London Stock Exchange Partners with PrimaryBid to Give Retail Investors Access to Share Offerings on Same Terms As Institutional Clients

The London Stock Exchange (LSE) has partnered with Fintech PrimaryBid, an internet-based investment platform, in order to give retail investors the opportunity to access to share offerings currently unavailable. PrimaryBid’s solution is said to digitally connect retail investors to quoted company offerings at the same terms as institutions – an important qualification.

According to the terms of the deal, which were revealed on November 21, the LSE and PrimaryBid pair will introduce online infrastructure that will allow firms that are either listed or listing on LSE to give individual investors the chance to participate in initial public offerings (IPOs), retail bonds and various other types of equity offerings.

LSE’s head of equity primary markets, Charlie Walker, stated:

“This agreement is part of our ongoing commitment to broaden the services available to retail investors. Individual investors and issuers will benefit from the additional capital and liquidity available through Primarybid’s platform, helping to make markets more accessible for all.”

The UK-headquartered Fintech firm PrimaryBid will give individual investors access to various real-time share deals on the LSE. Firms that are issuing shares will reportedly have access to a centralized retail gateway through the LSE.

Walker noted:

“Individual investors and issuers will benefit from the additional capital and liquidity available through Primarybid’s platform, helping to make markets more accessible for all.”

PrimaryBid’s internet-based platform gives individual investors exclusive access to new share issues.

PrimaryBid CEO Anand Sambasivan mentioned that his company was “excited to be working with London Stock Exchange in laying down the digital infrastructure that gives everyday investors equal access to capital markets transactions on the same discounts as the institutions.”

Sambasivan also said that the deal with the LSE would be beneficial for issuers and individual investors.

He added:

“Issuers on the LSE can now access a broader pool of investors to augment capital formation and long-term trading liquidity. This is applicable to companies listed on AIM all the way to the FTSE 100. Having this gateway available during transactions unlocks historical inefficiencies and brings tangible benefits to the ecosystem as a whole. London Stock Exchange’s deep knowledge and trusted relationships with the capital markets ecosystem makes them the ideal partner to help achieve this vision.”

In early September 2019, PrimaryBid finalized a £7 million investment round, which was led by Pentech and Outward VC. The company said it will use the capital raised to expand its sales and marketing efforts, and further enhance its IT product development.

Following the multi-million dollar investment round, Sambasivan remarked:

“We are on a mission to democratise public equity offerings. Everyday investors are a vital part of the stock market and yet unable to buy discounted share deals – a longstanding imbalance in the public markets. This is true whether it is a government selling down its holding in a large company or a quoted company is raising growth capital. Our online platform addresses this challenge, giving small investors the same access as traditionally afforded to large institutional investors.”

PrimaryBid’s management announced on November 19 that it had won the “Crowdfunding Platform of the Year” award (from AltFi Awards, which has been “a barometer of success among Europe’s leading alternative finance and Fintech businesses” for over five years).

Online Lending Platform October Celebrates One-Year Anniversary in the Netherlands

October Nederland, a financing platform for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Europe, celebrated its one-year anniversary on October 31, 2019. The firm’s application to operate as a Netherlands-based lending platform was approved last year by the Dutch Authority for the Financial Markets. October (formerly dba as Lendix) is based in France and currently operates in France, Germany, Spain, Italy, and the Netherlands.

October’s blog post says that new business owners often find it challenging to obtain financing for their ongoing growth and development. Obtaining loans can be difficult, so October aims to make this process easier. The company provides different financing options for institutional and retail clients.

October’s management notes that SMEs can obtain business loans of up to €3.5 million (appr. $3.85 million) in less than a week.

The October team states:

“We not only distinguish ourselves from banks, we are also different than other non-bank financiers. Our financing by institutional investors allows us to rapidly finance a company and facilitates certainty of funding to the entrepreneur. The co-financing by the crowd requires us to have simple and transparent communication. And that has a positive impact on our client interaction and our own culture.”

Following October’s fifth anniversary in France, the company’s entrance into the Dutch market seems to be the right move.

October has quickly become one of the largest crowdfunding platforms in the Netherlands, as it has provided loans to over 30 projects with a total funding amount of more than €15 million (appr. $16.5 million).

The company reveals that investments of €40.000 to nearly €1.5 million were “financed by thousands of retail lenders in combination with professional investors such as pension funds and insurers.”

The firm’s blog notes that crowdfunding in the Netherlands has become a popular way of financing new businesses. Unlike traditional financial institutions, October provides quick financing “without collateral or a personal guarantee,” the company explains.

October’s management acknowledges that crowdfunding in the Netherlands, and Europe in general, still faces certain challenges. Acceptance of new forms of financing among Europe’s SMEs is “still in development and for many people lending money to these companies is quite thrilling,” October’s blog states.

It adds that “crowdlending” is viewed as a legitimate alternative to further diversify the financing landscape. The European Commission (EC) is currently developing crowdlending regulations as it aims to professionalize the emerging sector.

The SME Financing Foundation was established in the Netherlands with the assistance of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate, in order to support crowdlending.

The nation’s parliament has reportedly asked the government to apply the “green investment scheme” to alternative financing methods.

October’s management says it will continue to provide transparency and maintain good relationships with it clients. The company says it will remain committed to helping SMEs grow through crowdlending.

The October Nederland team says:

“We put our money where our mouth is (or practice what we preach) with senior management investing in every loan on our platform.”

It adds:

”Making mistakes is allowed, not learning from your mistakes is unacceptable: A prerequisite for the ultimate client focus is a safe environment in which people can make mistakes. This includes the courage to openly share these mistakes. To learn from them and thus improve the client experience.”

October’s management also encourages independent thinking. The company regularly obtains data and feedback from customers, and evaluates its performance in order to “improve the client experience and increase scalability.”

