Category Archives: Online Funding Portals

OSC approves first ICO in Ontario to TokenFunder

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OSC LaunchPad | Nov 23, 2017

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

OSC approves initial coin offering

Investment Executive | James Langton | Nov 23, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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Lending Loop | | Oct 18, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Where is technology taking the economy?

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McKinsey&Company | By W. Brian Arthur | Oct 2017

We are creating an intelligence that is external to humans and housed in the virtual economy. This is bringing us into a new economic era—a distributive one—where different rules apply.

A year ago in Oslo Airport I checked in to an SAS flight. One airline kiosk issued a boarding pass, another punched out a luggage tag, then a computer screen showed me how to attach it and another where I should set the luggage on a conveyor. I encountered no single human being. The incident wasn’t important but it left me feeling oddly that I was out of human care, that something in our world had shifted.

That shift of course has been going on for a long time. It’s been driven by a succession of technologies—the Internet, the cloud, big data, robotics, machine learning, and now artificial intelligence—together powerful enough that economists agree we are in the midst of a digital economic revolution. But there is less agreement on how exactly the new technologies are changing the economy and whether the changes are deep. Robert Gordon of Northwestern University tells us the computer revolution “reached its climax in the dot-com era of the 1990s.” Future progress in technology, he says, will be slower.

So in what way exactly are the new technologies changing the economy? Is the revolution they are causing indeed slowing—or is it persistent and deep? And if so how will it change the character of the economy?

I argued a few years back that the digital technologies have created a second economy, a virtual and autonomous one, and this is certainly true. But I now believe the main feature of this autonomous economy is not merely that it deepens the physical one. It’s that it is steadily providing an external intelligence in business—one not housed internally in human workers but externally in the virtual economy’s algorithms and machines. Business and engineering and financial processes can now draw on huge “libraries” of intelligent functions and these greatly boost their activities—and bit by bit render human activities obsolete.

See:  The Age of Artificial Intelligence in Fintech

I will argue this is causing the economy to enter a new and different era. The economy has arrived at a point where it produces enough in principle for everyone, but where the means of access to these services and products, jobs, is steadily tightening. So this new period we are entering is not so much about production anymore—how much is produced; it is about distribution—how people get a share in what is produced. Everything from trade policies to government projects to commercial regulations will in the future be evaluated by distribution. Politics will change, free-market beliefs will change, social structures will change.

We are still at the start of this shift, but it will be deep and will unfold indefinitely in the future.

The third morphing

How did we get to where we are now? About every 20 years or so the digital revolution morphs and brings us something qualitatively different. Each morphing issues from a set of particular new technologies, and each causes characteristic changes in the economy.

The first morphing, in the 1970s and ’80s, brought us integrated circuits—tiny processors and memory on microchips that miniaturized and greatly speeded calculation. Engineers could use computer-aided design programs, managers could track inventories in real time, and geologists could discern strata and calculate the chance of oil. The economy for the first time had serious computational assistance. Modern fast personal computation had arrived.

The second morphing, in the 1990s and 2000s, brought us the connection of digital processes. Computers got linked together into local and global networks via telephonic or fiber-optic or satellite transmission. The Internet became a commercial entity, web services emerged, and the cloud provided shared computing resources. Everything suddenly was in conversation with everything else.

It’s here that the virtual economy of interconnected machines, software, and processes emerges, where physical actions now could be executed digitally. And it’s also here that the age-old importance of geographical locality fades. An architecture firm in Seattle could concern itself with the overall design of a new high-rise and have less expensive workers in Budapest take care of the detailing, in an interactive way. Retailers in the United States could monitor manufacturers in China and track suppliers in real time. Offshoring took off, production concentrated where it was cheapest—Mexico, Ireland, China—and previously thriving home local economies began to wither. Modern globalization had arrived and it was very much the result of connecting computers.

The third morphing—the one we are in now—began roughly in the 2010s, and it has brought us something that at first looks insignificant: cheap and ubiquitous sensors. We have radar and lidar sensors, gyroscopic sensors, magnetic sensors, blood-chemistry sensors, pressure, temperature, flow, and moisture sensors, by the dozens and hundreds all meshed together into wireless networks to inform us of the presence of objects or chemicals, or of a system’s current status or position, or changes in its external conditions.

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These sensors brought us data—oceans of data—and all that data invited us to make sense of it. If we could collect images of humans, we could use these to recognize their faces. If we could “see” objects such as roads and pedestrians, we could use this to automatically drive cars.

