Category Archives: Marketplace Lending/P2P, Online Lending

Square partners with eBay to expand lending for ‘underserved’ small businesses

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CNBC Markets |   | Jul 24, 2018

Fintech company Square is boosting its small-business lending with an eBay partnership.

Square Capital, the lending arm of the payment start-up, will be available to eBay sellers looking to expand their business operations. Starting in the third quarter, merchants on the site can apply for a loan as small as $500 and up to $100,000 to help with everything from payroll and inventory to equipment and marketing, the companies announced Tuesday.

Square Capital’s focus since launching in 2014 has been on those businesses historically excluded from the larger financial system. The partnership will offer access to capital for those who have been “underserved when seeking funding” and give U.S. sellers a "seamless funding experience," said Jacqueline Reses, head of Square Capital.

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Small-business lending is an increasingly competitive area in fintech. PayPal, which was once a part of eBay, has a program called Working Capital and provides loans to merchants based on sales history. Amazon also does this for sellers, and began extending credit to small business owners in 2011. It uses sales data to trigger invitations for financing that could boost growth.

Still, credit availability continues to be an issue for smaller merchants. Heading into this year, small businesses reported stronger revenue growth and profitability but still struggled to get loans to pay operating expenses and wages, according to the Federal Reserve’s 2017 Small Business Credit Survey. As many as 70 percent of merchants didn't receive the funding they wanted last year, the report said.

San Francisco-based Square, run by Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, is best known as a credit cards processor but also offers payment hardware. Its peer-to-peer Cash App is growing faster than PayPal’s Venmo, according to a recent Nomura report. It began offering cryptocurrency trading on the Cash App late January.

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The National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association of Canada (NCFA Canada) is a cross-Canada non-profit actively engaged with fintech, alternative finance, blockchain, cryptocurrency, crowdfunding and online investing stakeholders globally. NCFA Canada provides education, research, industry stewardship, services, and networking opportunities to thousands of members and subscribers and works closely with industry, government, academia, community and eco-system partners and affiliates to create a strong and vibrant crowdfunding and fintech industry. Join Canada's Fintech & Funding Community today FREE! Or become a contributing member and get perks. For more information, please visit: www.ncfacanada.org