Shojin Property Partners’ Latest Research Reveals: Increasing Numbers of Millennials Are Investing in Property Crowdfunding

Young property crowdfunding platform, Shojin Property Partners, announced on Tuesday that its latest research revealed an increasing number of millennials are turning to property crowdfunding, as they struggle to get on the property ladder. According to the funding portal, 23% of its investor network are under the age of 32 years old, with the youngest investor being just 18 years old. It was reported:

“Over the last 12 months, the average crowdfunding investment made by millennials was £21,721, this is 32% higher than those aged 33-47 (£16,084). The largest investor contingent was those younger than 47 years old and this group accounted for around 40% of the investor database, with an average investment value of £38,000.”

Speaking about the latest research, Jatin Ondhia, CEO of Shojin Property Partners, stated:

“The majority of millennials do not have a large enough deposit to purchase a property and the banks are giving them very low returns on any savings they have. Many millennials are facing years of saving and renting before they can even think about purchasing a property. It’s no surprise then that property crowdfunding has become very attractive to this age group, giving them the opportunity to get a foot on the property ladder, with an investment starting from just £5,000. Millennials are early adopters of technology, so they are happy to use their smartphones to invest small amounts of money across a range of investments.”

Ondhia also shared the Shojin Property Partners team has developed a variety of crowdfunding projects so millennials can build an investment portfolio that suits their needs. He then added:

“We offer investors a portfolio of investment products which allow them to make a minimum investment, without the tax and legislative burdens.  They can spread their money and their risk across the property spectrum from low to high risk investments.”

New Crowdfunder PatrocinaM Partners with Crowdcube Spain: Supporting the Arts

PatrocinaM, a Barcelona-based crowdfunding platform which connects cultural projects seeking funding to individuals and companies ready to fund them, has partnered with Crowdcube Spain to take its platform to the next level, nationally and internationally. The platform has already raised more than half its €100,000 target goal from more than 17 investors in the early days of its campaign.

The sector is ripe for disruption: in five months PatrocinaM has reportedly received more than 70 projects, launched more than 20 campaigns, and obtained financing for a large part of them, obtaining a modest turnover, while growing every month. The main problem facing cultural projects is money. PatrocinaM helps connect private financing to the brands and artists, enabling meetings with the cultural projects managers and marketing directors to present their dossiers and establishing closer connections and ideally longterm partnerships.

“We charge a 5% commission on total campaign fundraising. We also provide a number of additional services, with a variable additional cost, for brands and projects (advice, campaign management, editing and design of campaigns and promotional material, video production),” induced PatrocinaM CEO Antonio Lama on the campaign. “And soon, we will publish premium accounts for brands and projects, which will include a large part of these services paying a monthly fee, and also provide greater visibility. Moving within the scope of marketing and advertising, we also address brands across all types of sectors, while planing and managing advertising campaigns and marketing through the projects PatrocinaM presents.”

[easy-tweet tweet=”La plataforma @patrocinam campaña de crowfunding de financiación @CrowdcubeES”]

PatrocinaM sees differentiates itself from familiar micro-patronage platforms such as Kickstarter, Indiegogo, Ulule, Verkami, drip or Mecenalia, as the platform establishes contact between brands and projects, connecting to negotiate the options of sponsorship.

Currently the type of projects that seek funding include film festivals, music projects, art installations, and larger cultural institutions. PatrocinaM is now targeting “distant, urban and rural points” in Spain and has noted in a recent Crowdcube update that it is working with other international projects and brands, including those in Iran. “Our market is therefore huge and growing,” indicated Lama in the post.

“Our main barrier is to reach the brands, therefore our major resources are focused on the commercial department, dedicated to the daily recruitment of new brands,” noted Lama.

For more information and campaign details, please click here. PatrocinaM’s Crowdcube Spain campaign closes in 31 days. Other live campaigns include fashion and style platform Flyshionista.

seriesOne Appoints Former Deputy Director of South Korean Financial Services Commission to Leadership Team

Last week, fintech startup seriesOne announced it has appointed Kaine B. Kim, the former Deputy Director of South Korea’s Financial Commission, as Head of Legal & International Development. According to seriesOne, Kim will assist clients and stakeholders in accessing the South Korean and other Asian capital markets while ensuring compliance with international law, evolving structures, and governing bodies. Speaking about Kim’s appointment, Michael Mildenberger, Founder and CEO of seriesOne, stated:

“We are very excited to have Mr. Kim join the seriesOne team. His direct experience and cutting-edge expertise will allow our clients to raise money through our platform not only in the US, but also in other major Asian capital markets. This is yet another important step in offering our clients a fully compliant, 24/7, global fundraising solution.”

Kim is a U.S.-licensed lawyer and has practiced law in the US, Hong Kong, and South Korea. As a former deputy director of the FSC in South Korea, Kim has the ideal background for overseeing implementation of new know-your-client (“KYC”) and anti-money-laundering (“AML”) policies. Kim has also reportedly consulted on several eight-figure transactions including initial coin offerings (“ICO”), crypto deals, mergers and acquisitions (M&A) and traditional fundraising. In regards to his new position at seriesOne, Kim added:

“I’m excited to join seriesOne at a time of rapid expansion for the company as well as the overall blockchain-fundraising space. I look forward to expanding our high-impact deal roster and contributing through my extensive experience and industry knowledge.”

Founded in 2013, seriesOne describes itself as an SEC compliant crowdfunding portal designed to liberate corporate finance from the big banks and corporate elites that have historically dominated the space.

CEO Daniel Oliver Opines: Spanish Biotech Platform Capital Cell’s Crowdfunding Round & Blockchain Opportunities

Capital Cell recently launched a new self-funding fundraising round to create the first ICO marketplace for health via Blockchain. Seeking to raise €700,000, the Barcelona-based platform has already secured over €882,400 from more than 178 investors. The platform was pre-valued at €5,550,000.

“We launched the funding round on capitalcell.es, our Spanish platform, and passed our initial goal of €700,000 in just four days,” indicated Capital Cell. “We have now raised more than €882,000, through both online and offline investments, and the new round will remain open to investors until we hit €1.1m.”

