Category Archives: Fundraising and Investing

Why Blockchain Is The Future Of The Sharing Economy

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Forbes | By Omri Barzilay | August 14, 2017

Everyone’s talking about blockchain, but you’re still not entirely sure what it is, don’t worry, you’re not alone. It’s something that Jack Dorsey, the CEO and chairman of Square and CEO of Twitter, described this week as the “next big unlock,” and something that, according to Dorsey, is normally applied to accounting terms but has the potential to “be applied to so much more.”

Enter the sharing economy. The sharing economy burst into our lives as a big promise during the 2008 recession with an initial wave of investor enthusiasm and a number of “sharing” startups such as Uber and Airbnb. However, many others failed to ride the trend.

These days, the sharing economy feels a bit past its prime. “The ‘Sharing Economy’ is Dead,” Fast Company declared two years ago, summarizing a general sense of fatigue with what now feels like a wildly overhyped idea. But, according to many, the fusion of blockchain and the sharing economy may create a revolution that will transform our economy and share the wealth beyond certain companies and individuals.

Smart contracts help to unbundle ownership

Blockchain can help energize and unlock the sharing economy by making it cheaper to create and operate an online platform. For example, transactions could be coordinated by self-executing smart contracts or performed at lower cost by other small competing providers. The next phase of the sharing economy can emphasize today’s inequalities or ease them, depending on the purpose of the technology itself.

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Basically, blockchain is a different way of keeping track of a normative set of information, instead of storing the information in one central location – the county records office, say, or Airbnb’s database – blockchain makes multiple copies and distributes them across all the nodes of a network. These nodes don’t have to be people, they can be things. This is what makes blockchain a potentially powerful accelerant of the sharing economy as it gives a property the ability to know who its owner is.

Anything with an internet connection can hook up to a blockchain, which means anything with an internet connection can have a perfect record of who owns what. So let’s say I rent out my house like I would on Airbnb. By utilizing blockchain technology, I could program my front door to open only when a person reserved it, and automatically pay me, and lock the door, once he leaves the property.

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The National Crowdfunding Association of Canada (NCFA Canada) is a cross-Canada non-profit actively engaged with both social and investment crowdfunding 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 strong and vibrant crowdfunding industry in Canada. Learn more at www.ncfacanada.org.

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Women-Focused Crowdfunding Platform Is Accepting Its First Cohort Seeking Capital

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Brick City Live | August 16, 2017

A new women-focused crowdfunding platform has just launched in Newark and is accepting businesses into its inaugural cohort.

iFundWomen is a crowdfunding platform specifically designed to help women entrepreneurs secure funding for their small businesses and startups.

The new platform is looking to set women-led businesses vying for crowdfunding dollars up for success by vetting prospective funding recipients, who must enter their business by September 21st. According to the iFundWomen Newark webpage, an iFundWomen coach will contact applicants soon after they submit their applications.

Entries will then be evaluated by a team at iFundWomen for a spot in the crowdfunding platform’s first cohort in the Greater Newark area. Businesses that are accepted into the cohort will receive one-on-one coaching in business, crowdfunding and video production services to help them launch successful campaigns that meet their funding goals.

“Women are starting businesses at two times the rate of men, and operate with only half of the working capital, so it’s critical that we partner and mobilize our collective resources to help close the female funding gap,” said iFundWomen CEO Karen Cahn, according to a statement about the local launch

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While crowdfunding campaigns have become a popular way for entrepreneurs and small business owners to raise money for projects and businesses, people sometimes underestimate the investment in time, planning, marketing and reward managing necessary for launching and operating campaign that reaches its goal. iFundWomen Newark will help selected projects and businesses execute the necessary preliminary work for launching a successful campaign, and for managing it during its run.

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The National Crowdfunding Association of Canada (NCFA Canada) is a cross-Canada non-profit actively engaged with both social and investment crowdfunding 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 strong and vibrant crowdfunding industry in Canada. Learn more at www.ncfacanada.org.

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Impak Finance ICO planned for launch Aug 21

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Impak Coin | Paul Allard | Aug 16, 2017

impak Coin (MPK) first legal Initial Coin Offering (ICO) positions Canada as a global leader in the cryptocurrency space and gives individuals around the world the opportunity to ignite the impact economy by participating in the crowdsale opening August 21 2017.

