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FINTECH FRIDAY$ (EP.13-Oct 12): Road to Fintech IPO: Capital Networks, Scalable Solutions, Putting People First with Ali Pourdad, Co-founder and CEO Progressa

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NCFA Canada | Oct 13, 2018

Ep13-Oct 13:  Road to Fintech IPO:  Capital Networks, Scalable Solutions, Putting People First

About this episode:   On this episode, NCFA show host Manseeb Khan sits down with Ali Pourdad the CEO of Progressa who recently closed out an $84 million dollar round. They talk about P2P loans, loan services operating within the blockchain and why being people first business matters. Enjoy! (see Transcript)

Host: Manseeb Khan, NCFA, Fintech Fridays show host

Guest:  ALI POURDAD, Co-founder and CEO, Progressa (LinkedIn)

Bio:  Ali Pourdad has been CEO of Progressa since its inception in 2013. Under his leadership the Company has raised over $40 million of investor capital and invested over $2.0 million dollars in its proprietary "Powered by Progressa" decision engine for Canadian Enterprise partners looking to enhance collections strategy in a positive way. The company has grown to over 110 employees in Vancouver and Toronto. Ali has decisively positioned Progressa for its next generation of growth by recently executing on several initiatives, including creating one of Canada's most popular Exempt Market Bond Offerings and securing an $11.4 million Series A financing .

Prior to co-founding Progressa, Ali worked in both corporate restructuring and audit & assurance, with the bulk of his professional career at PwC, where he managed top-tier engagements of financial firms. Born and raised in Vancouver, BC, Ali holds a Canadian Chartered Accountant degree and a BBA in Finance from Simon Fraser University. He began his professional career at a young age, co-founding a leading IT services firm with locations in Edmonton, AB and Vancouver, BC in 1998. Ali is also a regular contributor to Business in Vancouver's weekly radio technology panel and was named to BIV's Top 40 under 40 in 2017.

 

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Transcription of Interview

Manseeb Khan:  Hey Everybody Manseeb Khan here. And you are tuning in to another episode Fintech Friday. Today I have the amazing the incredibly talented Ali Pourdad CEO Progresa. Ali thank you so much for sitting down with me today.

Ali Pourdad: Thanks for having me.

Manseeb Khan:   Yeah so Ali could you just give the audience a little bit about who you are and essentially who and what Progresa is.

Ali Pourdad: Sure. I'm happy to. I think for those who are not aware of myself or Progressa I have a background as an entrepreneur. I've been there for about 20 years. This is my second business I had to get out of high school. Pre Dot-com which shows was my age. This is my second life. We started Progresa back in 2013 in Vancouver . Me and my co-founder originally started off as a straight consumer finance lending business. And sort of quietly behind the scenes we were building software. And today. I would say we're sort of a full-blown financial technology company and we have a lending business. That drives a significant amount of revenue but we also. A multitude of software offerings for our major Canadian enterprises. We solve problems for Canadian business.

Manseeb Khan:  Yeah that's incredible. So, this might be a silly question, but I guess we'll make you a little bit more different than Money Mart and any of the other loan services out there.

Ali Pourdad: Sure. Yeah but you don't see companies like money mart or other loan services, companies as a competitor because. We don't we don't go direct to consumer like they do. So. A company like many of markets has branches, HYG online but there are really seeking consumers and going directly at consumers for lending products and offering them. Credit where they actually paying cash in their pocket and not necessarily helping them  helping them. Progressa fundamentally different. All of our customer acquisition comes from other businesses. And we're typically solving problems for those businesses and probably problem for those consumers. And what I mean by that is our software is setting up and offering a number of services. But the main purpose of at least  two thirds of our software solution. Revolves around enterprise collections and try to have a healthier and more of a holistic approach to the recover money as a Canadian enterprise so. That would be an example of you know a young lady or a young gentleman who's going through a tough time in the past that. They owe. You know Roger or TELUS money. Progresa is the company that will come in and help facilitate that recovery for those enterprises. Help them recover money but also offer a better experience. To that young lady or that young gentleman who might be going through that tough time or stressful time. Ultimately. What that means is that larger TELUS, Bell, and other enterprises that use Progresa. Will have better net promoter score. Better. Which is better customer satisfaction. And ultimately manager their risk better for them. There's been real demand for differences between that and traditional lenders. All of our loans for example the customers will actually not seeing money, we're helping pay their debts and pay down the debt. And leaving them into better financial life.

Manseeb Khan: You guys also do. I mean I've from looking from your website and from some of your past blog posts you just do go a little bit more deeper than credit scores. You start building I guess a customer persona. And just like a characteristic of like who this  person is their past history someone is not in and of itself is pretty incredible because now the loan is a lot more  personalized, it's a lot more individualized`.

Ali Pourdad: Yeah exactly and that's a very good point. I mean we do have a proprietary technology that we built over the years. Technology is quite different than what's out in the market today, what's out in the market today is, you put it very well it's not personal. It's very generic and it's very archaic. And so, it leaves a lot of the population in a position where. They can't be helped even though they might be financially responsible or living within their budget. You are doing all the right thing but. On paper it doesn't reflect that. That's where Progressa shines that. That's why we've been successful even quietly growing behind the scenes because. We'd be making major investment. And that technology that allows us to evaluate these consumers just fundamentally differently and give them credit for things that might you might not necessarily see as a traditional lender.

Manseeb Khan: So, you recently raised the 84 million dollars round which is absolutely incredible. Previously you raised a 10-million-dollar round. You took a much more alternative approach compared to the other startups out there. There were a lot more loud a lot more bullish. In a sense they have the mentality of You don't need banks, we don't need do we need the old world because we're building the new one right. We don't need your guys help you guys look much more silent a lot more tactical route of quietly building partnerships with banks and credit card companies. Could you talk a little bit more of that approach and what that approach looks like and what would your advice look like to other startups on collaborating with banks and other institutions.

Ali Pourdad: Happy to answer that question. I would say there was always a very well thought out plan in the early days when we first launched there was a lot of fintech’s out there that. We’re making quite a bit of noise in the marketplace. A lot of that noise revolved around either taking down the bank or replacing the need for banks etc., etc. . And you know in the Canadian marketplace we have an affiliation with the bank that's going to be quite hard to displace. And we saw that in the early days. So, you know what we decided to do is just invest in. Trying to tackle bank problems. What are the things that the banks are trying to tackle and how can we? Help them be more successful. That was a fundamental decision we made early on. We did it quietly and without making noise because. Frankly we weren't ready to scale the business and have been a business that had both. Technology and lending. You're not going to scale until you have scalable technology and you can't have scalable technology until you have a track record behind with. Very chicken and egg. You have the built of a little bit slow and steady or you risk blowing up your company. And that's what we did. And we now reach the point this where we that we have a very strong foundation as you mentioned. We raised a big round that round the reflection of. The sort of the order that we chose to tackle problems. And investors saw that they saw that we hadn't blown up our business and that. We're you know conscience of investors capital. And they doubled down and supported that next stage. You know my advice entrepreneurs considering building disruptive technology you really need to evaluate what your road map looks, what's you path revenue. Or if you have a better revenue try to disrupt banks or try to work with banks. Sometimes both can be achieved at the same time and. That's the route the Progressa chose.

Manseeb Khan: Some of the investors mentioned that you've actually from day one you started operating the business as it was a public company. You know you talked about how you guys built the very strong foundation. Could you just give us a little bit more detail of what that foundation looks like and how you pretty much just muted out everybody else and just put your head down and just build Progressa.

Ali Pourdad:  Sure. Yeah, I mean I know my background in between my first business and Progressa sort of pivoted professional services I became a chartered accountant I worked at PWC for a number of years. Really built up my professional skill set so that. I knew that one day I go back entrepreneurship and I really wanted to have a good tool kit. To build a business in a proper way. You can help businesses any number of ways a lot of entrepreneurs get lucky, some of them blow up their businesses. I knew that this type of business was going to be successful I need to build the skill set. So, with a professional a background I very quickly started to build the team and the right spot. And we focus on things that we knew were going to be needed to rebuild capital. Making sure we have proper financial reporting, making sure we have things like insurance, making sure you know we have good controls, getting audited financial statements and so on and so forth. And we made all of those investments right off the bat. To raise money in the Canadian marketplace. Well there's a lot of heavy regulation. You know the government securities regulations in each of the provinces. Is there to protect investors and rightfully so as a company that you know had a strong report below like we do. We had to have all of these checks and balances in place . In order to be able to successfully raise money. Today, that got an easier because we're more on the radar. But as early stage startup when you're going through these things. Such as one of one of the things you might not think about that makes  will make life easier for you. Make those investments. So, you know allocate capital to proper lawyers. Allocate capital to make sure you build your finance team. Have that reporting to share holder reporting as well it's very important in the early days. To keep you're a shareholder in the loop people and keep them happy. Because you might be going back to them for more money and investors are happy to see the right track to a great growth story. But you've got to deliver what you say.

Manseeb Khan: So, I guess sticking with the same chicken and egg analogy that you previously mentioned you want to make sure you have all your ducks in a row before you start bringing on investors and everybody right.

Ali Pourdad: Yes exactly. I mean we would I mean nowhere we're 6 years in, and we bootstrapped for the first couple years we've totally bootstrapped the business. I don't remember having a management team up until two and a half years into the company. So, we were probably. 20, 26 people before I hired my first other senior manager. You know Ali was HR, He was the CFO. He was legal. I did. I'd basically over just over 20. Individuals in the organization. And tell that point you know as an entrepreneur when you reach that point and your business is run rate is reaching a point where you. De-risk the investment. To the point, we have reached that. You know we've got to the point where the business has started to prove it or start to prove that. Even if we do start to make the right investments and people and scalable technology that we could build something big. Once we had the core competency of the central bank when we take. Both decisions. You know I would be going any other way. in any  entrepreneur that's looking to start a business today. Simply understand you're core competency first. Do that. Make the investment and understanding that before you build. Anything scalable on top of that. You want to make sure that you're building on the right foundation because you'll still move faster you pay your investors a lot of money

Manseeb Khan: You guys are also gearing up to go public by the end of 2019. So. Again just talking about the huge round that you just raised. What got investors excited? Was that a marketing experiment?

Ali Pourdad: To give credit to the investment bankers that were involved in our fund raise they did a good job positioning Progressa of the Canadian marketplace. Listen we may go public, we haven't officially announced anything, but the reality is that a lot of the market driven. we're executing on growth right now. The business is reaching record run rate on revenue and the bottom line and it sets us up to go public nicely. That's what our Board decides to do and our shareholders support. We do have a number a lot of shareholders. They were already about 200 shareholders are Progressa today. So, you know as a small business with 200 shareholders everybody has to be on. The same page about a decision like that. There's lots of avenues for late stage private companies to. Create liquidity for investors if that's their plan. My personal plan is to continue to execute on our strategic plan that our board has signed off on. It's ambitious and it grows this business into a very credible player in Canada. One thing that you mentioned earlier that all sort of reiterated that we had. Very much flown under the radar for 3, 4, 5 years and now we're trying to get on my radar. Where you can fully expect that. So, we're going to be. Doubling down quite hard on that side of things and therefore you know we're going to be more on the radar than ever before. And that's very much a function of launching our technology offering publicly. And you know all of our technology offerings that we made all these investments in. Have supported a growing lending business. But today they're ready to support. Other companies and support them and help them achieve their business objectives. And  you can expect to be hearing a lot more about Progressa as we roll up those products in the coming weeks.

Manseeb Khan: Yeah, I'm super excited just to see like what's going to be like the changes that may or may not happen now that you guys are going to be a little bit more on everybody's radar. So how are you going to keep the team and Progressa motivated healthy and productive and how do you see I guess the environment changing I mean I a rumor going public?