The money raised in the new round will be used to create Cell.Market, an investment marketplace for biotechnology and health via ICOs wherein Capital Cell analyzes and filters what it consider to be the best investment opportunities. Capital Cell is also looking to create its own cryptocurrency, the CELL.

“I have been studying the Blockchain for six months now and it soon became apparent that our goals, at Capital Cell, would be best achieved by an ICO. The response to our funding round has, thankfully,shown that investors agree,” Capital Cell CEO and Founder Daniel Oliver told Crowdfund Insider via email. “I think that Blockchain will be hugely important to the future of the health industry and I am very glad that Capital Cell will be involved in this, via Cell.Market. We will also be using this new funding to strengthen our operation in the UK, where we are targeting faster growth in 2018. We have started well in the UK but I want to ramp this up considerably over the next year.

[clickToTweet tweet=”.@CapitalCellNet moves to become the first ICO Marketplace for health via #Blockchain” quote=”.@CapitalCellNet moves to become the first ICO marketplace for health via #Blockchain”]

Cell.Market was launched in Barcelona under the banner “Blockchain, ICO and Health” and aims to explain how to invest in an ICO and spelled out why Blockchain is likely to change healthcare.

Since launching three years ago, Capital Cell has established itself as the leading health tech crowdfunding investment platforms in Spain, and entered into the UK market. To date, Capital Cell counts 23 successful rounds for 20 companies that are developing the medical technologies of the future-new treatments, new diagnostic technologies or new applications of digital technology to the world of health. The platform also reportedly records annual returns of 20-30%.

8 days remain on Capital Cell’s own fundraising campaign. Other live campaigns include Fesia (over 76% funded) and Tech4Freedom (over 76% funded).

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OurCrowd Celebrates Two More Portfolio Exits: Nike Nabs Invertex & Uber Aquires JUMP

It’s raining exits for leading global equity crowdfunding platform OurCrowd. The Israeli platform two celebrated two portfolio in the last twenty four hours: Invertex will be acquired by Nike and JUMP is to be acquired by Uber. These two exits now the total of OurCrowd portfolio companies achieving exits to 20 in five years.

“We are proud of our entrepreneurial leaders who are building companies that the largest corporations in the world want to acquire,” stated OurCrowd Founder and CEO Jon Medved. “We are proving that crowdfunding done right can provide the average accredited investor with opportunities to get in on the next exit and profit from the success of hightech companies.”

[clickToTweet tweet=”Another @OurCrowd Milestone: @Nike acquired Invertex and @Uber acquired @JUMPbikes. @jonmedved #crowdfunding” quote=”Another @OurCrowd Milestone:@Nike acquired Invertex and @Uber acquired @JUMPbikes. @jonmedved #crowdfunding”]

Medved tweeted,

“It’s raining…EXITS! That’s two exits in two days… yesterday, @Uber buys @jumpbikes and this time @Nike buys @OurCrowd First’s Invertex…. can we hope for a trifecta tomorrow?”

Nike announced the acquisition of Tel Aviv-based Invertex, a computer vision company that provides anatomical 3-D scanning for instant-product customization, such as shoes, which helps make the shopping experience easier. Invertex is a portfolio company of OurCrowd First, the first fund raised by OurCrowd in 2015 to make seed investments.

“Invertex is a great example of our investment strategy to focus on cognitive AI driven technologies, which is the underpinning of our new $100M OurCrowd Cognitiv fund,” shared Cogntiv Ventures Managing Partner Eduardo Shoval.

San Francisco based JUMP, formerly Social Bicycles, is a fully integrated smart, dockless bike-sharing platform. The announcement by Uber to acquire JUMP follows a trial program the company conducted with them earlier this year.

[clickToTweet tweet=”.@OurCrowd Celebrates 20 Portfolio Company Exits #crowdfunding @jonmedved” quote=”@OurCrowd Celebrates 20 Portfolio Company Exits #crowdfunding @jonmedved”]

With its ten global locations — a new Mayfair, London office opened earlier this year — OurCrowd is creating access for individual accredited investors from around the world to invest in Venture Capital level deals alongside and on the same terms as major institutional investors, from within Israel and beyond. OurCrowd continues to change the landscape of alternative finance and allows the crowd the opportunity to benefit from the fruits of these investments through OurCrowd.

OurCrowd Portfolio Company exits:

  1. Invertex: (FashionTech) acquired by Nike (2018)
  2. JUMP Bikes: (Mobility) to be acquired by Uber (anticipated in 2018)
  3. Argus Cyber Security: (Mobility/Cyber Security) acquired by Continental AG (2017)
  4. Stringify: (Consumer Software) acquired by Comcast (2017)
  5. Nanorep: (Artificial Intelligence) acquired by LogMein (2017)
  6. StackIQ: (Enterprise Software) acquired by Teradata (2017)
  7. Shopial: ( eCommerce) acquired by Magento (2017)
  8. Parko: (Consumer Software) acquired by EasyPark (2017)
  9. MentAd: (AdTech) acquired by Social Code (2017)
  10. Replay Technologies: (Sportstech) acquired by Intel (2016)
  11. Crosswise: (Enterprise Software) acquired by Oracle (2016)
  12. AppForma: (Enterprise Software) acquired by Algomizer (2016)
  13. Abes Market: (eCommerce) acquired by Direct Eats (2016)
  14. Cimagine: (Augmented Reality) acquired by Snap (2016)
  15. Boatbound: (Marketplace) acquired by Boatsetter (2016)
  16. BillGuard: (FinTech) acquired by Prosper (2015)
  17. Fireblade: (Cybersecurity) acquired by Stackpath (2015)
  18. Trendlines: (MedTech) IPO on the SGX: 42T (2015)
  19. NextPeer: (WebTech) acquired by Viber (2015)
  20. ReWalk: (MedTech) IPO on the NASDAQ: RWLK (2014)

In late March, Cyber 2 Automotive Security (c2a),  an OurCrowd Labs/02 incubator company, made its patented Stamper technology which protects the connected car from cyber threats, available to auto manufacturers and suppliers worldwide on a royalty free license basis. c2a is endorsed by the Israel Innovation Authority as a cybersecurity company.

