Category Archives: Fundraising and Investing

Fans donate over $500K to Vancouver’s independent Rio Theatre so it can buy its own space

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The Star Vancouver | By | Apr 17, 2018

Corinne Lea, who owns and operates the movie theatre, is starting a new non-profit to help other arts and culture organizations grapple with the city’s affordability crisis.

VANCOUVER — After raising over half a million dollars, the Rio Theatre’s crowdfunding campaign has come to a close, and business owner Corinne Lea is already working to pay it forward.

The Vancouver Art House Society, a newly formed non-profit will manage the money raised through Lea’s campaign, and attempt to purchase the building so that the movie theatre business can continue to rent it out indefinitely. Following the purchase of the building, the VAHS will be looking to see how it can help other struggling arts groups in the city.

“Just like we did with the Rio, we could do for others,” Lea said, explaining that the organization could help with fundraising campaigns for other arts and culture spaces.

One of four remaining independent movie theatres in Vancouver, the Rio Theatre came under threat this winter when the property owners announced they had put the East Broadway building up for sale.

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Panicked, Corinne Lea began rallying with community members to raise $3.5 million for a down payment on the building. The crowdfunding campaign drew to a close late Monday night with over $500K, making history as the highest-funded campaign to save a theatre through Indiegogo’s fundraising platform. As for the rest, Lea said she will be turning to private investors.

In the midst of the fundraising chaos, Lea and others launched the VAHS and if all goes according to plan, the new non-profit will become the owner of the building.

David Duprey sits on the VAHS board and has been closely involved with its launch. He is the owner of several Vancouver bars — including The Rumpus Room, The Narrow Lounge, and The Emerald Supper Club — and wants to see creativity thrive in Vancouver.

“There’s a lot of stress out there for a lot of art spaces, I mean Red Gate’s about to have to move and the Beaumont’s got $100,000 in property taxes it has to pay a year,” he said.

The VAHS, Duprey said, will help organizations and businesses find and attract investors and advocate for art spaces at city hall.

Despite Lea and Duprey’s forward-thinking, there’s still a lot to be done to save the Rio Theatre, the VAHS’ first project. Lea said that despite the generous offers from private investors, she still needs to come up with at least $1 million for the down payment before May 7.

Challenges aside, community members remain hopeful.

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The National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association of Canada (NCFA Canada) is a cross-Canada non-profit actively engaged with both social and investment crowdfunding, alternative finance, fintech, P2P, ICO, and online investing stakeholders across the country. NCFA Canada provides education, research, industry stewardship, and networking opportunities to over 1600+ members and works closely with industry, government, academia, community and eco-system partners and affiliates to create a strong and vibrant crowdfunding and fintech industry in Canada.  For more information, please visit:  www.ncfacanada.org

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Canadian Expats Can Now Repatriate Their Pensions

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NCFA Guest Post | April 16, 2018

If you are in your 30’s or 40’s, you are probably not too concerned as yet about your retirement; you still have a few years work ahead of you. It is surprising how quickly those years will disappear though, and if you have not prepared for it, you could find yourself much worse off financially once you stop working.

You may be contributing to a pension scheme of some sort, either through your employer or by making personal payments. There is also the possibility that you have built a pension pot while working in another country, and if that is the case, you need advice about the option of moving it to your pension fund. For instances, Canadian expats can now repatriate their pensions, if they have contributed to the UK state scheme.

Have You Worked In The UK?

If you have been employed in the UK, you will have had national insurance and tax deducted from your pay under the PAYE scheme. Part of the national insurance is put towards your state pension, but if you then go to live in another country, that money just sits there in a pension pot.

The money can be transferred into a SIPP or a ROPS if you live in a country outside of the EU. The process is drawn out and complicated, and you will definitely need UK pension help to achieve this successfully.  Chatting with an organisation such as UKPensionGuru is the thing to do, as they have the experience, knowledge, and expertise you need to help you.

There Are Taxes To Consider

There is more than one way to get your pension pot transferred, but if it is not done in the right way, the taxman will want a cut. It could be that your total income takes you above tax limits anyway, but you at least want to know that the amount you have to pay has been minimised as much as possible.

Then, of course, there are the tax laws in your new country of residence to consider. The more you look into it, the more complicated it gets, which is why it is vital to seek the best UK pension help available for expats and people who have worked in the UK.

