SALT Announces Addition of PAX Gold as Collateral Option

SALT, a crypto-collateralized online lending platform, announced on last week that beginning October 1st it will offer the just released PAX Gold (PAXG) as a collateral type for clients seeking to use their digital assets as collateral to secure a USD loan. The online lender reported that PAX Gold is an asset-backed digital token on the Ethereum blockchain and is Paxos’ first blockchain asset to represent precious metal; its value is tied directly to the spot price of gold quoted by the London gold market.

“By tokenizing gold, Paxos brings the benefits of physical gold ownership to the cryptocurrency community. PAX Gold is built as an ERC-20 token on the Ethereum blockchain network. As a digital representation of physical gold, PAX Gold has the potential to increase the overall liquidity of gold by connecting traditional markets with cryptocurrency markets.”

Speaking about the latest addition, Jenny Shaver, Chief Operating Officer at SALT, stated:

“Precious metals are ideal for tokenization. Gold, as an example, has well-established institutional physical custody and a broad base of investors familiar with the asset class. Gold has traditionally been held as a hedge against inversely correlated assets like stocks and fiat currency, so it provides digital token holders with familiar asset diversification options. By offering PAX Gold as our newest collateral type, we’re adding value for our customers by combining the benefits of gold investing with easy access to funds via crypto-backed lending.”

Scott Simpson, VP of Strategic Partnerships at Paxos, added:

“PAX Gold is the first regulated digital asset that allows holders to own the underlying physical gold. Unlike fiat currencies, gold has intrinsic value and Paxos allows users to physically redeem their PAX Gold tokens for actual gold. With PAX Gold, people can more easily access this market and with SALT, customers can easily leverage gold like never before.”

SALT Teams up With NODE40 To Offer Fiat Loans For Masternode Owners

SALT, a crypto-collateralized online lending platform, announced on Wednesday it has formed a new partnership with NODE40, a blockchain masternode hosting and monitoring provider. SALT reported that through the collaboration it will provide expanded loan options for DASH masternode owners in tandem with the Dash community’s first masternode hosting service.

“A Dash masternode serves to expedite transactions and scale the network by relaying them over a second-tier network. While Bitcoin’s second layer is an off-chain solution to scale, Dash runs an on-chain second layer using masternode operators who are incentivized by the network like miners in Bitcoin.”

Speaking about the partnership, Rob Odell, VP of Product and Marketing at SALT, stated:

“Our development team has made a technological breakthrough and has advanced our mission by unlocking value and liquidity in cryptocurrency assets through collateralizing the Dash connected to masternodes. Dash has quickly become our second most popular collateral option behind Bitcoin and the community has reacted positively with a high volume of loan applications. We’re excited to work with NODE40 to increase our support for the Dash community and provide innovative solutions and services for masternode holders to get the most out of their assets.”

Perry Woodin, Co-Founder and CEO of NODE40 and a Dash Trust Protector, went on to add:

“Our companies’ shared dedication to customer service naturally brought us together when a mutual client wanted to take out a fiat loan using their masternode’s Dash. What attracted us to SALT was the caution with which things are done; they have a solid reputation of doing things by the books. Having been a part of Dash from early on, we tend to do things conservatively, and that was important to us when evaluating how a loan is backed and if our customers would be protected in the case of an audit. With SALT we share the vision of being cutting edge while playing by the rules not only to protect ourselves, but to bring legitimacy to the industry.”

SALT Upgrades Insurance on Digital Assets

SALT, a crypto-collateralized online lending platform,  has expanded its insurance coverage on digital assets. As of February, SALT’s crime insurance policy covers 100% of collateral assets held in their “deep” cold storage.

SALT now has two types of insurance policies.

First, there is the Cyber Liability Insurance that protects SALT against attacks.

Second, there is the Crime Insurance which protects users assets held in cold storage.

SALT adds that their insurance is superior to some other companies that “rely on a third-party custodian to store their customers’ assets.”

“If the custodian has an insurance policy that extends to its clients, it’s important to understand the policy and what it means for your assets. Rather than offering a specific coverage limit to each client, the pool of clients shares a coverage limit. This means that while the policyholder is insured, your personal assets might not be.”