Suffolk University Student Entrepreneur Launch New Round of Ventures Through Crowdfunding Course

 

On Wednesday, Suffolk University announced that some of its students have launched some ventures through its crowdfunding course. The ventures made their debut on December 6th, with two dedicated to the people of Haiti.

The University stated that is Sawyer Business School introduced the crowdfunding course in Fall 2016, which requires students to launch campaigns to fund their own startup companies through crowdfunding platform Indiegogo. Management and Entrepreneur professor Jenni Dinger, who co-teaches the course, stated:

“Crowdfunding continues to enjoy tremendous growth worldwide. Given that crowdfunding is still a relatively young capital source we are continuously learning what works and what doesn’t. What has not changed is that the process of creating and preparing a campaign acts as an accelerator of sorts, prodding nascent entrepreneurs to take action.”

The ventures are listed below:

  • Marbre by SJ, founded by Suffolk junior Shereen Jan in partnership with Suffolk junior Kristy Fitzgerald, is a minimalist jewelry line that incorporates reclaimed marble into precious metal pieces. 
  • Sadiq Smoke, founded by Suffolk junior Kamraan Sadiq, is a silicone-insulated hookah bowl with wind guard.
  • Sawed-Off Souvenirs, founded by Suffolk senior Greg Speliotis, creates a variety of cups and barware for sports fanatics made from broken bats. 
  • Happy Homes, founded by Suffolk seniors and entrepreneurship majors Nick Kellicker and Rafic Korban, is a social venture aimed at providing affordable and sustainable housing for the people in Haiti.
  • Dentists for Humanity is a Cambridge-based healthcare non-profit focused on providing dental care to underprivileged communities around the world and mentorship to dental students,

Equity Crowdfunding & Credit Unions Go Hand-in-Hand Developing Communities


Equity crowdfunding and credit unions are a match made in heaven, according to a recent article on Business News Daily. At the heart of equity crowdfunding is the goal of democratizing capital formation; allowing companies to raise money from online communities of investors who campaign on their behalf. Credit unions have at their core a similar democratic purpose: credit unions are non-profit cooperatives owned by their account holders that are often focused on community development.

The Growth of Equity Crowdfunding

Crowdfunding, in general, has been around for some time, with well-established sites such as Kickstarter, Indiegogo, and Gofundme that allow people to raise funds from the public online. However, these sites are all donation or reward based, as allowing people to actually invest in a company in exchange for equity would require registration under federal securities laws. That’s where equity crowdfunding comes in. With the passage of the JOBS Act in 2012 and the subsequent enactment of Regulation Crowdfunding (Reg CF) last year, companies are now able to legally raise money from the crowd and offer a share of ownership of their company.

Although there have been several critiques of Reg CF’s shortcomings, the central purpose of Reg CF remains clear: allowing individuals and communities to participate in capital formation, especially for small businesses and startups. What typically happens in an equity crowdfunding campaign is a large group of investors pool together to fund a small company in the hopes that the company will find success either because they believe in the company’s core vision or because they think they’ll see a nice return. Either way, a bond develops between and among the backers and the company and a sort of community around the company begins to form.

Credit Unions and Crowdfunding

Credit unions, by definition, are non-profit cooperatives that are owned by their members. Members of a credit union pool their money together in order to provide services that are typically provided by a bank (e.g. loans, deposit accounts, and other financial services). Since credit unions tend to be smaller than banks and are typically formed from members within a community, credit unions often are focused on helping people within their community. The pooling together of funds to serve a common shared interest sounds an awfully lot like the pooling together of funds to back a crowdfunding campaign. It makes sense then that crowdfunding and credit unions would make a great match.

GrowthFountain, a Reg CF portal, was developed based on the belief that crowdfunding and credit unions go hand-in-hand. The portal has so far partnered with 4 credit unions across the country to help businesses in their members’ communities raise money from equity crowdfunding and at the same time offer their members the chance to fund businesses within their communities. It allows for the development of a reciprocal relationship between the members of the credit unions and the small businesses within their community. Hopefully, the shared vision of building communities will allow companies seeking capital on GrowthFountain to find success amidts the uncertainty of Reg CF.

Ready & Waiting: NCFA Canada Opens 2017 Alternative Finance Industry Survey

The National Crowdfunding Association of Canada has announced the launch of its third Alternative Finance Crowdfunding Survey in Canada for platforms, investors and companies as part of its annual exercise in providing Canadian benchmarks on market size, volume, market activity, platform characteristics, jobs, and key stakeholder sentiments.

Crowdfunding leverages tech, the internet and digital marketing to streamline the process of raising capital from a full stack of investors while filling an under-serviced funding gap in venture markets.  As technologies, markets and models continue to evolve in alternative finance and fintech crowdfunding markets globally, everyone from policy makers to portal operators and industry participants to economic development agencies have a need to better understand the emerging landscape that is on its way to being an integral part of raising up to $5M of capital online to launch, grow, and commercialize ventures.

Last year, NCFA published the first comprehensive set of industry-led research, 2016 Alternative Finance Crowdfunding in Canada, which benchmarked industry growth at 48% from 2013-2015 and predicted the 2016 market volume to be $190 million.

This year in 2017 in addition to its annual Canadian platform survey, NCFA is  expanding the scope of the survey to capture both investor and company sentiment which will provide a richer view of perspectives and help identify key insights and challenges relevant to market development and participation.  To take the survey now, click here.

Who can take the survey?