As a result, in the last ten years or more, what became prominent was the development of methods, intelligent algorithms, for recognizing things and doing something with the result. And so we got computer vision, the ability for machines to recognize objects; and we got natural-language processing, the ability to talk to a computer as we would to another human being. We got digital language translation, face recognition, voice recognition, inductive inference, and digital assistants.

What came as a surprise was that these intelligent algorithms were not designed from symbolic logic, with rules and grammar and getting all the exceptions correct. Instead they were put together by using masses of data to form associations: This complicated pixel pattern means “cat,” that one means “face”—Jennifer Aniston’s face. This set of Jeopardy! quiz words points to “Julius Caesar,” that one points to “Andrew Jackson.” This silent sequence of moving lips means these particular spoken words. Intelligent algorithms are not genius deductions, they are associations made possible by clever statistical methods using masses of data.

Of course the clever statistical techniques took huge amounts of engineering and several years to get right. They were domain specific, an algorithm that could lip read could not recognize faces. And they worked in business too: this customer profile means “issue a $1.2 million mortgage”; that one means “don’t act.”

Computers, and this was the second surprise, could suddenly do what we thought only humans could do—association.

The coming of external intelligence

It would be easy to see associative intelligence as just another improvement in digital technology, and some economists do. But I believe it’s more than that. “Intelligence” in this context doesn’t mean conscious thought or deductive reasoning or “understanding.” It means the ability to make appropriate associations, or in an action domain to sense a situation and act appropriately. This fits with biological basics, where intelligence is about recognizing and sensing and using this to act appropriately. A jellyfish uses a network of chemical sensors to detect edible material drifting near it, and these trigger a network of motor neurons to cause the jellyfish to close automatically around the material for digestion.

Thus when intelligent algorithms help a fighter jet avoid a midair collision, they are sensing the situation, computing possible responses, selecting one, and taking appropriate avoidance action.

There doesn’t need to be a controller at the center of such intelligence; appropriate action can emerge as the property of the whole system. Driverless traffic when it arrives will have autonomous cars traveling on special lanes, in conversation with each other, with special road markers, and with signaling lights. These in turn will be in conversation with approaching traffic and with the needs of other parts of the traffic system. Intelligence here—appropriate collective action—emerges from the ongoing conversation of all these items. This sort of intelligence is self-organizing, conversational, ever-adjusting, and dynamic. It is also largely autonomous. These conversations and their outcomes will take place with little or no human awareness or intervention.

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The interesting thing here isn’t the form intelligence takes. It’s that intelligence is no longer housed internally in the brains of human workers but has moved outward into the virtual economy, into the conversation among intelligent algorithms. It has become external. The physical economy demands or queries; the virtual economy checks and converses and computes externally and then reports back to the physical economy—which then responds appropriately. The virtual economy is not just an Internet of Things, it is a source of intelligent action—intelligence external to human workers.

This shift from internal to external intelligence is important. When the printing revolution arrived in the 15th and 16th centuries it took information housed internally in manuscripts in monasteries and made it available publicly. Information suddenly became external: it ceased to be the property of the church and now could be accessed, pondered, shared, and built upon by lay readers, singly or in unison. The result was an explosion of knowledge, of past texts, theological ideas, and astronomical theories. Scholars agree these greatly accelerated the Renaissance, the Reformation, and the coming of science. Printing, argues commentator Douglas Robertson, created our modern world.

Now we have a second shift from internal to external, that of intelligence, and because intelligence is not just information but something more powerful—the use of information—there’s no reason to think this shift will be less powerful than the first one. We don’t yet know its consequences, but there is no upper limit to intelligence and thus to the new structures it will bring in the future.

How this changes business

To come back to our current time, how is this externalization of human thinking and judgment changing business? And what new opportunities is it bringing?

Some companies can apply the new intelligence capabilities like face recognition or voice verification to automate current products, services, and value chains. And there is plenty of that.

More radical change comes when companies stitch together pieces of external intelligence and create new business models with them. Recently I visited a fintech (financial technology) company in China, which had developed a phone app for borrowing money on the fly while shopping. The app senses your voice and passes it to online algorithms for identity recognition; other algorithms fan out and query your bank accounts, credit history, and social-media profile; further intelligent algorithms weigh all these and a suitable credit offer appears on your phone. All within seconds. This isn’t quite the adoption of external intelligence; it is the combining of sense-making algorithms, data-lookup algorithms, and natural-language algorithms to fulfill a task once done by humans.