Ali Pourdad: Yeah, I mean there's different challenges for us as a Toronto and Vancouver company as they try to make. There are two very different cultures. I think.,  The first point is that you have to put the people first if you want to grow your team in a healthy and productive way. you make investments and bringing the right leaders in the work of younger teams that motivate them. But you also have to keep an eye on market trend is that you know you're out there especially in a large organization like we are. They're always talking they always have their eyes and ears on their friends that other organizations to stay competitive truly competitive you need to have a proactive strategy with your employees and not reactive. You know as it relates to Progressa today we really doubled down on people we've made serious investments in our senior H.R. people. We just went on Merit Finley the senior executive from over venture just literally started and this last week, really big win for a company like Progressa because you can't navigate this late stage try this. Potentially IPO scenario without a person like that. The IPO that just leads to bigger and better things. I mean I would expect our team to increase in size modestly. But I our H.R function that really where I would be focused. If you were to IPO, you suddenly now have different challenges and risks. And you need to keep people first That have a people first philosophy. As long as that  doesn't change, and you double down with  everything else. Then post IPO should look really good.

Manseeb Khan: There are a lot of startups that both have either office in Vancouver and in Toronto. I guess your best advice to them would be just double down on people focus on HR and just be there for every single individual in the company because they're the people that are going to help build your amazing building and your business right.

Ali Pourdad: Absolutely. I mean are companies are complex, as an entrepreneur you may not see that on day one. You may be just doing everything and happy to do it and that sort of learning things on the fly. But as you build out teams and build out processes start making investments and technology becomes very. Sort of evidence to how complex it is. And., I think. You know my advice obviously try to simplify it as much as you can and keep things simple for yourself and for your senior leaders that you bring on. Businesses are inherently complex and if you don't keep people first they get  burnt out They don't grow. They get frustrated. You really have a people first mindset to drive that. We haven't always had it right. Progressa it's not something you get right. Right away, you sometimes make mistakes you hire the wrong people and you just need to iterate just like iterate technology iterate on your team and get it to a place where it becomes scalable. Because it's not just technology scalability that. Drives businesses like fintech its's people scale ability. Have the right people at the right times. And. You have to know when it's the right time for those people to move on. These companies evolve very fast. I mean you know in the early days you might double, triple, quadruple revenue year over year. If you maintain those run rates for two three four years. And haven't paid those investments in people get burnt out really fast. And so. That would be my advice.

Manseeb Khan: Yeah, I love that people scalability. That's incredible. So, I guess you have mentioned that a little bit early on like how much harder it is for Canadian  fintech companies to get Canadian investment money. What is your perspective on the regulating sector. So, for example consumer loans. Do you feel that the government is including regulators? And do you think they're striking the right balance between investor protection and enabling market innovation?

Ali Pourdad: Yeah, I mean I think certainly some regulation is needed across the board. Otherwise you know you get your in situations a country that things don't make macro sense anymore. The best example would be in 2008 there's no lack of regulation that caused banks in the US  to have aggressive underwriting practices and that turns into major problems. So, you don't want that. Sort of worst-case scenario. In Canada. You know people I think people would be quite surprised to understand there is a fair amount of regulation out there in consumer loans. We know we have a very heavily regulated mortgage-based payday loan base. And even other types of lending were very heavily regulated. You know in my view household debt to income ratios are quite concerning in Canada. That is, you know that could easily be correlated. Other things that may not be a regulation issue simply could be. You know high real estate prices the low interest rate. Those are very hard things the regulators control. So, balance is tough  question the answer from an investor standpoint I do believe provincial governments have worked hard to find that right balance investor protection and enabling innovation. You know a major issue that we continue to have in Canada though. Is that these provinces that security regulators aren't harmonized yet and that may. Make things complicated for starts to navigate and innovate quickly.

Manseeb Khan:  Touching back on what you said you guys have invested in a lot of the technologies right? Do you see the future with digital banking by offering a full range of services. And if so I guess what technologies you are most excited about and that you think is going to have the most impact.

Ali Pourdad: Yeah, I mean I think we're already a lot of the way there in Canada. I think our  major banks have fairly strong digital banking offerings themselves. And so, you know there's lots there's a there's a lot of room for disruption, but I think the single probably the single most important legislation required to. Fully complete digital banking roadmap for all Canadians and probably the one I'm most excited about. Is the open banking concept? And that's something that governments started to get wind down in the year they. Have already started to empower consumers with data. Once the banking data is back in the control of the consumers and not the bank. Then you really will have a truly digital banking environment with a full range of services. And you know the ability to unlock full potential. And until then you know you know I think Canadian fintech’s will continue to innovate. You know again Progressa we play behind the scenes we try to play it with. Predicates. Where that. Adds value to a bank and credit cards and so on. Solve problems. You know. What that could lead to it. The regulators don't offer it if they don't move quick enough on open banking, then the banks could just snap up fintech’s one at a time as they see fit. I think. You know you. Have. Different data that are still around after five six seven years. They are well positioned to. Sit down with parents who are having those conversations hoping they can change the environment in Canada significantly. As it relates to digital banking operate because it could really make life good for Canadian's for Canadians and either the playing field for a lot of consumers out there without traditional access to credit Or Just traditional banking products simply because their data is in the control of the banks. Is not doing anything with that.

Manseeb Khan: So essentially the old gatekeepers of helping Canadians in the past are going to be greatly diminished just making it ,like you mentioned a couple times or just making lives of Canadians that much more easy.

Ali Pourdad: That's the idea. I mean banks I think banks do a  great job I've got. I'm not in the camp that banks need to go down or fold or be this be disruptive. Certainly, there's a lot of services and banks that are frustrating to the consumer to deal with. At the end of the day they happy they think large investment digital banking offerings. The issue is less to do with those offerings and more to do with. Empowering the consumer. As a consumer of a bank. You sometimes feel handcuffed. And. I you know I think fundamentally that a lot of upside here for Canadians. If the government does step in and offer you know to open up the data again it's kimono and give power back to the consumer. It just opens up a wide range of opportunity to offer service that. Really. You know make life good for that consumer I mean best examples are the social media companies in the U.S. that. Are able to take data and improve. And again, depends on who you ask. But if you ask me and you've offered your consent really improve life for you and they think very sort of seamless day to day. There's no reason they can't be in that situation in Canada with banking data and make a well thought out plan.

Manseeb Khan: So, speaking of peer to peer you're seeing a lot of people starting to shift into getting into crypto and very much getting into blockchain and how do you see loan services like yourself getting into blockchain and how do you see loan services in the blockchain and different from existing services that we have today. And what I'm asking is What do you need to see be a KYC, be it regulatory to make an actual shift to be 50/50 blockchain or if not just go all in on blockchain.

Ali Pourdad: Yeah. So, I think the answer to that question is simply to look at where the regulations are heaviest and where. Block Chain can solve those problems. And in lending you know I think those questions are still being asked. There not fully fleshed out but certainly where you have heavy KYC the mortgage space and other types of lending in Canada. Yes, the blockchain can solve a significant problem as it relates to onboarding customers and making sure that there's a paper trail for everything. And so, from that perspective the block chain has some real application. Things more seamless for consumers. I think. You know the parts crypto is concerned there is a lot of the young population out there that. Has been investing in cryptocurrency. And the average age of a crypto user is quite young. And they're building up cryptocurrency wallet. With real financial holdings there so. That money is available.  but not in their Canadian or Canadian bank account it's not available under U.S. bank account. It's available in their crypto account. And so. Naturally. You know there's going to be. Sources and uses for the money and the lending is one option for the cryptocurrency you're going to start to see platforms. That offer peer to peer lending options for the crypto currencies. Simply because people are going to be sitting on those currencies and are going to want to get that money to work and try to generate a return just like any. You know company or other peer to peer platforms the in  U.S.  for example, trying to achieve. Definitely we're going to see shifts into crypto I don't think it's to take over the world as far as lending is concerned, I think lending is just A function of whatever currency is sitting on out there whether it's crypto or fiat. But certainly, the block chain going back to that will make life good. And I think that the companies right now that are Again asking the question when. Where are the problems? Where the pain points? And how can I use blockchain to make things better? At Progressa that  We're certainly exploring a lot of those things but not haven’t decided to use the blockchain yet.

Manseeb Khan: So, you did mention peer to peer loans right. So, do you see peer to peer loans disrupting your business given that it would make it a lot more easier for just Canadians and if not under serviced  Canadians to get loans or just to make sure they can pay the Rogers bill or the phone bill or what have you.

Ali Pourdad:  I don't necessarily see that I think offering credit is a core competency that you have to learn over time. It was something that is easy to reproduce. We have learned by mistake. The have to have money loose. Because you definitely will lose money in the beginning and it takes time to. Again, understand that core competencies that you can start to scale it and make money in greater amounts you know is it possibly disrupt able ? absolutely there is possible disruption there in the future. I think in Canada probably a lower chance of that happening. Peer to peer lending in Canada first of all is being banned by securities regulators for quite some time. In the U.S. certainly you see peer to peer lending is much more prevalent. And you're already seeing a block chain-based companies tackle peer to peer lending. But there is just a drop in the bucket and the reality is the block chain is at this point heavily correlated with crypto currencies. And are like crypto currencies and so that's the main driver. You know if somebody borrowing and they don't need crypto currency then there's really no use of the platform. So. As far as I understand there's we're still talking about tens of millions of crypto currency users across the world not hundreds of millions or 200 you know are billions yet. And so, it's still a quite a small market. Relative  to the overall market and something that. Companies just to keep their eye on and evaluate as they grow and look at market opportunities and pounce on it if you think there's something there to. To grow into.

Manseeb Khan: Yeah no absolutely. Like we said before the average crypto very young so it's tens of millions 100 to hundreds. So, it's not a very young, very infancy stage for companies to pounce on it right. So, I guess one of the things that is out there that's very prevalent in the business media would be alongside of crypto and blockchain would be AI right. AI is definitely going to be disrupting the banking industry for sure in the past couple episodes. It was also mentioned that AI is also going to be very disruptive for the insurance business. How do you see AI either disrupting or helping the loan services and Do you see as an opportunity or do you see it as a threat?

Ali Pourdad: Oh, I mean perhaps this is an opportunity for sure want to be very people are asking this question because I don't know that I would recommend. You know getting into lending if you have an AI that's not the reason to get into lending and I don't think you can use AI effectively right off the bat anyway. I think you have to grow into AI. AI is by its inherently is reliant on big data. You're not just sitting on that data when you launch a business. You have to build the data over time, you need to make sure it's a scaleable data. It's being housed properly that a lot of an investment you have to make it into a  data infrastructure. To leverage AI effectively. So, from our perspective I mean we definitely see it as an opportunity because we've made those investments. Heavy investments in technology and our data infrastructure. I mean we have a  full data team in Vancouver. That to use AI effectively to have automated credit models and use sort of machine learning to automate the recalibration process that we that we currently have humans doing you know. And so that that's all upside for business that make those investments. But it's not something that I don't think  it's not practical for a number of years. You have to you can't just acquire the data, you have learned by mistakes. And build up to date on an appropriate way so that when you're ready to build scalable technology you know they you add AI to the list.

Manseeb Khan: Yeah. So, all of that is just testing and learning right? Where do you see yourself in Progressa the next three to five years? I mean given that we talked about block chain and crypto and AI?

Ali Pourdad: Three to five-year progress as generating, I mean you can see us like a traditional online lending business. But over three to five years Progress is going to generate the majority of its revenue from that technologies. And a minority of its revenues is from the lending business. I mean we made a  significant investment in software. That are driving great growth in  our lending business today. But over the next three to five years you know I fully expect that we'll be able to service our much larger enterprise partners in more meaningful ways as a software provider and much more so than a lender. For me personally you know I'm having fun. We've made significant investments in building out a great team. And I want to see this team be successful. I work closely with our board and I'll continue to run Progressa as long as they have me with the job. At the same time, you know Progressa has set me up for many great opportunities personally well had to get involved with many younger entrepreneurs as I can. And guide them and share my voice. I had the privilege of contributing weekly for a couple years on the Business in Vancouver the technology panel and continue to do that and have fun. You know I'm in a mode personally where Progressa even though we've been flying under the radar behind the scenes. Progressa has set me up to contribute back how meaningfully and guide younger entrepreneurs and try to get involved with younger businesses that have disruptive technologies. But I think that's what I see for Her my future.

