Category Archives: Fundraising and Investing

OSC approves first ICO in Ontario to TokenFunder

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OSC LaunchPad | Nov 23, 2017

Release:  OSC Launchpad approves Token Funder to be the first token offering out of Ontario

OSC approves initial coin offering

Investment Executive | James Langton | Nov 23, 2017

The Ontario Securities Commission (OSC) has approved Ontario's first-ever regulated initial coin offering (ICO).

Under the auspices of the Canadian Securities Administrators' "regulatory sandbox", the OSC granted regulatory relief to Toronto-based Token Funder Inc., which will exempt the firm from the dealer registration requirements, and allow it to carry out an ICO under existing prospectus exemptions.

"We are pleased to announce that we just approved the first token offering out of Ontario. It is important that we continue to foster innovative new ways to raise capital and invest, and this announcement is a testament to the dedicated support we are providing in this space," the commission says in a statement.

According to the OSC's decision, the firm was established to create a "smart token asset management platform", which is intended to, among other things, "facilitate third-party issuers raising capital through the offering of blockchain-based securities, including tokens and coins."

Token Funder also intends to provide token and coin management and governance services for issuers, and to facilitate token transfers, subject to regulatory approval.

The proposed ICO will be used to fund the creation of the platform, and to facilitate transfers of digital FNDR tokens under prospectus exemptions. The firm is planning to create 1 billion FNDR tokens on the ethereum blockchain, and to distribute up to 200 million on them as part of the offering (raising around $10 million).

The relief was granted with conditions, including: the firm will conduct know-your-client (KYC) and a suitability review for each investor; and investors undergo a comprehensive onboarding process to ensure, among other things that they have a "detailed understanding" of cryptocurrency and digital token offerings.

This "should not necessarily be viewed as a precedent" for other firms, the OSC decision says.


The National Crowdfunding Association of Canada (NCFA Canada) is a cross-Canada non-profit actively engaged with both investment and social crowdfunding, blockchain ICO, alternative finance, fintech, P2P and online investing stakeholders across the country.  NCFA Canada provides education, research, leadership, support, and networking opportunities to over 1600+ members and works closely with industry, government, academia, community and eco-system partners and affiliates to create a vibrant and innovative online financing industry in Canada.  Learn more About Us or visit www.ncfacanada.org.

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Lending Loop Surpasses $10M in Loans to Small Businesses Across Canada

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Lending Loop | | Oct 18, 2017

TORONTO Oct. 18, 2017 – Lending Loop has officially helped provide financing of more than $10 million to small businesses across Canada. To date, the company, which is Canada’s premier peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platform, has helped over 180 small businesses in a variety of industries access funding to expand their businesses.

Speaking on the achievement, Lending Loop co-founder and CEO Cato Pastoll said:

“We’re excited to have hit this milestone in such a short period of time. It wouldn’t have been possible without the support of our rapidly growing community of 12,000 Canadians who are all helping to contribute to our collective success. Everyone knows how important small businesses are to the continued growth of our economy and we’re proud to be playing a part in helping their growth.”

Lending Loop’s unique P2P lending model allows Canadians across the country to lend their money to small businesses posted on Lending Loop’s online marketplace. These investors derive their return from the interest rate attached to each loan, which in turn corresponds to the risk rating of that business. By cutting out the banks and the middlemen, Lending Loop loans are often significantly more affordable than loans from other financial providers, with rates starting as low as 5.9%.

See:  Lending Loop launches “Auto-Lend” after raising new round of funding

When asked about the milestone, Lending Loop co-founder and CTO Brandon Vlaar said that:

“Our team is deeply passionate about helping the small business community thrive. We’re looking forward to helping even more small businesses learn about our better way to borrow, while also educating Canadians about how they can grow their wealth through this new and exciting investment opportunity.”