FCA Regulatory Sanbox | Aug 8, 2018 Find out about the 29 businesses that have been accepted into cohort 4 of the regulatory sandbox to test innovative products, services, business models and delivery mechanisms. We received 69 applications for cohort 4 of the regulatory sandbox. Applications came from a diverse range of firms operating across the financial services sector including in areas such as consumer credit, automated advice and insurance. 29 firms have been accepted to develop towards testing, including 3 firms that were accepted as part of previous cohorts but did not proceed to test. Firms that have been accepted to develop towards testing are listed below, except for one firm that has asked not to be named at this point in time. See:  Fintech: UK Financial Conduct Authority Initiates Consultation on Global Financial Innovation, Partners with 12 International Regulators We have accepted a number of firms that will be testing propositions relating to cryptoassets. We are keen to explore whether, in a controlled environment, consumer benefits can be delivered while effectively managing the associated risks. Tests will be conducted on a short-term and small-scale basis and the FCA is working with each firm to agree testing parameters and ...
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FCA Regulatory sandbox participants - Cohort 4
Progressa Release | Aug 14, 2018 TORONTO, Aug. 14, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Progressa, a Vancouver and Toronto based financial technology company, announced today it has successfully closed an $84 million equity and loan funding round. The equity financing was co-led by Canaccord Genuity Corp. and Gravitas Securities Inc. and included Eight Capital and Paradigm Capital as part of the syndicate. The equity capital allows Progressa to unlock a new forward-flow whole loan purchasing program for up to $72 million, with Vancouver-based credit fund Cypress Hills Partners. The equity financing was largely supported by the Canadian investment banks who see the potential for Progressa to complete a go-public transaction (“IPO”) before the end of 2019. Ali Pourdad, Progressa’s co-founder and CEO, commented, “Progressa is proud to have developed first-to-market technology solutions for the Canadian non-prime credit consumer market. Today’s enterprise business partners are utilizing the Company’s Powered by Progressa solutions to improve their customer experience, while enhancing collections recoveries and mitigating significant risk, a true win for both enterprise and Canadian consumers. We are pleased with this broad level of support from Canadian investment banks who see that Progressa is making a positive difference in the lives of Canadians.” See:  ...
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Progressa Closes $84 Million Funding Round Co-Led by Canaccord Genuity and Gravitas Securities, Supporting Record Growth
CNBC Markets | Kate Rooney  | Jul 24, 2018 Fintech company Square is boosting its small-business lending with an eBay partnership. Square Capital, the lending arm of the payment start-up, will be available to eBay sellers looking to expand their business operations. Starting in the third quarter, merchants on the site can apply for a loan as small as $500 and up to $100,000 to help with everything from payroll and inventory to equipment and marketing, the companies announced Tuesday. Square Capital’s focus since launching in 2014 has been on those businesses historically excluded from the larger financial system. The partnership will offer access to capital for those who have been “underserved when seeking funding” and give U.S. sellers a "seamless funding experience," said Jacqueline Reses, head of Square Capital. See:  What we can learn from Ontario’s $3 million loan to small business Lending Loop Surpasses $10M in Loans to Small Businesses Across Canada Small-business lending is an increasingly competitive area in fintech. PayPal, which was once a part of eBay, has a program called Working Capital and provides loans to merchants based on sales history. Amazon also does this for sellers, and began extending credit to small business owners ...
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Square partners with eBay to expand lending for 'underserved' small businesses
CBC | Rob Antle  | Aug 6, 2018 Agency wants to make sure tax laws are being followed When Ottawa looks at cryptocurrencies like bitcoin, it sees problems. Bitcoin can be difficult to track, and there is the potential for "tax noncompliance" through unreported or under-reported income and capital gains. The Canada Revenue Agency "wants to understand how bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies operate in the traditional economic space to ensure that tax laws are being followed," CRA spokesperson Etienne Biram said in an emailed statement. "It is important to note that using digital currency does not exempt consumers from Canadian tax obligations." So CRA commissioned research on businesses that installed bitcoin automated tellers on their premises. A bitcoin ATM is not actually an ATM; it doesn't provide a connection to a customer's bank account. Rather, it's an internet-linked terminal that allows people to buy and sell bitcoins. See:  Learn about crypto payments - Fintech Fridays Podcast: ep1 with Samir Bandali of CoinPayments According to the study that followed — which surveyed 20 businesses — the taxman wanted to understand why a business would install a bitcoin ATM, along with "the perceived value it brings to businesses and their customers, and attitudes towards tax compliance in the ...
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CRA surveyed businesses to find out why they're taking bitcoin ATMs
NCFA Canada | Craig Asano | Aug 10, 2018 We're excited to announce a new NCFA Podcast series called 'FINTECH FRIDAY$' where we sit down with the incredible people in the Fintech community and talk about leading fintech products innovations developments and challenges! FINTECH FRIDAY$ (ep.4): Importance of Smart Contract Safety Nets Host: Manseeb Khan, NCFA, Fintech Fridays show host Guest: Amy Wan, Founder & CEO, Sagewise About this episode: On this episode, our host Manseeb Khan sits down with LA legal tech entrepreneur Amy Wan, the CEO/Founder of Sagewise, a smart contracts dispute resolution startup. They talk about why smart contact safety nets are important, the bridge between legal tech and fintech and how Amy closed out her seed round while being pregnant. Enjoy! Subscribe to the channel and tune in each Friday to check out the latest movers and shakers in fintech. Listen to more Fintech Fridays podcasts here Transcription of Interview Manseeb Khan: Hey Everybody Manseeb Khan and you are tuning in to NCFA newest show Fintech Fridays. Today we have an amazing guest. She's a rock star in the industry. Ladies and gentlemen. Amy Wan is with us today. She's the CEO of Sagewise Amy thanks so ...
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FINTECH FRIDAY$ (ep.4): Importance of Smart Contract Safety Net with Amy Wan, CEO & Founder at Sagewise
University of Cambridge and Ivey Business School | by Tania Ziegler and Michael King | Aug 8, 2018 The 2018 Americas survey of alternative finance conducted the University of Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance is nearing its closing stages. This global survey of crowdfunding and lending via online platforms is the benchmark for the industry, providing the most comprehensive data on this fintech activity.  In Canada, Cambridge is being assisted by their research partners and the Scotiabank Digital Banking Lab at Ivey Business School.  NCFA is a supportive community partner. Leading platforms should have received an email with details on how to complete the survey from either Tania Ziegler at University of Cambridge or Professor Michael King at Ivey. It is vital that platforms participate in order to demonstrate the importance of this sector to Canadians and to policymakers at the federal and provincial levels. King says, “As we look ahead to the completion of the Federal Financal Sector Review early in 2019, this data will be vital for promoting open banking and other initiatives that support Canada’s fintech sector. When platforms opt out, they are effectively telling policymakers that alternative finance is not important and not worthy of the ...
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Cambridge Survey of Alternative Finance Needs Your Participation!
Fortune | Matt Harris | Aug 8, 2018 Matt Harris is a managing director at Bain Capital Ventures. He is consistently ranked as one of the top investors in fintech, having participated in the space since 2000. I’ve been proven wrong once again. For eight years running, I’ve predicted that fintech investment is going to plateau. Based on the start of 2018, it hasn’t yet. In fact, we saw more than $5.4 billion invested in fintech during the first quarter of the year, with no signs of slowing momentum. For perspective, fintech investment for all of 2014 was just under $4 billion, so that’s “5x” growth in four years. In 2001, per data from Venture Scanner, it was something like $300 million. With that said, this whole “fintech” thing is kind of a charade. As I shared with attendees last month during our annual Fintech CEO Summit, co-hosted together with Nyca Partners, the CEOs in our portfolios don’t actually run “fintech businesses.” They run a payments business or a lending business, or they build investing technologies, or they sell to banks or insurance or real estate companies. Regardless of what VCs tell limited partners, or how media cover the industry, ...
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Fintech Frenzy: Hype or Reality? A Closer Look at 6 Key Sectors
Crowdfund Insider | JD Alois | Aug 7, 2018 The UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has initiated a new consultation that is going beyond the UK borders when it comes to Fintech innovation. Announced today, the FCA has created the Global Financial Innovation Network (GFIN). The multinational group includes regulatory agencies from the US, Singapore, Hong Kong, Australian, France and more. FCA Director of Competition, Christopher Woolard, said the creation of GFIN is an important step for the FCA to be able to better understand and harness the benefits of innovation in financial services for consumers, while managing the potential harm. “The establishment of the GFIN can help share the experiences and knowledge from across different markets, while also providing a platform for innovative firms wishing to scale their propositions via testing in multiple countries.” The members as announced include: Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM), Autorité des marchés financiers (AMF) Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC) Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB) Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection (BCFP, USA) Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) Financial Conduct Authority (FCA, UK) Guernsey Financial Services Commission (GFSC) Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) Ontario Securities Commission (OSC, Canada) Consultative Group to ...
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Fintech: UK Financial Conduct Authority Initiates Consultation on Global Financial Innovation, Partners with 12 International Regulators
Globe and Mail | Aug 8, 2018 The 2018 selloff in cryptocurrencies plumbed new depths on Wednesday after the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission dented enthusiasts’ hopes for an VanEck exchange-traded fund backed by Bitcoin. A broad selloff in coins of all sizes reduced the market value of virtual currencies tracked by Coinmarketcap.com to about $230 billion, the lowest level since November. Digital assets have now lost about $600 billion since crypto-mania peaked in January, equivalent to erasing the entire market value of Visa Inc. twice over. (Shares of the payments processor are trading near a record high.) The SEC postponed its decision on whether to approve the Bitcoin ETF, dealing a blow to bulls who had bet a green light from the regulator would help sustain last month’s tenuous rally. Optimists are counting on the wider adoption of cryptocurrencies to keep prices supported, but regulators and many institutional investors have remained wary amid concerns over security and market manipulation. See:  OSC approves Canada’s first blockchain ETF Bitcoin was down 5.6 pe rcent to $6,484 as of 8:19 a.m. in New York, recovering from a 7 percent drop earlier while extending its 2018 decline to 55 percent, according to Bloomberg ...
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Crypto prices sharply down after SEC postpones Bitcoin ETF decision
Digital Journal PR | Aug 7, 2018 ATLANTA--(Business Wire)--Steady, the income-building platform for the Build-Your-Own (BYO) workforce is already serving 100,000 Americans since it launched last week. The company, which today delivers personalized income-building opportunities, an income tracker, and exclusive relevant discounts, has raised $9 million in Series A financing round led by Propel Venture Partners, with significant participation from Omidyar Network, the impact investing firm established by Pierre Omidyar, the founder of eBay. The funds raised in this round will be used to rapidly scale and extend product features. Other investors include 25Madison, Clocktower Ventures, and Commerce Ventures. Shaquille O’Neal has joined the team as an Advisor and Advocate for the BYO workforce. “The traditional 9-5 career path doesn’t work for everyone, and we’re seeing more and more people set out to make their own way. Steady sees and serves this group, giving them the tools to discover new job opportunities, and the resources to earn more money and take control,” said Shaquille O’Neal. “Helping hardworking folks do and get more is an important mission and I’m excited to be part of it.” Work is changing. Full-time jobs are giving way to more flexible arrangements—shift work, part-time contracts, gigs, ...
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Shaquille O’Neal Joins Steady; Company Raises $9 Million in Series A Round of Funding from Leading Fintech Investors

