Jean-Marie Santander is used to making history. Within just 27 months, he took his company THEOLIA from the Marché Libre to the SBF 120 following a very successful equity offering, the speed of which has not been recreated in France since then. But Jean-Marie Santander wasn’t done and has now come out with a new company Blue Co which is holding an Initial Coin Offering, a common way to raise funds within the cryptocurrency industry involves selling the native cryptocurrency of a particular project to the public.
ICOs have been a revolutionary but controversial method of fundraising and Theolia made headlines when it announced its own token sale. Today, we spoke with Jean-Marie Santander, the CEO of Blue Co, about the sale, the company’s business model, and the future of the global economy.
As the Former CEO of green business companies, you have successfully led several successful IPOs. Why did you decide to finance Blue Co with a crypto token instead?
Jean-Marie Santander: I was initially wary of cryptocurrencies. But I quickly realized the advantages of it and its fundraising model, especially the fact that it operates without a central authority. It’s an innovative financing model. The next few years should be profoundly disrupted by cryptocurrencies and this type of financing.
What is your funding target for Blue Co?
J.-M. S.: At this stage, we are looking to raise 5 million Euros which will contribute to the equity we will invest in the three operations we will build, maintain and operate: two projects on spirulina and its “blue gold”, phycocyanine, as well as a cannabis cultivation and eco-extraction unit of cannabidiol (CBD) for therapeutic use in Portugal. The subscription period started on July 15 and will end on January 15 by the launchpad French-ICO, the first French company to obtain the AMF’s approval for its own ICO.
What advantages will holders of the Blueco token enjoy?
J.-M. S.: We will create the “BLC Premium VIP Club” for all Blueco token holders (BLC). Any member whose tokens are stacked will be able to buy CBD, spirulina or phycocyanine exclusively and at wholesale prices. Investors will have more or less benefits depending on whether they are Platinum, Gold or Silver. And always exclusively. Cashback will also be offered for all payments made in BLC. Tokens are sold at preferential prices during the three ICO periods currently underway.
And it will still be possible to buy and sell tokens on secondary markets depending on supply and demand. But keep in mind, the more tokens that are stacked, the more scarce the tokens will be. Their price will probably tend to rise to the benefit of first-time investors. At least, it is part of our long-term strategy.
Can you elaborate on the “exclusivities” that you mentioned?
J.-M. S.: Yes, this is the most important advantage. Being able to pay for products at half the retail price is good, especially for these very effective, but also rare and expensive products. But this priority purchase on the group’s products is in my opinion the real privilege. Faracha Equities, through its subsidiaries, will produce and sell in bulk to professionals, such as laboratories.
For CBD, the group will sell all its production to a single laboratory. The latter will process CBD in various forms. Faracha Equities will produce products specially designed for BLC holders with a specific design for the VIP Club BLC Premium. They will be prepared in priority to the CBD that will be sold to the single customer. The same goes for spirulina or phycocyanine. They will be prepared for the club with the club design.
All members, Platinium, Gold or Silver, will have access to these products prepared specifically for the club and in advance of all commercial agreements. This advantage will last for the life of these sites and LBC holders will benefit in priority from these innovations from the Group’s R&D activity. It is important to note that therapeutic CBD will become free in Europe in the next few years. Our products will be able to be paid for in Ether as well as in Euros.
You have an impressive profile in the crypto world. Could you tell us more about your 30 years of experience, as the person in charge of the Blueco project?
J.-M. S.: I’m an electrical engineer, and I’ve completed my training with a masters in Finance and Management. I have been building autonomous power plants for more than 20 years. First, I built cogeneration plants (simultaneous production of electricity and heat) using natural gas, then so-called “peak” plants, then cogeneration plants using biogas and finally plants using wind and photovoltaic energy.
I have built 1,000 MW of wind power plants and 200 MWp of photovoltaic plants! I have created and developed a leader in green electricity, THEOLIA. In short, I am one of the ten or so entrepreneurs who created the wind energy sector in France. I then created GEP until I resigned in July 2020 to build my own projects. Now it is time to have an international vision with BlueCo.
Why did you leave the renewable energy sector?
J.-M. S.: The profitability was no longer there. In fact, for several years, the gradual elimination of the obligation to buy and the tariffs guaranteed by the State, first in photovoltaic, then in wind energy, gave me the idea of carrying out more complex operations: of “energy-intensive” products in association with renewable energies.
How did you come to make your first IPO?
J.-M. S.: I have been building power plants since 2001. These power plants are “capital-intensive” and require significant equity capital, and the stock market was the preferred way to obtain this capital.
Our readers would surely love to find out more about your IPOs…
J.-M. S.: As with cryptocurrency, I didn’t know anything before going public. But I’m a quick learner. The most characteristic IPO is without doubt THEOLIA, in 2006. After a year of discussions with the regulatory authorities, my company was listed on the Marché Libre (Free market) of Euronext Paris in 2002.
In 2006, given our stock market performance, we decided to move directly from the Marché Libre to Eurolist, compartment B (over €300 million in market capitalization). The Société Générale and BNP accompanied us. To prepare the prospectus, we organized weekly meetings for 6 months. Imagine: 24 bankers (12 for SG and 12 for BNP), our lawyer and his team, the CFO and me.
At the time of launching the operation, we invited our Dutch broker, AEK. Indeed, we thought that the banks had reached an agreement beforehand. We were not mistaken: the bankers told us that in order to raise 20 M€ we had to “break” our share price by 30%. Our broker refused this demand and guaranteed the fundraising without any rebate. The two banks bent. And in the end, we received more than 200 million requests and our broker did not even need to mobilize his guarantee. From then on, the two banks were able to boast of having made THEOLIA into a magnificent operation… And we think we can do much better today with BlueCo.
Thank you Jean-Marie Santander for taking part in this interview.