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 – Equity

Cambridge Network reports.

“Award-winning Cambridge company, Polysolar has decided the time is right to seek external investment to help accelerate the growth of the business. Over the past few years it has been pioneering and developing transparent glass technology and has now decided the time is right to scale up the commercial sales…

The company has chosen to partner with Crowdcube, Europe’s leading investment platform, to manage this process and invite any interested parties to invest from as little as £10. The pitch is live for one month from Friday 8th June 2018.”

2. UK – P2P

Silicon Republic’s Start-up of the Week is “Belfast and Edinburgh-based Orca Money, a young fintech that is out to transform peer-to-peer and alternative lending.

“Orca increases yield, diversifies risk and provides investors with easy access to the alternative lending market by using proprietary research to construct diversified investment portfolios,” explained Orca Money co-founder Jordan Stodart.

Orca Money provides investors with a platform to compare the various peer-to-peer (P2P) companies and products in alternative finance online.”

  

3. UK – AltFi

Development Finance Today reports.

"Barings Real Estate has provided an £83m loan on behalf of an institutional investor to support the freehold acquisition of 55 Mark Lane by Hao Tian Asia Investment Company Limited.”

Barings Real Estate supports office acquisition with £83m loan - Development Finance Today 

4. UK – AltFi

Bdaily on a new player’s growth.

“A Cheshire-based alternative finance company says there is significant interest in its services, evidenced by a deals pipeline worth in excess of £70m.

Snowball Alternative Finance, which launched in January this year having received FCA approval, is on track to smash its first-year target of £100m in deals as appetite in the business community for alternative forms of finance continues to rise.”

5. UK – FinTech

 

City A.M. reports.

“The UK has established itself as Europe's tech powerhouse, playing home to 37 per cent of Europe’s unicorn-status tech firms and topping the list of global destinations for tech talent.

With London Tech Week kicking off today, new figures show the UK claims 13 of Europe’s 34 unicorns - referring to companies with a $1bn valuation - including Deliveroo, Benevolent AI and Oaknorth Bank.

As a result, the UK’s unicorns now represent $23bn (£17.1m) out of a combined value of $62bn for all 34 companies, making it the continent’s premier location for fast-growing technology firms.

Over a third of all European firms that have gone on to become billion pound businesses since 1990 are from the UK, several of which have listed. Public companies like Zoopla, Purplebricks and Just Eat represent some of the UK’s 25 exits at $1bn or higher since 2010, research from Dealroom and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) finds.” 

6. US – FinTech

 

Crowdfundinsdier reports crypto regulation moves from Canada.

“The Canadian Government, under the auspices of the Department of Finance, has published a series of updated rules to strengthen Canada’s AML / ATF Regime that includes regulating businesses dealing in virtual currency.

The Canadian government states that the fast changing financial services industry is being influenced by virtual currencies, such as Bitcoin, and especially “decentralized payment systems,” that operate outside the traditional financial realm. The officials note that virtual currencies may be managed collectively unlike more traditional fiat money.

Convertible virtual currencies, that may be traded into fiat, are described as being “vulnerable to abuse for money laundering and terrorist activity financing purposes because they allow greater levels of anonymity, or in some cases complete anonymity, when compared to traditional non-cash payment methods.”

The fear is due to the ability to rapidly transfer funds that can circumvent “brick and mortar financial systems entirely,” cryptocurrencies are “increasingly being used to facilitate fraud and cybercrime, and to purchase illicit goods and services on the dark Web.”

The proposed amendments include the following:

  1. Persons and entities that are “dealing in virtual currency” would be financial entities or other entities deemed domestic or foreign MSBs, as the case may be. These “dealing in” activities include virtual currency exchange services and value transfer services. As required of all MSBs, persons and entities dealing in virtual currencies would need to implement a full compliance program and register with FINTRAC. In addition, all reporting entities that receive $10,000 or more in virtual currency (e.g. deposits, any form of payment) would have record-keeping and reporting obligations.
    These amendments serve to mitigate the money laundering and terrorist activity financing vulnerabilities of virtual currency in a way that is consistent with the existing legal framework, while not unduly hindering innovation. For this reason, the amendments are targeted at persons or entities engaged in the business of dealing in virtual currencies, and not virtual currencies themselves.

The entire list of proposed amendments is extensive and “maintaining the status quo” was said not be an option as it would “compromise the integrity of Canada’s financial system and the security and safety of Canadians at home and abroad.”


7. US – FinTech

As part of a probe examining possible manipulation in Bitcoin markets, the regulator responsible for overseeing futures and commodity trading in the US has subpoenaed four American cryptocurrency exchanges to produce volumes of trade data, WSJreports. 

 

Crowdfundinssider takes the story forward.

 

“Top cryptocurrencies turned red on the news as the probe drove traders to sell. Bitcoin, the most prominent crypto and the largest by market cap, saw its price decline dramatically.

Bitstamp, Coinbase, itBit and Kraken, four exchanges that provide Bitcoin spot prices used to settle futures contracts at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) and have all received subpoenas from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) after allegedly failing to voluntarily provide trade data.

The CME began selling Bitcoin futures in December 2018 and made the requests for data in January of this year after the first futures contracts settled.

The exchanges reportedly submitted only a few hours-worth of trading data, and called requests for more “intrusive.”

The Wall Street Journal reports that the relatively small submission of data to the CME frustrated its regulator, the CFTC, who the opted to issue subpoenas.

The CFTC is also said to be miffed that the CME did not have extensive data sharing agreements already in place with the four exchanges before it launched its Bitcoin futures products in December.

The CFTC is allegedly coordinating its investigation with another crypto market manipulation probe currently being pursued by the U.S. Justice Department. That investigation is supposedly focussed on other coins in addition to Bitcoin.

A spokesperson at Bitstamp declined to comment and a Coinbase spokesperson could not be reached.”


8. International – FinTech

John Zai, founder of Cocoon Networks, blogs on China as a venue in Business Insider.

“Previously, UK startups looking to make a name for themselves internationally would flock to Silicon Valley. But with investment there slowing down, UK entrepreneurs are faced with a difficult decision. Brexit’s shadow on the business landscape is creating some hesitancy among founders to keep their company in the UK without global links.

Despite the uncertainty, Brexit can be viewed as an opportunity to form closer business relationships with the rest of the world. There’s never been a better time for UK businesses to grow in China. Earlier this year, Theresa May brought a delegation of 50 UK business leaders to China to strengthen the partnership between the two countries.

Don’t be put off by the cultural differences: China has a rich history of business success, especially in tech. Chinese brands Huawei and Lenovo are two of the biggest names in global tech, with net incomes exceeding $7.27 billion and $353 million, respectively. China also has its own ‘tech giants’ operating within the country, such as Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent.”