Continue to the full article --> here

The National Crowdfunding Association of Canada (NCFA Canada) is a cross-Canada non-profit actively engaged with both investment and social crowdfunding, blockchain ICO, alternative finance, fintech, P2P and online investing stakeholders across the country.  NCFA Canada provides education, research, leadership, support, and networking opportunities to over 1600+ members and works closely with industry, government, academia, community and eco-system partners and affiliates to create a vibrant and innovative online financing industry in Canada.  Learn more About Us or visit www.ncfacanada.org.

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From Expo to exploration: McBarge to find a new purpose at sea

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CBC BC News | By Bethany Lindsay | Oct 15, 2017

 

Pair wants to convert former floating McDonald's into a 'Deep Ocean Discovery Centre'

Vancouver's McBarge, that long-neglected relic of Expo 86, may soon be setting sail for a new life as a deep sea museum and conservation centre.

The hulking 57-metre vessel has been sitting in a secure yard on the Fraser River in Maple Ridge for the last two years, having two decades' worth of graffiti and damage from illicit partiers wiped away.

The McBarge last saw legal visitors in 1986, during its famous stint as a McDonald's restaurant.

But owner Howard Meakin and diving industry pioneer Phil Nuytten want to open the hatches once again. They plan to transform the McBarge into the "Deep Ocean Discovery Centre," a floating display of vintage diving technology and interactive exhibits about the Pacific Ocean.

"We want people to love the ocean, and before you can love something, you have to know about it," Nuytten told CBC News.

One idea would see television screens connected to underwater cameras stationed in various locations around Metro Vancouver, so visitors can get a closer look at sponge reefs off Whytecliff Park or cruise ships travelling under Lions Gate Bridge.

See:  Canada’s biggest obstacle to innovation is attitude

The centre would also be home to Nuytten's vast collection of antique submersibles, diving suits and other equipment, as well as his company's atmospheric diving system the Newtsuit, and high-tech successor the Exosuit.

That collection features several groundbreaking pieces of equipment developed in British Columbia, including the Pisces-class submarines and Atlantis Submarines' tourist submersibles.

"It's very well known in the global underwater community, as we call ourselves, that B.C. is a sort of cutting edge technology centre, a mecca — but almost nobody in B.C. seems to know that," Nuytten said.

Sophisticated Indigenous technology

But local innovations in underwater exploration began thousands of years before any Europeans set foot in North America, and Nuytten — who is Métis but was adopted into the Kwakiutl First Nation — is planning a strong focus on technologies used by coastal First Nations.

"It's surprising how sophisticated the stuff that they designed and built to do things underwater [was] — how sophisticated that is even compared to what we have today," he said.

One example of that technology is the tool developed by the Nuu-chah-nulth of Vancouver Island to harvest dentalium shells. These shells were used as currency across North America during pre-colonial times

The Nuu-chah-nulth's device allowed a harvester standing in a canoe on the water's surface to pluck one of the mollusks from the ocean floor, 10 or 20 metres below. Nuytten has built replicas of the tools that will be included in the centre.

Continue to the full article --> here

The National Crowdfunding Association of Canada (NCFA Canada) is a cross-Canada non-profit actively engaged with both investment and social crowdfunding, blockchain ICO, alternative finance, fintech, P2P and online investing stakeholders across the country.  NCFA Canada provides education, research, leadership, support, and networking opportunities to over 1600+ members and works closely with industry, government, academia, community and eco-system partners and affiliates to create a vibrant and innovative online financing industry in Canada.  Learn more About Us or visit www.ncfacanada.org.

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Most ICOs Fail: Tale of Two Worlds

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Hackernoon | Eric Risley | Sep 26, 2017

The number of Initial coin offerings has surged over the past six months. However, all is not as rosy as it appears. A nuanced assessment of token distribution activity tells a tale of two very different issuer experiences. Architect Partners evaluated over 100 project white papers augmented by data published by Smith + Crown and tokendata.io to move beyond the breathless headlines.