Let Your Pension Pot Make More Money

If you leave your money sitting in the UK pension scheme, it will not grow and make you any more money. Transferring it to a SIPP or ROPS is a different matter. Then your money will grow and over the number of years you have left to retirement, the difference can be quite amazing.

The amount of your pension when you retire will mean the difference between being able to do what you have planned or scraping by on a low income. The sooner you put matters in order, the better your pension will be. Don’t let yourself lose out just because retirement seems such a long way off - start looking for the UK pension advice you need now.

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The National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association of Canada (NCFA Canada) is a cross-Canada non-profit actively engaged with both social and investment crowdfunding, alternative finance, fintech, P2P, ICO, and online investing stakeholders across the country. NCFA Canada provides education, research, industry stewardship, and networking opportunities to over 1600+ members and works closely with industry, government, academia, community and eco-system partners and affiliates to create a strong and vibrant crowdfunding and fintech industry in Canada.  For more information, please visit:  www.ncfacanada.org

 

 

 

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The Wait for Grams: Why Telegram Might Just Cancel Its Public ICO

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Coindesk | Brady Dale | Apr 11, 2018

The average crypto enthusiast isn't likely to get their hands on grams - Telegram's crypto token - anytime soon.

While half of the ambitious $1.2 billion the messaging giant hoped to raise was supposed to come from an ICO open to public investors, recent SEC filings confirm Telegram has already raised $1.7 billion from two private sales. Now, sources with knowledge of the deal believe the company is likely to scrap its public sale altogether.

The reason? Raising money from the public could be way more trouble than it's worth.

For one, Telegram's blockchain, called the Telegram Open Network (TON), hasn't been built yet. (To be clear, no one has received any grams.) As such, Telegram is selling what basically amounts to IOUs for future grams under the Simple Agreement for Future Tokens (SAFT) framework.

That means - as displayed by the company's SEC filings - the company is selling a security, which cannot be sold to non-accredited investors (except under some exemptions).

"The regulatory environment is in a weird place with most teams having more questions than answers," said Anthony Pompliano, a general partner at Morgan Creek Capital Blockchain. "If teams can raise their capital goals in private sales, they'll continue to do so until there is less ambiguity in regulations."

This appears to be what Telegram is doing, although it's been tough to tell exactly what the founders are thinking since they've said nothing about the ICO or TON, both of which the white paper details will help facilitate a network of faster payments, file-sharing, decentralized privacy, domain registration and more.

Telegram did not respond to a request for comment.

Pompliano told CoinDesk:

"The goal of fundraising is to gain access to capital to allow a team to build a product and company. It appears Telegram has already achieved their goal so there would be no reason to conduct a public sale."

Tech first

This is especially cogent as it relates to the amount of work a legal public sale would entail.

For one, Telegram would have to go through a know-your-customer and anti-money laundering verification process to be able to sell to everyday investors.

For private, known investors that have been identified plenty of times for investment purposes, the verification work is less cumbersome, but for a store cashier who is investing for the first time, it's more challenging to prove they are who they say they are. And it just has to do it so many more times. This would be no small lift and may not be attractive to a company that already has plenty of money.

Plus, there's already a secondary market for grams whereby small investors are buying the crypto tokens from whales that got into the private sales, according to Alexander Borodich, an alum of the Mail.ru Group, one of Russia's largest tech companies, and an angel investor passed on the opportunity to invest in Telegram's ICO.

As such, he said it's unclear whether a legit public sale will happen.

The TON technical white paper describes an ongoing token sale that will continue intermittently well into the future. That phase may be a sort of public sale, but one that won't begin until the protocol launches.

See:  George Soros Prepares to Trade Cryptocurrencies

And according to Sid Kalla of the Turing Advisory Group, building the product before selling to the public would be that smart thing for Telegram to do.

He told CoinDesk:

"The private sales were raised at around the top of the market euphoria. For a public valuation to reach back to those levels, the crypto community would need to see something concrete."

Public opinion

Which is another reason Telegram may discard it's public sale for some time - so it doesn't have to deal with thousands of people's unsolicited opinions.

When a company decides to do a public sale, it introduces complexity into its public relations.

That's why large, publicly traded companies devote whole departments to investor relations, said Stephen Palley of the law firm Anderson Kill. And that's something young startups may not have bandwidth to manage, he said.

"In this twilight world of ICO crowdfunding, you have a company that's brand new, it's a startup ... You suddenly have thousands -- tens of thousands -- of people who feel like they are stakeholders," Palley continued, adding:

"Do you really want to manage all those people?"

