Category Archives: Fundraising and Investing

EARLY BIRD OPEN: FFCO18: VELOCITY Blockchain, Crypto, Alt Investing Conference (Mar 5-6, Toronto)

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FFCON18: VELOCITY

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Blockchain | Cryptocurrency | Alternative Investing

Join Canada's leading financial technology and funding conference

Building upon three consecutive successful Canadian Crowdfinance Summits (CCS2015-2017), the National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association of Canada (NCFA) is proud to present 2018 Fintech and Funding Conference: VELOCITY (#FFCON18), an expanded 4th Annual of Canada’s leading financial technology and funding conference.

If you are a fintech investor, a company actively raising capital or key decision maker/stakeholder in technology and capital markets innovation initiatives and programs, FFCON18 is a must attend event delivering the most comprehensive thought leadership, education, networks, investment and pitching opportunities to 500+ global participants.

2018 is focused on BLOCKCHAIN, CRYPTOCURRENCY and ALTERNATIVE INVESTING and will be held on March 5-6 in downtown Toronto at the historic Design Exchange and various partner sites: The theme is all about speed, efficiency and reducing friction: VELOCITY.

"VELOCITY" uncovers and celebrates the rising stars and who’s who of fintech, blockchain and alternative finance, connecting high growth entrepreneurs and startups seeking seed and growth capital with venture capitalists, retail and accredited investors and institutional asset managers.

FFCON18 also attracts the industry’s thought leaders and pioneers, investors, technology and infrastructure providers, regulators, government, media and academia for an unforgettable ecosystem-building convergence in the historic Toronto Stock Exchange in the heart of downtown Toronto. The conference features 5 different streams of content, immersive learning and networking over 2 full days, including 50+ speakers, 15+ pitching companies, dozens of workshops, VIP 1x1 meetings and cocktail networking receptions.

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Early Bird before Feb 1:  GET 20% OFF!

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Quebec poised to become bitcoin mining hub as China cracks down on energy-sapping miners

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Global News | By Rahul Kalvapalle | Jan 18, 2018

Hampered by their own government, Chinese bitcoin miners are increasingly looking to Canada to house their lucrative but energy-sapping facilities.

“Currently, there are some so-called ‘mining’ enterprises that produce ‘virtual currencies.’ They have consumed huge amounts of resources and stoked speculation of ‘virtual currencies,'” read a translation of the document, according to Quartz.

Multiple bitcoin miners also told Reuters that local authorities were taking various steps to clamp down on their operations.

That’s prompting them to consider expanding abroad, and it looks like one of their first ports of call might be Quebec.

See: 

Canadians warned of new Bitcoin scam

Bitcoin's gender divide could be a bad sign, experts say

On Wednesday, Montreal-based blockchain consulting entrepreneur and bitcoin evangelist Francis Pouliot pitched bitcoin mining to representatives from the data storage, telecom and power industries at the Greater Montreal & Quebec Data Centre Summit.

He was there on Hydro Quebec‘s invitation.

Why Quebec?

It all comes down to cheap energy.

Hydro Quebec offers some of the lowest electricity rates in North America. The utility says the province has an energy surplus equivalent to 100 terawatt hours over 10 years. A single terawatt hour powers 60,000 homes in Quebec during a year.

“We have the energy available,” Eric Filion, customer vice-president for Hydro Quebec’s distribution division, told Reuters. “It’s a question of finding land and buildings quickly.”

Hydro Quebec wouldn’t divulge the names of miners interested in moving their facilities to the province, but said companies are eyeing operations from about 20 megawatts, the size of a data centre, to sites as large as 300 megawatts.

“Of the world’s top five largest blockchain players, we have at least three or four,” David Vincent, director of business development at Hydro Quebec distribution, told Reuters.

Last week, a spokesman for China-based Bitmain Technologies confirmed that the company was in talks with regional power authorities in Quebec, with an eye towards identifying potential bitcoin mining sites in the province.

