full stack of ICO services that include ICO Technical (platform and smart contract creation, coding, testing, and implementation, code security audit), ICO Financial (financial planning and strategy, book building and book running services, escrow services, multisig wallet management, financial reporting and auditing, investor outreach and coordination), ICO Legal (international AML/KYC support, jurisdiction analysis, white paper creation, fund liquidation and distribution, etc.), ICO Marketing, Post ICO Services, Reverse ICO Services.
BlockStarter is a simpler service – the company offers a platform to list an ICO with a tokesale dashboard that includes features like token balance, token calculator, crowdsale progress tracking, transaction history review, etc. Startups can draft their campaigns on the platform, and once they have described their campaign, it will be shown to all contributors that visit BlockStarter (the platform claims to have thousands).
Similarly to the first few examples, ICOpromo offers a suite of services that include technology and marketing solutions. Technology solutions include smart contract framework, smart contract management system, SaaS crowdfunding platform, bounty tracking portal, consultations by developers on setting up the technology tools, Distributed Applications Design and UX, development, and security audits. Marketing solutions include marketing strategy, bounty program set up to conduct marketing campaigns in 25 languages, consultations by marketing experts on the deployment of marketing tools.
Elephant Marketing is a more marketing-focused shop for startups, unlike some of the previous examples. The company offers various tariffs for suites of marketing-focused services rather than technology. The tech services include ICO launch website developments – private-office web system, site design, frontend, backend. The marketing part includes all services that have been listed in previous options – business plan, white paper, etc.
ICOO offers an ICO startup package that is customizable, but general outlines of services include content creation, video use case, and an escrow service during ICO (the fee is 0.5% of total amount achieved and minimum $3,000). Services also include full integration with the OpenLedger platform at launch time, prelaunch ICO of same with buy wall to ensure no dumping below ICO price, marketing, and advertising services.
TokenHub is probably the most tech-oriented ICO service platform among the reviewed ones, which offers a turnkey solution to set up, run and manage ICOs. The company takes care of: developing proprietary own smart contract tokens, shaping a legal model suitable for each case, advertising and PR for the ICO, fundraising, token emission, providing specialized wallets to hold and transfer the tokens, listing on a digital asset exchange. Turnkey solution for issuers include a proprietary legal model which guarantees minimal risks and full legal compliance, customizable smart contracts with quick implementation, full range of payment solutions to suit all types of clients, scalable and flexible to simplify new and follow-on offerings, full regulatory assurance, NYCEX listing (the world’s first exchange with a smart contract trading tool). For buyers, TokenHub offers smooth token purchase and management. Buyers can participate in all major credit and debit cards, ACH, PayPal, Alipay, Bitcoin, and Ether.
Whiteboard Venture Partners is a different sort of a player – it’s a pre-ICO business accelerator. Whiteboard.VC along with its co-investors will invest at least $90,000 in a select number of pre-ICO startups. Its team is working with startups to get them into the best possible shape and refine their ICO pitch for a global market of investors. Fall 2017 batch includes 2 stealth phase startups and a company called Securecoin Capital. Whiteboard.VC is accepting applications for its business accelerator Spring 2018 Initial Coin Offering funding cycle. Selected pre-ICO startups will be engaged from February – May 2018.
One last example is CoinList, which emerged as an independent company from AngelList and Protocol Labs’ collaboration running the Filecoin token sale. The platform is built primarily for token creators. Its infrastructure has been used to handle over $850 million in investments, between those made on AngelList and those on CoinList. The team behind the company worked to develop an audited, bank-grade compliance process, performing KYC and AML compliance due diligence and investor accreditation, when it’s relevant.
Ambisafe offers bundles of services for issuers, exchanges, middleware services, and third-party services. Middleware services are the most extensive ones and include supernode, notification service, keystore, security oracle, Ether faucet, enterprise Bitcoin server, and transaction history.
Mentioned companies neither comprise an exhaustive list nor represent the best options for startups to consider. Abovementioned examples explore the width of the service industry that was built in the past year around the latest obsession of the tech world – ICOs.