 

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Peer-to-peer lending will help small businesses stay afloat

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The Globe and Mail | Michael King and Craig Asano | May 30, 2018

With interest rates on the rise and the Canadian banks moving up lending rates, the higher cost and reduced availability of credit will affect all Canadian businesses, like a rising tide lifting all boats. Inevitably some boats will be swamped and sink, particularly if they are smaller and more vulnerable.

One set of borrowers at greater risk are Canada’s 1.14 million small businesses, defined as companies that employ up to 99 workers. Statistics Canada reports that small businesses represented 98 per cent of all businesses, employed 70 per cent of workers, and generated 30 per cent of each province’s GDP on average. This category includes startups and high-growth firms, which represent Canada’s best hope for job creation and economic growth.

As credit becomes less available, small businesses face a difficult choice of cutting back on investment or turning to more expensive borrowing, such as credit cards or payday loans. Either option is bad.

Fortunately, small businesses now have an alternative source for loans called peer-to-peer (P2P) lending. These online platforms match borrowers and investors directly and can provide loans cheaper and faster than traditional sources. How can that be? The answer is technology.

Taking a step back, small businesses are financed differently than big ones. Most Canadian startups have neither the credit history nor the collateral to secure a bank loan. Statscan reports that more than 80 per cent of startups rely on alternative funding sources such as the entrepreneurs’ savings and personal loans taken out by owners. Only 45 per cent can access credit from financial institutions and 19 per cent receive trade credit from suppliers.

Technology is disrupting this paradigm. P2P lending platforms allow businesses (and individuals) to take out a loan online with the funds crowdsourced by investors who pool their savings to fund loans. Traditionally only financial institutions were set up to screen borrowers and allocate credit. But technologies such as the internet, cloud computing, data analytics and artificial intelligence have opened this asset class to new lenders such as your neighbour or a fellow business owner.