Successes

Yes, there are many successful token distributions. Since the beginning of June 2017, 46 projects have completed an ICO in line with their stated objectives, raising over $1.6 billion. On average these projects have raised $36mm to fund their efforts although outliers skew the data as the median raise was $19mm. Clearly these projects have demonstrated excellent receptivity by token purchasers.

Failures

However, most ICOs fail, sometimes miserably, at achieving their objectives. The vast majority of issuers indicated their token distribution goals via a stated goal, a soft cap or a hard cap. We simply evaluated final results vs. stated objectives. If an issuer achieved greater than 75% of their hoped-for token distribution, we considered it a success, below that level, a failure.

The token distribution market has quickly become more difficult. In June 2017, only one project failed to reach their objective. However, subsequent months tell a far different tale. From July 1 through September 25th 2017, 51 ICOs launched with high hopes, yet failed to meet their own objectives. These represented an astounding 59% failure rate for all ICOs during that time period.

Join us Nov 16 for a Toronto event:  New Frontiers in Capital Innovation - Initial Coin Offerings

Some may contend that even failure is beneficial to a project as it raises funds to allow the initiation or continued development of the project and team’s vision. In some cases, that’s a quite reasonable argument, however, in many cases the value proposition of the actual token issued is seriously compromised, perhaps permanently. Also, the level of capital raised from a failed token distribution is rapidly declining, from a median of $4mm in July 2017 to $2mm in September 2017 and 21 (43% of the total) raised $1mm or less from their efforts.

Chart: Token Distribution Success Rate

The chart below details each project evaluated and the results:

Lessons and The Future

We are clearly seeing a first step in the maturation of the ICO market. While each token distribution success and failure requires its own analysis, it’s clear that the market is doing what markets do best: make efficient decisions. That’s not to say all the successful token distributions will become successful projects and vice versa, however, a stark two-tier market has quickly developed via “crowd behaviour”.

Continue to the full article --> here

The National Crowdfunding Association of Canada (NCFA Canada) is a cross-Canada non-profit actively engaged with both investment and social crowdfunding, blockchain ICO, alternative finance, fintech, P2P and online investing stakeholders across the country.  NCFA Canada provides education, research, leadership, support, and networking opportunities to over 1600+ members and works closely with industry, government, academia, community and eco-system partners and affiliates to create a vibrant and innovative online financing industry in Canada.  Learn more About Us or visit www.ncfacanada.org.

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Vancouver Conf + Hackathon (NOV 28): 3rd VanFUNDING 2017 New Frontiers Fintech Conference + Sandbox Hackathon (Registration Now OPEN)

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NOV 28:  3rd Annual VanFUNDING 2017

New Frontiers Full Day Fintech Conference (#VF2017)

When:  Tuesday, NOV 28, 2017 (8am - 6pm)

Venue: Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue (Asian pacific hall)

580 W Hastings St, Vancouver, BC V6B 5K3 (map)

$350 Registration / *$395 VIP Pass

 $250 Member Discount / *$295 VIP Pass

*VIP Passes (Include Nov 28 + Nov 27 Networking)


NOV 28:  VF2017 Sandbox Hackathon

Full Day Mini-Hack + Cash Prize + Rewards

When:  Tuesday, NOV 28, 2017 (8am - 6pm)

Venue: Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue (Concourse)

580 W Hastings St, Vancouver, BC V6B 5K3 (map)

*$400 Small Team (2-3 members)

*$650 Large Team (Up to 6 members)

* Hackathon is co-hosted with the BC Securities Commission

 


NOV 27:  VIP Networking Reception

Pre-VanFUNDING VIP Mixer

Monday, NOV 27, 2017

Venue:  TBD

$75 Registration

* Networking with speakers, partners, investors and VIP attendees

SAVE 30% EARLY BIRD REGISTRATION NOW OPEN!

View #VF2017 Release

Not to be missed - will sell out! Last conference of the year...