SALT points out that a coverage limit shared by multiple clients of the policyholder likely does not equate to the total value of assets held on the platform to which the coverage limit applies. So if the coverage is for $100 million and you are holding twice that in assets you may be on the short end of a hack.

Bitgo recently took some heat regarding the details of their insurance as they cover a loss of up to $100 million which may be short of what they hold.

SALT states:

“No matter where you choose to keep your crypto assets, when it comes to insurance coverage, be sure to ask: Is the company holding my assets also the holder of the insurance policy? Does the coverage limit apply to each client or all clients collectively? What is the total value of assets held on the platform compared to the insurance coverage limit?”

SALT points out that digital assets on their platform are 100% covered.

As there have been multiple, huge crypto hacks, SALT says trust is at a premium and insurance is hard to come by. Their focus on due diligence, compliance and safe storage practices have facilitated the underwriting process.

“As more insurance companies become interested in working with crypto companies, we can work together to build greater trust within the industry by educating people on cryptocurrency, cold storage, and custody. In the meantime, while we can’t change how other companies insure or store their customers’ assets, we can assure you that we’re doing everything we can to keep your assets safe when they’re in our hands.”

Now, this is where we’ve seen some confusion in the market around crypto insurance policies regarding what (and who) they cover. It’s important to understand that Cyber Liability Insurance does not directly insure the customers’ digital assets from cyberattacks and other threats. Rather, this type of policy protects a company entity from cyber events (attacks, hacks, or extortion threats), technology or professional error, and multimedia liability — it is an important component of a complete insurance program, but does not ultimately insure customer assets directly.

So why should you care about this additional policy? Because Cyber Liability protects client information, company information, and the SALT technology you use to interact with your assets.

Bottom line: When you entrust SALT with your crypto assets, we maintain tight control of the wallet lifecycle and all disbursement of funds. This autonomy combined with these two new, more expansive insurance policies enables us to offer you a complete insurance program and say with confidence that we can keep your assets safe.

Crypto is complex, but with quality crypto-specific insurance coverage and a comprehensive safekeeping program that provides professional grade security, we’ve got you 100% covered, even for the worst-case scenarios.

** We will provide our customers with a certificate of insurance upon request.

*SALT is committed to the safety of your assets and reserves the right to update coverage, increase coverage limits, and/or work with additional insurers, insurance programs, and safety programs and/or protocols than those detailed above, current as of March 19, 2019. For additional details, terms, conditions, and references please see www.SaltLending.com.

Fintech Predictions for 2019. Where We Have Been & Where We Are Going

As we head into a market correction, 2019 and beyond will be very interesting for the evolving Fintech industry. This sector of finance saw significant M&A activity and massive fundraising during the 2nd half of 2018 and I predict that we will see more of it again in 2019.

But first, before I share my outlook for the coming year, let’s first review what I forecasted 12 months ago and see if we can stump the chump. See my complete 2018 predictions here.


10. New Asset Class – New Asset Backed Lending for Crypto

The likes of Nexo, SALT, CoinLoans & Unchained Capital have emerged in the recent months unlocking the value of your cryptocurrency. There is a list of crypto lending sites here.

Technically speaking, loans backed by assets always outperform personal loans, however, that’s yet to be seen given the heavy correction in the cryptocurrency market this year. It would be interesting to see if any of these companies will find the right balance between asset valuation and credit risk. Given the number of token backed lending platforms out there since my last article, I’d say I am spot on with this prediction.

9. The Alternative Internet

We didn’t see an introduction of an alternative internet designed specifically for entertainment, banking, social networking etc. But I still think it’s inevitable that the internet, as we know it, will split. If it’s not by providers but by nations influenced by geopolitical events.

8. Banks will rule again

Jamie Dimon of JPMorgan is opening up a new campus in Silicon Valley

There’s no doubt that old finance has finally started building, buying, and innovating. We have seen big banks leveraging Fintech platforms from OnDeck and Avant in 2018. More of it will come in 2019 as banks begins to decentralize banking again. The first decentralization was the advent of the Automated Teller Machines (ATMs), the second wave was the Smart Phone, and the next wave will be Point of Sale and Payment endpoints.