Continue to the full article --> here

 


The National Crowdfunding Association of Canada (NCFA Canada) is a national non-profit actively engaged with social and investment crowdfunding, alternative finance, fintech, peer-to-peer (P2P), initial coin offerings (ICO), and online investing stakeholders across the country. NCFA Canada provides education, research, industry stewardship, networking opportunities and services to thousands of community members and works closely with industry, government, academia and eco-system partners and affiliates to create a vibrant and innovative fintech and online financing industry in Canada.  For more information, please visit: www.ncfacanada.org

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Jan 8, 2018: Intro Presentation on Raising Equity and Funding for your Startup

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NCFA Canada | Jan 15, 2018

Slides:  NCFA Canada Founder and CEO, Craig Asano, delivers a presentation on raising equity and funding for the graduating class of Founder Institute companies in Toronto on Jan 8:

  1. Equity & Funding Introduction Date: January 8, 2018 Prepared for: Founders Institute Toronto Prepared by: Craig Asano, NCFA Canada
  2. Fintech & Funding Association Massive Fintech Network Partners Advisors Members 90+ Platforms 20+ Providers 45 Portals 2018 2017 2016 2015 Oct 2012 Programs Services Global Network P1 P2
  3. Are you ready to raise capital?
  4. Are you ready to raise capital? Set your valuation appropriately • Look for comparable businesses • Geographic and investor group dependent • Discounted cash flow. Make your projections realistic. would you be willing to take your compensation as a % of forecast? • Ultimately a negotiation between investors and the business • Expect 10% - 30% dilution per round • Use preferred shares, convertible notes, SAFE / SAFT if uncertain or to avoid significant dilution How much time can you devote to funding? • Do not do this half ass. If after a defined period (ie 1 year) you’ve been unsuccessful then face facts (markets are highly efficient) • Understand potential impact to ego / brand equity and team motivation • Leverage templates. Be resourceful. Seek expertise.
  5. Are you ready to raise capital? How much money should we raise? • Determine key milestones that impact business’ value • IP strategy, Prototype • Sales and Revenue (ie repeat customers/month • Product/market fit or key development milestones • Human resources and team building (growth) • Raise what you need to get you to the next milestone (iterate and prove) Bootstrapping: advance your situation using existing resources Lean start-up: get to market and revenue positive as quickly as possible What non-dilutive sources of capital are available at each step?
  6. Are you ready to raise capital? Understand your initial capital structure (and dilution) • Founders (80-90%), Leadership team (10-15%), Advisors (1-3%) • Skin in the game • Put in writing and use vested agreements • Source cap table excel sheets online
  7. Where can I find Investors? • Identify potential investors and sources of funding (keep doors open): • Government grants / funds • Corporate sponsorships and grant programs • Friends and family, Loans and credit • Crowdfunding (Equity, debt/lending, reward, ICOs/tokens, Royalty) • Angel investors • Venture capital • Dealer-brokers, agents, intermediaries • Private equity interested in side-car investments • Ask for introductions • Global markets Sources of Private Capital
  8. Be strategic with your approach • Make a list of contacts that can realistically help (assign probability and amount you are seeking from them) • Seek to develop long term relationships and understand what you can offer them and vice versa. • Learning loop: Listen – learn – track and improve (alignment, probability) • Start building your funding networks yesterday • Online – personal & company profiles • Offline - Events, conferences, pitch forums, investor networks • Understand the timing of your ask relative to the ‘funding window’ and type of investor • Stay on top of funding research and news to find similar companies to learn from / with. • Ask for introductions • Turn advocates into loyal customers and investors Get in Funding Mode
  9. What are investors looking for? • A product/services that addresses a large market need (not a nice to have) • Team that can execute who has a solid understanding of business and challenges • Validation/proof (de-risk) • Some are seeking social impact or to balance impact with profits The Investment Process • Pitch deck is bare essential • Meet and greet is only the first step • All investment basics must be met • Due diligence review • Terms negotiated • Close (in person) What are investors looking for?
  10. Deal Breakers and Tips • Avoid one man team, no skin in the game, unrealistic valuations, serious character flaws • Raise equity capital with no clear purpose, to replace debt, pay big salaries, to develop an idea and not a business • Face to face meetings (3-5x more capital $ than email or call) • Securing initial key/lead investor will make raising $ significantly easier • Only invest if they know you, know the business and like the investment opportunity What you Need to get Started
  11. Basic Crowdfunding Models < $10K $10 - $250K < $100 - $350K+ < $250K - $3M+ Social Material Investment Benefits
  12. Raising Capital Online in Canada
  13. Wide distribution over the internet • Low cost, efficient, transparent capital • The `great equalizer` • Media/PR, awareness • Increase customer engagement and • Evangelize backers into investors (customer acquisition) • Reduce risk by getting feedback on new launches (product or ventures) • Market research Access to Capital Marketing Platform Validation • Raising funds via crowdfunding markets is a very public and transparent • Protect your IP and speak to a lawyer • Crowdfunding takes a lot of effort and commitment • The majority of Ideas fail to reach their funding goal • How will this affect your companies brand? Expose your Idea Resourcing Failure Crowdfunding Pros/Cons Benefits Risks For Companies
  14. Examples Source: Kickstarter Campaign page Innovation – Social – Incentives – Economic Growth Quidni Estate Winery (NCFA Director) • Just completed $100K equity raise (for 3% equity ownership) • Took over a winery. Went digital (including online wine sales). Converted virtual wine tasters into investors Impak Finance (Equity Offering) • Raised $1.2 million (goal was $500K for 6%) from 1450 shareholders to create first socially responsible Canadian bank • $500,000 in the first 24 hours! • Inclusive & accessible: $100 shares for $100
  15. NCFA Canadian Online Funding Directory Reward/Donation: Equity-based via Dealer: • Steady growth in portals • Equity, Debt & Royalties all emerging • Fintech is all the rage • Real estate and entertainment, film/media crowdfunding emerging Consumer and Small Business Loans:
  16. Crowdfunding Framework Planning & Strategy • The greater your planning efforts, the greater your chance of achieving your funding goal • Do not launch a crowdfunding campaign if you are not ready. (3 months) (40 days – 90 days) (Ongoing) Post-campaign • Your campaign is done but now you have to deliver on your promise • Fulfillment • Ongoing customer engagement Campaign Execution • Daily execution of tasks outlined in the campaign plan • Control, monitor and adapt Feedback Loop
  17. Success Factors SUCCESS 2. Network Strength • Sizeable online network and social media presence? • Will media/PR and influential bloggers cover your story? 1. Quality Idea & Pitch • Unique, enterprising and clear value proposition (conveyed online in a simple manner) • Get others excited about your story? • Clear funding target and specific goals? 4. Key Docs and Content • Compliant and necessary for investor review 3. Strong Committed Team • Is your team credible, committed and willing to deploy the resources and time to execute effectively? • Time management HARD WORK! 5. Marketing Campaign & Incentives • Planning and strategy with ability to execute through launch to post campaign
  18. Common Mistakes • We underestimated the time commitment involved • We didn’t test our campaign sufficiently • We launched before we were ready • We didn’t develop an accurate budget • We didn’t consult legal counsel or professional providers • We didn’t account for taxes • We tried to do everything on a shoestring • We didn’t realize how important the video was • We didn’t understand liability exposure (eg. misrepresentation) and intellectual property • We had little to no traction so we gave up • We blamed it on the portal
  19. Join Us Education & Research Market Access Crowdfunding Infrastructure Capital Raising Prep Services Support and Leadership Advocacy GET IT IN TOUCH Fintech & Funding Association ncfacanada.org crowdfundingsummit.ca