While Telegram is five years old, it's still a relatively small company that's so far bootstrapped development of its messaging platform from the founders' own pockets, which suggests it doesn't have experience in investor relations.

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Kalla agreed, telling CoinDesk, "Since Telegram is trying to solve several hard technological problems (like sharding, say) there may be inevitable delays and setbacks. The private investors are likely more used to such things than the public at large."

As much as possible

That said, not everyone agrees that Telegram will scrap its public sale so soon.

"I see no motivation for Telegram to call off their public sale," Joe DiPasquale, CEO of the crypto fund-of-funds BitBull Capital, wrote CoinDesk via a spokesperson.

"They seem dead set on raising as much capital as possible ... Considering they're targeting the mass adoption of their user base, I can't imagine them estranging the masses by canceling the public sale."

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The National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association of Canada (NCFA Canada) is a cross-Canada non-profit actively engaged with both social and investment crowdfunding, alternative finance, fintech, P2P, ICO, and online investing stakeholders across the country. NCFA Canada provides education, research, industry stewardship, and networking opportunities to over 1600+ members and works closely with industry, government, academia, community and eco-system partners and affiliates to create a strong and vibrant crowdfunding and fintech industry in Canada.  For more information, please visit:  www.ncfacanada.org

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The Cryptocurrency Industry Might Actually Benefit From an Ad Ban

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Wired | Louise Matsakis | Apr 4, 2018

Cryptocurrency startup founders who want to advertise their new companies can no longer rely on the internet’s largest platforms to help spread their message. In January, Facebook announced it was banning ads that are "frequently associated with misleading or deceptive practices" including initial coin offerings and cryptocurrencies. Other platforms quickly followed suit; now, nearly all of the web’s most trafficked sites forbid cryptocurrency advertising. But entrepreneurs and researchers committed to the future of blockchain tech largely say they’re getting along just fine—and that the ban might even be a good thing.

In March, Google also announced a cryptocurrency crackdown that will go into effect in June across all of its platforms. Snap, Twitter, and MailChimp soon followed. And Reddit has been banning cryptocurrency ads since 2016. At this point, if you’re interested in advertising a cryptocurrency startup, your best bet might be word of mouth.

Advertising platforms like Google and Facebook have good reason to want to ban ads for cryptocurrencies and initial coin offerings, opportunities for investors to buy the tokens that power a blockchain application at a lower, early-bird price. ICOs and other cryptocurrency investment schemes are largely unregulated, and have repeatedly attracted scammers interested in ripping off unsuspecting investors. While many blockchain startups are legitimately trying to build a business using the new technology, some simply want to make a buck off the hype that comes with it.

The Securities and Exchange Commission has also indicated that many token sales are likely securities and need to be registered with the agency. By blanket banning them, advertising platforms shield themselves from the risk of promoting potentially illegal investment opportunities. On Monday for example, the SEC filed a complaint against the founders of Centra Tech Inc., a celebrity-endorsed blockchain startup, for orchestrating a fraudulent ICO. Criminal authorities separately charged and arrested the two men behind the company.

"I do think that, simply, platforms like Facebook and Google ultimately want to be seen as good corporate citizens," says Jerry Brito, the executive director of Coin Center, a non-profit research center that focuses on policy issues surrounding cryptocurrencies. "When there is an issue of investor protection that regulators in Congress have been vocal about, they are going to feel like they want to address that."

Shut Out

But the blanket ban across the internet’s largest advertising platforms largely doesn’t differentiate between promising startups and outright frauds. Even well-intentioned ICOs can’t use Facebook or Google—which together control over half of the online US advertising market—to get the word out.

That can feel particularly punitive when you consider that Google itself is reportedly exploring blockchain technology, and plenty of reputable companies and organizations like the United Nations and IBM are investing in it too. Facebook has also reportedly permitted other scam-ridden industries, like the diet pill business, to utilize its advertising platform unhindered.

Paolo Tasca, an Italian economist and the executive director of University College London's Centre for Blockchain Technology, says:

These platforms aren't very willing to give a voice to decentralized blockchain companies. "If the tech giants that are in control of the majority of our data in a centralized fashion are really willing to take this direction—which is against this kind of decentralized model—it's a really a bad method," he says.