7. Everyone will be rich (unlocking home equity value)

I attend a talk by Mike Cagney of Figure at 2018’s Lendit China conference. He’s creating something completely different to unlock the potential of the entire “supply chain” process from home equity lines of credit to bundling and tracking this asset class utilizing smart contracts and blockchain. He wants to eliminate the hurdles and ambiguity for the secondary market.

As home equity value rises and interest rates increase, home equity products will need a ton of tech. It has become a forgotten art since the great depression. I am predicting that a lot more of Fintech companies will come to light in 2019 working with the banks to unlock consumers’ home equity value.

6. “Baby Boomer Financial, Inc.” (Fintech for the aging but wealthy population)

There are a few Fintech companies designed specifically for the aging population. But there isn’t enough. Perhaps the angle is fewer transactions but targeting Wealth Management and Financial Advisory. There are several established wealth management companies out there that might be on the war path to create technology for a new secure financial future for our aging population

5. Shared Risk Platforms

Insurtech is ever evolving. What will it be like in 2019?

I’ve seen companies such as VouchForMe with a social vouching slant hedge risk, similar to what Vouch tried to accomplish a few years ago.

I’ve also seen Insurtech evolving into micro-insurance, especially in developing countries where health, disability, and life insurance are hard to come by.

There are still many hurdles such as regulatory and licensing issues here in the United States for any Insurtech companies to overcome but it’s just a matter of time for this industry to be completely disrupted.

4. Zero Latency Payments

We were so close with this one.

Venmo finally enabled instant bank transfers but quickly shut it down due to massive fraud-related losses.

What happened to all the A.I. fraud detection algorithms when you needed them?

All joking aside, I think the reality of faster, or real-time, payments is coming very soon. Amazon, Google, and Walmart just banded together to urge the Feds to enable real-time payments clearance.

3. Social Networks Venture into Credit

I think it might be a few years before this happens.

Facebook and Twitter have enough problems with data security, foreign government influence, and fake news to deal with. However, Facebook is actively looking for financial partners to be part of the messenger network. Perhaps payments might be their next move before credit.

2. Vertical Integration (i.e. Uber moves into Lending)

I think vertically integrated Fintech startups will be something to watch in 2019. This will be on my Fintech prediction’s list once again (see below).

1. Generation Z (Fintech for the next billion people)

Generation Z population is born between the 1990s and 2000s. The oldest GenZs are getting out of college and their perspective on wealth and spending are dramatically different than the millennials.

We didn’t see many Fintech companies targeting GenZ specifically in 2018 but they will be here before we know it. Perhaps the angle is not coming from the traditional Fintech approach, it might be an experience (point of sale, transactional) based approach.

Now for my top 10 Fintech Predictions for 2019.

10. Consumer Lending Market Correction

We already know the obvious. Rates are going up and it will be harder for Americans to borrow. But the problem may be two-fold.

We are overdue for an economic correction. We have already seen housing prices in some key markets deteriorate and subprime auto loan portfolios are experiencing high default rates. As the US economy softens, and credit default rises, prime lenders will need to quickly diversify their offerings to maintain investor yields in the coming year.

9. The Rise of Debt Relief Companies

According to the Federal Reserve’s latest figures, outstanding credit debt has exceeded $1 trillion dollars and is growing.

Before the Great Recession, this figure was just over $800 billion dollars.

The debt relief industry was responsible for resolving over $160 billion dollars of unsecured credit card debt.

As the looming correction nears, I predict that the debt settlement industry will experience another period of significant growth. This time, I believe technology, such as A.I., will be the dominant force to alleviate millions of Americans from overburdened financial obligations or worse, bankruptcies.

8. Subprime Lenders Rejoice

This is my third prediction related to the impending economic correction.

As banks tighten up their credit standards, interest rates move higher, and consumer spending slows, the downward cycle begins. However, demand for credit will still be here and investors will still be looking for yield. During these times, subprime lenders are here to pick up the pieces when big banks and credit card companies don’t, or are not allowed to, do business.

7. It’s the Credit Union’s Turn

Credit Unions are regulated and structured differently than big banks. They are often forgotten by Fintech companies but don’t count them out just yet.

I suspect that there are going to be some interesting collaborations happening between Fintech enablers and Credit Unions in 2019. Teams like CUDirect in Orange County are at the forefront of Credit Union innovation. However, we need more than just technology. New products and operational efficiencies are needed to really hit the ground running. We will see a lot more in 2019.