MONTREAL, Canada, August 16, 2017 - impak Finance, the fintech company focused on driving the social impact economy, announces the public presale of its impak Coin which is Canada’s first ICO (Initial Coin Offering) fully compliant with Canadian securities laws. A truly innovative investment device, this complementary currency is designed to work alongside traditional economy but with public benefit in mind. The public crowdsale of impak Coin begins on August 21, 2017 and investors can participate on  www.impakcoin.com

“impak Finance is writing a new page in the young history of ICOs by taking on the challenge of becoming fully regulatory compliant and as a result bringing a higher degree of protection for participants. Once again, impak Finance demonstrates that transparency and trust are core to our project”, says Paul Allard, impak Finance’s Chief Ecosystem Officer. “We are delivering on our promise to use technology to reinvent the way citizens can use money for doing good.”

See:  Impak Finance raises largest single-day amount for Canadian equity-crowdfunding initiative

impak Coin is one of the few ICOs in the world to have passed all of the national regulatory requirements ensuring transparency and integrity for participants in the presale of this cryptocurrency. The impak Coin ICO will be a model for regulators worldwide to protect investors, while playing a positive role in enabling small businesses to raise capital with the latest developments in financial technologies.

impak Coin, a cryptocurrency for a better world

Impak Coin combines the advantages and functionalities of complementary currencies, recognition programs, and new cryptocurrencies. Built on the WAVES fully transparent blockchain platform, it is stable, safe and more efficient than many other digital currencies. Designed for everyday use, transactions within the impak ecosystem are free for both merchants and customers. By also rewarding user participation in the ecosystem with impak Coins, we will ensure that all stakeholders become winners and continue to grow the impact economy.

 

About impak Finance

impak Finance Inc., an innovative Canadian fintech company focused on driving the social impact economy, recently raised over $1.5 mm in 2016 with strategic investors and through a highly successful equity crowdfunding campaign. Dedicated to the development of the social impact economy, impak Finance proposes to radically change the way citizens and organizations collaborate and transact. Impak Finance Inc. is building a financial ecosystem that connects investors, businesses and citizens who share the same social values while on its way to creating  Canada’s first 100%  digital Canadian  chartered  bank.

Regarding Blockchain and ICOs

ICOs have already raised USD 327 million this year alone, compared to USD 101 million in all of 2016, according to the latest numbers from  Smith +  Crown a blockchain research firm. “This is inevitably becoming a fast-growing alternative for businesses to raise capital.”

Blockchain technology has been on fire in the past year, with blockchain-based cryptocurrencies recently passing $100 billion market cap, and the technology being adopted in projects all over the world. The fact that multibillion dollar companies like Toyota and Deloitte are working with the blockchain just adds to the technology’s reputation and proves it has value. As for ICOs, around 20 offerings a month are currently taking place and the Tezos blockchain ICO is the most recent record that generated US$232 million, ending on July 13.

 

Media Contacts

Eve Montpetit -  eve.montpetit@impakfinance.com  514-813-0871

Press kit :  download  link

Video:  Introducing impak  Coin  Info at  www.impakcoin.com


The National Crowdfunding Association of Canada (NCFA Canada) is a cross-Canada non-profit actively engaged with both social and investment crowdfunding 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 strong and vibrant crowdfunding industry in Canada. Learn more at www.ncfacanada.org.

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What Works In Equity Crowdfunding — Insights From Research

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ForbesMy Say | August 14, 2017

As we have recently celebrated the fourth anniversary of the signing of the JOBS Act into law, it is a good time to take stock of the effect that the legislature had on equity crowdfunding in the United States. It is important to note, that equity crowdfunding is distinct from the rewards-based crowdfunding, exemplified by Kickstarter, in which project backers are typically motivated by the rewards (discounts), but receive no equity in the ventures. While the rewards-based crowdfunding has always been legal, public solicitation of equity investments (equity-based crowdfunding) was prohibited by the Securities and Exchange Acts of 1933 and 1934.

The JOBS Act contains several provisions that made it easier for the entrepreneurs to raise funding. Title II of the JOBS Act took effect in September 2013 and it allows entrepreneurs to raise funding via online equity crowdfunding platforms from accredited investors. Title III of the JOBS Act took effect in May 2016 and it expanded equity crowdfunding to include non-accredited investors. I recently completed several research projects focusing on leading Title II equity crowdfunding platforms and I will share a few emergent insights here.

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Since the passage of the JOBS Act, over $1.27 billion had been committed to more than 6,000 entrepreneurial ventures under Title II. Our analysis revealed that real estate investments have done particularly well under Title II. Patch of Land reports having facilitated more than 500 investments totalling over $300 million. In retrospect, it does not seem surprising that real estate investments do well under Title II because real estate loans represent a large commercial opportunity and they also afford investor protection by securing the loans with the underlying real estate assets.