1.ALTERNATIVE FINANCE ONLINE FUNDING PLATFORMS (i.e. Canadian equity, debt, P2P marketplace lending, reward / perk, donation, revenue sharing (royalties), crowdsales and new fintech models)

2.COMPANIES (i.e. Startups and Scale-ups interested in raising up to $5M of capital to launch of grow their venture)

3. INVESTORS (i.e. Retail, accredited, VCs, PE, family offices, funding groups)

The survey remains open until  June 30, 2017.

IMF & Dubai to Host FinTech Seminar at World Government Summit

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is partnering with Dubai’s Ministry of Finance to co-host a fintech seminar during the 5th World Government Summit that will take place in Dubai between February 12-14, 2017.  Blockchain technology will be a key discussion point during this panel — a technology that Dubai’s government has given full support to through its 2020 plan to underline all of its documents and transactions with blockchain.

The panel on fintech will feature the IMF’s Christine Lagarde, as well as Luxembourg’s Minister of Finance Pierre Gramegna, and the United Arab Emirates’ Minister of State for Financial Affairs Obaid Humaid Al Tayer.

According to reports,

“The seminar will cover a number of important topics including virtual currencies, and the underlying distributed ledgers through blockchain technology. These topics have been at the center of recent debates about how digital innovation changes financial fields.”

The seminar will also cover oft-referred to topic within the fintech sector of balancing regulation and ensuring room for innovation.

According to Al Tayer;

“This seminar will discuss both the challenges and opportunities derived from Fintech services, and the importance for regulatory authorities to keep up with the technological changes. It is also important to find balance between risk treatment and the misuse of technology to avoid over regulation which may limit innovation.”

Peer-to-peer lending and crowdfunding will likely be topics that will pop up during the conversations, as well, due to their contributions to fintech innovation as well as ongoing development thanks to fintech evolutions.

FTC FinTech Forum Agenda to Spotlight P2P Payments & Crowdfunding

terrell-mcsweenyThe Federal Trade Commission announced the agenda for its upcoming FinTech forum examining peer-to-peer payments and crowdfunding. The forum, which is the second in an ongoing event series, will take place from 1:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. on 26 October at the Constitution Center auditorium, located at 400 7th Street SW in Washington, DC. Commissioner Terrell McSweeny will give opening remarks at the event, which will bring together industry representatives, consumer advocates, law enforcement agencies, and others with expertise regarding these growing fintech areas.

FTC LogoThe half-day forum will feature two panel discussions. The first panel which includes;

  • Hummingbird Fintech Co-founder & CEO Matt Van Buskirk,
  • Jo Ann Barefoot CEO Jo Ann Barefoot,
  • Texas Office of the Attorney General Assistant Attorney General Beth Chun,
  • Financial Innovation Now Executive Director Brian Peters and
  • Consumers Union Staff Attorney Christina Tetreault
  • The panel will be moderated by FTC’s Duane Pozza and Patrick Eagan-Van Meter.

The discussion will explore P2P payment systems, the online services – often mobile apps – that allow consumers to exchange money electronically.

The second panel which includes;

  • Crowdfund Insider CEO and Co-Founder Andrew Dix,
  • RallyBound COO Joe McGee, National Association of Consumer Advocates Executive Director Ira Rheingold,
  • Kickstarter General Council Michal Rosenn,
  • FTC Attorney Helen Wong,
  • Frankfurt Kurnit Klein & Selz Partner Thomas D. Selz

FTC moderators Evan Zullow and Elizabeth Kwok, will examine crowdfunding, the use of online platforms to fund a project or venture by raising money from a large number of people. Both panels will discuss the important trends in these industries, as well as their benefits and potential risks for consumers.

ftcIn addition to these panel discussions, the FTC’s Office of Technology Research and Investigation will give a presentation examining crowdfunding practices and the types of information available to consumers about crowdfunding campaigns. For full details of the event, visit the workshop’s webpage. The workshop will also be available via a webcast live on the FTC’s website. The event is free and open to the public,  no pre-registration required. The Federal Trade Commission works to promote competition, and protect and educate consumers.

Singapore’s Crowdo Receives CMS License for P2P Lending & Equity Crowdfunding from MAS

Singapore-based crowdfunding platform Crowdo received its full Capital Market Services (CMS) license from the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) for securities crowdfunding (SCF) to deliver P2P lending and equity crowdfunding, according to the platform’s blog, reportedly making Crowdo the first and only regional operator that can undertake licensed P2P in Southeast Asia.  The platform received its provisional license last April.

Leo Shimada“Since its inception, Crowdo has innovated and re-invented itself to be always one step ahead of all our competitors,” commented Crowdo CEO and Co-founder Leo Shimada. “The license granted to us by MAS effectively makes us the first and only operator in South-East Asia that can undertake P2P lending under a full license. We are here to stay and to play our part in making Singapore a truly exciting global fintech hub.”

Crowdo’s platforms in Malaysia and Indonesia were started within a short time period from each other just a few months ago. Since then, the Malaysian platform has gone on to help facilitate both the largest ECF offer in the region and the first ECF offer lead by a VC Fund, while the Indonesian platform has processed more than 600 loans with zero defaults, touted the platform. The addition of the CMS license in Singapore just months after it was approved as a Recognised Market Operator (Equity Crowdfunding Platform) by Securities Commission Malaysia (SC) last year may make Crowdo the only operator to achieve multi-jurisdiction licensing in South East Asia.

South East Asia at Night“No other operator can claim our track record and our multi-market presence. Singapore is our home market, Malaysia is our showcase and our business in Indonesia is our growth engine,” added Shimada. “We are rolling out a host of offers on our platforms in the coming months. There is no greater time to be in the fintech space and no greater time to be in the region. We have a front-row seat to all the amazing innovation that is happening here and we are in a prime position to help in the fundraising efforts of the region’s high growth potential companies.”

Crowdo counts close to 23,000 members, noting its double digits quarterly growth, and notes that its influence extends beyond Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia, having helped businesses across six continents raise funding from more than 70 countries.