Manseeb Khan: Yeah that's incredible it's actually very humbling to hear that like even though you are I guess relatively compared to traditional businesses you guys are a very young company, but you already have the mindset of Yeah, I know I'm still a startup and I'm still building a great business, but I still want to give back to young entrepreneurs. someone to guide them like hey that mistake I made over there yeah don't do that to just do this instead this was going to make your life so much easier. That's absolutely incredible. So as an aspiring young entrepreneur myself I wholeheartedly thank you and amazing entrepreneurs like you for helping and just guiding us and giving back.

Ali Pourdad: Yeah. Thank you. I appreciate it and thanks for having me on the show.

Manseeb Khan: Absolutely. So, what will be the best way for young entrepreneurs out there to contact you. Could we snapchat you. Do you up on Twitter. What we the best way to contact you?

Ali Pourdad: Yeah for sure. I'm on Twitter as my handle is  Ali Pourdad. It's my first name and my last name. You can find me on progressa dot com as well. I will have a bio on there with my name, so you'll find me on Twitter, you'll find me on Instagram. And happy to chat with young entrepreneurs. I mean we certainly have a handful of Progressa. But again, I'm also on LinkedIn. Always a good way to find me in on LinkedIn. Happy to chat with young entrepreneurs  and add I value where I can.

Manseeb Khan: Awesome. Ali thank you so much for sitting down with me today and I can't wait to have you on the show again hopefully post IPO.

Ali Pourdad: I'd love to be back thanked you !

 

 

 

 

End of Podcast

 

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BusinessWire release | Accenture | Oct 17, 2018 Digital-only banks, fintechs and big tech companies are quietly gaining customers, while incumbents struggle to make strategic investments in their digital future NEW YORK & LONDON & HONG KONG--(BUSINESS WIRE)--New entrants to the banking market — including challenger banks, non-bank payments institutions and big tech companies — are amassing up to one-third of new revenue, which is challenging the competitiveness of traditional banks, according to new research from Accenture (NYSE:ACN). “As the banking industry experiences radical change, driven by regulation, new entrants and demanding consumers, banks will need to reassess their assets, strengths and capabilities to determine if they are taking their business in the right direction” Accenture analyzed more than 20,000 banking and payments institutions across seven markets to quantify the level of change and disruption in the global banking industry. The study found that the number of banking and payments institutions decreased by nearly 20 percent over a 12-year period — from 24,000 in 2005 to less than 19,300 in 2017. However, nearly one in six (17 percent) current institutions are what Accenture considers new entrants — i.e., companies entering the market after 2005. While few of these new players ...
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Forbes | Michael del Castillo | Oct 18, 2018 The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is launching a portal for engaging with companies using blockchain, artificial intelligence and more. Available today, the new fintech hub, or FinHub for short, is designed to bring the SEC’s existing services to a single access point and provide an easier way for companies to communicate with the public. As startups building with blockchain increasingly come under the SEC’s attention, the new portal has the potential to streamline the process of building compliant platforms prior to launch. The SEC’s FinHub will be led by Valerie A. Szczepanik, senior advisor for digital assets and innovation and associate director in the SEC’s Division of Corporation Finance. “We’ve been doing these things for years,” Szczepanik told Forbes. “This is going to bring it all together.” The FinHub will be staffed by representatives from the SEC’s divisions and offices who have expertise and involvement in fintech-related issues. See:  Canadian securities regulators provide additional guidance on securities law implications for offerings of tokens In addition to asking questions of the SEC, those who use the site will be able to request meetings. To increase engagement, a binary code “Easter egg” ...
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SEC Launches Fintech Hub To Engage With Cryptocurrency Startups And More
Gowling WLG | Shaela W. Rae | October 17 2018 Black market. Dark web. Illicit. Underground market. Illegitimate. Illegal. Organized crime. All words used to describe the illegal cannabis industry, until October 17, 2018 that is. Once it is legal to buy, possess or use cannabis for recreational purposes the discussion around the use of cannabis and how to procure it changes from hushed words in a corner to an open conversation in public. But is the public ready to embrace a substance that has been seen as illegitimate and "bad" for so long? If the experience in the US can be relied upon, the answer is "yes". According to investment bank Cowen & Co., the cannabis industry is expected to reach sales of approximately US$75-billion by 2030, up from US$6-billion in 2016, as the drug is more socially accepted. In the US today cannabis is illegal on a federal level as it is classified as a Schedule 1 narcotic, but cannabis is legal in 30 states for medicinal purposes, and in 9 states and Washington, DC, for recreational use for adults over the age of 21. See:  Canabis Company True Leaf Raises $14 Million in Cross Border US – ...
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International Monetary Fund | Release | Oct 11, 2018 The International Monetary Fund and the World Bank Group today launched the Bali Fintech Agenda, a set of 12 policy elements aimed at helping member countries to harness the benefits and opportunities of rapid advances in financial technology that are transforming the provision of banking services, while at the same time managing the inherent risks. The Agenda proposes a framework of high-level issues that countries should consider in their own domestic policy discussions and aims to guide staff from the two institutions in their own work and dialogue with national authorities. The 12 elements (see table) were distilled from members’ own experiences and cover topics relating broadly to enabling fintech; ensuring financial sector resilience; addressing risks; and promoting international cooperation. “There are an estimated 1.7 billion adults in the world without access to financial services,” said IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde. “Fintech can have a major social and economic impact for them and across the membership in general. All countries are trying to reap these benefits, while also mitigating the risks. We need greater international cooperation to achieve that, and to make sure the fintech revolution benefits the many and not ...
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The Bali Fintech Agenda: A Blueprint for Successfully Harnessing Fintech’s Opportunities
Investment Executive | James Langton | Oct 12, 2018 Money laundering and tax evasion are key concerns Canadian policy-makers initially took a hands-off approach to cryptoassets. Now, in the wake of a bitcoin boom-and-bust and continuing growth in the cryptoassets market, policy-makers are taking a second look at the emerging phenomenon. In 2015, the Standing Senate Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce issued one of Canada’s first reports examining the emerging cryptocurrency industry; that report recommends that policy-makers keep an eye on the space. Since then, the cryptoassets market has continued to grow. According to a report from the Bank of Canada (BoC), the global market capitalization for cryptoassets “grew rapidly” in 2017 and the daily transaction volume now is more than 75 times higher than it was in early 2017 – i.e., more than $25 billion a day. At this point, the BoC report states, traditional financial services institutions don’t have much, if any, direct exposure to cryptoassets, but the report cautions that these institutions could become exposed due to their clients’ trading in cryptoassets or through exchange trading in crypto-based derivatives. “Cryptoasset markets are evolving quickly and could have financial stability implications in the future if their size ...
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NCFA Canada | Oct 13, 2018 Ep13-Oct 13:  Road to Fintech IPO:  Capital Networks, Scalable Solutions, Putting People First About this episode:   On this episode, NCFA show host Manseeb Khan sits down with Ali Pourdad the CEO of Progressa who recently closed out an $84 million dollar round. They talk about P2P loans, loan services operating within the blockchain and why being people first business matters. Enjoy! (see Transcript) Host: Manseeb Khan, NCFA, Fintech Fridays show host Guest:  ALI POURDAD, Co-founder and CEO, Progressa (LinkedIn) Bio:  Ali Pourdad has been CEO of Progressa since its inception in 2013. Under his leadership the Company has raised over $40 million of investor capital and invested over $2.0 million dollars in its proprietary "Powered by Progressa" decision engine for Canadian Enterprise partners looking to enhance collections strategy in a positive way. The company has grown to over 110 employees in Vancouver and Toronto. Ali has decisively positioned Progressa for its next generation of growth by recently executing on several initiatives, including creating one of Canada's most popular Exempt Market Bond Offerings and securing an $11.4 million Series A financing . Prior to co-founding Progressa, Ali worked in both corporate restructuring and audit & assurance, ...
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Beam Platform | Alec Gordon | Aug 24, 2018 THE PROBLEM The tech industry has gotten a rude awakening this year. Following a few high profile instances of data misuse, European Union has struck down the law and put everyone who sells into Europe (or deals with anyone who does) on notice. Since introduction, GDPR was meant to show both corporations and their users that better clarity around data collection/preservation is the necessary step forward, one that will lead to a fairer digital society, and ultimately benefit all those involved. And in order to do that, the companies themselves must take matters into their own hands by building new tools to let data flow back to the user. The customers demand it, and equally deserve to have control over their digital footprint. In the end this is an EU bill with global ramifications, and we should all be paying attention. By now you most of you have gotten dozens of emails on “updates to privacy policy” and other notices of forthcoming compliance. This is a welcome reminder that it is you, the user, who’s the focal point GDPR. After decades of computer and telephone use, the companies with whom we ...
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Competition Bureau | Oct 10, 2018 Speech Remarks by Interim Commissioner of Competition Matthew Boswell Global Series 2018 October 10, 2018 Ottawa, Ontario Thank you. I’m pleased to be here to speak with you today. Thank you Makan, for your thoughts on these important issues. They are particularly relevant to businesses, the legal community, academia and governments around the world and to all of you who are gathered here today. Every day we see the world evolving at a rapid pace, thanks to innovation.  Development of new technologies, ways of doing business and the creation of new products have the potential to open up new areas of science, medicine and technology. Small steps lead to bigger steps.  And here in Canada, we have to be ready for both the challenges and opportunities that this is bringing to all of us. Let’s understand what we are up against. Every year, innovation in the top industrialized countries is tracked by leading authorities on the subject. And here’s what they report about Canada in 2018. On the plus side, Canada performs better than some others in four big areas: Human Capital and Research, Institutions, Infrastructure, and Market Sophistication. See:  Canada’s ‘innovation economy’ has ...
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Crowdfund Insider | Cali Haan | Oct 9, 2018 Vancouver-based cryptocurrency exchange QuadrigaCX has been defending itself in court for the release of $28 million dollars in customer funds frozen by the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC) since January, the Globe and Mail reports. According to court documents filed by CIBC in the Canadian province of Ontario, the action to freeze the accounts was taken because the bank says, “it was unable to determine who owns the funds,” and would like the court to take possession of the money and distribute it to either QuadrigaCX, their payments processor Custodian Inc, or to the 388 affected Quadriga customers, the Globe and Mail writes. Entrepreneurs in the relatively new crypto sector industries complained for some time about bank non-cooperation. See:  International Anti-Money Laundering Standards for Crypto Expected in October The cryptocurrency press in South America has reported on numerous account closures by banks against crypto exchanges on the continent, some of which are now being contested in courts by, among others, exchanges like Walltime in Brazil. Sources within the Toronto crypto entrepreneur scene say they have suffered persistent problems with getting their businesses banked in the city- even at credit unions- and have ...
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CIBC Has Frozen $28 Million of Vancouver Crypto Exchange’s Funds Since January
Crunchbase News | Alex Wilhelm | October 8, 2018 Meet Nubank, a fintech shop out of Brazil that just raised $180 million from Tencent at a valuation of $4 billion. Forget the fact that the round is half secondary. It’s an enormous transaction, and in more normal times, it would cause a big stir. However, the capital event highlights something notable about Tencent: the China-based company’s investment cadence is staggering. Tencent is disbursing cash at a far faster rate than Alibaba, another Chinese tech shop that isn’t famous for parsimony. Tencent’s Early Christmas Tencent has been on a check-cutting bing recently, getting through eight investing rounds in September. Those ranged from a $1.5 billion deal with Lianjia (real estate services), a $450 million round for MissFresh E-Commerce (mobile grocery sales), to the comparatively staid $90 million Series B for WeShare (fintech something or other). October is looking similarly hot. Tencent is at four deals so far, and the month isn’t even half done. Here’s the list: October 1. Miniso’s 1 billion rmb Series A. October 4. Voyager Innovation’s $175 million private equity round. October 5. Bilibili’s $317.6 million post-IPO equity event. October 8. Nubank’s $180 million Series F (half secondary). Regarding Nubank, TechCrunch’s Jon Shieber has the ...
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Nubank Investment Underscores Tencent’s Quick Investing Pace

 

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The Future of Government… in a Digital Age

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Peter Diamandis | Blog | Oct 8, 2018

Governments are one of the last strongholds of an undigitized, linear sector of humanity, and they are falling behind fast.