3rd VanFUNDING 2017 (#VF2017) is an immersive full day financial innovation forum and premiere hackathon hosted by the National Crowdfunding Association of Canada, partners and affiliates on Tuesday, Nov 28 in downtown Vancouver, Canada at SFU's Morris J Wosk Centre for Dialogue. #VF2017 is a leading conference dedicated to accelerating access and development of emerging financial technologies, funding opportunities and capital innovation markets across Canada and around the world. The conference ignites venture markets and provides opportunities for startups and scaleups seeking to connect with financial innovators, private capital markets, investors, and partners to expand their networks. The 2017 agenda covers the hottest topics from Blockchain smart contracts and Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) to the latest developments, emerging regulations, new business models in PeerToPeer (P2P) crowdfinance, fintech, alternative finance, cryptocurrencies, artificial intelligence applications, and global financial marketplaces. Other vital capital innovation topics will cover international developments, perk/rewards, lending, equity, royalty, market provisioning and infrastructure; investor marketing, leadership culture, cyber security and legal and financial considerations.


Learn the Latest Funding Opportunities and Fintech Market Developments and Plug into a Collaborative Community of Experts, Investors, Stealth Startups, Prospective Partners and Financial Innovators

VanFUNDING 2017 is a not to be missed BLOCKCHAIN and FINTECH FUNDING conference that pushes boundaries to discuss the latest developments, educate, inspire, and connect ‘You and your vision’ with leading innovators, entrepreneurs, investors, vendors, thought leaders and policy makers in the quickly emerging sectors of fintech, P2P, crowdfinance, blockchain ICOs, digital currencies and alternative finance.

Be part of the Future of Financial Services - Get Involved Today!

Interested in speaking? Applications Now Open

Partnership opportunities available! Sponsorship Info

Volunteer? Apply here

MEDIA pass? Visit here

 

Questions or in-kind Partnerships?

Email: info@ncfacanada.org

 

Visit the full VanFUNDING.ca website --> now

View Last year: Speakers | Partners | Wrap-up

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Five common options for financing your small business

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Financial Post | Danny Bradbury | Oct 10, 2017

Which method you choose depends on your company's current situation and its goals

For most small businesses, financing can be a challenge. Whether you need bridge capital to keep the business running in tough times, or structured debt for long-term growth, it pays to have a strategy for seeking out those elusive financing dollars. Statistics Canada found that just over half (51.3 per cent) of businesses requested external financing in 2014.

Equity-based financing options like venture capital often make the headlines, but less than one per cent of small businesses requested this in 2014. Debt-based financing is far more common, as is trade credit from suppliers.

Here are five financing options to turn to, depending on the type of small business you run, and its situation.

Bootstrapping

Funding yourself is a long-established and responsible way to get a small business off the ground. Bootstrappers are risk takers but also lateral thinkers. Rather than saddling themselves with debt or giving up ownership of their small company, they will use their own savings and potentially sell some assets to help finance their business in the early days.

Bootstrappers may work a side gig until they are confident that their new business idea has the legs to stand on its own. They may pre-sell products and services to help fund early-stage development. The successful ones cleave to one overarching principle: get to revenue quickly. If you’re going to bootstrap your company, the only thing that counts is the sale.

Small business loan

A small business loan is the most traditional route for those taking a debt-based approach to small business financing. Banks are often a first port of call, although they are naturally conservative, and they understand the higher risk involved with smaller operations that may have little to no credit history or collateral. This can make bank loans difficult to secure and could drive businesses toward such alternative lenders as OnDeck. Always ensure you understand the exact terms – and your payment commitments – before agreeing to a loan.

In Canada, another option is the government’s Small Business Financing Program, which provides up to $1 million in financing for purchasing or improving land, property or equipment. There are limitations though: working capital, inventory, labour and advertising are all excluded under this initiative.

Friends and family

If conditions from a financial institution are not to your liking, you could always borrow money from the Bank of Mom & Dad. Friends and family funding is a common way for small, high-growth businesses to get started, but it comes with some baggage.

