News Briefing - Crowdfunding, SME And Alternative Finance

escalator ascending into light

1. UK – FinTech 

Savings and investment app Moneybox has today kickstarted its first crowdfunding campaign with the hopes of raising £1m, although this target was reached in just 20 minutes, according to AltFi.  

“The fintech, which has a pre-money valuation of £142.7m, went into overfunding on Crowdcube within minutes, with the total amount raised currently sitting at over £3.3m from nearly 7,400 investors. 

The campaign for fresh funding comes just shy of two weeks after Moneybox closed a £30m Series C fundraise 

Ben Stanway, co-founder of Moneybox, told AltFi: “It’s not something we’ve done before and we’ve become one of the biggest savings and investment platforms in the UK in a fairly short space of time and a lot of that success has been down to our customers that have been with us along the way.”  

“So, we thought it felt right to share any future success that we have with that and enabling them to invest alongside out institutional investors felt right and exciting.”  

Stanway also revealed that the fintech was hoping to raise £1m, but “if there’s interest beyond that, we’ll just have to assess as we go.”  

Currently, there are more than 35,000 eager Moneybox customers on the waitlist for the campaign which went live at 9am this morning.  

The funds, which will be used alongside the recently-raise £30m Series C, will go towards building Moneybox’s platform up further with new technology and products and growing the Moneybox team, which currently sits at around the 130-mark.” 

2. UK – FinTech 

Finextra reports

“PayPal's former head of business development has been hired by UK-based card and mobile app provider Curve to act as its first chief financial officer (CFO). 

Scott Weller will be responsible for expanding Curve's finance function as the startup, which enables users to access mutiple bank accounts with a single card, continues to bolster its executive team. 

In January Curve appointed its first US boss as well as a VP for machine learning while the former head of Samsung Pay in Europe joined as COO late last year.  

Weller's signing was welcomed by Curve CEO Shachar Bialick who said that the former PayPal man's "unique knowledge of the payments landscape, make him the ideal candidate to lead our finance function". 

3. International - FinTech 

AltFi reports: 

“Thought Machine has raised an extra $42m (£33m) bringing its total Series B funding round to $125m (£97m). 

The funding round comes amid expansion plans at Thought Machine and features new investors. 

Eurazeo Growth, the equity arm of European investment company Eurazeo, led the additional funding raise, with British Patient Capital, the VC arm of the government-owned British Business Bank and SEB, the Norwegian financial services group which is a Thought Machine customer, also coming on board as new investors in a funding round which officially closes in August. 

The initial $83m of the Series B funding round was completed in March this year led by Draper Esprit with investment from Lloyds Bank Group and IQ Capital. 

Thought Machine, headquartered in London, will use the funding to invest in local expansion, including recruiting key staff in APAC, US and Australia as well as developing new products. 

Thought Machine was set up in 2014 by former Google engineer Paul Taylor and its clients include Lloyds Banking Group, Atom Bank and Standard Chartered, which use its cloud banking platform Vault.” 

4. International – FinTech 

If you’re interested in a very big and important market the UK won’t be part of very soon, here’s an announcement from WiredGov about crowdfunding in Europe. 

“The Council yesterday adopted new rules to improve the way crowdfunding platforms operate across the EU. 

The new framework is part of the capital markets union's project which aims at providing an easier access to new financing sources. It will remove barriers for crowdfunding platforms to provide their services cross-border by harmonising the minimum requirements when operating in their home market and other EU countries. It will also increase legal certainty through common investor protection rules.   

The new rules will cover crowdfunding campaigns of up to EUR 5 million over a 12 month period. Larger operations will be regulated by MiFID and the prospectus regulation. Reward- and donation-based crowdfunding fall outside the rules' scope since they cannot be regarded as financial services. 

The adopted rules provide a high level of investor protection, whilst taking into account compliance cost for providers: they set out common prudential, information and transparency requirements and include specific requirements for non-sophisticated investors. The rules for EU crowdfunding businesses will be tailored depending on whether they provide their funding in the form of a loan or an investment (through shares and bonds issued by the company that raises funds). 

The framework defines common authorisation and supervision rules for national competent authorities. The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) will have an enhanced role to facilitate coordination and cooperation, through a binding dispute mediation mechanism and the development of technical standards.” 

5. International – FinTech 

Japan Today reports: 

“Japanese crowdfunding companies said they have enjoyed a surge in business during the pandemic-induced economic havoc, as they quickly connect cash-strapped firms to people keen to donate, lend or invest. 

Makuake Inc said revenue in April-June rose 61% compared with the previous three months and 209% versus a year prior, with the number of projects and unique users soaring. 

Funds raised through Campfire in May rose six times from the same month a year earlier to 4 billion yen ($37.44 million), with benefactors rising almost five times to 390,000. Readyfor said total transaction value rose 4,400% in April from March. 

The University of Tsukuba said it raised 28.4 million yen via Readyfor to support its students who lost part-time jobs.”