Apart from their struggle to keep up with private sector digitization, federal governments are in a crisis of trust.

At almost a 60-year low, only 19 percent of Americans reported that they could trust their government “always” or “most of the time” in a recent Pew survey. And the U.S. is not alone.

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The Edelman Trust Barometer revealed last year that 47 percent of the world population distrust their nations’ institutions. Even in Canada, only 26 percent of surveyed Canadians consider regulators and government officials to be credible.

In many cases, the private sector — particularly tech behemoths — are driving greater progress in regulation-targeted issues like climate change than state leaders.

And as decentralized systems, digital disruption, and private sector leadership take the world by storm, traditional forms of government are beginning to fear irrelevance.

However, the fight for exponential governance is not a lost battle.

Early visionaries like Estonia and the UAE are leading the way in digital governance, empowered by a host of converging technologies.

In this blog, we will cover three key trends:

  1. Digital governance divorced from land
  2. AI-driven service delivery and regulation
  3. Blockchain-enforced transparency

Let’s dive in.

Governments Going Digital 

States and their governments have forever been tied to physical territories, and public services are often delivered through brick-and-mortar institutions.

Yet public sector infrastructure and services will soon be hosted on servers, detached from land and physical form.

Enter e-Estonia.

Perhaps the least expected on a list of innovative nations, this former Soviet Republic-turned digital society is ushering in an age of technological statecraft.

Hosting every digitizable government function on the cloud, Estonia could run its government almost entirely on a server.

Starting in the 1990s, Estonia’s government has covered the nation with ultra-high-speed data connectivity, laying down tremendous amounts of fiber-optic cable. By 2007, citizens could vote from their living rooms.

With digitized law, Estonia signs policies into effect using cryptographically secure digital signatures, and every stage of the legislative process is available to citizens online.

Citizens’ healthcare registry is run on the blockchain, allowing patients to own and access their own health data from anywhere in the world — X-rays, digital prescriptions, medical case notes — all the while tracking who has access.

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Today, most banks have closed their offices as 99 percent of banking transactions occur online (with 40 percent of citizens using cryptographically secured e-IDs). And by 2020, e-tax will be entirely automated with Estonia’s new e-Tax and Customs Board portal, allowing companies and tax authority to exchange data automatically.

And i-Voting, civil courts, land registries, banking, taxes, and countless e-facilities allow citizens to access almost any government service with an electronic ID and personal PIN online.

But perhaps Estonia’s most revolutionary breakthrough is its recently introduced e-citizenship.

With over 30,000 e-residents, Estonia issues electronic IDs to global residents anywhere in the world. While e-residency doesn’t grant territorial rights, over 5,000 e-residents have already established companies within Estonia’s jurisdiction.

After registering companies online, entrepreneurs pay automated taxes — calculated in minutes and transmitted to the Estonian government with unprecedented ease.

The implications of e-residency and digital governance are huge. As with any software, open-source code for digital governance could be copied perfectly at almost zero cost, lowering the barrier to entry for any group or movement seeking statehood.

We may soon see the rise of competitive governing ecosystems, each testing new infrastructure and public e-services to compete with mainstream governments for taxpaying citizens.

And what better to accelerate digital governance than AI?

Legal Compliance Through AI

Just last year, the UAE became the first nation to appoint a State Minister for AI (actually a friend of mine, H.E. Omar Al Olama), aiming to digitize government services and halve annual costs. Among multiple sector initiatives, the UAE hopes to deploy robotic cops by 2030.

Meanwhile, the U.K. now has a Select Committee on Artificial Intelligence, and just last month, world leaders convened at the World Government Summit to discuss guidelines for AI’s global regulation.

As AI infuses government services, emerging applications have caught my eye:

  1. Smart Borders and Checkpoints:

With biometrics and facial recognition, traditional checkpoints will soon be a thing of the past.

Cubic Transportation Systems — the company behind London’s ticketless public transit — is currently developing facial recognition for automated transport barriers. Digital security company Gemalto predicts that biometric systems will soon cross-reference individual faces with passport databases at security checkpoints, and China has already begun to test this at scale.

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While the Alibaba Ant Financial affiliate’s “Smile to Pay” feature allows users to authenticate digital payments with their face, nationally overseen facial recognition technologies allow passengers to board planes, employees to enter office spaces, and students to access university halls.

With biometric-geared surveillance at national borders, supply chains and international travelers could be tracked automatically, and granted or denied access according to biometrics and cross-referenced databases.

  1. Policing and Security:

Leveraging predictive analytics, China is also working to integrate security footage into a national surveillance and data-sharing system. By merging citizen data in its “Police Cloud” — including everything from criminal and medical records, transaction data, travel records and social media — it may soon be able to spot suspects and predict crime in advance.

But China is not alone.

During London’s Notting Hill Carnival this year, the Metropolitan Police used facial recognition cross-referenced with crime data to pre-identify and track likely offenders.

  1. Smart Courts:

AI may soon be reaching legal trials as well.

UCL computer scientists have developed software capable of predicting courtroom outcomes based on data patterns with unprecedented accuracy.

Assessing risk of flight, the National Bureau of Economic Research now uses an algorithm leveraging data from hundreds of thousands of NYC cases to recommend whether defendants should be granted bail.

But while AI allows for streamlined governance, the public sector’s power to misuse our data is a valid concern and issues with bias as a result of historical data still remain.

As tons of new information is generated about our every move, how do we keep governments accountable?

Enter the blockchain.

Transparent Governance and Accountability

Without doubt, alongside AI, the government’s greatest disruptor is the newly minted blockchain.

Relying on a decentralized web of nodes, blockchain can securely verify transactions, signatures, and other information. This makes it essentially impossible for hackers, companies, officials, or even governments to falsify information on the blockchain.

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As you’d expect, many government elites are therefore slow to adopt the technology, fearing enforced accountability. But blockchain’s benefits to government may be too great to ignore.

First, blockchain will be a boon for regulatory compliance.

As transactions on a blockchain are irreversible and transparent, uploaded sensor data can’t be corrupted. This means middlemen have no way of falsifying information to shirk regulation, and governments eliminate the need to enforce charges after the fact.

Apply this to carbon pricing, for instance, and emission sensors could fluidly log carbon credits onto a carbon credit blockchain, such as that developed by Ecosphere+. As carbon values are added to the price of everyday products or to corporations’ automated taxes, compliance and transparency would soon be digitally embedded.

Blockchain could also bolster government efforts in cybersecurity. As supercities and nation-states build IoT-connected traffic systems, surveillance networks and sensor-tracked supply chain management, the blockchain is critical in protecting connected devices from cyberattack.

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The National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association (NCFA Canada) is a financial innovation ecosystem that provides education, market intelligence, industry stewardship, networking and funding opportunities and services to thousands of community members and works closely with industry, government, partners and affiliates to create a vibrant and innovative fintech and funding industry in Canada. Decentralized and distributed, NCFA is engaged with global stakeholders and helps incubate projects and investment in fintech, alternative finance, crowdfunding, peer-to-peer finance, payments, digital assets and tokens, blockchain, cryptocurrency, regtech, and insurtech sectors. Join Canada's Fintech & Funding Community today FREE! Or become a contributing member and get perks. For more information, please visit: www.ncfacanada.org

