News Briefing - Crowdfunding, SME And Alternative Finance

crowd concert

1.UK – Equity

Stashbee, the fast-growing marketplace for space and storage, today announces that it has raised nearly £1 million in funding from more than 740 investors across 32 countries through its successful equity crowdfunding campaign on Seedrs. Originally seeking £500,000, the company reportedly surpassed the funding target in just 3 days.


 

2. UK – P2P

 

P2P Finance News reports a move by on platform to enhance liquidity.

“JUSTUS is making buying and selling loans on its secondary market easier by splitting them into smaller slices for investors.

The Cheshire-based peer-to-peer lender, which received Financial Conduct Authority approval last September, has added functionality to its platform to turn new loans into 100 micro-slices.

Investors using both the auto and manual-bid options can turn their loans into tradeable slices, which are subject to the platform’s standard terms and conditions.

“We anticipate lenders will feel more comfortable lending larger amounts to borrowers now they have the added comfort that if they need to cash out, the smaller loan slices are naturally more liquid,” said JustUs founder and chief executive Lee Birkett.

“To maintain and improve the JustUs platform liquidity, we have developed the functionality.”


3. UK – P2P

 

P2P Finance News reports:

“THE CAMBRIDGE Centre for Alternative Finance (CCAF) is to look deeper into the issue of peer-to-peer platform failures as it launches its 2018 Global Alternative Finance Industry Survey.

The survey will help inform research institute’s influential annual report on the P2P sector, which it hopes to publish in September. It will also include data from a series of anonymised off-record interviews with platforms over the summer that will look at issues such as platform failures.

P2P lenders will be asked the usual questions on lending volume and the number of investors as well as further queries on how firms are prepared for a platform failure.

The survey, which anonymises all responses, does not specifically mention Collateral but will assess how P2P lenders are preparing for problems, which they can raise during the off-record interviews.

 “Our hope is to shed light on the circumstances around [the Collateral collapse] and what measures are being taken to curb further problems,” Tania Ziegler, senior research manager for CCAF, said.

“This isn’t just an UK issue, so all platforms globally will have the ability to comment and respond.”


4. UK – FinTech

 

One happy VC reports in Forbes on the UK’s rapidly expanding sector.

– Europe’s most successful venture capital fund made $258 million from the sale of iZettle to PayPal, and is due to make $1.39 billion from the upcoming IPO of Adyen,

– Cofounder Neil Rimer says Index Ventures’ successes are a sign that fintech is “erupting”,

– Funding Circle is reportedly planning an IPO later this summer, which could push Index’s 2018 fintech gains to over $2 billion.

Neil Rimer is leading his venture capital fund to a $2 billion windfall from fintech, but just be careful how you describe the industry.

 

5. US – FinTech

 

A key crypto player leaves the blockchain building. Ripple CTO Stefan Thomas has left the building and has taken with him a model for smart contracts shelved by the company in 2015, reports Crowdfundinsider

“Thomas’s new venture, Coil, claims to have made smart contracts- literally, computer code-based contracts that can execute automatically when fed required data- more user friendly by simplifying the programming languages used and dumping the pesky blockchain.

Thomas, who says he started working on smart contracts at Ripple in 2013, claims that the still rarefied use of highly anticipated smart contracts cannot be explained away by claims that they are simply “too new.”

Thomas blames the world’s second largest blockchain, Ethereum:

“(T)he architecture hasn’t been flexible enough to deal with the complexity of real-world use cases. Ethereum is an excellent proof of concept, but it’s difficult to integrate with other systems, even forks of Ethereum. And without robust integrations, it’s impossible to build anything more than a proof-of-concept.”

It will also be possible, says Thomas, to program smart contracts at Coil using simpler coding languages than the very complex language used at Ethereum:

“Another benefit of Codius is that it gives the choice of programming language back to the user. Rather than having to write software in strange, special purpose languages like Solidity, developers can write contracts using any common language, including C++, Java, JavaScript, C#, and so on. This massively lowers the barrier to entry and makes smart contracts available to much wider audience.”

Resulting contracts, says Thomas, will be hosted on fast, centralized, “independent hosts,” and not on notoriously clunky, slow blockchains.

“This allows (Coil smart contracts) to interact with any service or API, scale infinitely, and read from or write to any blockchain,” writes Thomas. “The key challenge of smart contracts — interoperability — was solved.”

Ethereum, a vast global enterprise that for the past four years has tried to be both centralized (Ethereum Enterprise Alliance) and decentralized (Ethereum public blockchain) may have just lost the smart contract game to a programmer with avowedly mainstream pedigree.”



6. International – FinTech

 

Business Insider Australia reports an equity raise by a growing FinTech company.

“Mortgage marketplace startup HashChing, a fintch startup disrupting the monopoly of the big banks, has launched an equity crowdfunding campaign.

It’s currently live on the Equitise platform, which has one of the seven crowdfunding licences issued for the first time this year.

HashChing, which is seeking between $1 million and $5 million, has so far raised $286,500, at a minimum $250 investment, with another eight days to go.

“A slight difference in interest rates can cost a homeowner thousands of dollar each year,” says Mandeep Sodhi, founder and CEO.

“This is why one out of two Australians like to deal with a mortgage broker instead of going direct to the bank.”

HashChing, which launched in August 2015, provides a channel for potential borrowers to access home loan deals that have been pre-negotiated by brokers. The current pool now represents 60 banks and non-bank lenders.”