The National Crowdfunding Association of Canada (NCFA Canada) is a national non-profit actively engaged with social and investment crowdfunding, alternative finance, fintech, peer-to-peer (P2P), initial coin offerings (ICO), and online investing stakeholders across the country. NCFA Canada provides education, research, industry stewardship, networking opportunities and services to thousands of community members and works closely with industry, government, academia and eco-system partners and affiliates to create a vibrant and innovative fintech and online financing industry in Canada.  For more information, please visit: www.ncfacanada.org

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How to Fund Your Business

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NCFA Guest Post | Jan 15, 2018

If you have a vision for a business that you think will do well, then most entrepreneurs will probably say you should go for it. However, there is more to starting a business than just having an idea; you also need the funding to back it up. Getting this type of funding for a new venture can be difficult, but there are many avenues that you can pursue to get the capital you need.

Family and Friends

Seeking to fund your business from family and friends is an effective way to avoid things such as interest rates because you would normally just pay back the amount you borrowed. You could also give them a share of the profits or perhaps make them a silent partner. Some people are not comfortable asking their friends or family for funding in case it affects their relationship.

Bank Loans

Securing funding from a bank is not always a straightforward process because you need to satisfy them that your new venture has the capability to pay the loan back. In the first instance, you will need a strong business plan that contains all of the details about the company and how you are going to create sales. They will also be looking to your projected revenue to see if you will be making enough to repay the loan. The best part of going to the bank is that they will often have business advisers that can help you organize and grow your business.

Crowdfunding

Crowdfunding has taken off over the past few years, with more people looking to this type of funding for their new inventions and projects. The idea behind it is that you submit a detailed plan of what you want to do, and then ask people who visit the site to give you funding to achieve your goal.

See:  4 Important Source of Funding for the SME Industry in Canada

The money can be used to help build a prototype or to pay for you to rent some office space. They have been a hugely effective way for many companies to start their companies. In return for funding the project, those that contribute get an advanced product.

