News Briefing - Crowdfunding, SME And Alternative Finance

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1.UK – P2P

Zopa has seen its valuation fall by 47 per cent following its latest fundraise to a new money valuation of £188m, according to AltFi.

"The news comes just one day after the P2P lending pioneer secured £140m from IAG Capital Partners, owing to Augmentum Fintech, an investment trust offering exposure to a portfolio of private companies aiming to disrupt financial services, releasing its half-yearly report showing the down round.

The trust wrote down £10.3m in the value of Zopa and its share price has fallen has fallen 4.67 per cent as a result today. 

Whilst the news was disappointing for Augmentum shareholders, the trust’s managers pointed to strong growth in its other holdings in revenue terms.

Augmentum said: “Our Top 10 holdings (excluding Zopa) have seen revenue growth of over 65 per cent, such that in the period under review we have a further four investments where we are lifting the investment value. However, we do expect some bumps in the road during the development of a portfolio of fast-growing companies and recent developments in Zopa meant that we have reduced the value of this investment.”

Analysts at Liberum say the write-down in Zopa was offset by valuation increases to four of Augmentum's top 10 investments, which totalled £14.9m."


2. UK – P2P

AltFi reports:

Greg Carter, the CEO of Growth Street, has stood down from his role.

Carter, who co-founded the business in 2014, is to remain with Growth Street in an advisory role, the company said.

Growth Street did not reveal details why Carter had stood down from the role.

Growth Street is now on the hunt for a replacement CEO.

It did not give a timeline on when it hoped to recruit a replacement.”


3. UK – AltFi/P2P


Natwest-backed Esme Loans has achieved £100m of lending to UK SMEs, reports AltFi.

Richard Kerton, CEO, Esme Loans (pictured), said “We’re extremely proud to have reached this crucial milestone in Esme’s growth. It has been a really encouraging year, and we’re delighted that so many SMEs have chosen to grow their business with us since our launch."

"In the last two and a half years we’ve seen the SME sector in the UK thrive, with many businesses showing disruption and innovation."

"As we look to the year ahead, we’re ready to support more businesses than ever before - but in the meantime, we would simply like to thank each and every one of our customers for choosing Esme.”

Esme Loans, which was founded in 2016, aims to double its overall lending in 2020.”



4. US – FinTech

Crowdfundinsider reports the decline of a corporate buzz word.

CB Insights, a company that provides a technology market intelligence platform that, “analyzes millions of data points on venture capital, startups, patents, partnerships and news mentions,” has noted a stark decline in mentions of the term “blockchain” in quarterly earnings calls.

According to the firm, “If executive mentions on earnings calls are any indication, it looks like blockchain’s best days are behind it after peaking in the 1st half of 2018.”


5. International – FinTech

Crowdfundinsider reports:

“Banking partner for SMEs” Kapilendo is issuing its first blockchain-based digital bond. According to the Germany based crowdfunding platform, FR L’Osteria SE, a “gastronomy concept” is issuing a tokenized bond using blockchain tech.

Kapilendo is a debt-based crowdfunding platform that caters to Mittelstand companies by offering debt products from €50,000 to €8 million. For digital securities specifically, offerings start at €500,000.

To date, Kapilendo has raised over €67 million for smaller issuers. The company has some interesting investors including Comvest Holding AG, FinLab AG, the pension fund of the Berlin Chamber of Dentists and Axel Springer.”