News Briefing - Crowdfunding, SME And Alternative Finance

the silicon chip inside her head

1.UK – FinTech

UKTechNews reports:

“Libeo, a fintech company that simplifies the processing of supplier invoices for SMEs, has announced a new €4 million raise led by the British venture capital fund LocalGlobe, its historical investor Breega, and its current Business Angels.

This second round will enable Libeo to accelerate its growth, in a crisis context that increases the need for effective cash management.

Libeo was born out of a simple observation: companies continue to print out supplier invoices and pay them manually by bank transfer or check.”

2. UK – FinTech

Starling Bank’s CEO predicts the end of cash, and branch banking, in AltFi.

“Cash is a thing of the past"

One of the core changes Starling’s CEO believes coronavirus will bring is the accelerated demise of cash—something which clearly brings lots of long-term benefits as well as some challenges.

Boden told AltFi: “I think this current crisis will speed up certain changes in social trends that are happening and before you know it, I think paper money will largely disappear in the next couple of years, as people are not taking that cash out of the ATM.”

“E-commerce and shopping from home will become the thing to do rather than going into a shop and handing your card over. There are certain things that I think will make the need for physical items to disappear and with that the need to have a branch.”

Boden added that she thinks there is no going back now when it comes to digital payments and online shopping, “there are certain trends that make the need for physical items to disappear.”

And physical cash isn’t the only thing that the entrepreneur predicts will disappear post-coronavirus.

“The days of the branch are numbered”

It should come as no surprise that the CEO of an entirely digital bank doesn’t see the need for bank branches anymore.

“I don’t think there’s any going back now to branches. I think that people don’t want that face-to-face contact, people have got used to having contact on a browser on your phone,” Boden told AltFi.”


3. UK – AltFi

Great British Recapitalisation anyone? AltFi reports:

“Retail investors must be allowed to participate in new fundraises by listed companies, according to investment platform PrimaryBid, which has today published an open letter to bosses. 

The open letter addressed to“the boards and management teams of the UK’s listed companies urges boards to involve “individual shareholders and employees”, alongside institutional investors, in any discounted cash raises.

Anand Sambasivan, CEO and co-founder of PrimaryBid, said: “Retail investors should be afforded the same protections and participation rights as other company shareholders. The technology now exists to include retail in these fundraising details without compromising on timetable or execution.” 

“Coronavirus has put significant pressure onto many of the UK’s listed companies who now need to raise equity, including household names with large retail investor followings. It’s only fair that those retail investors can be part of a Great British Recapitalisation,” he added. 

Following the publishing of the letter, thousands of retail investors have reportedly signed up to use the platform.”


4. International – FinTech

The Bank of China’s somewhat secretive digital currency pilot program has made many people quite curious, reports Crowdfundinsider.

“The bank recently provided an official explanation of how the virtual yuan or renminbi was being tested and how it might work if and when it is launched.

A spokesperson at the Bank of China, which is one of the four largest state-managed commercial banks in the country, said during an appearance on the China Central Television on April 19 that the new national virtual currency pilot test was conducted in several major cities – including Shenzhen, Suzhou, Xiongan new area, Chengdu, and the future location of the Winter Olympics.

The spokesperson clarified that the ongoing tests don’t imply that the digital renminbi has actually been issued for use by the general public.”


5. International – FinTech

The European Commission (EC) intends on publishing possible legislation for digital assets or crypto-assets in Q3 of 2020. This is according to a statement Executive Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis on behalf of the EC. The reveal was squirreled away in a European Parliament question page, but spotted by Crowdfundinsider.

The statement in its entirety is republished below:

The 5th Anti-Money Laundering Directive(1) (5AMLD) introduced in 2018 a first set of anti-money laundering requirements related to virtual currencies. Meanwhile, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) adopted in October 2018 broader definitions of ‘virtual assets’ and ‘virtual asset service providers’(2). In addition, the Commission published in July 2019 its second Supranational Risk Assessment Report(3), in which the level of threat related to virtual currencies and virtual assets was considered as significant for both money laundering and terrorism financing.

The Commission plans to propose new legislative proposals in the first quarter of 2021 to ensure a more comprehensive EU policy on preventing money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT). Work at international level would suggest a need to expand the scope of sector or entities covered by AML/CFT to all virtual assets providers.

The Commission intends to come forward with a legislative initiative on crypto-assets(4) in the third quarter of 2020. To prepare this initiative, the Commission carried out a public consultation between December 2019 and March 2020.

This consultation had a dedicated section on AML/CFT aspects of crypto-assets. In particular, it asked for stakeholders’ views on the need to align the definition used in the EU AML/CFT framework with the FATF recommendation or with a ‘crypto-asset’ definition. The Commission will take those stakeholders’ views into account when preparing its impact assessment and legislative proposal.