6. Student Lending Rising

The often forgotten student lending market is poised for innovation. Fintech startups such as SixUp in San Francisco are building the next generation of student lending platforms that put student experience at the forefront of their core offering.

Companies like Alchemy Coin utilize new blockchain technology to further advance the interconnectivity between students, lender, and schools.

The student lending market is truly a massive area ripe for automation and disruption. It is a huge undertaking that involves schools, lenders, and services to work together to underwrite over 4 million Americans annually going into our university system. 2019 and beyond will see a ton of Fintech players enter into this enormous space

5. Vertical Financing Will Dominate

Generic Fintech players like LendingClub are a thing of the past.

Straight up Personal Lending is played out.

In comes vertical lenders that are gaining momentum in areas such as cosmetic surgery, home improvement, and other point of sale verticals will shine in 2019.

Companies such as PatientFi.com are leading the charge in the patient financing space, building technology around patent’s experience, and office automation. They are building something unique to drive their core competency in the patent financing space.

I am seeing more of these vertical players that found a niche with their deep understanding of the market to bring true tech-driven solutions to market.

4. Biometrics are coming (again)

I predict that payments and facial recognition will finally come to the United States.

During my last China trip in the summer of 2018, I saw a glimpse of the future. Chinese Fintech companies are showing off devices and apps utilizing facial recognition to make payments, bypassing iris and fingerprint scans.

We played with keystroke biometrics a decade ago at a bank with some success, however, facial recognition is the way of the future if we can work through all the privacy issues that comes along with it

3. Breakthroughs in Cost to Acquire

Search Engines, Social Media Sites, Aggregators (LendingTree), Radio (Terrestrial or Satellite), Television, Streaming and even physical mailboxes have been played out for decades. The toll way charges (SEM, Display Ads, Postage, Airtime) are going through the roof.

Not everyone can start buying planes like Amazon to reduce the cost of logistics or, in the Fintech space, the cost to acquire customers.

One may argue that understanding the data is key to deploying your marketing spend but the data cost is going up as well. And, there are only so many ways you can analyze a four factor tool (Age, Gender, Income and Geography… e.g. Facebook Ad Manager).

One may also argue that Point of Sale is the best way to reduce the cost of acquisition, like what Affirm is doing. However, the B2B sales cycle are long and it adds another toll/middle man in the middle of the acquisition channel. You might not truly own that customer at the point of sale, it’s the storefront that owns the customer, since they spend the money to acquire that customer in the first place.

The struggle for eyeballs continues but there has to be a new way in 2019 to lower the cost of acquisitions and unbind ourselves from the traditional online and offline privatized channels.

2. Artificial Intelligence Everywhere

Artificial Intelligence (A.I.) has been talked about forever. The skillset required to deploy and use A.I. algorithms is an entirely different scenario.

A.I. doesn’t solve all problems and it could be detrimental to your business if it’s not used correctly. We overemphasize the power of these tools without understanding the fundamentals of statistical and mathematical theories behind these techniques, which I think it’s dangerous.

Until we develop A.I. to check A.I, or regulations that give guidelines on what type of A.I. is applicable to certain scenarios, I urge folks to have a statistician at the helm to guide these tools and solutions.

Elon Musk stated: ‘Mark my words — A.I. is far more dangerous than nukes’ – March 13th, 2018.

1. The Birth of Micro-Fintechs

I predict that the “App Culture” driven mostly by Apple’s iOS devices will become the central thesis of the next generation of Fintechs, I dub it “Micro-Fintechs”. The meme “There’s an app for that” will come to Fintech.

In other words, Fintech still feels very transactional, unnatural and prescribed. It should be micro, settled, and baked into our day to day experience. The Starbucks App, Amazon Go Stores are getting there, but it’s not pervasive and the experience is still incomplete.

Paypal and Venmo are trying to get there, but it is still bound by the archaic banking system. Cryptocurrency has velocity, volume, and last-mile issues of their own.

But the entire Fintech community is moving from transactional in nature (LendingClubs of the world) to a more experience-based approach (SixUp, PatientFi).

I am looking forward to what’s coming in the next 365 days. Let the innovation continue. See you guys next year.

