News Briefing - Crowdfunding, SME And Alternative Finance

crowd on the move

1.UK - FinTech

CityA.M. runs a piece by a Conservative MP (propaganda warning) on the inclusive nature of a post-Brexit FinTech world…

“It was heartening to hear ahead of London Tech Week that the UK continues to be the leading European destination for technology investment, with British tech firms attracting nearly three times more venture capital investment than any other European country over the past two years.

Our tech sector continues to forge ahead, employing 2.1m people across the UK, with a new digital tech job being created every 50 minutes.

But if we are to retain our position as the tech capital of Europe, we must also ensure that we continue attracting the brightest and the best talent, as well as that investment.

London is an attractive destination for talent and budding entrepreneurs – our capital is open and tolerant, a melting pot of cultures and backgrounds from all over the world. Some 37 per cent of Londoners were born outside the UK. I myself came to London from Nigeria aged 16 and studied computer engineering.

From culture, cuisine and history, to nightlife, parks and fashion, London is unrivalled as a capital city.”

2. UK – P2P

P2P Finance News offers a chronology of P2P, starting in 2005.

"Although we still tend to think of peer-to-peer lending as a young sector, it is now 13 years since Zopa became the first lender in the market. It was joined five years later by Funding Circle and RateSetter and since then the big three have dominated the P2P market.

Here are some of the key moments in their journeys.

March 2005

Zopa is launched in the UK after being founded the previous year by a team which included the creators of internet bank Egg.

August 2010

After receiving £2.5m in funding from venture capital firm Index Ventures, the Funding Circle platform begins trading in the UK.

October 2010

Investment banker Rhydian Lewis and lawyer-turned banker Peter Behrens launch RateSetter, which is pitched as the first P2P platform with a ‘Provision Fund’ to help manage the risk of borrower default.

August 2011

The Peer-to-Peer Finance Association is established with the ‘big three’ as founding members. Zopa’s then-chief executive Giles Andrews is named as the inaugural chairman…”

3. UK – AltFi

Bridging & Commercial reports:

“Reward Finance Group has posted a record set of year-end figures as it revealed that its loan book had increased by 29% to £53m in the 12 months to the end of February 2018.

Over the same period, the alternative finance provider delivered over 120 new deals, an increase of 32% over the previous year. 

Profit before tax hit £4m in Reward’s sixth full year of operation. 

The lender increased its maximum loan term to two years, which has been facilitated through an additional £40m cash injection by Foresight Group.”

4. International – FinTech

AMBCrypto reports a crypto accelerator:

“Ethereum Classic, today, announced about their incubator programme which is launched by HCM, Digital Finance Group, and Digital Currency Group. The Ethereum Classic labs aim to provide both reliable investment and in-depth advice from industry specialists for growing startups on Ethereum Classic Blockchain.


ETC Labs are one of the first incubators which finance innovative projects on the Ethereum Classic Blockchain, for stimulating the development of Ethereum Classic community and ecosystem.

Their Twitter post read about the registrations being open for this program. The incubator programs provide startups with funding, office space, training, workshops, networking, and other resources. This program provides a hands-on guide to go through a business process on potential application topics, which are on ETC Blockchain. Their commission is 9% equity shares of the startup.

HCM is a corporate investment company whose investment strategy focuses on the “six flows”-information flow, technology flow, gold flow, logistics, human flow, and process flow of the latest economic industry.

…Ethereum Classic currently has a market cap of $1,366 billion with the price at $13.36 and has seen a fall of -1.58% over the last 24 hours.”

5. International – FinTech


Tech startup Blockmason has announced the launch of its new multi-currency expense sharing app, Lndr v1.1, according to Crowdfundinsider.


“The company previously revealed details about the app earlier this year. Lndr was notably developed as one of the fastest product deliveries on the blockchain and it is built on top of the BlockMason’s Credit Protocol.

While sharing more details about the app, Michael Chin, CEO and Founder of Blockmason, stated:

“Blockmason was founded on the belief that blockchain technologies are the architectural foundation for the next millennium. It’s our aim to help achieve this vision by building a formidable edifice of libraries, contracts, programs and decentralized apps. This new release of Lndr is a showcase for how our Credit Protocol and the blockchain can propel the $5 trillion consumer credit market into a more transparent and healthy future.”

Blockmason then explained that with Lndr v1.1, users can now record IOUs, loans or debts in more than 20 of the world’s most popular currencies. Further, users can settle these obligations across multiple currencies as they travel from one country to another. Lndr v1.1 also added support for ten new languages including Arabic, Czech, Hebrew, Hindi, Hungarian, Indonesian, Russian, Turkish, Thai and Vietnamese. Lndr v1.1 is now available on Apple’s App Store and Google’s Play Store.

6. International – FinTech

GulfNews reports on the latest funding round for a Dubai-based P2P platform, Beehive.

“When crowdfunding platform Beehive launched in Dubai in 2014, it didn’t just need to educate the market on its brand: It needed to introduce the concept of crowdfunding, and peer-to-peer lending, to the market from scratch.

Earlier that year, as Beehive’s founder Craig Moore was still putting the pieces of his lending business together, banks throughout the UAE were pulling funding from small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) as oil prices fell dramatically…

…When the platform went live towards the end of 2014, it promised SMEs the chance to receive debt financing from retail investors, instead of going to a bank.

“Banks pulled a lot of lines around 2014 because of the oil price crash. It was hard [as an SME] to get timely finance,” Moore said.

The platform allows investors to lend as little as Dh100 to businesses, with financing agreements varying from 60 to 120 days, to three years.

“We try to stay agile and meet the needs of the SMEs in the market. We worked hard to create a scalable enterprise transaction engine, which gives us great agility,” Moore said.

For example, says Moore, in direct response to a government call for greater support of Emirati SMEs, Beehive partnered with the Mohammad Bin Rashid Fund (MBRF) to underwrite all loans made to local businesses on the platform.

“Emirati businesses can borrow and if they go bust, the government will underwrite the finance,” he said.”


7. International – FinTech


China Money Network is a government-controlled information hub on venture capital, altfi, FinTech, etc. It purports to update on a daily basis.

8. International – FinTech

More on China. Crowdfundinsider reports on an accelerator:

“Ping An Fin+Tech Accelerator, a program created by Ping An Group and SparkLabs Group under Futian District government’s support, hastened its opening ceremony on Thursday. According to the organizers, this new accelerator is dedicated to providing innovative transformation of modern finance by nurturing global advanced technologies. Ten selected companies stood out from over 120 applicants from around the world and they have started the 3-month “Acceleration Adventure.”

The accerator organizers reported that the ten selected companies, advisors and mentors, experts and scholars in various fields from around the world included Jessica Tan, Deputy Group CEO, Group COO and CIO of Ping An Group, Ericson Chan, CEO of Ping An Technology, Jonathan Larsen, CEO of Ping An Global Voyager Fund and other industry thought leaders such as on the advisor group; Ricky Ou, Chief Product Officer of Ping An Technology, Jay McCarthy, Managing Partner of Pacific Advisers, Emmanuel Pitsilis, former Senior Partner of McKinsey and 60 additional global corporate executives that are part of the mentor group.”