Business Partners

Some business owners will offer to fund for new startups that they find. As with other funding, you will need to discuss your business plan with them before they decide to fund you or not. In return, they will usually come into the company as a partner or shareholder. The good part about this way of funding is that you have someone with experience in business who can help you. Business partners mean extra knowledge – for instance, if you are experiencing Office 365 security concerns, you should find a partner who can help diminish these.

Along with these types of funding, there are other opportunities as well. You can speak to your local government who may have schemes that offer funding to certain companies. Whatever type of capital you manage to secure, they all have to begin with that great idea.

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The National Crowdfunding Association of Canada (NCFA Canada) is a national non-profit actively engaged with social and investment crowdfunding, alternative finance, fintech, peer-to-peer (P2P), initial coin offerings (ICO), and online investing stakeholders across the country. NCFA Canada provides education, research, industry stewardship, networking opportunities and services to thousands of community members and works closely with industry, government, academia and eco-system partners and affiliates to create a vibrant and innovative fintech and online financing industry in Canada.  For more information, please visit: www.ncfacanada.org

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Bitcoin’s gender divide could be a bad sign, experts say

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CBCnews | Anne Gaviola | Jan 1, 2018

Bitcoin, and the world of cryptocurrency, is a boys' club, say some experts, and that should be cause for concern.

Cryptocurrency is a form of digital currency traded between people or used to purchase goods outside of banks or government regulation — that's part of what makes it risky. Figuring out exactly who is putting money into this kind of asset is difficult because part of the attraction of investing in the crypto realm is the assurance of anonymity.

But survey after survey backs up what the anecdotal evidence suggests — women are underrepresented.

Google Analytics results put the divide at 96.57 percent men to 3.43 percent women.

See: How to Take Advantage of the New Trends in Blockchain, Cryptocurrency and Financial Technology

That's a huge red flag to Duncan Stewart, research director of Deloitte Canada's technology division.

"It isn't merely that the value has risen as far and as fast as it has; it's the fact that it's 97 percent men — that is, in and of itself, a potential danger sign," he says.

"There are studies out there that suggest men are predisposed towards bubbles in a way that women are not."

Stewart made his case in a recent online post on the subject. Stewart said he "cannot think of any security, currency or asset class in history that shows that extreme a gender divide and has been sustainable."

One reason is the well-documented lower risk tolerance of female investors. In other words, if women aren't getting involved, it's likely too risky, this line of thinking suggests.

The most comprehensive study on gender and the stock market shows that women who invest — whether their own money or on behalf of an organization — take a more cautious approach but tend to outperform their male peers in the long run.

'Role models are needed'

Stewart says he saw this in action during the dot-com boom and bust in the early 2000s.

Back then, he was an award-winning technology fund manager on Bay Street. Female fund managers represented about 20 percent of institutional investors at the time, but they shied away from the tech stocks the men were heavily invested in.

He recalls his female colleagues being mocked for not jumping in with as much fervor as the men — until the men began losing lots of money.

"Maybe they 'got' it better than the men did all along," Stewart said.

Iliana Oris Valiente is a rarity in the cryptocurrency world. She has emerged as a female leader in this space and was recently chosen to lead consulting firm Accenture's global blockchain innovation division (blockchain is the technology behind cryptocurrencies).

See: 

A chartered accountant by training, she began her career in the world of auditing but got hooked on bitcoin as soon as she heard of it in 2012.

Oris Valiente says when she entered the world of cryptocurrencies it was a noticeably male-dominated industry.

"In 2014, when this started to become a core component of my day job, I was regularly the only female in the room, period," she said.

She says things are changing, albeit slowly. "We're starting to see really strong females in leadership roles," she said.

For instance, of the largest initial coin offerings (or ICOs, which are fundraising mechanisms for blockchain-related projects) currently underway, about 13 percent are headed by women.

"They're acting as very powerful role models, and these role models are needed to encourage other women to potentially looking at this field," said Oris Valiente.

Continue to the full article --> here

 

The National Crowdfunding Association of Canada (NCFA Canada) is a national non-profit actively engaged with social and investment crowdfunding, alternative finance, fintech, peer-to-peer (P2P), initial coin offerings (ICO), and online investing stakeholders across the country. NCFA Canada provides education, research, industry stewardship, networking opportunities and services to thousands of community members and works closely with industry, government, academia and eco-system partners and affiliates to create a vibrant and innovative fintech and online financing industry in Canada.  For more information, please visit:  www.ncfacanada.org

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Ripple Overtakes Ethereum as Second Largest Digital Currency

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Coinsquare | Melanie Clay | Dec 31, 2018

Digital currency Ripple (XRP) recently overtook Ethereum and became the second-largest digital currency by market capitalization.