BusinessWire release | Accenture | Oct 17, 2018 Digital-only banks, fintechs and big tech companies are quietly gaining customers, while incumbents struggle to make strategic investments in their digital future NEW YORK & LONDON & HONG KONG--(BUSINESS WIRE)--New entrants to the banking market — including challenger banks, non-bank payments institutions and big tech companies — are amassing up to one-third of new revenue, which is challenging the competitiveness of traditional banks, according to new research from Accenture (NYSE:ACN). “As the banking industry experiences radical change, driven by regulation, new entrants and demanding consumers, banks will need to reassess their assets, strengths and capabilities to determine if they are taking their business in the right direction” Accenture analyzed more than 20,000 banking and payments institutions across seven markets to quantify the level of change and disruption in the global banking industry. The study found that the number of banking and payments institutions decreased by nearly 20 percent over a 12-year period — from 24,000 in 2005 to less than 19,300 in 2017. However, nearly one in six (17 percent) current institutions are what Accenture considers new entrants — i.e., companies entering the market after 2005. While few of these new players ...
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Forbes | Michael del Castillo | Oct 18, 2018 The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is launching a portal for engaging with companies using blockchain, artificial intelligence and more. Available today, the new fintech hub, or FinHub for short, is designed to bring the SEC’s existing services to a single access point and provide an easier way for companies to communicate with the public. As startups building with blockchain increasingly come under the SEC’s attention, the new portal has the potential to streamline the process of building compliant platforms prior to launch. The SEC’s FinHub will be led by Valerie A. Szczepanik, senior advisor for digital assets and innovation and associate director in the SEC’s Division of Corporation Finance. “We’ve been doing these things for years,” Szczepanik told Forbes. “This is going to bring it all together.” The FinHub will be staffed by representatives from the SEC’s divisions and offices who have expertise and involvement in fintech-related issues. See:  Canadian securities regulators provide additional guidance on securities law implications for offerings of tokens In addition to asking questions of the SEC, those who use the site will be able to request meetings. To increase engagement, a binary code “Easter egg” ...
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Gowling WLG | Shaela W. Rae | October 17 2018 Black market. Dark web. Illicit. Underground market. Illegitimate. Illegal. Organized crime. All words used to describe the illegal cannabis industry, until October 17, 2018 that is. Once it is legal to buy, possess or use cannabis for recreational purposes the discussion around the use of cannabis and how to procure it changes from hushed words in a corner to an open conversation in public. But is the public ready to embrace a substance that has been seen as illegitimate and "bad" for so long? If the experience in the US can be relied upon, the answer is "yes". According to investment bank Cowen & Co., the cannabis industry is expected to reach sales of approximately US$75-billion by 2030, up from US$6-billion in 2016, as the drug is more socially accepted. In the US today cannabis is illegal on a federal level as it is classified as a Schedule 1 narcotic, but cannabis is legal in 30 states for medicinal purposes, and in 9 states and Washington, DC, for recreational use for adults over the age of 21. See:  Canabis Company True Leaf Raises $14 Million in Cross Border US – ...
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International Monetary Fund | Release | Oct 11, 2018 The International Monetary Fund and the World Bank Group today launched the Bali Fintech Agenda, a set of 12 policy elements aimed at helping member countries to harness the benefits and opportunities of rapid advances in financial technology that are transforming the provision of banking services, while at the same time managing the inherent risks. The Agenda proposes a framework of high-level issues that countries should consider in their own domestic policy discussions and aims to guide staff from the two institutions in their own work and dialogue with national authorities. The 12 elements (see table) were distilled from members’ own experiences and cover topics relating broadly to enabling fintech; ensuring financial sector resilience; addressing risks; and promoting international cooperation. “There are an estimated 1.7 billion adults in the world without access to financial services,” said IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde. “Fintech can have a major social and economic impact for them and across the membership in general. All countries are trying to reap these benefits, while also mitigating the risks. We need greater international cooperation to achieve that, and to make sure the fintech revolution benefits the many and not ...
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The Bali Fintech Agenda: A Blueprint for Successfully Harnessing Fintech’s Opportunities
Investment Executive | James Langton | Oct 12, 2018 Money laundering and tax evasion are key concerns Canadian policy-makers initially took a hands-off approach to cryptoassets. Now, in the wake of a bitcoin boom-and-bust and continuing growth in the cryptoassets market, policy-makers are taking a second look at the emerging phenomenon. In 2015, the Standing Senate Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce issued one of Canada’s first reports examining the emerging cryptocurrency industry; that report recommends that policy-makers keep an eye on the space. Since then, the cryptoassets market has continued to grow. According to a report from the Bank of Canada (BoC), the global market capitalization for cryptoassets “grew rapidly” in 2017 and the daily transaction volume now is more than 75 times higher than it was in early 2017 – i.e., more than $25 billion a day. At this point, the BoC report states, traditional financial services institutions don’t have much, if any, direct exposure to cryptoassets, but the report cautions that these institutions could become exposed due to their clients’ trading in cryptoassets or through exchange trading in crypto-based derivatives. “Cryptoasset markets are evolving quickly and could have financial stability implications in the future if their size ...
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Exploring cryptoasset regulation
NCFA Canada | Oct 13, 2018 Ep13-Oct 13:  Road to Fintech IPO:  Capital Networks, Scalable Solutions, Putting People First About this episode:   On this episode, NCFA show host Manseeb Khan sits down with Ali Pourdad the CEO of Progressa who recently closed out an $84 million dollar round. They talk about P2P loans, loan services operating within the blockchain and why being people first business matters. Enjoy! (see Transcript) Host: Manseeb Khan, NCFA, Fintech Fridays show host Guest:  ALI POURDAD, Co-founder and CEO, Progressa (LinkedIn) Bio:  Ali Pourdad has been CEO of Progressa since its inception in 2013. Under his leadership the Company has raised over $40 million of investor capital and invested over $2.0 million dollars in its proprietary "Powered by Progressa" decision engine for Canadian Enterprise partners looking to enhance collections strategy in a positive way. The company has grown to over 110 employees in Vancouver and Toronto. Ali has decisively positioned Progressa for its next generation of growth by recently executing on several initiatives, including creating one of Canada's most popular Exempt Market Bond Offerings and securing an $11.4 million Series A financing . Prior to co-founding Progressa, Ali worked in both corporate restructuring and audit & assurance, ...
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FINTECH FRIDAY$ (EP.13-Oct 12):  Road to Fintech IPO:  Capital Networks, Scalable Solutions, Putting People First with Ali Pourdad, Co-founder and CEO Progressa
Beam Platform | Alec Gordon | Aug 24, 2018 THE PROBLEM The tech industry has gotten a rude awakening this year. Following a few high profile instances of data misuse, European Union has struck down the law and put everyone who sells into Europe (or deals with anyone who does) on notice. Since introduction, GDPR was meant to show both corporations and their users that better clarity around data collection/preservation is the necessary step forward, one that will lead to a fairer digital society, and ultimately benefit all those involved. And in order to do that, the companies themselves must take matters into their own hands by building new tools to let data flow back to the user. The customers demand it, and equally deserve to have control over their digital footprint. In the end this is an EU bill with global ramifications, and we should all be paying attention. By now you most of you have gotten dozens of emails on “updates to privacy policy” and other notices of forthcoming compliance. This is a welcome reminder that it is you, the user, who’s the focal point GDPR. After decades of computer and telephone use, the companies with whom we ...
Read More
Data is a 2-way street in a post-GDPR world
Competition Bureau | Oct 10, 2018 Speech Remarks by Interim Commissioner of Competition Matthew Boswell Global Series 2018 October 10, 2018 Ottawa, Ontario Thank you. I’m pleased to be here to speak with you today. Thank you Makan, for your thoughts on these important issues. They are particularly relevant to businesses, the legal community, academia and governments around the world and to all of you who are gathered here today. Every day we see the world evolving at a rapid pace, thanks to innovation.  Development of new technologies, ways of doing business and the creation of new products have the potential to open up new areas of science, medicine and technology. Small steps lead to bigger steps.  And here in Canada, we have to be ready for both the challenges and opportunities that this is bringing to all of us. Let’s understand what we are up against. Every year, innovation in the top industrialized countries is tracked by leading authorities on the subject. And here’s what they report about Canada in 2018. On the plus side, Canada performs better than some others in four big areas: Human Capital and Research, Institutions, Infrastructure, and Market Sophistication. See:  Canada’s ‘innovation economy’ has ...
Read More
Advancing Competition in a Changing Marketplace
Crowdfund Insider | Cali Haan | Oct 9, 2018 Vancouver-based cryptocurrency exchange QuadrigaCX has been defending itself in court for the release of $28 million dollars in customer funds frozen by the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC) since January, the Globe and Mail reports. According to court documents filed by CIBC in the Canadian province of Ontario, the action to freeze the accounts was taken because the bank says, “it was unable to determine who owns the funds,” and would like the court to take possession of the money and distribute it to either QuadrigaCX, their payments processor Custodian Inc, or to the 388 affected Quadriga customers, the Globe and Mail writes. Entrepreneurs in the relatively new crypto sector industries complained for some time about bank non-cooperation. See:  International Anti-Money Laundering Standards for Crypto Expected in October The cryptocurrency press in South America has reported on numerous account closures by banks against crypto exchanges on the continent, some of which are now being contested in courts by, among others, exchanges like Walltime in Brazil. Sources within the Toronto crypto entrepreneur scene say they have suffered persistent problems with getting their businesses banked in the city- even at credit unions- and have ...
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CIBC Has Frozen $28 Million of Vancouver Crypto Exchange’s Funds Since January
Crunchbase News | Alex Wilhelm | October 8, 2018 Meet Nubank, a fintech shop out of Brazil that just raised $180 million from Tencent at a valuation of $4 billion. Forget the fact that the round is half secondary. It’s an enormous transaction, and in more normal times, it would cause a big stir. However, the capital event highlights something notable about Tencent: the China-based company’s investment cadence is staggering. Tencent is disbursing cash at a far faster rate than Alibaba, another Chinese tech shop that isn’t famous for parsimony. Tencent’s Early Christmas Tencent has been on a check-cutting bing recently, getting through eight investing rounds in September. Those ranged from a $1.5 billion deal with Lianjia (real estate services), a $450 million round for MissFresh E-Commerce (mobile grocery sales), to the comparatively staid $90 million Series B for WeShare (fintech something or other). October is looking similarly hot. Tencent is at four deals so far, and the month isn’t even half done. Here’s the list: October 1. Miniso’s 1 billion rmb Series A. October 4. Voyager Innovation’s $175 million private equity round. October 5. Bilibili’s $317.6 million post-IPO equity event. October 8. Nubank’s $180 million Series F (half secondary). Regarding Nubank, TechCrunch’s Jon Shieber has the ...
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Nubank Investment Underscores Tencent’s Quick Investing Pace

 

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FINTECH FRIDAY$ (EP.11-Sep 28): How Amazon Bank is Dominating and Risks of a Digital Bifurcated World with Paul Schulte, Founder of Schulte Research

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NCFA Canada | Sep 28, 2018

Ep11-Sep 28:  How Amazon Bank is Dominating and Risks of a Digital Bifurcated World

About this episode:   On this weeks episode our host Manseeb Khan sits down with Paul Schulte Founder & Editor of Schulte Research, whose insights have reshaped the finance world for the past 30 years. They talk about how Amazon is the biggest bank in the world, China being 2 generations ahead compared to the West, and what his next book could be about it. Enjoy!

Host: Manseeb Khan, NCFA, Fintech Fridays show host

Guest: PAUL SCHULTE, Founder and Managing Editor, Schulte Research (LinkedIn)

Bio:  Paul Schulte is founder of Schulte Research, set up in 2012 researching financial institutions and financial technology. He has spent 3 decades in research on financials. He has worked for all 3 branches of US government, including the NSC at the White House. He currently teaches in 3 universities, has written 3 books and authored hundreds of articles. He has worked for the Number 1 investment bank from US, UK, Japan, China & Switzerland starting in 1990.  He has taught on 4 continents. His focus is technological change in banks & insurance. He has been a source for the WSJ, NYT, Bloomberg, Nikkei, FT, Economist, Barron’s and Forbes. His clients include some of the largest sovereign, pension, mutual and hedge funds globally.

 

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Transcription of Interview

Manseeb Khan: Hey everybody how are you today. Manseeb Khan here and you are tuning in to another episode of Fintech Fridays. Today I have an incredible guest. He is a veteran in the industry. He's been in the industry for over 30 years. We have Paul Schulte. Paul thank you so much for making here today. I know I'm catching you in the middle between flights so thank you so much for taking time today to sit down with me and to chat.

Paul Schulte : You're welcome.

Manseeb Khan: So, Paul just for the audience could you just for a minute give us a little bit about who you are and essentially what your research firm does?

Paul Schulte : So, what I do is we look at we've been looking at financials and financial institutions, banks, insurance, broker dealers, investment banks for like 14 years and then about four years ago I wrote a book about that called a revolution in financial technology that's coming, and we decided that this was extremely important. So, I've been really taking a big turn and focusing much more on the ways in which financial institutions are being disintermediated by the explosion and financial technology especially of the Far East.

Manseeb Khan: So, could you talk a little bit more of what your research firm does. Are there any current trends that you guys are currently focusing on?

Paul Schulte : So, we work for. I work for sovereign wealth funds, hedge funds,  mutual funds, insurance funds and we do two things really work the boards of directors in terms of understanding their own needs for technology but also, I look at public equity of private equity activity and you know advise on you know what's hot. what's not. what's good. what stinks and you know what is. You know looks iffy. What is you know very interesting? And so, at the moment we just finished some work on the way in which Ali Baba, Tencent, Amazon and Wal-Mart are heading into India in a very aggressive way looking at you know where the winners and losers in India are. The sort of this big battle royale for the financial activity for payments, ecommerce, lifestyle, lending and so forth in India but also in Southeast Asia.

Manseeb Khan: Oh yes so kind of like how Wal-Mart recently acquired Flipcart to start making moves in the industry right.

Paul Schulte : So, looking at the strategies of Wal-Mart and Amazon and Ali Baba really are the three big players against each other. They're all doing slightly different things but they're going down of course very, very rapidly. And I think once again catching the banks by surprise.

Manseeb Khan: Why do you think that is. Is it because of because you were previously you did work with institutions. You have a very extensive background of being part of that world. Why do you think they're going to beat banks to the punch?

Paul Schulte :  I've worked with you know Credit Suisse and ING and Lehman Brothers, and then you know went Nomura bought Lehman Brothers. I worked with Nomura as well. Fundamentally I think it is an issue of shareholders. the shareholders of banks expect and want and will not tolerate anything other than a dividend you know of somewhere between 3 and 5 percent. And this means that the banks have to pay out 30, 40, 50 percent of their profits get paid out in dividends. and Amazon and Ali Baba pay out zero. And so, you're looking at you know billions of dollars in extra R&D you know investment spending that these guys have relative to the banks. So, if the banks really want to get serious about competing they have to go to their shareholders and say we're just not going to be able to have a payout ratio of 30,40, 50 percent of profits. The second thing is that you know banks fundamentally aren't allowed to collaborate and are not allowed to collaborate because of regulators. So, it's good to be regulated because you're sort of a cartel, you're a protected cartel. But on the other hand, you miss out the capacity to change quickly to collaborate to open up your ecosystem to the outside world where regulators are very you know hypersensitive. So, banks are coming out of a period where they've been in the doghouse because of all this bad behavior 10 years ago. And so, the regulators are putting them on a very short leash. So, these are all the reasons why the banks are having a very difficult time adjusting to these new realities. And then it just tends to be a sense of you know entrenchment and legacy. You know history institutional inertia that also work against you.