Canada’s first P2P platform, Lending Loop, was launched in late 2015 – a decade after this model was pioneered in Britain by Zopa. Last month, Lending Loop passed $20-million in loans funded on its platform by more than 20,000 Canadian investors. While $20-million is impressive, it is still only a sliver of the $95-billion of credit outstanding to Canadian small businesses as reported by Statscan.

The average small business borrower on Lending Loop’s platform is borrowing $75,000 to $100,000 for three to five years. While interest rates vary substantially, P2P loans typically start at around 6 per cent with an average interest rate of 12 per cent, significantly lower than a credit card. These loans are used to finance inventory and equipment, or to hire new employees.

The Canadian P2P lending market got a boost this month when the Ontario government announced it would contribute $3-million over the next two years to loans funded on Lending Loop’s platform. The Ontario government will fund up to 10 per cent of small business loans, supporting funding of $30-million.

See:

Besides the obvious benefit to small businesses, Ontario’s announcement was important for two reasons. First, Ontario has drawn attention to P2P lending as an alternative funding source and raised awareness among businesses to accelerate adoption. And second, by partnering with a fintech startup, Ontario is leading by example and giving a boost to entrepreneurs working to democratize finance.

Here are four more steps that Canadian policy makers can take to promote P2P lending:

First, Canada should follow Britain and adopt new P2P lending regulations, as opposed to shoehorning this sector under existing equity regulations. New regulations should ensure the cost of due diligence borne by lenders is proportionate to the investment risk.

Second, retail investor caps for P2P lending should be raised over time if this asset class is proven to be low risk, increasing the pool of funds available to meet the needs of small businesses.

Third, the federal government should partner with industry to provide more education for investors and small businesses. This effort should include data collection and benchmarking to allow researchers to establish what is working and what is not.

Fourth, Canada should adopt Britain’s mandatory referral program. Banks that reject a small-business loan must refer unsuccessful applicants to a government portal that connects them with alternative lenders who may be able to assist them.

Our hope is that Canadian politicians recognize that promoting innovation means more than cutting ribbons and offering tax credits. It is about plugging holes in a leaky financial system and adding wind to the sails of small businesses to move them forward.

 

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The National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association of Canada (NCFA Canada) is a cross-Canada non-profit actively engaged with cryptocurrency, blockchain, crowdfunding, alternative finance, fintech, P2P, ICO, and online investing stakeholders globally. NCFA Canada provides education, research, industry stewardship, services, and networking opportunities to thousands of members and subscribers and works closely with industry, government, academia, community and eco-system partners and affiliates to create a strong and vibrant crowdfunding and fintech industry.  Join Canada's Fintech & Funding Community today FREE!  Or become a contributing member and get perks. For more information, please visit:  www.ncfacanada.org

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Silicon Valley Bank Is Coming for Canada’s Burgeoning Tech Scene

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Bloomberg | By | May 14, 2018

Canada’s tech scene is heating up, and one of Silicon Valley’s oldest financial institutions wants a piece.

Silicon Valley Bank, the 35-year-old lender focused on tech startups and venture capital firms, plans to hire more than a dozen bankers in Canada with the goal of eventually banking 40 percent of the country’s tech and life science companies. It’s received authorization from Canada’s finance minister to open and is waiting on final regulatory approvals to begin lending.

Canada’s tech scene is thriving. Startups are proliferating, fueled by increased local investment and the presence of big-name U.S. venture firms like Andreessen Horowitz and Sequoia Capital. Internet giants including Amazon.com Inc. and Google are hiring thousands of engineers in Vancouver and Toronto and home-grown success stories like Shopify Inc. are taking off.

See:  PayPal is going after the big banks

With all that activity comes opportunity for banks willing to lend to small, unproven startups, said Barbara Dirks, Silicon Valley Bank’s recent hired head of Canada.

Canadian banks have a long-standing and concrete view of risk that might make it difficult for them to dive into earlier-stage tech, said Dirks, a veteran of Bank of Montreal and Royal Bank of Canada. Silicon Valley Bank brings a unique understanding of tech and the web of relationships in Silicon Valley and around the world to get startup investing right, she said.

Risk Appetite

“We’ve been in the space for so long, so something which may look risky to one institution is right in our expertise,’’ Dirks said.

At least one of those Canadian banks might beg to differ. Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce has trumpeted its own interest in the tech scene, recently buying tech-focused lender Wellington Financial and putting its CEO Mark McQueen in charge of a new “innovation banking’’ division. While Silicon Valley Bank will initially only have permission to give loans, CIBC’s unit is already licensed to offer a full range of banking services in Canada.

Silicon Valley Bank won’t be starting from scratch though. It already helps hundreds of Canadian companies including Shopify, Drop Technologies Inc. and Lightspeed POS Inc. with their U.S. banking, Dirks said. The goal now is to catch Canadian companies earlier and compete for deals directly. The bank will be focused on loans from as small as $750,000, all the way to leading syndicates of hundreds of millions of dollars, said Mark Gallagher, senior market manager for the U.S. northeast and Canada.