Tim


Timothy Li is a Senior Contributor for Crowdfund Insider. Timothy is the Founder of Kuber, MaxDecisions, Alchemy and has over 15 years of Fintech industry experience. He’s passionate about changing the finance and banking landscape. Kuber launched Fluid, a credit building product designed for college students to borrow up to $500 interest-free. Kuber’s 2nd product Mobilend is a true debt consolidation product, aiming to lower debt for all Americans. MaxDecisions provides financial institutions with the latest A.I. and Machine Learning algorithms and Alchemy is a state of the art end-to-end white labeled Lending Platform powering some of the best FinTech companies. Li also teaches at the University of Southern California School of Engineering.

SALT Adds Stablecoin USDC as Collateral Option

SALT, a U.S.-based Blockchain-Backed Loans provider for cryptocurrency holders, announced last week it has partnered with CENTRE Consortium to begin accepting USD Coin (USDC) as collateral. According to SALT, USDC is a new stablecoin backed by the US dollar. While sharing more details about the stablecoin, SALT’s CTO and Interim President and CEO Bill Sinclair, stated:

“At SALT, we’re constantly analyzing new collateral options with our clients in mind. While we typically base our decision on a number of factors including the voting feature in our borrower portal, we deliberately chose to add USDC in direct response to the recent market volatility we’ve experienced. We want you to keep your crypto, and we’re hopeful the addition of USDC will help accomplish that.”

The provider reported that when there’s volatility in the market, it has a direct impact on a borrower’s loan-to-value (LTV), which can result in an undesired loss of collateral. Given market dips can occur at any point, SALT has added USDC to its collateral mix in response to feedback from customers regarding the need for additional transfer options that can be used outside of normal banking hours. Now borrowers can take immediate action to stabilize their LTV when there’s a rapid drop in the market.

SALT went on to add that in the addition of USDC, it is now offering loans collateralized by Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ethereum, DOGE, USDC, or a combination of the five.

SALT Continues U.S. Expansion: Now Lending in California

Less than a week after announcing expansion into Washington D.C., Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Montana, SALT, a U.S.-based Blockchain-Backed Loans provider for cryptocurrency holders, announced it is now offering Blockchain-Backed Loans in California.

As previously reported, SALT launched its lending platform in 2017 to offer membership-based borrowing allowing borrowers to leverage their cryptocurrencies to secure cash loans, while simultaneously providing an opportunity for financial institutions and accredited investors indirect involvement in this new asset class, ingeniously linking cryptocurrency with traditional lending.

“SALT works to solve a major problem of blockchain assets – illiquidity. By opening up this entirely new form of loans, SALT brings more liquidity to the market. The platform is open to all tiers of borrowers looking to take advantage of this groundbreaking service further bringing together the worlds of crypto and traditional finance.”

SALT reported that with the addition of California, it may now offer loans in 88 percent of the U.S. Speaking about the expansion, Bill Sinclair, Interim President and CEO of SALT, stated:

“This has been a long time coming. As the fifth largest economy in the world, California is a market we have been waiting to serve for many months. We’re proud to say that we can now lend to businesses and consumers who are interested in leveraging their cryptocurrency for a cash loan.”

Founded in 2016, SALT is headquartered in Denver, Colorado.

SALT Announcements: Expands U.S. Reach to 86%; Now Offering Blockchain-Backed Loans in Washington, D.C.

SALT, a U.S.-based Blockchain-Backed Loans provider for cryptocurrency holders, announced on Wednesday it has begun offering Blockchain-Backed Loans in Washington, D.C., Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Montana. The company reported that with this new expansion, it is now able to lend to 86% of the U.S. 

As previously reported, SALT was founded in 2016 and launched its lending platform in 2017 to offer membership-based borrowing allowing borrowers to leverage their cryptocurrencies to secure cash loans, while simultaneously providing an opportunity for financial institutions and accredited investors indirect involvement in this new asset class, ingeniously linking cryptocurrency with traditional lending.

“SALT works to solve a major problem of blockchain assets – illiquidity. By opening up this entirely new form of loans, SALT brings more liquidity to the market. The platform is open to all tiers of borrowers looking to take advantage of this groundbreaking service further bringing together the worlds of crypto and traditional finance.”