Tasca says that there are scams in every industry, and that there likely isn't a disproportionate number in the cryptocurrency space. He also argues that unlike other businesses, cryptocurrency startups usually release a detailed white paper explaining their practices, and are subject to consistent feedback and scrutiny from investors. Tasca also says that ICOs are becoming more mature, and are beginning to include new safety tools, like a tracker that can detect whether an investor's cryptocurrency wallet address is potentially associated with illegally funneled funds. In other words, the advertising ban feels like it arrived after the worst of the ICO scams have potentially already passed.

"I do think these bans have been in reaction to the ICO boom, and the ICO boom has been driven by a lot of scams and outright frauds that basically use these platforms to market token sales that quite frankly are probably not really meant to be raising funds for a real product," says Brito. "Ultimately though I think this ICO boom fizzles, the way it seems to be doing, simply because there’s irrational exuberance there."

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The other concern: that a blanket ban from leading tech companies can still send the wrong message about cryptocurrencies to the general public. "The average person will read into your blanket ban an implication that you have a judgment about crypto technology broadly which you don’t, you’re just trying to address bad actors," says Brito.

Who Needs 'Em?

While the advertising ban can feel unfair, some blockchain startup founders welcome it, arguing that it largely serves to weed out bad actors in the space, rather than punish legitimate startups. “The only people who are going to be worried are the people who don’t have good intentions,” says Arran Stewart, the co-owner of Job.com, a recruiting platform that utilizes blockchain technology. “If you allow these bad apples to remain, you lose consumer confidence from the masses.”

Stewart says he relies on private networks and word of mouth to promote his Singapore-based business. “These are very sophisticated platforms, they completely understand the crypto market, they are genuinely looking out for the best interests of their users. I greatly admire them for that,” says Stewart of companies that have banned cryptocurrency advertising. Catheryne Nicholson, the CEO of BlockCypher, a company that provides infrastructure for blockchain applications, largely agrees.

"I think the ad banning is a good thing at the moment," says Nicholson. "There are too many scams happening, especially with ICOs. The scams can be hard to detect. You have to dig in, know what to look for, and ask lots of questions. Even then, you can still be duped. Spoofing a website or payment address is very common and easy to do."

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The National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association of Canada (NCFA Canada) is a cross-Canada non-profit actively engaged with both social and investment crowdfunding, alternative finance, fintech, P2P, ICO, and online investing stakeholders across the country. NCFA Canada provides education, research, industry stewardship, and networking opportunities to over 1600+ members and works closely with industry, government, academia, community and eco-system partners and affiliates to create a strong and vibrant crowdfunding and fintech industry in Canada.  For more information, please visit:  www.ncfacanada.org

 

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Close to $4.9M raised for Humboldt Broncos after deadly bus crash

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CTV News | Staff | April 7, 2018

 

Support for the Humboldt Broncos and their families is pouring in after a bus carrying the junior hockey team collided with a transport truck on a Saskatchewan highway, leaving 15 people dead and injuring another 14.

The accident occurred about 200 kilometres northeast of Saskatoon, late Friday afternoon. The RCMP confirmed 29 people were on the bus at the time of the accident.

By Saturday afternoon, there was a three-hour wait at a Saskatoon blood clinic with many people eager to donate to the victims. Staff said many of the donors were first-timers eager to help those hurt in the crash.

A GoFundMe crowdfunding campaign, started by a resident of Humboldt, Sask. had raised close to $4.9 million by Monday morning to help players and their families cope with expenses, two days after coming online.

A photo tweeted early on Saturday showed three players holding hands while laying side-by-side in their hospital beds.

The mother of former NHL player Colby Armstrong, who is originally from Saskatchewan, offered a place to stay in Saskatoon to families impacted by the crash.The Canalta Hotels chain is also offering free rooms on Saturday in Melfort, Humboldt and Martensville, so family members can stay near the victims of the accident who are in hospital.

Jordan Gadsby of the Nipawin Apostolic Church said members of his community are coming together to support those in need.

“People just want to do something,” he told CTV News Channel. “We were getting phone calls from the local co-op and No Frills and daycares and our mayor, bringing food and bringing blankets for anybody that might need blankets.”

Gadsby said he has a spare room and guest house available for those impacted by the deadly crash.

On Saturday evening, Air Canada took to Twitter to offer help to those needing to travel to the province.