In doing this, businesses can reach into and use a “library” or toolbox of already-created virtual structures as Lego pieces to build new organizational models. One such structure is the blockchain, a digital system for executing and recording financial transactions; another is Bitcoin, a shared digital international currency for trading. These are not software or automated functions or smart machinery. Think of them as externally available building blocks constructed from the basic elements of intelligent algorithms and data.

See:  Beyond cryptocurrency: There are new blockchain opportunities for SMBs

The result, whether in retail banking, transport, healthcare, or the military, is that industries aren’t just becoming automated with machines replacing humans. They are using the new intelligent building blocks to re-architect the way they do things. In doing so, they will cease to exist in their current form.

Businesses can use the new opportunities in other ways. Some large tech companies can directly create externally intelligent systems such as autonomous air-traffic control or advanced medical diagnostics. Others can build proprietary databases and extract intelligent behavior from them. But the advantages of being large or early in the market are limited. The components of external intelligence can’t easily be owned, they tend to slide into the public domain. And data can’t easily be owned either, it can be garnered from nonproprietary sources.

So we will see both large tech companies and shared, free, autonomous resources in the future. And if past technology revolutions are indicative, we will see entirely new industries spring up we hadn’t even thought of.

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

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New Crowdfunding Platform Lets Private Investors Support Robotics Startups

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The Robot Report |

Business mentoring company Britbots launched a crowdfunding platform Britbots CROWD to support British robotics startups, the company announced today.

“Whilst talking to investors about the British Robotics Seed Fund we realized that there was a broad appetite amongst investors to include some high-potential robotics businesses in their portfolio on a discretionary basis without necessarily going down the fund route,” founder Dominic Keen said in a prepared statement. “Hence we are delighted to have launched Britbots CROWD, the world’s only dedicated equity crowd-funding platform for robotics companies, giving investors direct access to this exciting class of investments for the first time.”

See: 

The platform gives private investors a way to build their personal share portfolio of new robotics companies. The companies listed on Britbots CROWD have already received funding from Britbots’ British Robotics Seed Fund, which raised more than £500,000.

The companies listed will accept a minimum investment amount of £200, which will allow mainstream investors to purchase shares, and will receive mentoring and business development support from Britbots. In addition, investors will also receive tax incentives under SEIS or EIS.

 

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

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Blockchain Platform Polymath to Take “Securities Tokens” Mainstream

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CoinJournal | By Diana Ngo | Sep 1, 2017

Toronto-based Polymath is building a securities tokens platform, enabling financial companies to launch their own asset-based securities easily and inexpensively.

The Polymath platform, officially launching on October 01, intends to serve as a “launch pad” for companies looking to create and issue securities tokens, and promises to automate the legal and technical functions of an initial coin offering (ICO). It aims to become the “open source standard for launching AML/KYC compliant financial securities.”

Polymath will enable digital tokens to represent shares in traditional financial assets, such as private equity, stocks, commodities, VC funds and real estate – “assets that function far better as tokens.”

See:  Canadian regulators say most cryptocurrency offerings need oversight

“Today, securities like equities, bonds and private equity are the foundation of our modern financial system, and they are all stampeding towards the blockchain,” said Trevor Koverko, CEO of Polymath.

“But rather than sprinkle a bit of blockchain technology on top of outdated infrastructure, we are building an open source, decentralized framework from the ground up that is accessible to any asset owner looking to gain exposure to the booming cryptocurrency industry.

“So far, the response from the market has been overwhelming, and it’s enabled us to stack our team with the top minds in the industry.”

Several companies have already stepped up to begin the listing process with Polymath. These include SummerHill, Canada’s largest venture capital firm, Skyline Capital, a real estate investment trust, and Dominion Lending Centres, a mortgage broker network.

Polymath said it is targeting the multi-trillion dollar global securities market by “doing to securities tokens what Ethereum did for app tokens.”

“Our mission is to scale an intuitive platform that breaks down the barriers for issuers to launch new securities tokens in the same way Ethereum made it easy for developers to launch new app tokens,” said Koverko.

“At a fraction of the cost and time it currently takes to launch a securities token, Polymath-powered issuers will be able to launch custom tokens that can pay dividends, govern management, conduct proxy votes and collect fees – all while complying with global KYC/AML requirements via smart contract technology.”

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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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B.C. Securities Commission grants landmark bitcoin investment fund manager registration

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BCSC | News Release | Sep 6, 2017

Vancouver - The British Columbia Securities Commission (BCSC) today announced the first registration of an investment fund manager in Canada solely dedicated to cryptocurrency investments. The BCSC has granted First Block Capital Inc. registration as an investment fund manager and an exempt market dealer in order to operate a bitcoin investment fund.