Exclusive: Bioprognos CEO Sergio Calleja Discusses Crowdfunding with Spanish Platform Capital Cell

BioprognosBioprognos, a Barcelona-based biotech company that seeks to improve both clinical outcomes and quality of life for cancer patients ―as well as other diseases (cardiovascular, neurological or endocrine)― through the development of innovative tools for non-invasive, accurate detection from biomarkers found in a simple blood test (or urine or other body fluids), recently listed a 300K € for 4.76% equity on Capital Cell.  At this writing, over 12 investors have backed the startup valued at 6M € with over 80,300€.

bioprognosSpanish equity crowdfunding has gained significant ground  in the last months with Crowdcube Spain and Capital Cell leading the way, both in campaigns and regulatory pushes.  I recently caught up with Bioprognos CEO Sergio Calleja via email to learn more about what led him to choose crowdfunding with Capital Cell. Active in the Barcelona startup scene, Calleja previously  served as CEO of Liffebox, CEO of BeeLoop, Manager at T-Systems; CTO of Viasalus and CTO in La Vanguardia. Introduced to Capital Cell Director Daniel Oliver through a mutual contact at Caixa Capital Risk, Calleja learned more about equity crowdfunding and decided that it would be a good fit for Bioprognos, citing how Capital Cell allows to everyone to be part of Bioprognos from 1,200€.

Sergio J. Calleja Freixes“Capital Cell is more democratic, allowing people of any possibility to invest (Venture Capital has been always linked with pretty rich people and also a distant world for anyone, althought they have money to invest),” explained Calleja. “I am very happy to see how several friends are entering with little amounts such as 1,200, 3,600 or 6,000€ (or maybe not so little), but sharing Bioprognos with friends and former colleagues is very important for me. One colleague sent me a Whatsapp message telling me, ‘Sergio, I have just invested 6,000€. I have not read anything, just entered because you are the entrepreneur.'”

Writing candidly, Calleja noted his own medical experience,

esade ban“When I overcame stage IV Hodgkin Lymphoma one year and a half ago, so many things changed in my mind, including priorities, money, sharing, social…Related to my current versus prior experience, I worked with ESADE BAN and Inveready (formerly Talent Ventures) in 2010 and, in my modest opinion, Capital Cell’s online platform is the future (really is the present) where all Funds will move  (althought ESADE BAN is already in Gust.com).”

Rafael Molina PortoThrough his own treatment, Calleja met his future Bioprognos partner, Dr. Rafael Molina, Associate Professor of Biochemistry and Course coordinator en Hospital Clínic de Barcelona, who is now Chairman of the Board.  Calleja’s expectations remains very positive for the campaign — which ends in 65 days –between his own contacts and that of Capital Cell. For more details about the scope of Bioprognos’ business plan, please click here.

As readers may already know, Capital Cell targets the biotech industry — having launched with ZeClinics.  In addition to two new offerings, current Capital Cell campaigns include a second round for Cebiotex, which already has exceeded 83% of its 300K € goal; Braingaze, which is on the cusp of hitting its 200K€ goal and Iproteos, which has raised over 80K € toward its goal.

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Crowdfund Insider CEO Andrew Dix Receives New Capital Markets Leadership Award from CFIRA, SBE Council and CCA

andrew dix, georgia quinn, joy schofflerDuring the inaugural Crowdfunding Technology Showcase and Celebration in Washington, D.C., CrowdFund Intermediary Regulatory Advocates (CFIRA), Crowdfund Capital Advisors (CCA) and the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council (SBE Council) presented Crowdfund Insider Co-founder and CEO Andrew Dix the “New Capital Markets Leadership Award” for Media.

108439_crowdfundinsidercopyCrowdfund Insider, the leading digital news publisher in the alternative finance sector, was founded in 2012, shortly after President Obama signed the JOBS Act. Dix, a recognized authority in the crowdfunding world, saw opportunities early in the rapidly shifting alternative financial landscape. The digital publication has been a leading voice and independent advocate for the disruptive innovation of crowdfunding, alternative finance and access to capital for small and emerging companies.  Dix and Crowdfund Insider articles have been referenced in speeches presented by SEC officials and have generated a consistent audience not only on Capitol Hill, but also globally.  With 32.1K Twitter followers and counting, Crowdfund Insider continues to make its mark daily in the new capital markets sector.

andrew dix“I am truly honored to be receiving this award from the leaders of the crowdfunding sector.  This is an important time in the world of finance and an important opportunity as access to capital becomes more efficient and access to investment opportunity improves,” noted Dix. “The single most important thing any government can do is to create an environment of opportunity for all. Not just the wealthy. This is what this is all about.”

Dix serves on the Advisory Council of the Crowdfunding Professional Association (CfPA), is a regular participant in the bipartisan Securities Regulation Working Group organized by the Heritage Foundation and recently co-authored a chapter in the book Crowdfunding: Current Market Dynamics. On behalf of  Crowdfund Insider, Dix has engaged and fortified several global partnerships, including with the Centre for Alternative Finance of Cambridge Judge Business School as its exclusive media partner for the European Alternative Finance Benchmarking Report in 2015, a partnership that continues.  Dix continues to lead the Crowdfund Insider team of global writers and leading industry expert contributors, providing extensive coverage and industry-leading perspective about new financial forms, innovations and disruptions.

Doug EllenoffOther recipients of  “New Capital Markets Leadership Award” who contributed leadership in the development of the new capital markets under the JOBS Act, awarded by CFIRA, SBE Council and CCA include: Doug Rand (Administration), Andy Green (Legislative), Rep. Darrell Issa (Legislative), Rep. Jared Polis (Legislative), Rep. Patrick McHenry (Legislative), Rep. Carolyn Maloney (Legislative), Kunal Pahwa (Legislative), Sen. Jeff Merkley (Legislative), Sen. Michael Bennet (Legislative), Amy Cortese (Media), Angus Loten (Media), Devin Thorpe (Media), Lona Nallengara (Regulatory), David Blass (Regulatory), Commissioner Gallagher (Regulatory), Sebastian Gomez Abero (Regulatory), Doug Ellenoff (Legal), David “DJ” Paul (CFIRA, Co-Chairman) and Karen Kerrigan (SBE Council, President).

