News Briefing - Crowdfunding, SME And Alternative Finance

many hands in a circle

1.UK – FinTech

The flight to cash amongst retail investors. AltFi reports:

“Octopus Cash is seeing a sustained rise in new deposits owing to the spread of coronavirus as financial advisers look for safe havens for their clients’ cash, according to a media update from the firm. 

The cash management solution, part of Octopus Investments, received £10.4m of new deposits in the week commencing 16th March, a record for a single week. It helped to push the first three months of 2020 to a record quarter for the firm with £91m in new inflows and £44m in net inflows after withdrawals.

This took the platform past the milestone of £300m in cash deposited, which now stands at £302m. However,  the firm says it will rise again quickly, with more than £34m of new applications currently being processed. 

The average pot size increased by 26 per cent from £133,000 to £166,000. Octopus Cash allows a notice account and fixed-term deposits of between 35 days and 24 months, with top tier rates and FSCS coverage of up to £680,000 by splitting customer deposits between different partner banks, which offer £85,000 of FSCS coverage per customer, per bank.”


2. UK – FinTech

BondReview reports:


“The CEO of the brokerage arm of Shinhan Financial Group, one of South Korea’s largest banks, has stepped down in an ongoing scandal partly involving the funnelling of investors’ money into Dolphin Trust (aka German Property Group).

Shinhan funnelled $306 million into Dolphin Trust via derivatives, according to The Korea Herald.

But the return on investment now looks bleak due to the repeated extension of maturity caused by the German authorities’ apparent reluctance to approve the project and other complications within between related parties.

Dolphin Trust first started defaulting on payments to investors in the latter half of 2018.”

3. UK – SMEs

Pound Sterling Live reports:

“The Bank of England has revealed that its flagship lending scheme aimed at supporting UK Small and Medium Enterprises through the coronavirus crisis will be made available from April 15, which is earlier than anticipated.

The Term Funding Scheme with additional incentives for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (TFSME) is one of the initiatives announced by the Bank of England and the Treasury to support households and businesses during the 'coronacrisis'.

The TFSME allows lenders to access four-year funding at rates very close to Bank Rate, which currently stands at 0.1%.

The scheme is designed to incentivise lenders to provide credit to businesses and households to see them through the current period of economic disruption and uncertainty caused by the coronavirus pandemic.”

4. International – FinTech


Cultivate is the brainchild of Blossom Capital’s Ophelia Brown and has described itself as “the first-of-its-kind investor platform.” The new platform hopes to “kickstart an angel ecosystem in Europe”, similar to that in Silicon Valley in the US, according to AltFi.

“The angel investor network is backed by several European founders who are looking to support “industry-defining startups” and help foster the next generation of unicorns.

Top executives from some of Europe’s fintech unicorns, such as Guillaume Pousaz CEO of, Nilan Peiris VP of growth at Transferwise and other execs from companies like Klarna and Spotify, are involved in the platform.

Over the next year, Cultivate aims to invest $5m pre-seed and seed funding rounds for 20 startups across Europe, with each startup receiving $250k.”


5. International – FinTech


AltFi reports:

“Billhop, a Swedish payment platform that allows businesses to pay invoices by card regardless of whether the receiver accepts cards, has today announced a partnership with Visa in Ireland.

Having already launched in the UK and Sweden, Billhop will now allow Irish customers to pay suppliers using their existing credit cards, without having to get the supplier on board.

The partnership will let existing Billhop customers use their Visa cards to pay invoices at a rate of 1.99 per cent, much lower than the usual rate of 2.95 per cent.

Currently, SMEs across the globe are facing the prospect of drying up cash reserves and it’s hoped that this collaboration will give SMEs a bit of breathing room.”