Global Connections

Gallagher has led a team for years that’s helped Canadian tech companies bank in the U.S., but watching the activity of the last few years, he said he knew it was time to step up Silicon Valley Bank’s presence north of the border.

“The broad diaspora of Canadians both in the U.S. and that have returned from the U.S. that have experience scaling companies is very strong,’’ Gallagher said. Venture capital investment reached about C$3.8 billion in 2017, up from $3.2 billion the year before, according to the Canadian Venture Capital & Private Equity Association.

Check out:  RBC first Canadian bank to open an API developer portal

Canadian companies that want to compete globally generally need to expand outside of their home market quickly. Shopify, the country’s best-known success story since BlackBerry, gets the vast majority of its revenue from outside of Canada. Linking companies up to partners and investors around the world is a major part of what gives Silicon Valley Bank a competitive edge, Dirks said.

Serious Swagger

“We connect companies between Canada and Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley and New York, Israel, China, etc.,’’ she said. “That will be one of the things that we’ll be able to contribute to the ecosystem.’’

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The National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association of Canada (NCFA Canada) is a cross-Canada non-profit actively engaged with cryptocurrency, blockchain, crowdfunding, alternative finance, fintech, P2P, ICO, and online investing stakeholders globally. NCFA Canada provides education, research, industry stewardship, services, and networking opportunities to thousands of members and subscribers and works closely with industry, government, academia, community and eco-system partners and affiliates to create a strong and vibrant crowdfunding and fintech industry.  Join Canada's Fintech & Funding Community today FREE!  Or become a contributing member and get perks. For more information, please visit:  www.ncfacanada.org

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What we can learn from Ontario’s $3 million loan to small business

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NCFA Canada | By Gary Buisansky | May 11, 2018

Summary

It's not every day we wake up to hear that the Ontario Government has committed to a loan of 3 million Dollars for small business. A market woefully underserved by traditional lenders.

Beyond the benefit this will have for small business, it provides testimony to the National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association of Canada’s continued advocacy for financial and regulatory support to the sector. (You can read the NCFA’s March 2018 submission to Finance Canada here and Lifting the Veil on Peer to peer Lending in Q1 2016 here).

As an industry, while we navigate the regulatory hurdles, there are some lessons we can take away from this, to better help ourselves and the Canadian market. There are also several Canadian success stories which we should not lose sight of. AI, Crypto currency and blockchain, are all thriving in Canada.

Ontario Government supports small business

Lending Loop, an active member of the NCFA, has been making the news lately with an announced 2-year pilot project partnership with the Ontario Government for a $3 million loan.

If you're not familiar with Lending Loop, it fills an important void in the market, connecting small businesses and Canadian retail investors, willing to lend to them.

Through the Lending Loop platform, small companies can finance loans at reasonable rates, often within days of their loan application.

These borrowers face very real challenges securing funding in the Canadian market with debt finance to SME's considered very risky. Where loans are made, they usually come with eyewatering interest rates, reflecting their often-limited track record, lack of financial information and availability of collateral.

See:  Ontario government invests in fintech to boost small-business lending

Loans provided by Lending Loop will now have a 10% government participation, with the government portion of the loan amount treated like any other; the principle amount will be repaid together with interest.

The anchor investment by the Ontario Government will enable total funding of around $30 million to Ontario's SME's providing welcome relief to an under banked market and provide leveraged economic benefit into the broader economy.

This is a clear win for all parties. But what can the greater fintech community learn from this success?

The importance of government relationships and support for fintech companies

Cato Pastoll, CEO and Co-Founder of Lending Loop, makes the point that fintech companies underestimate the importance of government relationships, particularly those in the startup phase. He suggests:

"Its up to you to educate the regulators about your business and what societal benefits it provides. You need to make yourself heard. For the most part, fintech entrepreneurs do not make it a priority to try work with government.

It can be vital, particularly in regulated industries, to find the time and make the effort. The governments role is to hear the challenges industries and people are facing and want to understand the dynamics of the market".

In his experience, regulators and government only hear part of the story and if fintech does not speak up, then regulators are left with only the incumbents viewpoint.

Government recognizes that Canada can play a bigger game

In a study released in December last year, the Canadian Competition- Bureau, observed:

"...other jurisdictions have more welcoming and innovationconducive regulatory environments than Canada. The United Kingdom, the United States, Singapore, Germany, Australia and Hong Kong have been identified as leading fintech hubs based on talent, funding availability, government policy and demand for fintech".

This contrasts with the position in Canada, where regulatory gaps, uncertainty and lack of consistency across provinces prevail.

An 11-point plan has been proposed, that includes harmonizing regulation across geographic boundaries, and identifying a fintech policy lead for Canada. These solutions would go a long way to addressing key roadblocks in the growth and development of Canadian fintech. Additionally, Craig Asano, Executive Director of the NCFA, makes the point that:

To help verify Canadas competitive position relative to other jurisdictions, additional resources and support are needed for data collection and education. This will help quantify the number of fintech companies, capital investments, financings and loan volumes of new funding models, and the time and cost spent on compliance.