Chris Tyrrell Headshot“We were thrilled to partner with CCA and SBE Council to host the Crowdfunding Technology Showcase and Celebration and show our appreciation for all of the people that really made this day happen,” surmised Chris Tyrrell, the chairman of CFIRA and founder of OfferBoard, a broker-dealer and investment bank. “This day marks the incredible advances the crowdfunding industry has made in the past four years.”

Indiegogo Adds Celery to Cart: Growth in Crowdfunding Market

celery & indiegogoCo-founded in 2012 by Wharton grads Chris Tsai and Brian Nguyen, Celery has sought to bring new products of all shapes and sizes to the marketplace.  Today the Y Combinator alum blogged that the platform has joined forces with Indiegogo, an “ideal” partner for Celery to accelerate the next phase of Celery’s journey:

Chris Tsai Brian Nguyen“As part of the transaction, creators on Celery will be able to grow their community and reach new audiences with Indiegogo InDemand, a vibrant community marketplace of 15 million early adopters and product enthusiasts. Much of the challenge in bringing a creative endeavor to life comes from building an audience from scratch. Now, building an audience with Celery through our InDemand integration will be simple and seamless.”

Indiegogo tacitly revealed its interest in the equity crowdfunding sector (part of the platform’s original business plan) as evidenced by its recent participation in NextGen’s Equity Crowdfunding Conference.

Celery aims to help Indiegogo creators who have completed a crowdfunding campaign to transition easily to their own pre-order store.  Indiegogo and Celery will now provide creators an end-to-end platform for launching and growing entrepreneurial projects.

celery“Celery started with the simple idea that creators deserve world-class tools to bring their products to life,” explained the blog. “By teaming up with Indiegogo, our creators will be joining a growing community marketplace who are eager to support their creativity. We couldn’t be more excited for what’s ahead!”

Celery customers will now have access to Indiegogo InDemand which helps enable increased reach by tapping into new audiences.   According to the blog,

Crowdfunding Black and White“Celery will remain a standalone business and our tools will only get better as a result of this acquisition. We’re proud to provide creators the best tools to raise funds, take pre-orders, and continue selling. With Indiegogo, Celery will offer additional ways to build your business by reaching more customers on Indiegogo InDemand… By joining forces with Indiegogo, Celery creators can bring their products to life by tapping into Indiegogo’s vast community of early adopters. Together, Celery and Indiegogo can empower creators at a scale that lifts their creativity to the next level.”

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Don’t Be A Pitch from Try Celery on Vimeo.

Overfunding on Crowdcube: WiseAlpha CEO Ahmad Discusses Growth and Fintech Disruption

wisealphawiseAlpha, an online platform that allows people to invest in secured corporate loans of blue-chip British brand name companies such as Virgin Media, RAC, United Biscuits and Eddie Stobart, aims to give people the opportunity to earn a higher rate of interest and diversify their portfolio. With a team hailing from Deutsche Bank, TSB and Sainsbury’s bank, wiseAlpha has already carried out its first successful transactions.

The fintech company is reaping the benefits of partnering with Crowdcube, having raised 120% of its initial £350,000 goal with 12 days remaining on the campaign.  To date, over £421,229 has been raised by over 194 investors for 7.14% equity; £100,000 was the largest investment.

wiseAlpha is part of the technology and ‘DIY lending’ movement that is disrupting traditional financial markets by moving markets online and facilitating smaller investments thereby democratizing financial markets.

Rezaah Ahmad“The secured corporate loan market has been slow to adapt to changes in financial technology and has limited investors of all sizes accessing what we believe is an attractive asset class. WiseAlpha is aiming to change that and bring a wider investment audience to the market,” wiseAlpha CEO Rezaah Ahmad commented via email. “While Fintech has disrupted a number of niches in the individual and small business end of the lending market, wiseAlpha is now leading the charge in bringing online lending to the corporate banking market. We are aiming in the future to create a global exchange for loans and all forms of illiquid corporate credit.”

After studying Economics at the University of Cambridge and Management at the Judge Institute, University of Cambridge, Ahmad segued into the M&A and Leveraged Finance teams at Deutsche Bank, during which he helped structure and execute numerous multi-billion debt financing and advisory transactions. He worked at a fund investing in senior secured loans, high yield bonds, credit derivatives, equity and distressed debt before launching wiseAlpha in March 2014.

Why did wiseAlpha opt for crowdfunding?

Crowdfunding Black and White“We believe that crowdfunding is one of most important financial innovations of recent years and as a company aiming to innovate the large global corporate lending markets in a similar fashion we want to build a community of investors who are interested in helping and being part of our journey as we aim to democratize the financial markets,” explained Ahmad.

British Pound UKCrowdfunds will be used by wiseAlpha to launch a marketing campaign including underground and taxi advertising, digital and print, targeting the growing multi £bn market.  wiseAlpha also plans to add additional staff members to our team, develop its exclusive wiseAlpha member card (prepaid debit card) and enhancing the functionality, execution and product range.  Looking at the larger picture, Ahmad also anticipated wiseAlpha’s growth:

“Given we have created the only marketplace focused on lending investments to large, established brand name companies in the UK we expect to grow at a faster rate than some of the early pioneers of marketplace lending such as Zopa and Funding Circle.”

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CFA Institute: Crowdfunding & Data Standards Discussed at NYC FinTech Forum

cfa instituteXBRL US announced a free half-day FinTech forum for financial technologists, investors, analysts, regulators, investor relations professionals and data providers: Crowdfunding & Data StandardsThe forum, hosted by Baruch College’s Zicklin School of Business and sponsored by the CFA Institute, is designed to provide an introduction to crowdfunding, the practice of funding a company or initiative by raising monetary contributions from a large number of people, through Internet-based funding portals.