See:  Current Fintech, Altfi, P2P, ICO, Crowdfunding News

It’s easy for money issues to cloud personal relationships, so small business people pursuing friends and family financing must be careful not to let emotion get in the way. Set out clear expectations around loan terms, including a percentage and payback date. Just because you were raised by those doing the lending doesn’t mean you can do away with legal advice. It keeps everyone on the same page.

Angel investors

Small business owners willing to give up some equity can go in search of an angel investor. These full-or part-time investors put their own money into early-stage businesses, hoping for future return if they succeed.

You may give up part ownership of your company to these investors, but they often bring contacts and experience difficult to find elsewhere. It also means that you aren’t saddled with loan payments that can cripple your cash flow. AngelList connects investors with startups, while Canada’s National Angel Capital Organization has a directory of potential investors.

These investors suit entrepreneurs with high-growth businesses and a clear exit strategy. Would-be Mark Zuckerbergs should apply. Owners of family-run laundromats with no plans to take over the world should look elsewhere.

Crowdfunding

If your business idea is that good, why not spread it around? Crowdfunding is a growing financing model, with $133 million raised in 2015 alone, according to a report from the National Crowdfunding Association of Canada. Consumer-focused businesses with some digital element to their products or services tend to do well with this model.

See:  VanFUNDING 2017 - NOV 28 Vancouver:  Raise Funding for Your Business leveraging All the Latest Methods

You can crowdfund using two broad approaches: reward/donation-based models, or debt/equity funding. The former are unregulated outside of traditional consumer protection and business laws. Selling equity in the company or taking loans with some promise of payback will bring you under regulatory scrutiny, but is still possible in some regions.

The Government of Canada’s Canada Business Network says equity crowdfunding is currently an option in British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. Conditions vary between provinces and depend on exactly how your crowdfunding process works.

Continue to the full article --> here

The National Crowdfunding Association of Canada (NCFA Canada) is a cross-Canada non-profit actively engaged with both investment and social crowdfunding, blockchain ICO, alternative finance, fintech, P2P and online investing stakeholders across the country.  NCFA Canada provides education, research, leadership, support, and networking opportunities to over 1600+ members and works closely with industry, government, academia, community and eco-system partners and affiliates to create a vibrant and innovative online financing industry in Canada.  Learn more About Us or visit www.ncfacanada.org.

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This ICO for an AI blockchain is the most tech-hype idea of the year

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Wired |

We might have just hit Peak 2017 Buzzword: a startup is about to launch an Initial Coin Offering (ICO) to fund a blockchain-based network of Artificial Intelligences (AI), called SingularityNET.

Its goal — as the venture’s Kurzweilian name sort of gives away — is fostering the emergence of human-level artificial intelligence on a decentralised, open-source platform, spoiling the game for governments and technology colossuses striving to conjure up general AI in their secretive data centres.

The driving force behind the project is Ben Goertzel, a Hong Kong-based AI researcher and Chief Scientist of Hanson Robotics, a company specialised in building humanoid robots — such as eerie talking head Sophia. Over the last few years, Goertzel has grown wary of the concentration of AI power in the hands of a few Silicon Valley giants.

“I don’t think that what’s happening—with a few companies essentially owning AI, hiring every AI researcher, and buying every AI startup— is best for humanity,” he says. “It means that eventually human-level AI will come from these big corporations.”

Making that undesirable, Goertzel’s reasoning goes, is the fact that those companies might train their AIs towards finding new ways of lining their makers’ pockets—for instance, by perfecting targeted advertising—rather than tap into their power for tackling serious issues like climate change. Government-funded AI research is also problematic, as the resulting AI would be in thrall to powerful lobbyists or self-serving bureaucrats.