Outside of real estate, Crowdfunder, a Title II platform, has also shown good traction in facilitating fundraising by early stage ventures. We examined 337 projects that attracted over $183 million in funding commitments between September 2013 and December 2016. Our analysis suggests that investors on the Crowdfunder platform are largely relying on a single signal to guide their investment decisions, namely whether a particular venture had secured funding from an established professional venture capital firm prior to running an equity crowdfunding campaign. For example, Revl, a smart action camera, had gone through Y Combinator and received funding from Comcast Ventures prior to launching a campaign on Crowdfunder, which exceeded the funding goal by more than 3X and raised over $9 million. The results imply that investors on Crowdfunder are willing to invest if a startup has been vetted by an established VC firm.

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The National Crowdfunding Association of Canada (NCFA Canada) is a cross-Canada non-profit actively engaged with both social and investment crowdfunding 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 strong and vibrant crowdfunding industry in Canada. Learn more at www.ncfacanada.org.

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$200 Million In 60 Minutes: Filecoin ICO Rockets to Record Amid Tech Issues

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Coindesk | Stan Higgins | Aug 10, 2017

An initial coin offering (ICO) for the blockchain data storage network Filecoin has raised an estimated $200 million from accredited investors despite being beset by technology issues.

The figures add to the roughly $52 million in tokens sold in a pre-sale to investors like Sequoia Capital, Andreessen Horowitz and Union Square Ventures, announced last week. However, at press time, the ICO – which is being conducted via CoinList, a joint project between startup investment platform AngelList and Filecoin developer Protocol Labs – is paused.

The sale halt came just over an hour after it first began at 1 p.m. PT.

Site issues cropped up soon after the sale began, with social media posts showing that some users had problems accessing the site. The Filecoin page on CoinList also displayed problems with the ticker meant to track the total amount raised.

See:  ICOs: New Model of Blockchain Capitalism

Over the course of the first hour, it reset several times, reverting back to a baseline amount despite showing a rising minimum price. (Filecoin's ICO is utilizing a sale model in which the minimum price buyers would need to pay rises as more investors join in.)

Problems aside, the sale has generated a record-breaking level of investor interest.

Just over 30 minutes into the sale, the Filecoin team announced that it had garnered a total of $252 million in investments – a figure which includes the pre-sale figures.

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The National Crowdfunding Association of Canada (NCFA Canada) is a cross-Canada non-profit actively engaged with both social and investment crowdfunding 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 strong and vibrant crowdfunding industry in Canada. Learn more at www.ncfacanada.org.

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Peggy Van de Plassche, VP Innovation at CIBC, Joins the National Crowdfunding Association of Canada’s Advisory Board

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About NCFA Canada | Craig Asano | Aug 10, 2017

Peggy Van De Plassche, Advisor

TORONTO, AUG 10, 2017 – The National Crowdfunding Association of Canada (NCFA) today announced that Peggy Van de Plassche, VP Innovation at CIBC has joined the Association’s Advisory Board as Advisor.

As the VP Innovation at CIBC, Peggy and her team lead the strategic partnerships for the organization.  Prior to joining CIBC, Peggy started a couple of Fintech ventures, invested in the space, consulted for large and small entities, and worked at CGI and BMO on their strategic technology investments.  A Finance professional by trade, Peggy started working in technology 15 years ago; She brings a wealth of experience to the NCFA.  A board member of the Digital Finance Institute, Peggy is also involved in the community via United Way, the Wild Animal Sanctuary and Ladybird Animal Sanctuary.

There is a huge opportunity to democratize the access to private investments in Canada while decreasing the costs and improving both the quantity and the quality of the deals. I am excited to join the NCFA to support that agenda that will benefit greatly retail investors!  Peggy Van De Plassche, VP Innovation, CIBC

Peggy is in the 'right place at the right time' and we're thrilled to have her join the NCFA's Advisory board to further advance the development of next generation crowdfunding market opportunities for Canadian companies and investors.  Her wealth of knowledge and experience will provide great value to industry and we look forward to working closely with Peggy and her team.  Craig Asano, CEO, NCFA Canada

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About National Crowdfunding Association of Canada

The National Crowdfunding Association of Canada (NCFA Canada) is a cross-Canada non-profit actively engaged with both social and investment crowdfunding stakeholders across the country. NCFA Canada provides education, research, leadership, support and networking opportunities to over 1650+ members and works closely with industry, government, academia, community and eco-system partners and affiliates to create a strong and vibrant crowdfunding industry in Canada. For more information please visit: www.ncfacanada.org.

