News Briefing - Crowdfunding, SME And Alternative Finance

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1.UK – P2P

Sky News reports on the appointment of four banks for Funding Circle’s IPO: 

“The peer-to-peer lender Funding Circle has hired a quartet of ‎banks to prepare the ground for a blockbuster London float that could value it at in excess of £2bn.

Sky News has learnt that Funding Circle this weekend appointed Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and Numis Securities to lead one of the biggest-ever listings of a British financial technology company.

An initial public offering (IPO) of the company is anticipated during the second half of the year, when the company will seek to raise hundreds of millions of pounds from the sale of new shares.

Funding Circle, which launched in 2010, has matched lenders to tens of thousands of small business borrowers‎, facilitating loans totalling more than $5bn globally during its seven-year existence.

Its rapid growth has earned it the status of one of the UK's few fintech "unicorns" - companies which have achieved a prized $1bn price-tag.

Some existing investors believe the float will value Funding Circle at well over £1.5bn - far in excess of the $1bn ‎valuation it hit when it raised £82m in January 2017 from investors led by Accel, the blue-chip tech company backer.

Funding Circle's other big shareholders include funds such as Baillie Gifford, the Edinburgh-based manager, DST Global, Index Ventures and Rocket Internet.”


2. UK – Equity


Business Quarterly reports:


“Crowdfunding platform, Crowdcube, has joined forces with law firm, Harper Macleod, to target what they believe is still an untapped market of Scottish businesses that could benefit from equity crowdfunding.

Since it was established in 2011, Crowdcube has funded 17 Scottish businesses, raising £19.8m in the process. In 2017 the numbers were £1.7m for three businesses. However, this represents only 6% of its UK market, leaving Scotland lagging behind other parts of the UK when it comes to businesses taking advantage of crowdfunding.

Through the partnership, both organisations will co-operate to ensure equity crowdfunding is considered as part of the funding mix for an increasing number of Scottish growth businesses.

Companies working with both Harper Macleod and Crowdcube can save on the overall cost of conducting their crowdfunding campaign. The partnership will also see the duo raise awareness through a series of events across the country.”

3. UK – FinTech


Crowdfundinsider reports the imminent launch of a crypto-futures index in London:


“LATTICE80, a Fintech Hub that has recently migrated its headquarters from Singapore to London, has announced its intent to launch Altcoin Futures. LATTICE80 expects to reveal details during Money20/20 taking place in Singapore this month.

LATTICE80 is co-founded by Joe Seunghyun Cho, and is backed by his Hedge Fund Marvelstone Group.”

4. UK – FinTech reports:


Israel based crowdfunding company OurCrowd has announced the hiring of Goldman Sachs alternative investments banker Lina White as the head of its newly opened London office – its tenth dedicated location worldwide.

The new London office will support OurCrowd’s growing community of UK investors interested in funding early stage high-growth companies.

With a current reach of 25,000 global investors across its platform, OurCrowd expects to add hundreds of new UK investors through exclusive events, increasing UK deal flow, close collaboration with leading venture capital funds, and helping Israeli startups penetrate the UK market.


5. International – FinTech

Bridging & Commercial reports the publication of proposed European norms for the industry:

“The European Commission has proposed new rules to help crowdfunding platforms to grow across the EU’s single market.


These proposals – which are part of the European Commission’s fintech action plan – will enable crowdfunding platforms to offer their services EU-wide and improve access to this form of finance for start-ups and SMEs.

At present, it is difficult for many crowdfunding platforms to expand into other EU countries, but once these proposals have been adopted by the European Parliament and the Council, the proposed regulation will allow platforms to apply for an EU label based on a single set of rules.

Currently, one of the major hurdles is the lack of common rules for crowdfunding across the EU.

This increases compliance and operational costs, which prevents platforms expanding across the EU.

The EU label will allow crowdfunding platforms to offer their services across all countries across the EU.

“To compete globally, Europe's innovative companies need access to capital, space to experiment and scale to grow,” said Valdis Dombrovskis, vice-president responsible for financial stability, financial services and Capital Markets Union at the European Commission.”

6. International – FinTech


Cryptoslate posts an announcement on the proposed ICO of Lendingblock.

The article attempts to explain peer-to-peer lending to cryptocurrency investors, which is a different perspective than we're used to.


“Lending platforms are beginning to emerge in the cryptocurrency market in response to this growing need, and are primarily present in the form of exchange-specific margin lending. A new blockchain platform, however, is aiming to accelerate the maturation of the cryptocurrency market by creating a cross-chain lending platform that functions as a crypto equivalent to securities lending.

Lendingblock is currently in a pre-sale stage and has recently completed a successful private sale.

The Lendingblock platform is heavily focused on enhancing liquidity across the entire crypto market by allowing investors, funds, and traders to access assets that can be used to support trading, fund working capital, or fulfill investment funding needs.

Why is Lendingblock important, though, and what are the implications of a fully collateralized crypto asset borrowing and lending platform for the blockchain ecosystem? Does the cryptocurrency market currently need a DLT equivalent of traditional securities lending? We’ll proceed to examine the Lendingblock project and analyze its constituent parts to assess the potential impact of the upcoming Lendigblock initial coin offering.”

7. International – P2P


P2P Finance News reports a Swedish crypto launch:


“VIA SMS Group, the European alternative finance provider, has launched a new cryptocurrency-backed peer-to-peer lending platform called CryptoLoan.

The loans are issued in fiat currencies such as US dollars or euros, but cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoins are used as collateral. The borrower deposits the required amount of cryptocurrency as security and they get it back once they have repaid the loan.

The platform launched to Swedish residents this week but will be opened up to other European countries shortly.

Borrowers can apply for loans of up to SEK 150,000 (£13,083) with a term of 24 months.

“CryptoLoan is a huge gain for Bitcoin investors as it provides the freedom to enjoy benefits of investing in crypto without being forced to sell their investments,” said Justas Luzeckas, managing director.

 “VIA SMS Group has chosen Sweden as the first country for CryptoLoan launch because of company’s experience and stable position on Swedish lending market. Additionally, with Sweden becoming the next blockchain hub, it instils confidence that this is the right market for the pilot launch. Our development plans, of course, include expanding to other European countries in the nearest future.”