See:  The Age of Artificial Intelligence in Fintech

To break the AI oligopoly, Goertzel is turning to the blockchain, the digital scaffolding underpinning cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin. Transactions on a blockchain are collectively processed by a multitude of computers (“nodes”), a structure ensuring that no single party controls the network. Recent developments have expanded the technology’s potential beyond exchanging digital currency: second-wave blockchains like Ethereum can run whole applications, able to interact with each other through self-enforcing sets of rules dubbed “smart contracts.” These features make the technology particularly attractive to Goertzel.

“SingularityNET’s idea is to create a distributed AI platform on the [Ethereum] blockchain, with each blockchain node backing up an AI algorithm,” Goertzel explains. AI researchers or developers would be able to make their AI products available to SingularityNET users, which would pay for services with network-specific crypto-tokens.

Initially, the plan is to have a system that provides visibility — and payment — to independent developers of AI programmes. “As a customer, you'll be getting AI from anyone, be it a technology giant or a programmer in Ethiopia or Kazakhstan,” Goertzel says. At first, these programmes will probably be relatively mundane applications, such as translation services or image recognition software.

The wrinkle is that, courtesy of the smart contract mechanism, these AI agents would be capable of communicating with each other, and even working together when necessary. For instance, Goertzel says, a translation application coming across a picture while translating a file could automatically ask (and pay) a computer vision programme to caption the image. Over time, Goertzel hopes that these repeated synergies would go on to become something more complex.

“We want create a system that learns on its own how to cobble together modules to carry out different functions. You'll see a sort of federation of AIs emerge from the spontaneous interaction among the nodes, without human guidance,” he explains. “It’ll have AI inside each and every nodes, and between them, and they’ll learn how to combine their skills.”

The expected endgame is that these swarms of smart nodes would get as intertwined as clusters of neurons, eventually evolving into human-level AI. Goertzel admits that it might take decades for that to happen, but he is positive that the primary purpose of the SingularityNET project is bringing about “beneficial Artificial General Intelligence” (that is: human-level AI).

Despite the hype which has characterised AI products — essentially, anything using some measure of machine learning — over the last couple of years, a hype partly fuelled by objective breakthroughs such as DeepMind AlphaGo’s achievements, the prospect of human-level AI spontaneously arising anytime soon is pretty remote. But if that were to happen, Goertzel says that what comes out of SingularityNET would be a strong AI that is beholden to no one and theoretically open to everybody to use; its decentralised infrastructure would also ensure that it would be very hard for ill-disposed parties to take it down. That resilience is good if the resulting super-intelligent entity is a juggernaut of artificial wisdom, humanity and self-restraint — much less so if what the network begets is the villainous robo-villain Elon Musk keeps warning us about.

But Goertzel is relatively untroubled by the Skynet scenario, which he thinks could be prevented by ensuring that SingularityNET's nodes only host beneficial projects.

See:  [Nov 16, Toronto Event]: New Frontiers in Capital Innovation – Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs)

“One way to go about this would be to guarantee that a certain percentage of the network is devoted to tasks that are voted by the community as being of common benefit: charitable tasks, biomedical research, education,” he says. “If the first human-level AI grows up helping everyone, then it's more likely that it'll that ethos. It's not a guarantee, but it's certainly better than it would be if it were spawned from a killer robot or an advertisement engine.”

All of this is very far off in time, though. Right now, Goertzel and his partner Simone Giacomelli hope to launch the project in the second quarter of 2018. In November, SingularityNET will crowdfund the completion of the project by launching an Initial Coin Offering or ICO: the sale of virtual tokens—to be used as a form of payment on the platform—to future users or speculators betting on the tokens' appreciation over time.

Continue to the full article --> here

The National Crowdfunding Association of Canada (NCFA Canada) is a cross-Canada non-profit actively engaged with both investment and social crowdfunding, blockchain ICO, alternative finance, fintech, P2P and online investing stakeholders across the country.  NCFA Canada provides education, research, leadership, support, and networking opportunities to over 1600+ members and works closely with industry, government, academia, community and eco-system partners and affiliates to create a vibrant and innovative online financing industry in Canada.  Learn more About Us or visit www.ncfacanada.org.

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