James Allen“Formalization of crowdfunding structures through Regulation Crowdfunding has increased the importance of data standards as investors consider their increased investment options,” opined James Allen, CFA, Head of Capital Markets Policy for the Americas at CFA Institute. “This forum looks to provide stakeholders from the issuer, investor and regulatory communities with insights into how crowdfunding systems will affect capital markets.”

The June 28 forum will focus on financing through crowdfunding, with a review and discussion of existing and anticipated programs and portals, and the role data standards can play in facilitating transparency and accountability in these exchanges. The program will also address Regulation Crowdfunding, a 2015 ruling by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), based on Title III of the JOBS Act, which provides a framework for the regulation of registered funding portals and broker-dealers that serve as intermediaries in the offer and sale of securities.

xbrl usThe new SEC rule requires companies obtaining funding to report financial statement data for investors. As the global data standard widely used in financial markets today, XBRL (eXtensible Business Reporting Language) can provide a reliable and cost-effective data source for crowdfunding investors and portal owners, as they evaluate potential crowdfunding projects.

The event, which is free to all attendees, presents an opportunity to learn about crowdfunding and the rapidly changing regulatory landscape, and to help regulators, small businesses and financial intermediaries plan for the sector’s emerging importance to the financial markets.

Kendall Almerico“Crowdfunding aims to streamline and ease the process of obtaining financing for small businesses, raising relatively small amounts online from a large number of people to drive growth. The traditional costs associated with financing can be prohibitively high and data standards can be an effective means to enable transparency in financial reporting at an acceptable cost to issuers,” added Bankroll Ventures CEO Kendall Almerico.

Update: Australia’s Estate Baron Lowers Minimum Investment to $2,000; No Limit On Number Of Participating Investors

estate baron mount waverley

Estate Baron, an Australian real estate crowdfunding platform, now has no limit on the number of investors that can participate, which has allowed the company to bring the minimum investment down to $2,000.

Founder Moresh Kokane explains this means Estate Baron has made one of the first true retail property crowdfunding offers possible. He writes that last year, the company did two projects under a wholesale Australian Financial Services License (AFSL).moresh kokane

While those offers helped us test the concept, we were limited to 20 investors only under current regulation in Australia. Since then we have been hard at work, instead of waiting for deregulation we put in the grunt work and have secured a Retail AFSL and a full PDS [Product Disclosure Statement] for our upcoming offers.

In a LinkedIn Pulse post, Kokane clarified what is necessary for a full retail crowdfunding offer in Australia:

Sydney Australia1) You need a Retail Australian Financial Services License
If you are in the business of promoting offers then you need a financial services license. This is whether or not you are promoting to wholesale or retail investors. If you are only restricting yourself to wholesale investors the burden of compliance is lower and such Australian Financial Services Licenses (AFSL) are easier to obtain.

But if your offer is being made to Retail investors then you are held to a higher benchmark and ASIC goes out of its way to ensure investors are protected. So you need what is called as a Retail AFSL.

2) A Registered Managed Investment Scheme (MIS)
The MIS you setup to structure the investment needs to be Registered with ASIC if you are going to take more than 20 investors. ASIC reviews it and then assuming everything is ok you get your signoff. This process can take months or even years. And it is extremely crucial that you get this right. Any changes to the structure again need to be reviewed and signed off by ASIC.

estate baron logoEstate Baron also has a new offering, Mount Waverley Townhouse Development, with funds being raised to construct two architecturally designed townhouses in Mount Waverley, Victoria. Kokane notes that this offer is special because it is one of the first offers of its kind in Australia and is open to everyone, not just big investors. It allows the platform to take on more than 20 investors, as it is a Registered Retail MIS under a full retail AFSL. The total required is $500,000, and as of this writing $250,000 has been raised, with 75 investors interested.

Racefields Research New Service Investigates P2P & Crowdfunding Platforms

racefieldsRacefields, an FCA authorized corporate finance house, today launched the Racefields Research Service, which will investigate businesses looking to raise finance on P2P and crowdfunding platforms. The independent service will provide over one hundred in-depth reports on individual businesses every year, which subscribers can access via email to make better-informed investment decisions. Racefields will not take payment from the companies being analysed to ensure impartiality, according to the release.

David Gammond “P2P and crowdfunding platforms are revolutionising the finance industry by enabling businesses to overcome their reliance on banks, while enabling private investors to increase their returns,” shared Racefields CEO David Gammond. “However, without having the right insight, investors cannot be certain of what they are getting themselves into. By providing comprehensive research on businesses looking to raise funds, Racefields will provide a much needed layer of transparency to the P2P and crowdfunding market, enabling investors to be more confident of their decisions. Recent moves by the FCA to regulate the P2P market are a positive sign that the industry is beginning to mature which is great news for both the investors and businesses involved. Racefields will enhance this further by providing a level of information that the platforms themselves don’t always achieve alone.”

NESTA and CambridgeWith online alternative finance grew 84% to £3.2 billion from £1.74 billion in 2014, according to this year’s seminal report “Pushing Boundaries” by University of Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance and Nesta report, total alternative lending hit £1.82 billion or 3.43% of gross national bank’s lending to SMEs. Lending continues as the largest sector by volume.  Equity crowdfunding continues to grow rapidly jumping 295% to £332 million from only £84 million in 2014.  This segment now represents 15% of all UK seed and venture funding. With these figures, one expects more research services to jump into the field occupied by Pew and Juniper and others.

The Racefields Research Service will investigate businesses looking to raise money, assessing factors such as financial stability, ownership of contracts and patents, the history of the company directors and legitimacy of financial projections. To conduct its research, Racefields will look at materials such as bank statements, HMRC information and other factors depending on their relevance.