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The National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association of Canada (NCFA Canada) is a cross-Canada non-profit actively engaged with both social and investment crowdfunding, alternative finance, fintech, P2P, ICO, and online investing stakeholders across the country. NCFA Canada provides education, research, industry stewardship, and networking opportunities to over 1600+ members and works closely with industry, government, academia, community and eco-system partners and affiliates to create a strong and vibrant crowdfunding and fintech industry in Canada.  For more information, please visit:  www.ncfacanada.org

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Canada’s Largest Investment Crowdfunding Platform Hits $10 Million of Combined Capital Raised to Support Growing Canadian Businesses

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Digital Journal - FrontFundr Release | April 9, 2019

Investment crowdfunding is an alternative source for companies seeking capital to grow their businesses.

VANCOUVER, BC, April 09, 2018 /24-7PressRelease/ -- "We are pleased to announce that we have now raised a combined $10 million for Canadian companies through our online platform," said Peter-Paul van Hoeken, FrontFundr's C.E.O. "We have enabled over 18 Canadian companies to obtain the funding they need to grow while creating communities of supporters and advocates for each company's products and services."

Craig Asano, Founder and CEO of the National Crowdfunding and Fintech Association, NCFA Canada said. "We are thrilled to see the growth of FrontFundr and congratulate them on reaching the $10 million milestone! It clearly demonstrates the availability and potential of investment crowdfunding capital to support the growth of Canadian businesses."

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Investment crowdfunding is an alternative source for companies seeking capital to grow their businesses. Partly available in some Provinces it was fully legalized in 2015. Crowdfunding not only allows Canadians to invest in private companies, from as little as $100, but it allows companies access to capital and a community of stakeholders. A recent example, and part of the $10 million raise, is Red Mountain, that enabled people to own a piece of a ski hill in British Columbia, Canada. Over $2,500,000 was raised through the campaign, from 742 backers, many of whom gained perks such as lift passes as well as shares.

About FrontFundr:

FrontFundr is an online investing platform that empowers Canadians to find and make direct investments in the private companies they believe in - and become stakeholders in their future. FrontFundr's online exempt market dealer (EMD) status plus its modern technology lets users across Canada easily invest in innovative growth businesses in under 12 minutes and starting from $250. Own your share.

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The National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association of Canada (NCFA Canada) is a cross-Canada non-profit actively engaged with both social and investment crowdfunding, alternative finance, fintech, P2P, ICO, and online investing stakeholders across the country. NCFA Canada provides education, research, industry stewardship, and networking opportunities to over 1600+ members and works closely with industry, government, academia, community and eco-system partners and affiliates to create a strong and vibrant crowdfunding and fintech industry in Canada.  For more information, please visit:  www.ncfacanada.org

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George Soros Prepares to Trade Cryptocurrencies

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Bloomberg Technology | Alastair Marsh, Saijel Kishan, and Katherine Burton | April 6, 2018

George Soros called cryptocurrencies a bubble in January. Now his $26 billion family office is planning to trade digital assets.

Adam Fisher, who oversees macro investing at New York-based Soros Fund Management, got internal approval to trade virtual coins in the last few months, though he has yet to make a wager, according to people familiar with the matter. A spokesman declined to comment.

Soros, speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, said digital coins cannot function as actual currencies because of their volatility. But he didn’t predict the hard tumble that some observers had forecast at the time.

“As long as you have dictatorships on the rise you will have a different ending, because the rulers in those countries will turn to Bitcoin to build a nest egg abroad,” Soros, 87, said on Jan. 25.

Since the billionaire investor made his comments, Bitcoin has fallen 41 percent. The asset’s whipsaw ride over the past six months has caused some investors to doubt the value of trading it. Former hedge fund manager Mike Novogratz shelved plans to launch a crypto fund in December, shifting his efforts to a merchant bank focused on cryptocurrencies and ventures based on related technologies.

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Other macro managers have turned to digital coins as profits from their hedge funds dwindle. John Burbank, who shuttered his main fund last year, plans to raise $150 million for two funds investing in digital currencies. His Passport Capital started the funds in January and have mostly sought investments from family offices and other wealthy investors.

Billionaire Alan Howard made sizable personal wagers -- separate from his firm -- in cryptocurrencies last year and plans to put more of his own money into digital assets and the blockchain technology behind them.

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The National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association of Canada (NCFA Canada) is a cross-Canada non-profit actively engaged with both social and investment crowdfunding, alternative finance, fintech, P2P, ICO, and online investing stakeholders across the country. NCFA Canada provides education, research, industry stewardship, and networking opportunities to over 1600+ members and works closely with industry, government, academia, community and eco-system partners and affiliates to create a strong and vibrant crowdfunding and fintech industry in Canada.  For more information, please visit:  www.ncfacanada.org

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