The Canadian government is extremely well placed to support the sector. The Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) is the largest VC fund in the country with over $1 billion in capital under management. Most Canadian VC funds have government money, either directly through BDC investing in the funds or indirectly through funds of funds that in turn invest in VC's.

The significance of government involvement and ability to support and foster a sustainable fintech sector, with market confidence is critical. The C.D. Howe Institute makes the case for a suite of recommendations that, if adopted, will better position Canada to take advantage of its investments in the technological revolution that is underway throughout the economy.

Right way round regulatory sandboxes could offer short term benefits

While Canada makes use of regulatory sandboxes to help start-ups test new products or services in a controlled environment, there is room to improve the model. Unlike competitor countries including the UK and Australia, which offer flexible and proportional regulatory frameworks, Canada follows a more paternalistic model.

See:  How Blockchain and Crypto are Impacting Canadian Fintech Markets

Cato Pastoll says the Canadian model has it the wrong way around.

In Canada one must adjust your business to fit in with the existing regulatory models rather than forcing regulators to figure out how best to regulate.

Getting this right is critical in his view, particularly if we are going to compete with other countries.

What this requires is a mind shift followed by active dialogue between stakeholders and industry to work out a better framework for regulatory sandboxes.

That said, there are some areas of fintech where accelerator programs and innovation hubs are showing strong results.

Artificial Intelligence and Blockchain is accelerating in Canada

KPMG International in their Pulse of Fintech Q4'17 Report, highlights AI as a major driver of innovation in the Americas, particularly in the US and Canada.

It refers to Canada as, "a hotbed for fintech innovation", and goes on to say that Canada’s participation in the space is getting more notice with world-class fintech hubs in Canada rapidly maturing with increased attention from US investors.

Crypto currency and blockchain related ventures are also recognizing Canada as a friendly jurisdiction.  With strong investor appetite available, crypto mining companies, Hut 8 Mining, BitFury and HIVE have all come to market to capital through the TSX-V.

See:  Registration Open: Convergence of the titans: Nobel Peace Prize Recipient, Irakli Beridze, to Present in Toronto at AiDecentralized Summit (May 22)

More recently, the Ontario Securities Commission consented to the listing of the first Canadian Bitcoin ETF on the TSX under the ticker, HBLK which invests in companies involved in blockchain and distributed ledger technologies.

And over the past few days, Huobi a Singapore-based bitcoin exchange, (and the world’s number three exchange by 24-hour volume), has stated its intention to expand its operations to Toronto.

General Manager of Huobi, Ross Zhang stated;

"Canada is emerging as a leading blockchain nation, and Toronto is set to become one of the next most active blockchain hubs across North America".

Canada's fintech time is now

This serves to demonstrate that If Canada is to capitalize on the wave of fintech opportunity washing our shores, we need to act swiftly and get our regulatory house in order.

Without the need to reinvent the wheel, we can borrow from global best practices. We must continue to lobby for a unified regulatory framework and insist that the Federal Government champion fintech. Fintech after all has the wherewith-all to make a marked difference in our economy.

It would be a sad day if in years to come, we look back and wonder how we let slip what could have been ours to have.

 

Gary Buisansky is a freelance writer for NCFA and founder of Coin My Copy  which specializes in writing marketing content, including white papers, website copy, articles and case studies for fintech and traditional finance companies.

 


The National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association of Canada (NCFA Canada) is a cross-Canada non-profit actively engaged with cryptocurrency, blockchain, crowdfunding, alternative finance, fintech, P2P, ICO, and online investing stakeholders globally. NCFA Canada provides education, research, industry stewardship, services, and networking opportunities to over 1700+ 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.  Join Canada's Fintech & Funding Community today FREE!  Or become a contributing member and get perks. For more information, please visit:  www.ncfacanada.org

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Ontario government invests in fintech to boost small-business lending

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The Globe and Mail | Clare O'hare | May 2, 2018

The Ontario government is turning to Canada’s financial technology sector to help small businesses get better access to financing.

On Wednesday, Lending Loop, a peer-to-peer online lending platform for small-business loans, announced a pilot project in partnership with Ontario that will provide $3-million of loans over the next two years. The government will boost Lending Loop’s loans by 10 per cent, which will help fund more than $30-million of loans to businesses across Ontario. The government will receive a full re-payment of the loan plus interest at the end of the loan terms.

“This pilot program is important as it will significantly benefit small businesses, accelerate Fintech adoption, and provide new opportunities for financial institutions,” Jeff Leal, Minister Responsible for Small Business, said in a statement.

Small-business loans are seen as risky, with borrowers facing annual interest rates between 8 per cent to 40 per cent as a result of challenges such as absence of collateral, a lack of operating and credit history, unaudited financial information or an absence of steady cash inflows.

“The new lending commitment from the province recognizes the contribution that non-traditional channels can play in improving businesses’ access to capital,” says Cato Pastoll, co-founder and CEO of Lending Loop. “This partnership is a major step forward for peer-to-peer lending in Canada. Globally, over $40-billion has been lent to businesses through the peer-to-peer model, and we are incredibly excited to see the Ontario government involved in helping support the growth of businesses across the province.”