MEDIA CONTACT:
Craig Asano
casano@ncfacanada.org
416 618 0254

 

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Real Estate Crowdfunding Platforms: What to Look For

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Equities.com | By Equity Multiple Team | August 8, 2017

Since the JOBS Act of 2012 opened the door for equity crowdfunding, dozens of startups have taken up the mantle of “real estate crowdfunding” – depending on your definition, there are now dozens to well over 100 platforms offering some form of real estate micro-investing, affording retail investors unprecedented access to real estate investments. For individual investors managing their own portfolios, the vast array of options can be overwhelming. Discerning investors are right to evaluate the landscape critically, and only pursue those investments and investing platforms that align with their strategy.

While each offers a unique focus and value proposition to investors, platforms have now consolidated into several main categories of the business model:

eREITs: Fundrise and RealtyMogul, two of the original players the real estate crowdfunding space, have pivoted to offering semi-blind funds that aggregate properties throughout the country. These investments offer built-in diversity and very low minimums, making them appropriate for less experienced investors.

Commercial equity investing: probably the closest to the original idea of real estate crowdfunding, these platforms offer CRE equity opportunities to accredited investors, allowing them to participate in high-upside, larger commercial projects. While the return potential is often great, these tend to be the long term and riskier than other RECF investments. Thus, these kinds of investments are most appropriate for investors who have time to really understand the risk factors in play, and who have at least a working knowledge of real estate equity investing

Debt investing: Some platforms take some or all of an existing real estate loan, secured by a deed on the underlying property, and syndicate it out to a network of individual investors at a fixed rate of return. Other platforms act as the lender, issuing a loan to a real estate developer or flipper. In either case, the platform’s network of investors are offered a flat annual rate of return - typically between 7% and 12% - over a relatively short term - generally 6 to 18 months. Since these investments are secured by the property and short in a term, they tend to be a good fit for more risk-averse investors.

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Understanding the spectrum of models can help investors prioritize those offerings that best fit their portfolio objectives, whether that be stable cash flow, preserving wealth for retirement, or opportunistic pursuit of high upside. Given the relatively low minimums, many platforms offer, there may be room in an individual’s portfolio to invest through several platforms and achieve further diversification.

Regardless of what model a platform operates under, investors are advised to take a close look at the track record and experience of the people behind the platform. Attentive customer service is a must – platforms should practice transparency and be willing and able to answer any questions investors have.

Individual Deals - What to Look For

Some platforms perform their own diligence on investments, which should give you some comfort as an investor. Even so, you’ll want to understand some key components of any deal you consider and be sure it aligns with your investing objectives before pulling the trigger. Here are some of the main things to consider:

Risk Factors - No investment is without risk, even fixed-rate, short-term debt investments. Examples of risk factors are tight construction timelines, a precarious labour market in the area, an unsubstantial track record or aggressive leverage on the part of the Sponsor who originated the deal. Again, if risk factors aren’t presented transparently, or the platform is unable or unwilling to field questions about risk factors, this should raise a red flag.

Payout Structure - While debt deals are mostly straightforward, equity investments can be much more complex. Be sure to understand where your investments fit in the capital stack, and what order you will be repaid principal and profits relative to the Sponsor and other LP investors.

Cash Flow and Liquidity - Simply looking at how many dollars you’re expected to receive over the lifetime of a deal (the simple return) or even a time-weighted return (IRR - internal rate of return), won’t give a complete picture of the timing and magnitude of returns. Depending on the business plan for the project and how the platform has negotiated and deal, you may receive distributions monthly or quarterly, and you may begin receiving cash flow from rent immediately, at some point partway through the term, or not at all in the case of a ground-up development or rehab. Similarly, repayment of principal may be projected for the end of the term, partway through the term, or piecemeal in the case of partial sales or a refinance. Be sure that the schedule of distributions and principal repayment is palatable to you given your liquidity needs.

Once again, if any aspect of the deal is unclear or doesn’t pass the sniff test, don’t hesitate to ask questions of the platform offering it.

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The National Crowdfunding Association of Canada (NCFA Canada) is a cross-Canada non-profit actively engaged with both social and investment crowdfunding 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 strong and vibrant crowdfunding industry in Canada. Learn more at www.ncfacanada.org.

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