News Briefing - Crowdfunding, SME And Alternative Finance

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The essentials are here and will be regularly updated. If you want to be well-informed about the investment crowdfunding scene, and you're short of time, this is the place to visit.

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1.UK – FinTech

FinExtra on a new raise for an investment app.

“A next-generation investment app providing users with free stock trading has today launched a Crowdcube campaign in a bid to raise over £1 million.

In the past year, interest in Freetrade has skyrocketed with the app’s waiting list growing from 4,000 to 34,000 people. 

The funding will be used by Freetrade to support its next phase of rapid expansion, including the growth of its customer service, product and engineering teams, expansion into EU markets, and to support the development of an Android app. 

The London-based company is no stranger to crowdfunding campaigns, having previously launched two earlier funding rounds pre-product in which they overfunded and raised close to £1.3 million via the UK’s leading crowdfunding platform, Crowdcube. The last funding round had to be closed early after their goal of £300,000 was overfunded by £800,000.”

 

 

2. UK – FinTech

 

Global Banking & Finance looks at UK business attitudes to and awareness of blockchain technology.

 

  • One in 7 UK firms are already using tech behind cryptocurrency to improve supply chains as well as sourcing trade finance
  • 40% planning to introduce it in the near future to reduce costs and improve efficiency
  • However 6 in 10 firms fear the new-found benefits of blockchain technology could be impacted by GDPR when introduced later this month
  • And three quarters of UK businesses want the government to regulate the technology more closely

New research predicts sweeping advances in tech and finance will fuel global trade over next decade.

The research, commissioned by DMCC, highlights the emerging impact of digital transformation for importers and exporters, along with the ongoing shifts in global economic power.

According to the global research on the Future of Trade, technology could bridge the current $1.5tn trade finance gap, unlocking new opportunities for trade across borders.

Blockchain is ripe for adoption – not just providing faster, more secure and effective ways to handle workflows in order to move goods across international borders – but also potentially helping reduce up to 20% of the actual physical paper costs associated with global trade, currently estimated at $1.8 trillion.”

 

3. US – FinTech

 

BrainQ, a developing Artificial Intelligence (AI) powered technologies firm that is seeking to treat neuro disorders, announced on Tuesday it secured $8.8 million through its latest funding round, according to Crowdfundinisder. “The financing included Qure Ventures, OurCrowd, Norma Investments, IT-Farm, and other strategic angel investors such as Founder and CEO of Valtech Cardio Amir Gross.

The company reported it is developing technology that utilizes its proprietary AI algorithms to identify spectral patterns in patient’s brain waves. BrainQ explained that these patterns are interpreted and then translated into a tailored electromagnetic treatment protocol aimed to treat disabilities following neuro disorders such as stroke and spinal cord injury. Its technology has already been applied in animal studies and early-stage human clinical trials which have shown very promising results. The Company’s unique AI technology largely stems from developing and owning one of the largest known Brain-Computer Interface (“BCI”)-based EEG databases for motor tasks.”

4. US – FinTech

 

Forbes reports on a new raise for a KYC tool.

“The venture capital arm of Foxconn has joined a $7 million Series A round in Cambridge Blockchain, a startup that specializes in helping enterprises ensure they know who their customers are in compliance with regulatory requirements.

The equity investment round, joined by Partech Ventures and Digital Currency Group, consists of both the conversion of existing debt and an infusion of new capital, bringing the total amount raised to $9 million, including a seed round last year.

Over the next two years, the Cambridge, Massachusetts-based firm, founded in 2015, plans to use the funds to build out its enterprise data management software, which is paradoxically geared toward both protecting identities and streamlining know-your-customer compliance for internet-connected devices.”


5. International – FinTech

 

Crowdfundinsider reports the signature of an MOU on a new blockchain deal.

Shyft has announced that an Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Government of Bermuda. Bermuda has recently embraced the potential of facilitating blockchain technology and the issuance of cryptocurrency. Shyft said that Bermuda is a “pioneer” in tech leading the way for others. Simultaneously, Shyft announced a pledge to support local blockchain projects and including the areas of education, job creation, and the “repatriation of Bermuda’s international workforce.” The pledge included a commitment of $10 million in local investment over a three year period.

Recently, a series of smaller countries have sought to differentiate their jurisdictions that provide bespoke rules that enable the issuance of tokens and encourage blockchain development. While some larger countries struggle with how to best manage the emerging digital asset class, smaller countries may have an easier path to creating new legislation where existing rules are ill suited to handle the emerging blockchain tech. Countries like Anguilla, Malta, Gibraltar and more have each sought to encourage investment by welcoming crypto entrepreneurs.”

 

6. International – FinTech

 

China’s tech giants have few worries, according to the Financial Times.

“China’s pre-eminent tech duo of Alibaba and Tencent are approaching their 20th birthdays. Still reasonably youthful but old enough to have spawned an entire new generation of internet wunderkinder. The young start-ups include ride-hailing app Didi Chuxing, smartphone maker Xiaomi and Meituan Dianping, which delivers food and other services, and are valued at a combined $132bn, according to CB Insights. But as these companies diversify and command ever-higher valuations could they dislodge the leaders? The consensus, much of it with vested interests, believes not. The more established start-ups such as Didi lack their predecessors’ breadth and, hence, ability to tie users in to anything like the same extent as either Tencent or Alibaba, both of which are also investors in Didi. Where Didi is branching out, into areas such as autonomous driving, it is doing so within its core business. Xiaomi, which is due to launch an initial public offering in Hong Kong in July, has sought to create a similar ecosystem to the Chinese behemoths — but it is far smaller. Tencent-backed Meituan is the closest contender, having recently added ride-hailing services to its suite of offerings, but it too is on a much smaller scale. More interesting perhaps are the newest challengers: the next generation of start-ups that are snipping at specific areas of relative weakness at the big tech conglomerates.”

7. International – P2P

 

The Hindu business Line reports a new Indian P2P player.

 

“Fintech start-up BigWin Infotech has received an in-principle approval from RBI to set up an NBFC Peer-to-Peer lending platform.

The company will commence operations after getting a Certificate of Registration from the RBI.

Further, the RBI has also mandated Bigwin Infotech to put in place the technology platform, complete all legal and operational formalities. PaisaDukan will handle the servicing of loans on behalf of matched borrowers with investors and provide legal and recovery support, principal protection, as also evaluation of credit risk by a proprietary algorithm.”