Bitcoin (BTC) currently has a market cap of $236 billion USD, Ripple $87 billion USD and Ethereum (ETH) $73 billion.CoinMarketCap reported a rise of 50% over 24 hours and the digital coin has grown by 700 percent since the beginning of December at a price of $0.25.

WHY THE RISE OF RIPPLE?

One theory on the current success of Ripple is the entry of new investors to the digital currency markets. These new investors are being driven by the global acceptance of digital currencies, the widespread adoption of blockchain technology, Wall Street acceptance, and increasing global regulation.

The earliest digital currency investors believed in the decentralized philosophies behind bitcoin and other early coins. Comparably, newer investors care more about finding safer investments as they join the digital currency bandwagon.

See: ICOs: New Model of Blockchain Capitalism

The volatile price of bitcoin thus leads investors to seek alternatives. Some believe bitcoin has peaked, others are looking for a cheap buy and a quick gain.

Investors who are looking behind the digital currency values and at the blockchain technology behind the currencies are choosing to invest money where future utilization and stability could lie.

Tech-savvy investors are looking to currencies which employ or support blockchains which show potential for global financial system implementation or wider technological use.

Ethereum, Ripple, and IOTA are three of a few which feature big name support and blockchain backbones which offer wider benefits for the finance and technology infrastructures.

See: Ethereum's Double-Edged Sword: Will a Rising Price Hurt Users?

RIPPLE AND RIPPLENET

RippleNet is the blockchain network behind Ripple coin. Investment in Ripple coin is funding its growth, brand, and development.

Ripple is developing RippleNet to provide “one frictionless experience to send money globally using the power of blockchain.”They propose a blockchain network which financial institutions can process customer payments “instantly, reliably and cost-effectively.”

Ripple has a powerful list of investors including CME Ventures, Accenture, Google, and Santander. Members also include many large banks and financial institutions.

RippleNet could connect payment providers, banks, corporations and digital asset exchanges. The third generation blockchain network aims to process transactions faster than SWIFT and handle the same volume as Visa.

The digital currency XRP offers to use a speed which currently outpaces Bitcoin and Ethereum. It takes seconds to process a Ripple (XRP) transaction, while it can take minutes for an Ethereum transaction and possibly hours for Bitcoin.

Continue to the full article --> here

 

The National Crowdfunding Association of Canada (NCFA Canada) is a national non-profit actively engaged with social and investment crowdfunding, alternative finance, fintech, peer-to-peer (P2P), initial coin offerings (ICO), and online investing stakeholders across the country. NCFA Canada provides education, research, industry stewardship, networking opportunities and services to thousands of community members and works closely with industry, government, academia and eco-system partners and affiliates to create a vibrant and innovative fintech and online financing industry in Canada.  For more information, please visit:  www.ncfacanada.org

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Bitcoin rises after report says early Facebook investor Peter Thiel is buying massive amounts

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CNBC | | Jan 1, 2018

  • Peter Thiel's Founders Fund has bought millions of dollars in bitcoin, The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday, citing sources familiar with the situation.
  • Those holdings are worth hundreds of millions of dollars, the newspaper says. It wasn't clear whether Founders had sold any of its holdings, the report says.
  • Bitcoin rises more than 11 percent to trade near $14,711, according to Coinbase.

PayPal co-founder and early Facebook investor Peter Thiel's Founders Fund has bought millions of dollars in bitcoin, The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday, citing sources familiar with the situation.

Bitcoin rose more than 11 percent to trade near $14,711, according to Coinbase, amid the report.

See:  Bitcoin is making banks nervous. Here’s why

The venture capital firm bought about $15 million to $20 million in bitcoin, and told investors that after bitcoin's surge in the last year, those holdings are worth hundreds of millions of dollars, the newspaper said. It wasn't clear whether Founders had sold any of its holdings, the report said.

Continue to the full article --> here

 

The National Crowdfunding Association of Canada (NCFA Canada) is a national non-profit actively engaged with social and investment crowdfunding, alternative finance, fintech, peer-to-peer (P2P), initial coin offerings (ICO), and online investing stakeholders across the country. NCFA Canada provides education, research, industry stewardship, networking opportunities and services to thousands of community members and works closely with industry, government, academia and eco-system partners and affiliates to create a vibrant and innovative fintech and online financing industry in Canada.  For more information, please visit:  www.ncfacanada.org

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