"Cryptocurrency investments are a new and novel form of investing in Canada. We have seen from the market and from investors that there is a strong appetite for access to these kinds of investments," said Zach Masum, Manager, Legal Services, Capital Markets Regulation, and leader of the BCSC's Tech Team. "This first registration allows access to bitcoin investments, while providing the BCSC with unique mechanisms to monitor operations in a rapidly developing area."

Cryptocurrency investments raise risks that are different from traditional asset classes, including the cybersecurity risks inherent in dealing with digital currencies. These risks relate not only to the registrant, but also to the bitcoin fund's custodian, a third party chosen to facilitate the safekeeping and exchange of bitcoins.

The conditions of registration imposed on First Block Capital were crafted to give flexibility to allow them to operate under the present regulatory framework, and give tools to the BCSC to evaluate the identified risks of this innovative fund type. First Block Capital is also now registered as an investment fund manager and exempt market dealer in Ontario; the BCSC is its principal regulator.

See:  Why Blockchain Is The Future Of The Sharing Economy

"We strongly encourage other companies in British Columbia, whether they are potential new registrants or existing investment fund managers, to contact the BCSC's Tech Team if they are considering pursuing cryptocurrency investments in their funds," said Masum. "The Tech Team can help ensure compliance with securities regulation, which can help save time and potential costs later on."

The BCSC launched the Tech Team in January 2017 as part of its fintech outreach initiative to help B.C.-based fintech and technology companies understand their securities regulatory requirements. The Tech Team is also actively involved with the Canadian Securities Administrators' Regulatory Sandbox Initiative, which supports fintech businesses seeking to offer innovative products, services and applications in Canada.

The Tech Team will continue engaging with key stakeholders, and anticipates issuing a publication later this year summarizing results of its outreach and proposing next steps to meet the needs of B.C. financial technology industry participants.

More information on the BCSC's fintech outreach can be found on the BCSC's technology webpage. The BCSC's Tech Team can be reached by email at TechTeam@bcsc.bc.ca.

About the British Columbia Securities Commission ( www.bcsc.bc.ca )

The British Columbia Securities Commission is the independent provincial government agency responsible for regulating capital markets in British Columbia through the administration of the Securities Act. Our mission is to protect and promote the public interest by fostering:

  • A securities market that is fair and warrants public confidence
  • A dynamic and competitive securities industry that provides investment opportunities and access to capital

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Media Contact:
Alison Walker
604-899-6713

Public inquiries:
604-899-6854 or 1-800-373-6393 (toll free)
inquiries@bcsc.bc.ca


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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Local Crowdfunding Platform to Assist Fire Ravaged Communities

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Community Futures | Graham Stanley | Aug 22, 2017
Vanderhoof, BC. – As devastating wildfires continue to tear across the province of British Columbia many small and medium sized businesses, as well as non-profit organizations, are seeking solutions to make rebuilding easier. Local crowdfunding platform, InvestLocalBC feels it can assist in some small way.
“Sourcing funds to assist with the recovery from the wildfires is an excellent example of what the InvestLocalBC platform was created to accomplish,” said Graham Stanley, the Manager of Community Futures Stuart Nechako which created the platform. “Local solutions to local problems.”
With so many rural communities being impacted by the wildfires, this local perspective has taken on a whole new significance. “Right now we are just seeing the emergency portion of this disaster,” said Stanley, “the rebuilding of our communities will be going on for years to come. With this in mind and with our mandate to assist local communities InvestLocalBC waiving the service fees for any campaign involved in the rebuilding from these horrific fires.” InvestLocalBC operates under a “fixed funding” model. Fixed funding assumes administrative fees of a 5% commission. This commission will be waived for all vetted projects and campaigns, removing at least one financial barrier to reconstruction.
To further the cause InvestLocalBC has partnered with Fundrazr a crowdfunding pioneer in BC to “increase our reach on the nonprofit side and FundRazr has an extremely large audience,” stated Stanley.
Anyone looking at a wildfire recovery or community redevelopment campaign can visit the website at www.investlocalbc.ca(link is external) or contact local manager Tom Bulmer with any questions or concerns. Call 1-800-266-0611 or email admin@investlocalbc.ca(link sends e-mail)
About Community Futures Stuart Nechako:
Media Contact:
Graham Stanley
250-567-5219
About InvestLocalBC.ca:
Media Contact:
Tom Bulmer
250-567-5219

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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