Many of us expected STOs to became the crypto trend of 2018, but it didn’t happen. This was partly due to the very stringent regulations on securities and partly because participating in an STO requires more technical skills and financial acumen than the average crypto investor has. Instead, a completely new and very promising model has emerged — initial exchange offerings (IEOs).
In an IEO, tokens are not offered directly by a blockchain startup but rather by an exchange that acts as an intermediary. Unlike ICOs, which allow almost anyone to buy tokens, IEOs are only available to registered clients of the exchange. This narrows the potential range of investors, of course, but it also simplifies the founders’ task, as there is no longer a need to conduct a separate KYC or to negotiate with exchanges to list the token. In fact, any token accepted for an IEO can be automatically listed and traded immediately.
By conducting an IEO, an exchange takes on a big responsibility: It has to ensure that the project is not a scam and can offer a product of real value. To do this, exchanges conduct detailed background checks and ultimately refuse most IEO applications. For this reason, proper marketing and legal help are even more important for a successful IEO than for an ICO. It’s no wonder, then, that agencies specializing in promoting blockchain projects have started offering IEO services. In this short guide, we will present 10 Initial Exchange Offering agencies that have gained visibility in the market lately and show how they differ from each other.
List of IEO Agencies:
With its strong message “You’ve got the tech. We’ll do the rest”, Crypterius describes what it does best — offering true turn-key solutions that go all the way from creating quality white papers to conducting legal reviews and building grassroot community support. The agency is one of the longest-standing in the market and counts dozens of high-profile projects among its past and present clients, including SONM, Datarius, and TravelChain. Crypterius is known for its strong technical expertise in all things crypto, and now this expertise is also available to IEO clients, with all services offered in English, Chinese, Korean, German, French, Japanese, and Russian.
Platinum is best known in the market as one of the leading providers of listing services — that is, it helps blockchain projects get listed on exchanges. Boasting an established business relationship with over 90 exchanges, Platinum proposes to get tokens listed in as little as five days. Needless to say, this expertise is crucial for IEOs, where exchanges play the key role. Preparing documents, obtaining legal opinions, designing marketing materials — Platinum’s team of over 200 in-house and freelance professionals can carry out all these tasks.
3) IEO Agency
The boldly named IEO Agency clearly focuses on just one area of crypto business — preparing and carrying out IEOs. The agency is based in Russia and so far does not have a website in English. While its offerings include all the standard elements of a pre-IEO package (tokenomics, legal opinions, marketing strategy, etc.), it stands out thanks to its IEO-pooling services. In its pools, several projects team up to issue a single token, and the IEO proceeds are then distributed by a smart contract. This clever solution minimizes the costs and time spent preparing for the offering.
4) X10 Agency
This company has proven highly successful in the STO promotion market, especially in the fields of growth hacking and marketing in the Asian markets (Korea, China, and Japan). Some of the agency’s STO and ICO clients include Faceter (raised over $28 million) and CGCX (raised more than ETH 75,000). STOs are notoriously complex affairs due to the extensive legal requirements, so one can expect X10 to have all the necessary expertise for preparing an IEO. Their growth-hacking services are particularly attractive.
Guerilla marketing has become quite a buzzword, as audiences are tired of pushy marketing messages and are more prone to trust peer reviews on Bitointalk, opinions on Reddit, and advice given on Quora. This is exactly what GuerrillaBuzz provides — intelligent discussions on specialized forums, 24/7 Telegram support, and an active Reddit. Branding, website design, and advisory services are all there, too. The company focuses on marketing rather than turn-key solutions, so for quality legal assistance, you’d need to turn elsewhere. This might be a downside for IEO projects, which must provide a lot of legal documentation to exchanges.
This agency has already raised over $200 million for its ICO clients, and now it’s venturing into IEOs. Priority Token focuses on raising funds among accredited investors — individuals who have been certified as investors in their jurisdictions based on the size of their assets. This can be useful for projects looking to attract supporters from countries where only accredited investors are allowed to fund blockchain projects, such as the US. The agency offers a number of service packages starting from $30,000.
Though this agency is a newcomer, it brings together experienced professionals of the crypto market with excellent connections in the media world. This means that Genirium’s clients can expect to be featured where other projects haven’t. The company’s service portfolio includes over 20 offerings, ranging from investment roadshows to negotiations with advisors and business analytics. The agency is also proud of its strong in-house development team, as they can create complex smart contracts and even build MVP prototypes, which can come in very handy when dealing with exchanges because a project with a working prototype has much better chances of getting listed.
8) IBC Group
IBC supports and consults projects in over 30 countries, offering a full range of IEO/ICO/STO marketing, legal, and coding services. The agency specializes in private funding, helping projects get in touch with individual investors via roadshows, investment dinners, and so forth. At first it might seem like private funding plays a smaller role in the IEO market than for ICOs, since only registered clients of the exchange conducting the IEO can even purchase tokens. However, there is no reason why a private investor cannot become a client of an exchange to buy specific tokens. This means that private IEO fundraising might indeed have a strong future.
9) ICO Holder
This agency is known for its expertise in handling trackers (websites listing upcoming token sales) and has supported over 100 clients in the past six months. Its range of pricing plans is remarkably wide and includes offerings focused on SMM, SEO, influencer marketing, and so on. It should be noted that many of its services are somewhat less applicable to IEOs than to ICOs, since the need for attracting outside investors is significantly reduced when it’s the exchange offering the tokens. However, it will be interesting to see how ICO Holder uses its experience with ICOs in the new and exciting field of IEOs.
Goldfinch positions itself as a turn-key solution provider for IEOs, proposing a structured and scheduled approach to project implementation. Work starts with preparatory planning and an audit and proceeds with obtaining legal advice, creating hype, and working with exchanges. One possible point of concern is that the time required for each stage seems to be on the short side: In as little as three to six weeks, Goldfinch offers to take an IEO project virtually from the idea stage to a listing.
In the next few months, we will probably see dozens of new IEO promotion agencies spring up, just as we did ICO agencies a couple years ago. However, the companies already present on the market — and on our list — are most likely to retain their positions. In crypto, experience matters more than anything else, and this is especially true for IEOs. IEOs are not cheap, and the risk of getting rejected by an exchange is very high. Therefore, if you’re considering an IEO for your project, you should study an agency’s credentials carefully before committing to a contract. Too many promising startups have perished because of inept marketing and poor legal advice — don’t let your project be one of them.