Manseeb Khan: So that they're just taking  advantage of it essentially. You recently posted a video on how China is pulling ahead of the U.S. in the battle of AI. Could you explain a little bit more the reasoning behind it and it is because like what people think of AI they don't China's not the first place that really comes to mind. Right. And secondly how do you see Canada's role in this battle being that it's there's been a lot of buzz that Canada does have a booming AI market.

Paul Schulte : Yeah Canada does Canada that was one of the first people to do quantum computing that there was a very active you know great stuff going on in Toronto. I think the smart city initiatives the Toronto house are great. So yeah, I think Toronto's fantastic. But West has you know a lot of things against it. The West has a 50-year-old legacy system of credit cards and  sort of antiquated payments that were there to put all these fancy apps on top of that. So, this is always going to be a problem with us. Regulators Attorney General upstate and the FCC. and we know  Washington D.C., regulatory bodies, and lobbyists you know who don't want this to happen. So, you know I was giving a talk to one of the well with the Minneapolis Fed group and you know what I was talking about China and all the stuff that China is doing. You know the guy stopped me and said hey wait a minute you know we're still trying to get people stop using paper checks. So you need to slow down here in terms of trying to think of what the U.S. can do to catch up to China. China is one the two generations ahead and payments, e-commerce. the integration of payments and e-commerce to civic activity like people paying tickets, fines, entertainment travel, movies ,lifestyle, leisure, venture, travel all of this has been integrated into one stop shopping for the entire system. And this is, and this also includes insurance, peer to peer lending, money market invested in  tax. It's all that everything is online and everything's integrated and everything's in one place and people have the choice of looking at Alibaba or WeChat. But Ali Baba tends to have the one of the best integrated platforms and this is the way in which we're seeing this go into you know Southeast Asia now and  Alibaba so all these problems going into Paytm in India. It's going into Tokopedia, Masada and Indonesia and so Alibaba is really gluing itself into you know another country with a billion people and another country with 350 million people. And so, you're looking at having a pretty good chunk of the world. you know covered in you know you know India Southeast Asia; China the U.S. hasn't done any of this.

Manseeb Khan: Yeah that's kind of what I want to touch on next. How do you see the western world kind of adopting? Right. would be like working with regulators would be working with lobbyists and lawmakers and everything would it be more of like hand-holding situation?

Paul Schulte : No. No, I don't think that's the case. We should have expected that. But I think Amazon's done something that's really unique and brilliant. They just said we're just going to go outside the US. We're going to start and do all this in a country called India and so Amazon has been laying out billions of dollars in very aggressive impressive expansion both in terms of indigenous internal organic R&D implementation of different types of structures for services for MSR customers but also making a lot of acquisitions in the last 18 24 months. So, from a standing start two years ago where Amazon was nowhere and was being highly criticized for being the. you know as I should be the biggest bank in the world two years ago it was nowhere. Two years later in India it has a compared to Amazon offerings to the standard chartered India offerings and quite frankly standard Amazon has everything a standard traveler can offer or basically 18 months and so from a standing start Standard Chartered can't hold a candle to what the offerings of Amazon. I believe Amazon has very aggressive ambitions to export that to many other emerging markets and potentially export that back into the U.S. This is what I am thinking.

Manseeb Khan: You did recently write an article. the article's title fintech is emerging with the internet of things that aim to challenge banks. How entrenched interests can prepare. Banks are not only the western world banks and institutions are not only losing opportunity in the expanding markets like China and Indonesia and India like you've mentioned. how unprepared are they in terms of A.I like we're hearing institutions starting to earmark for crypto and block chain? How prepared are there for this whole AI revolution?

Paul Schulte : Well I think I think it's getting a little bit better. You know I believe HSBC has at least a dozen and could be up to 20 plus blockchain initiatives currently. I think the one bank who gets it you know better than anybody else is Goldman Sachs. I think you know Citibank and JP Morgan  are pretty much rushing ahead. I think the European banks just don't have the capital or the spending power to be able to engage in this right now and so banks like Deutsche Bank are barely standing on two feet. And so, they're being knocked out of the game. And then you have you know some of the other banks that just are where they need to be. You know Barclays and so some of the regional banks are just not in a position to be able to spend. You have to spend a lot of money on this stuff, if you just want to do nickel and diming you're going to get left behind.

Manseeb Khan: Do you think it's more of like a is it because more of like a legacy thing that they're not nickeling and diming it or is it. They don't really believe the hype. What's your take on that.

Paul Schulte : Well you know I was reading this book chapter 7. They called the innovator's dilemma. It's the Christensen book and in chapter 7 it talks all about how the corporates of the 70s 60s and 70s with America were like these mighty engines of innovation and you know technological growth. top line growth. And they just stopped doing that. He was talking about corporates and then I when I read that article I was so struck because this is just absolutely applies to banks and so there's just it's institutional inertia. There are fewer positions are available people today and they just are becoming yes men because there's fewer promotions available. So, they shut their mouths and they don't know, and they don't dare innovate because if they make a mistake they get fired because there's always an excuse to fire people and try to reduce costs. And so, when you go down that rabbit hole of trying to reduce costs as your number one goal rather than improve innovation you're dead. And I think a lot of banks are going down this road. So, this is a problem right where you have a terrible return on capital. You have shareholders demanding a very high dividend and you just don't have a lot of money left over in absolute dollar terms or a dollar stand against Alibaba which has like a billion dollars to spend. Amazon is spending in India alone which is spending 5 billion dollars. And so, you're looking at a tremendous capacity for spends and a lot of different areas. Plus, Amazon is also moving into a farm to market food distribution as well. So, when they start to get all these different businesses you've got a tremendous synergy of business of agricultural, financial, lifestyle and civic activity together which gives you know a real unbeatable combination.

Manseeb Khan: So essentially, it's very much a evolve or Die mentality when it comes to compare to banks and to Amazon and Alibaba and all the other companies like that right.

Paul Schulte : Yes, exactly that system and that's life that we all we all have to do that even as adults in our 30s and 40s we have to keep on learning if we don't keep on learning where we're in real trouble. I think the times of getting a four-year degree or getting an MBA is that those times are over. Right. There's a constant need for learning and it's painful and I say to people I have two jobs. I'd have my old job which is looking up financials but also, I have another job which is learning to understand financial technology which has been exhausting but also very stimulating and exciting and interesting.

Manseeb Khan: I totally agree that it's kind of funny because I just came back from writing my accounting exams was kind of hilarious that we talked schooling. You’re probably a little bit more closer to understanding AI and seeing its evolution other than just in the banking space. Where else do you see it just making a massive impact?

Paul Schulte : In the area of Block Chain  is all about digitizing assets and only a very tiny portion less than 1 percent of the physical asset world in digitized. So, what we have is a world where when you digitize assets you do three things you turn it into a provenance right and then that's the whole foundation of auctions. auctions and auction houses whatever they are Kristie. Sotheby's big banks guarantee that this thing is true and real and is owned by X is being sold to Y. That's what blockchain does for physical assets. Number two it's a sense of collateral. collateral is what you use to create a loan. And number three and most important of all one of the greatest things that we can Digitize and one of the greatest values we have is that our parents spent you know between 500000 and 1 million dollars to get us to become 22-year-old educated people our body. And this is the area of insurance. And so, I think that insurance is probably the most it is going to be disrupted more than anything else. As more and more of the parts of the human, our cells become digitized and become a real value. so, we can be given the identification independent of government. We can be given Providence we can be given a sense of collateral and we can include 1 billion people who currently don't even have an identification or a bank account or you can include millions of that SME's on by three four five people you know all across the world who previously had to go to loan sharks to fund themselves. So, the possibilities are endless and of course lastly and most importantly in terms of our lifespan in terms of current kinds of things that we can learn about our bodies to employ preventative medicine to improve our life expectancy and to get you accurate pricing on insurance for physical movement and for our life.

Manseeb Khan: Yes, speaking of Insurance I should remind my dad that I need a life insurance policy. So, thank you for reminding me of living.

Paul Schulte : You are going to live to be 100 don't worry.

Manseeb Khan: Could we. Other than the articles and research papers that you say they produce regularly are we expecting a book anytime soon. If so what would like what are the topics that are frequently passing through your head that you'd probably want to put on paper or digital paper in this case.

Paul Schulte : Well we're yeah to a book with Professor David Lee in Singapore who is one of the leading thinkers in the world. Block Chain and we're doing some work on blocking insurance. We're doing some work on the movement of these Chinese financial technology companies out into the outside world into Southeast Asia and South Asia and we're doing an update a deep dive into what PingAn's doing. PingAn is  I think one of the most innovative companies in the world and we're also going to write a chapter on something that's very important which people need to be paying attention to. Right about now which is quantum computing because the cyber security implications of quantum computing are very important.  And last but not least we are looking at something that's really important. I think it's going to be the most core issue of 2019 and that is the way if the US increasingly goes on its own and sort of alienates Canada and alienates you know Europe and alienates China is it going to go along a road trying to bifurcate, trying to cut the digital world to have a Qualcomm. Qualcomm, Amazon, Google, Apple world, a Huawei. Amazon, Tencent digital world. And I don't think it's possible to do that. But trying to do so could be quite destructive know example I would give you is that Microsoft and Amazon have 31% market share in the cloud business in China. What if says you know you've invited out Huawei and you were basically expelled Ali Baba out of the U.S. Well how come we're letting Amazon and Apple. I'm sorry Amazon and Microsoft have you know a 31 percent market share in the cloud business for AWS and of Azure. and I think questions like this come up and so this is going to become problematic if this thing continues down a road of increasing tension between China and the U.S. So very important topic I think it's the number one topic of 2019.

Manseeb Khan: Right and that's you have mentioned in the past that's why you're seeing companies starting to enter emerging markets just in case something like that happens. They have remote offices they have remote sites, subsidiaries just in case those kinds of things may happen right.

Paul Schulte : Yeah pretty much. I think that's right. And I think that Amazon is truly an international company. Right. So, I don't know what political weight. They pull in Washington D.C. but I'm sure that there are  opposition forces at play in Washington D.C. to counter this desire for the U.S. to isolate itself. I think that's a minority opinion and it's not part of the mainstream and yet it seems to be having an immense cast has immense momentum right now. And so, it's very disturbing to watch this. You know what was played out yesterday at the U.N. and especially when you look at it from the Far East people are aghast at why the U.S. is doesn't have you know America first policy it's basically America alone policy. And I think there's no people who are more like gob smacked by this than the Canadians. And so, we've got to be very careful about where this is all going. If power is some of the powers in Washington want to bifurcate the digital world because I think it's impossible to do that. I think we've gone down we've gone too far down the road on this. And so, I'm just wondering what this all means. I think the physical bifurcated world has already occurred right the manufacturing world is already the supply chain already been broke about past tense but the digital world is a very different world that just doesn't lend itself to being broken into.

Manseeb Khan: Right. Because the whole the world the whole the pull for is the whole globalization rights that everybody is on the same team. We're here to help everybody and if a country is going to try to isolate itself from everybody else then it's going to be kind of hard of work with them. It's kind of like work like everybody playing in the sandbox where we have the one kid that like we're trying to include you doesn't want to come with us. It's kind of hard to like feet won't we'll can ask him so much.

Paul Schulte : Yeah that's right. That's right. That's right. Well thank you so much free time I have to jump on a plane. I'm going to a retreat with actually people from Monash University to discuss this topic in terms of the future of education. OK so this is important. This is an important topic for universities as well as universities risked being sort of cut out. Well if they don't change faster. And so, I personally have a similar problem with the banks.

Manseeb Khan: That's interesting. Well  Paul thank you so much again for your time. Enjoy your flight enjoy your treat. I'm very excited to see what you've learned, and I can't wait to have you on the show again.

Paul Schulte : OK. Thank you so much.