SALT reported that as it continues to grow, it remains focused on continuing to expand its lendable jurisdictions not only within the U.S., but throughout the entire world. Speaking about the expansion, Bill Sinclair, CTO and Interim President and CEO of SALT, went on to add:

“We recently announced a significant increase in our international jurisdictions and have continued to build upon that progress over the past couple of months. With the addition of our nation’s capital and three other U.S. jurisdictions, we’re that much closer to achieving our goal of being able to provide loans to the entire country.”

Blockchain-Backed Loans Provider SALT Adds Litecoin to Platform

SALT, a U.S.-based Blockchain-Backed Loans provider for cryptocurrency holders, announced on Thursday it has updated its platform to include peer-to-peer cryptocurrency, Litecoin. This news comes just days after SFOX added the crypto to its cryptocurrency prime dealer platform. 

Founded in 2016, SALT launched its lending platform in 2017, which offers membership-based borrowing allowing borrowers to leverage their cryptocurrencies to secure cash loans, while simultaneously providing an opportunity for financial institutions and accredited investors indirect involvement in this new asset class, ingeniously linking cryptocurrency with traditional lending.

“SALT works to solve a major problem of blockchain assets – illiquidity. By opening up this entirely new form of loans, SALT brings more liquidity to the market. The platform is open to all tiers of borrowers looking to take advantage of this groundbreaking service further bringing together the worlds of crypto and traditional finance.”

SALT then added that it is now offering USD loans with interest rates as low as 5.99% for loans below $75,000 or as low as 11.99% for loans up to $25 million. For loans greater than $25 million, tailored options are available. Loan amounts and interest rates vary by jurisdiction.

Indiegogo Shuts Down Campaign For Alternative Gun “SALT”

Salt 1

With gun control being such a controversial topic these days, it’s no surprise that Indiegogo decided to pull the plug on the campaign for Salt Supply Company’s self-titled alternative gun.

Salt 2The weapon appeared on the platform this week and was described as a gun that doesn’t take a life but saves a life.” Instead of bullets, each of the SALT guns is loaded with pellets that contain a mixture of powdered chemicals including oleoresin capsicum, which is a ghost pepper extract that is used for pepper sprays.

These pellet explode on contact in a cloud that immediately incapacitates a would-be attacker. The rounds cause temporary debilitation, including blindness, lung constriction and intense contact irritation. These are done but doesn’t not cause permanent harm. The company shared:

“This single redesign allow SALT to stop an intruder while also protecting the members of a household from the fatal accidents that all too often accompany a traditional firearm.”

Engadget reported that Salt’s CEO, Adam Kennedy noted that he keeps his gun inside the nightstand, (since it apparently doesn’t exactly need to be locked up unless you have children). The gun is also considered “user friendly”:

Salt 3“The people who need protecting the most are often too scared to use the power of a traditional firearm because black powder is an incredibly loud and violent propellant. SALT was designed to be easy to use by replacing the bang of black powder with the power of compressed air. The result is a fear-free user experience, because the best weapon is the one that gets used.”

He and his team added that they are not trying to take away people’s right to bear arms by taking steps to release their creation to the public.

Each gun was being sold through the campaign for the price of $350. Those that live in New York, Massachusetts, Hawaii and California were excluded from Salt’s sales due to shipping restrictions and chemical laws.

Unfortunately, within days of its launch, Indiegogo reportedly removed the campaign. Kennedy announced in a statement:

“Thank you to everyone that shared/liked/supported/believed in SALT and a better, safer gun that does not have to take a life in order to protect a life. We were so excited to see so many of you as passionate about a firearm alternatives as we are. In a debate as polarizing as gun safety, we have found that the courage needed to take a stand for a new way can be very hard. Andy and I were very disappointed to find that IndieGoGo removed the SALT project this morning because it straddled the traditional categories of safety device or weapon. Of course, anyone who purchased or donated to SALT through IndieGoGo will automatically receive a full refund.

 

Indiegogo 404 page“Given the excitement and interest around SALT, we are working as quickly as we can to find an alternative crowdfunding site that will support our mission to make the world a safer place. In the meantime, we would love to keep you up to date on SALT news and where you can place an order. Please enter your contact information below and we will notify you as soon as pre-orders are available again. We are excited about the future for SALT and the technology we will bring to the marketplace to help protect the ones we love.”