In Canada, there are a handful of online lenders offering small-business loans. The majority of the platforms are fintech start-ups that have been looking to address challenges many small businesses face when accessing financing from traditional sources – such as Canada’s five big banks.

As part of Ontario’s strategy to support small businesses, the 2017 Fall Economic Statement included a commitment to establish a pilot project to address small-business financing challenges.

In early 2018, the ministry held a number of consultations with representatives of lending platforms, credit unions and large financial institutions to determine the best approach. The government found that many businesses struggle when it comes to securing loans between $500,000 and $1-million.

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

“Peer-to-peer lending platforms play an important role because they increase the amount of capital for small businesses by creating new sources of loan capital, more sophisticated credit models, and efficient access,” said a spokesperson for Mr. Leal’s office. “Platforms in other markets have proven that lending to small businesses with affordable, long-term capital not only benefits the small businesses but is also a highly attractive investment for investors.”

The three-year “access to capital” pilot program also includes a commitment to provide a grant of up to $750,000 to the Toronto Financial Services Alliance to promote awareness of alternative forms and sources of lending programs available to small businesses.

Continue to the full article --> here

 


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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U.S. regulator sues LendingClub over hidden fees

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Reuters |Anna Irrera | Apr 25, 2018

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A U.S. regulator sued online lender Lending Club Corp (LC.N) on Wednesday for allegedly overcharging consumers and misleading them on hidden fees.

The Federal Trade Commission said in a complaint filed in federal court in California that LendingClub deducted hidden fees from the loans it issued to borrowers, despite promising “no hidden fees.”

LendingClub also allegedly deducted payments automatically from consumers’ bank accounts even when they had paid off their loans, or had canceled automatic payments, according to the complaint. Some consumers were allegedly charged double payments, the complaint said.

LendingClub shares were down as much as 16 percent at $2.72 following the news.

The San Francisco-based start-up is one of the largest companies known as peer-to-peer lenders and runs a website where consumers can apply for loans that are either funded by individual investors or by institutions such as banks.

“We support the important role that the FTC plays in encouraging appropriate standards and best practices,” a spokesman for LendingClub said in a written statement. “In this case, we believe the FTC is wrong, and are very disappointed that it was not possible to resolve this matter constructively with the agency’s current leadership.”

LendingClub has been in recovery mode since May 2016, when it acknowledged issues, including the way it had sold loans to an investor, prompting the departure of its then chief executive.

Its shares have fallen more than 88 percent since its initial public offering in late 2014.

Continue to the full article --> here


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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BLOCKCHAIN, CRYPTOCURRENCY, ALT INVESTING – FFCON18: VELOCITY Conference (Mar 5-6, Toronto)

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FFCON18: VELOCITY

Blockchain | Cryptocurrency | Alternative Investing

Join Canada's leading financial technology and funding conference

Immerse yourself in blockchain, cryptocurrency, funding and fintech innovation through world-class education, workshops, and networking

Date:  March 5-6, 2018

Day 1:  Full day at the historic Design Exchange (234 Bay Street, Toronto)

Day 2:  Half day at Dentons Canada LLP (77 King Street West, Suite 400, Toronto)

Tickets:  $50 – $450

BLOCKCHAIN, CRYPTOCURRENCY and ALTERNATIVE INVESTING   The National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association of Canada (NCFA) is proud to present FFCON18: VELOCITY (2018 Fintech and Funding Conference), an expanded 4th Annual of Canada’s leading financial technology and funding conference.   As Cryptocurrencies dominate the media scene, and the ICO frenzy is in full fledge can the Blockchain live up to the massive demand to deliver real life use cases and value to the customer, and can Fintech and Funding catch up with the changing landscape of the industry.

The theme is all about speed, efficiency and reducing friction: VELOCITY.  Accelerating the speed of blockchain and capital innovation, disruption, integration and adoption.   If you are a blockchain, crypto or fintech innovator, investor or 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 global participants.

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 featuring immersive content, pitching, networking, workshops and meeting exchanges over 2 days.  Are you ready for the VELOCITY Blockchain speed?

Host:

Exclusive Presenting Partner:

Platinum Partners:

Diamond Partner:

KEYNOTE SPEAKERS

Lou Kerner: Co-founder and Partner, CryptoOracle.io

Keynote: The Future of Bitcoin and Crypto

 

Diana Adachi: CEO, Pegasus Fintech Inc.

Keynote: Exponential Value Inherent in Blockchain and Its Transformative Potential

 

Anthony Diiorio: CEO & Founder Decentral & Jaxx, Co-founder Ethereum

Keynote: Can Canada Remain at the Forefront of Blockchain Globally?

 

Sheldon Pollack: Chairman, Ov2 Capital

Keynote Interview: Scaling Fast and Defining New Industries

 

 

Brady Fletcher: Managing Director, TSX Venture Exchange at TMX Group

Keynote Interview: Scaling Fast and Defining New Industries

 

Eric So: Co-Founder, Managing Director and CSO, Globalive

Keynote: The Future of Distributed Ledger Technology and Machine Learning

 

 

Brittany Whitmore, CEO and Founder, Exvera Communications Inc.

