WE.VESTR partners with Microsoft for Startups – with Floris van Hoogenhuyze

Managing startup equity is one of the most important parts of the business and one that often gets easily neglected, especially with early-stage startups. WE.VESTR, a Venturerock portfolio venture, is an all-in-one equity management platform that digitizes the entire equity management lifecycle and helps startups manage their cap table from day 1.

In an exclusive interview with Floris van Hoogenhuyze, Co-founder and CEO of WE.VESTR, we dive deeper into how their strategic partnership with Microsoft for Startups Founders Hub is a pivotal step towards simplifying equity management at a global scale. This multi-year, global partnership is opening up WE.VESTR’s SaaS-based equity management tool to Microsoft’s fast-growing global community of startup founders and empowers them with cutting-edge equity management solutions that adapt to each specific use case.

What is the problem WE.VESTR can solve for the startups?

In the past years, we have seen founders drowning in complicated and never-ending Google Spreadsheets or stakeholders underestimating equity decisions, only to see them struggling later on. Our ambition is that by giving them access to a SaaS-based equity management tool to remove some of those challenges right from the start.

We have democratized our platform to offer founders a cleaner cap table and a more streamlined equity management process so that everyone – founders, investors and employees – can access and use it easily. Whether these are existing stakeholders who want to do their own scenario modelling, employees who need to check in on their own vesting schedules or new or existing investors who want a quick view on the health of the business. This means that founders at all stages of growth, from pre-revenue onwards, have access to a wide range of data to help them make informed business decisions.

Tell us a bit more about the partnership with Microsoft for Startups. What are the benefits that startups within the Microsoft network can look forward to?

Microsoft’s Founders Hub currently numbers more than 35K members, from pre-seed to mature startups that are already able to implement WE.VESTR as a solution. We can support pre-seed startups right from incorporation, which is something we are excited about also from a product development point of view, as it will give us a holistic view of the entire lifespan of a startup. In turn, this will allow us to improve and enrich our services based on first-hand user insights.

For more mature startups – we are already providing tools to support their equity journey and in the near future we will be adding features that support them all the way through to exit. This would be an amazing story to be part of.

Are there any educational or support programs that startups can access as part of this partnership to better understand Equity Management and its importance?

Absolutely. We are big believers that an equity-educated startup is an empowered startup.

We are currently working with the Founders Hub team on a series of webinars for 2024 specifically addressing topics on the challenges faced by their community members when it comes to equity management. We are also excited to do these in partnership with other startup friends of ours like Swoop  and Forecastr and leverage our collective firepower where there are meaningful crossover benefits for the Founders Hub community.

We are constantly running webinars for our community members and blogs on Equity Basics, Shareholder Management, ESOPs and similar relevant topics. We also house a lot of this in our Resources track on our website, where you can also find WE.WIKI, which is our encyclopaedia on popular equity terminologies that a founder should be aware of.

How is WE.VESTR benefiting from this collaboration?

At this moment, we have something of a de facto exclusivity with Microsoft for Startups in the sense that we are the only equity management partner they are working with. This is a huge win for us for sure, but also for them because it means we can really work collaboratively in co-creating bespoke services that help their community members to make better informed equity decisions, hire better talent, attract better investments and overall strengthen their proposition.

For WE.VESTR, our primary goal right now is to increase our user base. So having Microsoft for Startups as a global partner is like getting a turbo-engine Bugatti to get us there. We couldn’t have asked for a better scenario given the size of their fast gowring ecosystem.

Can you share any specific success stories or case studies that highlight the positive impact WE.VESTR’s Equity Management services have had on startups so far?

We learned that having someone to help you set up your account and be hands-on during the onboarding process, is just as important as having a super slick platform. This is actually becoming a growing differentiator between us and some of our peers in the equity management space and something we are definitely going to be nurturing as we grow.

So here’s a feedback we received from a company called YourCampus:

“Giovanna was very supportive and very knowledgeable, her help to get the cap table right is a great USP I would say for your company. I would definitely recommend WE.VESTR to another company, in case they have a complex cap table and/or ESOPs.”

Stef Kanen, CFO at YourCampus

As we approach the end of this interview can you share with us your sentiment about this upcoming partnership? It must be an exciting time for WE.VESTR. 

For us, given how globally universal our platform is, we see the partnership with Microsoft as a corridor that allows WE.VESTR to grow into new markets where we grow on an existing footprint. It is definitely an exciting time for WE.VESTR and we can’t wait to get started.