 

End of Podcast

 

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Sue Britton, CEO & Founder of FGS, Joins the National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association of Canada’s Advisory Group

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About NCFA Canada | C. Asano | September 26, 2018

Sue Britton, Advisor, Corporate Innovation & Partnerships

TORONTO, Sep 26, 2018 – The National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association of Canada (NCFA) today announced that Sue Britton, CEO & Founder of the Fintech Growth Syndicate (FGS), has joined the Association`s national Advisory Group to advise in the areas of Fintech corporate innovation and partnerships (view).

Sue Britton is CEO & Founder of FGS (FinTech Growth Syndicate) – Canada’s leading FinTech innovation accelerator. FGS accelerates corporate innovation, growth of start-ups and strategy for those being disrupted by consumers changing needs or technology advancements.

Sue is a product innovation and growth strategy addict with a passion for customer needs and persevering to get new products to market to address them. Sue has spent her 25 year career in corporate roles in financial technology companies such as Finastra, Symcor, Broadridge Financial and Xerox, both before and after it was cool to be a FinTech. She launched FGS to address a market need: to provide the experts, tools and processes, and market knowledge to help the FinTech space move faster.

“There has never been a more critical time for Canada to move faster and innovate. The regulatory framework in Canada is impossible to navigate, and the oligopoly keeps things status quo. A collective voice is needed asap!” - Sue Britton, CEO & Founder, FGS

“The Canadian government needs to develop a national/regional strategy that fosters industry growth and opens up new channels and opportunities for fintechs full stop. We need a national political champion to step up and shine light on the economic potential, role, and wide sweeping impact that Canadian fintechs can have on consumers and businesses globally. Regulators need to recognize the importance of internationally competitive policies and how the opposite hurts innovation. Sue has been a consummate fintech advocate and brings insight, leadership and numerous partnerships to the table, and we whole heartedly welcome her and the FGS team on-board our collective mission.” – Craig Asano, CEO & Founder, NCFA

Source: NCFA

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MEDIA CONTACTS:
Craig Asano
Founder and CEO
NCFA Canada
416 618 0254
casano@ncfacanada.org

 

About NCFA

The National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association (NCFA Canada) is a financial innovation ecosystem that provides education, market intelligence, industry stewardship, networking and funding opportunities and services to thousands of community members and works closely with industry, government, partners and affiliates to create a vibrant and innovative fintech and funding industry in Canada. Decentralized and distributed, NCFA is engaged with global stakeholders and helps incubate projects and investment in fintech, alternative finance, crowdfunding, peer-to-peer finance, payments, digital assets and tokens, blockchain, cryptocurrency, regtech, and insurtech sectors. Join Canada's Fintech & Funding Community today FREE! Or become a contributing member and get perks. For more information, please visit: www.ncfacanada.org

 

About FinTech Growth Syndicate

FinTech Growth Syndicate is an accelerator that designs, implements and accelerates corporate innovation within established companies, and drives market expansion of new entrants and strategy of technology incumbents facing disruption. We are Canada’s Premier FinTech Advisory Firm. FGS brings the synergies between FinTech and Incumbents together, and is passionate about partnering and building a strong community.

Source: NCFA

# # #

 

MEDIA CONTACTS:
Craig Asano
Founder and CEO
NCFA Canada
416 618 0254
casano@ncfacanada.org


 

BusinessWire release | Accenture | Oct 17, 2018 Digital-only banks, fintechs and big tech companies are quietly gaining customers, while incumbents struggle to make strategic investments in their digital future NEW YORK & LONDON & HONG KONG--(BUSINESS WIRE)--New entrants to the banking market — including challenger banks, non-bank payments institutions and big tech companies — are amassing up to one-third of new revenue, which is challenging the competitiveness of traditional banks, according to new research from Accenture (NYSE:ACN). “As the banking industry experiences radical change, driven by regulation, new entrants and demanding consumers, banks will need to reassess their assets, strengths and capabilities to determine if they are taking their business in the right direction” Accenture analyzed more than 20,000 banking and payments institutions across seven markets to quantify the level of change and disruption in the global banking industry. The study found that the number of banking and payments institutions decreased by nearly 20 percent over a 12-year period — from 24,000 in 2005 to less than 19,300 in 2017. However, nearly one in six (17 percent) current institutions are what Accenture considers new entrants — i.e., companies entering the market after 2005. While few of these new players ...
Read More
Banks’ Revenue Growth at Risk Due to Unprecedented Competitive Pressure Resulting from Digital Disruption, Accenture Study Finds
Forbes | Michael del Castillo | Oct 18, 2018 The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is launching a portal for engaging with companies using blockchain, artificial intelligence and more. Available today, the new fintech hub, or FinHub for short, is designed to bring the SEC’s existing services to a single access point and provide an easier way for companies to communicate with the public. As startups building with blockchain increasingly come under the SEC’s attention, the new portal has the potential to streamline the process of building compliant platforms prior to launch. The SEC’s FinHub will be led by Valerie A. Szczepanik, senior advisor for digital assets and innovation and associate director in the SEC’s Division of Corporation Finance. “We’ve been doing these things for years,” Szczepanik told Forbes. “This is going to bring it all together.” The FinHub will be staffed by representatives from the SEC’s divisions and offices who have expertise and involvement in fintech-related issues. See:  Canadian securities regulators provide additional guidance on securities law implications for offerings of tokens In addition to asking questions of the SEC, those who use the site will be able to request meetings. To increase engagement, a binary code “Easter egg” ...
Read More
SEC Launches Fintech Hub To Engage With Cryptocurrency Startups And More
Gowling WLG | Shaela W. Rae | October 17 2018 Black market. Dark web. Illicit. Underground market. Illegitimate. Illegal. Organized crime. All words used to describe the illegal cannabis industry, until October 17, 2018 that is. Once it is legal to buy, possess or use cannabis for recreational purposes the discussion around the use of cannabis and how to procure it changes from hushed words in a corner to an open conversation in public. But is the public ready to embrace a substance that has been seen as illegitimate and "bad" for so long? If the experience in the US can be relied upon, the answer is "yes". According to investment bank Cowen & Co., the cannabis industry is expected to reach sales of approximately US$75-billion by 2030, up from US$6-billion in 2016, as the drug is more socially accepted. In the US today cannabis is illegal on a federal level as it is classified as a Schedule 1 narcotic, but cannabis is legal in 30 states for medicinal purposes, and in 9 states and Washington, DC, for recreational use for adults over the age of 21. See:  Canabis Company True Leaf Raises $14 Million in Cross Border US – ...
Read More
Cannabis & blockchain: Bad romance or a perfect match?
International Monetary Fund | Release | Oct 11, 2018 The International Monetary Fund and the World Bank Group today launched the Bali Fintech Agenda, a set of 12 policy elements aimed at helping member countries to harness the benefits and opportunities of rapid advances in financial technology that are transforming the provision of banking services, while at the same time managing the inherent risks. The Agenda proposes a framework of high-level issues that countries should consider in their own domestic policy discussions and aims to guide staff from the two institutions in their own work and dialogue with national authorities. The 12 elements (see table) were distilled from members’ own experiences and cover topics relating broadly to enabling fintech; ensuring financial sector resilience; addressing risks; and promoting international cooperation. “There are an estimated 1.7 billion adults in the world without access to financial services,” said IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde. “Fintech can have a major social and economic impact for them and across the membership in general. All countries are trying to reap these benefits, while also mitigating the risks. We need greater international cooperation to achieve that, and to make sure the fintech revolution benefits the many and not ...
Read More
The Bali Fintech Agenda: A Blueprint for Successfully Harnessing Fintech’s Opportunities
Investment Executive | James Langton | Oct 12, 2018 Money laundering and tax evasion are key concerns Canadian policy-makers initially took a hands-off approach to cryptoassets. Now, in the wake of a bitcoin boom-and-bust and continuing growth in the cryptoassets market, policy-makers are taking a second look at the emerging phenomenon. In 2015, the Standing Senate Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce issued one of Canada’s first reports examining the emerging cryptocurrency industry; that report recommends that policy-makers keep an eye on the space. Since then, the cryptoassets market has continued to grow. According to a report from the Bank of Canada (BoC), the global market capitalization for cryptoassets “grew rapidly” in 2017 and the daily transaction volume now is more than 75 times higher than it was in early 2017 – i.e., more than $25 billion a day. At this point, the BoC report states, traditional financial services institutions don’t have much, if any, direct exposure to cryptoassets, but the report cautions that these institutions could become exposed due to their clients’ trading in cryptoassets or through exchange trading in crypto-based derivatives. “Cryptoasset markets are evolving quickly and could have financial stability implications in the future if their size ...
Read More
Exploring cryptoasset regulation
NCFA Canada | Oct 13, 2018 Ep13-Oct 13:  Road to Fintech IPO:  Capital Networks, Scalable Solutions, Putting People First About this episode:   On this episode, NCFA show host Manseeb Khan sits down with Ali Pourdad the CEO of Progressa who recently closed out an $84 million dollar round. They talk about P2P loans, loan services operating within the blockchain and why being people first business matters. Enjoy! (see Transcript) Host: Manseeb Khan, NCFA, Fintech Fridays show host Guest:  ALI POURDAD, Co-founder and CEO, Progressa (LinkedIn) Bio:  Ali Pourdad has been CEO of Progressa since its inception in 2013. Under his leadership the Company has raised over $40 million of investor capital and invested over $2.0 million dollars in its proprietary "Powered by Progressa" decision engine for Canadian Enterprise partners looking to enhance collections strategy in a positive way. The company has grown to over 110 employees in Vancouver and Toronto. Ali has decisively positioned Progressa for its next generation of growth by recently executing on several initiatives, including creating one of Canada's most popular Exempt Market Bond Offerings and securing an $11.4 million Series A financing . Prior to co-founding Progressa, Ali worked in both corporate restructuring and audit & assurance, ...
Read More
FINTECH FRIDAY$ (EP.13-Oct 12):  Road to Fintech IPO:  Capital Networks, Scalable Solutions, Putting People First with Ali Pourdad, Co-founder and CEO Progressa
Beam Platform | Alec Gordon | Aug 24, 2018 THE PROBLEM The tech industry has gotten a rude awakening this year. Following a few high profile instances of data misuse, European Union has struck down the law and put everyone who sells into Europe (or deals with anyone who does) on notice. Since introduction, GDPR was meant to show both corporations and their users that better clarity around data collection/preservation is the necessary step forward, one that will lead to a fairer digital society, and ultimately benefit all those involved. And in order to do that, the companies themselves must take matters into their own hands by building new tools to let data flow back to the user. The customers demand it, and equally deserve to have control over their digital footprint. In the end this is an EU bill with global ramifications, and we should all be paying attention. By now you most of you have gotten dozens of emails on “updates to privacy policy” and other notices of forthcoming compliance. This is a welcome reminder that it is you, the user, who’s the focal point GDPR. After decades of computer and telephone use, the companies with whom we ...
Read More
Data is a 2-way street in a post-GDPR world
Competition Bureau | Oct 10, 2018 Speech Remarks by Interim Commissioner of Competition Matthew Boswell Global Series 2018 October 10, 2018 Ottawa, Ontario Thank you. I’m pleased to be here to speak with you today. Thank you Makan, for your thoughts on these important issues. They are particularly relevant to businesses, the legal community, academia and governments around the world and to all of you who are gathered here today. Every day we see the world evolving at a rapid pace, thanks to innovation.  Development of new technologies, ways of doing business and the creation of new products have the potential to open up new areas of science, medicine and technology. Small steps lead to bigger steps.  And here in Canada, we have to be ready for both the challenges and opportunities that this is bringing to all of us. Let’s understand what we are up against. Every year, innovation in the top industrialized countries is tracked by leading authorities on the subject. And here’s what they report about Canada in 2018. On the plus side, Canada performs better than some others in four big areas: Human Capital and Research, Institutions, Infrastructure, and Market Sophistication. See:  Canada’s ‘innovation economy’ has ...
Read More
Advancing Competition in a Changing Marketplace
Crowdfund Insider | Cali Haan | Oct 9, 2018 Vancouver-based cryptocurrency exchange QuadrigaCX has been defending itself in court for the release of $28 million dollars in customer funds frozen by the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC) since January, the Globe and Mail reports. According to court documents filed by CIBC in the Canadian province of Ontario, the action to freeze the accounts was taken because the bank says, “it was unable to determine who owns the funds,” and would like the court to take possession of the money and distribute it to either QuadrigaCX, their payments processor Custodian Inc, or to the 388 affected Quadriga customers, the Globe and Mail writes. Entrepreneurs in the relatively new crypto sector industries complained for some time about bank non-cooperation. See:  International Anti-Money Laundering Standards for Crypto Expected in October The cryptocurrency press in South America has reported on numerous account closures by banks against crypto exchanges on the continent, some of which are now being contested in courts by, among others, exchanges like Walltime in Brazil. Sources within the Toronto crypto entrepreneur scene say they have suffered persistent problems with getting their businesses banked in the city- even at credit unions- and have ...
Read More
CIBC Has Frozen $28 Million of Vancouver Crypto Exchange’s Funds Since January
Crunchbase News | Alex Wilhelm | October 8, 2018 Meet Nubank, a fintech shop out of Brazil that just raised $180 million from Tencent at a valuation of $4 billion. Forget the fact that the round is half secondary. It’s an enormous transaction, and in more normal times, it would cause a big stir. However, the capital event highlights something notable about Tencent: the China-based company’s investment cadence is staggering. Tencent is disbursing cash at a far faster rate than Alibaba, another Chinese tech shop that isn’t famous for parsimony. Tencent’s Early Christmas Tencent has been on a check-cutting bing recently, getting through eight investing rounds in September. Those ranged from a $1.5 billion deal with Lianjia (real estate services), a $450 million round for MissFresh E-Commerce (mobile grocery sales), to the comparatively staid $90 million Series B for WeShare (fintech something or other). October is looking similarly hot. Tencent is at four deals so far, and the month isn’t even half done. Here’s the list: October 1. Miniso’s 1 billion rmb Series A. October 4. Voyager Innovation’s $175 million private equity round. October 5. Bilibili’s $317.6 million post-IPO equity event. October 8. Nubank’s $180 million Series F (half secondary). Regarding Nubank, TechCrunch’s Jon Shieber has the ...
Read More
Nubank Investment Underscores Tencent’s Quick Investing Pace