FFCON18:  VELOCITY  Master of Ceremonies

 

Education +  Workshops + Innovation + Prime Networking

5 Streams, 50+ Speakers, 40 Sessions, 12 Pitching, 1x1 Mentoring

 Pitching Companies at FFCON18

Twelve high-growth companies have been selected from inbound applications to pitch live at the 4th annual Fintech and Funding Conference: VELOCITY (#FFCON18). These companies will be pitching in four sessions on March 5, to be led by McCarthy Tétrault, Techstars Toronto, Launch Academy and Brightspark Ventures. Congratulations to the 12 finalists!

  1. Cinchy
  2. Coder
  3. ColliderX
  4. Distributed ID
  5. FintruX
  6. Homewise
  7. JustGotThat! Inc
  8. KickCity
  9. Neptune Dash Technologies
  10. SENSO.AI
  11. Swiggle
  12. Voleo

One winning company will be chosen from each of the four live pitching sessions at FFCON18, determined by a panel of judges and the crowd. Winning companies will receive prize packages consisting of free Lean Startup Training Programs from Launch Academy, a complementary Press Release Package for North American distribution from ACCESSWIRE, a “Front of the Line” Golden Ticket from CBC Dragon’s Den and more! These tickets will guarantee the winning companies a chance to pitch in front of the infamous dragons at any of their Season 13 upcoming auditions.

The Conference, to be held from March 5-6, 2018, attracts blockchain, crypto and fintech innovators, investors, companies actively raising capital and key decision makers/stakeholders in technology and capital markets from all over Canada and around the world. Click here to view the full program.

Cinchy is the next evolution in database technology. Tier-1 banks are already using Cinchy as a smart alternative to application databases, saving millions and building enterprise systems 2-10x faster.
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Founded in 2015, Coder has built a decentralized venture development platform, aggregating the technology, strategy and growth resources required to execute on the delivery of new technology products.
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ColliderX is the world’s first open-source, crowdsourced, and crowdfunded blockchain research and development hub. This is a unique model for unbiased, ground-breaking R&D that bridges the gap between industry problems and pure academic or corporate research.
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DIID is the neighbourhood watch for fraud management. Monitor customer behaviour across all channels to enrich the tools your business uses to fight fraud.
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FintruX Network is a blockchain-based peer-to-peer lending ecosystem connecting borrowers, lenders, and rated service agencies. FintruX Network makes it easy for small businesses to quickly secure affordable loans with no collateral, in any currency.
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Homewise is a modern mortgage provider that brings a classic process online. Homewise is simple, transparent and sets the goal of getting our users the best mortgage.
JustGotThat! is a curated marketplace for everyday maintenance and repair services. Our customers are able to confidently find, book and pay for the services they need, when they need them.
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Decentralized Event Management & Marketing Protocol on Blockchain: imagine Eventbrite & Meetup.com on blockchain with an awesome reward system that enables effective marketing.
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Neptune Dash runs infrastructure for the Dash cryptocurrency network, specifically dedicated servers known as masternodes. We also build innovative technology that pushes the Dash currency to the next level.  TSX-V: DASH
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SENSO.AI is an enterprise SaaS Customer Experience Management (CXM) platform, which predicts mortgage churn for financial institutions. Our loan and geographic level visualizations provide retention and marketing teams with recommendations on how to increase retention, lifetime value, and the size and quality of their mortgage portfolios.  
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Swiggle automatically gets you money back when prices drop after you shop at retailers across the U.S. and Canada. We itemize your receipts, constantly search for lower prices and automatically get you the refund you’re owed.  
Voleo develops trading platforms for stock and cryptocurrency investment. Voleo’s namesake social trading app is live for US residents and available for white-label to financial institutions worldwide, while Cryptoleo will be launching for Canadians in 2018!  

 

Investors

Discover new blockchain, crypto and startup/scale-up deal flow opportunities and investment strategies. Gain access to high grow start-ups and leading-edge insights.

Professionals

Lawyer, accountant, marketing specialist or tech guru? Get access to emerging early stage companies, deal flow and partners through new financial instruments to generate revenue and leads for your practice.

Companies

Network and pitch your venture to investors, customers and partners. Learn about the latest funding strategies and options.

Enterprise

Connect with leading capital markets innovators, consultants, fintech and blockchain leaders to develop an internal sandbox, rapidly iterate, test, deploy a nextgen global solution.

Fintech Leaders

Celebrate the transformation of digital finance with fintech peers and share how you are unbundling and enhancing financial services, mint your brand while fostering global opportunities.

Policy Makers

Discuss and learn how emerging digital technologies will impact the future of financial transactions and services globally and what it means for existing regulatory cultures and policies.

Platforms & Ecosystems

Gain valuable industry insight and make new connections with customers, partners, investors, entrepreneurs and innovators.

Innovators

Join 500+ investors, entrepreneurs, hackers, and industry experts to learn, network and be inspired by leading-edge content and the power of co-creation, innovation, tech and the crowd!

TICKETS SOLD OUT!

Ticket widget not working? Click here to register on Eventbrite

Verified students get a special deal (email: info@ncfacanada.org)

WE ACCEPT CRYPTO! (email: info@ncfacanada.org)

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