 

Mara Seaweed Takes its Award-Winning Seasoning to Crowdcube, Quickly Reaping Nearly Half its Goal

mara seaweed collectionMara produces an award-winning range of shake-on seaweed seasonings – healthy salts – marketed as “Flavours of Scotland.” Best Producer Finalist in 2015 BBC Food & Farming Awards, Mara launched in London’s iconic upscale retailer Harrods in 2014 and is now on sale in M&S nationwide. Filling the Western demand for high flavour, healthy salt alternatives, Mara is now making inroads into the Asian market, where seaweed is part of the daily diet.

mara seaweedThe Mara campaign already raised over £232,720 of its £500,000 target today on Crowdcube, with the significant £200K of an undisclosed investor. The money raised will be used by Mara (Celtic Sea Spice Company ltd) to invest in sales and marketing to support their plans to export, as well as supporting new product launches. The firm is also looking into expanding its production facilities in Scotland.

Mara’s profile is high, having been featured on BBC Radio Four Food Programme, BBC Scotland show “Scotland Brand” as well as other media outlets as its key feature or included in programs noting the growing trend for seaweed.

fiona houstonMara Co-founder and SEAEO journalist turned seaweed pioneer Fiona Houston has taken one of Britain’s undervalued natural resources – seaweed –and transformed it into the Mara premium food brand. Mara’s first-to-market range of delicious seaweed seasonings are a new superfood condiment that adds flavour to food.  According to the campaign, Mara’s mission is to make Mara a must-have in your daily diet -– as commonplace as salt or ketchup. Mara products are now available nationwide and online.

After four years of building the company and the brand with co-founder and brand director Xa Milne, Mara now has a platform to extend the brand’s product portfolio with other premium seaweed food products in its new product portfolio, that fulfill Mara’s vision to “nourish body and soul.”

Mara’s campaign cite the problems seaweed herbs solve:

1.  Healthy Salt: our products fit the trend for replacing table salt with healthy, high flavour alternatives. Mara’s products can be used instead of salt. (Sea salt: 98% sodium chloride; Mara seaweed: average10%).

2. Fulfills iodine gap in the Western diet. Since 1992, the World Health Organisation has recognised iodine deficiency in European diet. It is estimated that up to two-thirds of women in the UK have insufficient iodine in their diet; iodine is an essential nutrient for healthy thyroid function, metabolism and cognitive health, and is especially important during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Mara has developed the nutrient profile of its products so that it can make nutritional claims such as ‘rich in iodine.’ Mara’s premium, easy to use, natural shake-on seasonings make it easy to get natural iodine into your diet – and it tastes good too.

3. mara seaweedNourish the Soul: customers want to make ethical, provenance-based purchasing decisions. Mara is authentic. We are what we say on the tin: we hand harvest a select range of seaweeds sourced ethically and honestly from pure, cold Atlantic waters. We are reviving an ancient tradition in a sustainable way and appealing the to consumer’s image of Scotland.

4. On trend with foodies:  Seaweed is the new “ingredient to watch” (Datamonitor) – a healthy, natural flavour enhancer, adding umami, (‘the fifth taste’) to food and equally complimenting both savoury and sweet foods. Mara has numerous chef and celebrity endorsements, winning over converts such as Paul Hollywood, who described Mara’s Shony product as “inexplicably delicious!” Mara makes it easy to be healthy: Mara is first-to-market with its easy-to-use flakes that can be used just like a herb or salt: it is a food innovation.

mara seaweed

Mara also has received the following encomiums, increasingly seen as leading the field in both brand, product and innovation:

  • Finalist, BBC Food and Farming Awards, Best Producer. (2015)
  • Great Taste (2012, 2013, 2014),
  • Wiiner,BQ Emerging Entrepreneur (Scotland); (2015)
  • Interface Excellence Award (Sustained Partnership);
  • Winner, The Crown Estate Scottish Aquaculture Awards for Innovation; (2015)
  • Scottish Business Awards shortlist Innovation;
  • EDGE Award £50,000

For more information regarding Mara Seaweed’s Crowdcube campaign, please click here.

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