 

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Meet the women who are making sure blockchain is inclusive

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FastCompany | By Lydia Dishman | Sep 20, 2018

When you have a technology that’s only 10 years old, women and underrepresented minorities have the chance to change this corner of the tech industry.

Yael Rozencwajg recently had an experience that was unusual for a woman in tech. Speaking at a conference for executives in the blockchain and Internet of Things (IoT) space, Rozencwajg found herself explaining the digital ledger system that forms the basis of blockchain technology to about 200 people, most of whom were white, male CEOs. “There was a lot they didn’t know,” the founder of startup Blockchain Israel tells Fast Company.

The difference was that the audience was respectful and deferential, despite the prevailing reality that when women are outnumbered in a work setting like this, several studies show that they are talked over, interrupted, or simply ignored.

Rozencwajg chalks it up to the relative newness of the blockchain space. The technology is only 10 years old and was initially used to record bitcoin transactions. But its applications have since moved from solely recording bitcoin and other digital currency transfers to smart contracts and other transactions that need the security that an immutable record can provide. These applications are so new, in fact, that at another event, Rozencwajg spotted an error on a fellow presenter’s slide deck about smart contracts and was able to help him correct it before he delivered it to the group.

Although Rozencwajg admits she’s not afraid to speak up, even when she’s the only woman in the group, she’s gotten plenty of pushback over the years that she’s worked in technology. Not this time.

“There’s an acceptance that women know their stuff,” she asserts. The newness, she explains, “puts all of us on the same level.”

The related world of cryptocurrency roils with tales of “blockchain bros.” A recent Bitcoin Conference featured just three women out of 88 speakers. Another held official conference parties at strip clubs. Yet despite the overall lopsided gender balance in crypto, according to some measures, blockchain itself–while it also tilts toward being dominated by men– events like those at SXSW this year show that it’s emerging as a space where women can get in early and change the ratio.

Not as risky as it seems

The barriers to entry are mostly about perception, according to Emilie Choi. The former vice president and head of corporate development at LinkedIn joined Coinbase in March 2018, moving from the professional networking platform’s staff of over 13,000 to a startup with less than 500. “It is intimidating for outsiders to think about the crypto world,” she says. Not only that it’s a man’s world, Choi explains, but that media coverage around price volatility of virtual currency, “and the antics of certain personalities,” reinforce the crypto/blockchain bro myth versus reality. This Choi states, is “erroneous.”

See:  Slowly but surely, women are changing fintech

At Coinbase, she says there’s a more inclusive culture than other places she’s worked. Although Choi admits the learning curve was steep early on, there was no shortage of experienced people on staff to help her get up to speed. Additionally, she notes, the executive team at Coinbase is 1/3 female. On making the leap from the more established LinkedIn, Choi maintains, “I wanted another once-in-a-lifetime experience at a tech company.” That said, she admits, “The whole goal is to serve a diverse base. If I’d known [how inclusive Coinbase was inside and out], I would have jumped in faster.”

Potential in democratization

That’s precisely what drew attorney Paroma Indilo to work with blockchain companies. A lawyer specializing in advising companies on initial coin offerings (ICO), she started getting involved two years ago after attending a conference and dipping a toe into investing in bitcoin and ethereum. “As a lawyer, I am a bit risk-averse,” she admits. But she said she spent a lot of time reading about it and learned that the blockchain technology underpinning cryptocurrencies “had the potential to change the world economy for the better.”

The way Indilo sees it, it’s similar to the promise of the internet where everyone with access had the chance to be a participant. However, that democratization wasn’t totally realized as areas with limited access prohibited participation and the growth of large tech companies. The data created on the internet is a “huge asset essentially owned by few companies use for their own benefit,” she says. “We don’t even understand why they are doing certain things, and in many cases they hugely undermine privacy.”

But blockchain can deliver on that promise. Simply being able to send and receive money in a secure, transparent way has huge implications for both the banked and unbanked populations of the world. And it’s not just about money, Indilo contends. Opu Labs is a skincare web application built on the blockchain. It allows users to scan their faces and get analysis on skin conditions. Not only is this very personal information secure and unable to be tampered with, Indilo points out that people are getting paid to get something valuable. The platform pays you if they are sending your data to a dermatologist, but the choice is yours to share your data.

How to bring in more women?

Coming from a career culture steeped in the traditional bureaucracy and hierarchy, this approach was refreshing to Indilo. “For too long I felt like I wasn’t doing anything meaningful,” she confesses. Now, she says, she’s a passionate advocate to get more women into the mix. She’s tried to educate friends and family as well as her professional networks on the opportunities in blockchain, but Indilo says that sometimes all it takes is pointing out that she’s often the only woman in a group of men at startups. “Their consideration was on more important things like funding and skills, they aren’t thinking about gender discrepancy,” Indilo says. “But it just needs to go hand and in hand with educating the industry.”

See:  FINTECH FRIDAY$ (EP.3-Aug 3): Investing in Canadian Diversity with Peggy Van De Plassche, Founding Partner at Roar Ventures

Education is the primary challenge according to Susan Joseph, a cofounder and the executive director of Diversity in Blockchain. She believes the blockchain space is a reflection of the larger tech industry when it comes to gender imbalance, and that is because of lack of knowledge.

“People think they can’t do it,” Joseph contends, because it is considered a “tech” job. “You don’t need a university program in computer science,” she says. “What you need is curiosity and the ability to sift through public information.” There is plenty to do beyond coding, says Joseph, who is an attorney by trade.

She says those currently in the industry are willing to educate others and share their knowledge as long as someone asks. To encourage more women and underrepresented minorities to hop aboard the blockchain wagon, the organization is also hosting events like the one in which they partnered with the U.N.

Continue to the full article --> here


The National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association (NCFA Canada) is a financial innovation ecosystem that provides education, market intelligence, industry stewardship, networking and funding opportunities and services to thousands of community members and works closely with industry, government, partners and affiliates to create a vibrant and innovative fintech and funding industry in Canada. Decentralized and distributed, NCFA is engaged with global stakeholders and helps incubate projects and investment in fintech, alternative finance, crowdfunding, peer-to-peer finance, payments, digital assets and tokens, blockchain and cryptocurrency, regtech, and insurtech sectors. Join Canada's Fintech & Funding Community today FREE! Or become a contributing member and get perks. For more information, please visit: www.ncfacanada.org

BusinessWire release | Accenture | Oct 17, 2018 Digital-only banks, fintechs and big tech companies are quietly gaining customers, while incumbents struggle to make strategic investments in their digital future NEW YORK & LONDON & HONG KONG--(BUSINESS WIRE)--New entrants to the banking market — including challenger banks, non-bank payments institutions and big tech companies — are amassing up to one-third of new revenue, which is challenging the competitiveness of traditional banks, according to new research from Accenture (NYSE:ACN). “As the banking industry experiences radical change, driven by regulation, new entrants and demanding consumers, banks will need to reassess their assets, strengths and capabilities to determine if they are taking their business in the right direction” Accenture analyzed more than 20,000 banking and payments institutions across seven markets to quantify the level of change and disruption in the global banking industry. The study found that the number of banking and payments institutions decreased by nearly 20 percent over a 12-year period — from 24,000 in 2005 to less than 19,300 in 2017. However, nearly one in six (17 percent) current institutions are what Accenture considers new entrants — i.e., companies entering the market after 2005. While few of these new players ...
Read More
Banks’ Revenue Growth at Risk Due to Unprecedented Competitive Pressure Resulting from Digital Disruption, Accenture Study Finds
Forbes | Michael del Castillo | Oct 18, 2018 The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is launching a portal for engaging with companies using blockchain, artificial intelligence and more. Available today, the new fintech hub, or FinHub for short, is designed to bring the SEC’s existing services to a single access point and provide an easier way for companies to communicate with the public. As startups building with blockchain increasingly come under the SEC’s attention, the new portal has the potential to streamline the process of building compliant platforms prior to launch. The SEC’s FinHub will be led by Valerie A. Szczepanik, senior advisor for digital assets and innovation and associate director in the SEC’s Division of Corporation Finance. “We’ve been doing these things for years,” Szczepanik told Forbes. “This is going to bring it all together.” The FinHub will be staffed by representatives from the SEC’s divisions and offices who have expertise and involvement in fintech-related issues. See:  Canadian securities regulators provide additional guidance on securities law implications for offerings of tokens In addition to asking questions of the SEC, those who use the site will be able to request meetings. To increase engagement, a binary code “Easter egg” ...
Read More
SEC Launches Fintech Hub To Engage With Cryptocurrency Startups And More
Gowling WLG | Shaela W. Rae | October 17 2018 Black market. Dark web. Illicit. Underground market. Illegitimate. Illegal. Organized crime. All words used to describe the illegal cannabis industry, until October 17, 2018 that is. Once it is legal to buy, possess or use cannabis for recreational purposes the discussion around the use of cannabis and how to procure it changes from hushed words in a corner to an open conversation in public. But is the public ready to embrace a substance that has been seen as illegitimate and "bad" for so long? If the experience in the US can be relied upon, the answer is "yes". According to investment bank Cowen & Co., the cannabis industry is expected to reach sales of approximately US$75-billion by 2030, up from US$6-billion in 2016, as the drug is more socially accepted. In the US today cannabis is illegal on a federal level as it is classified as a Schedule 1 narcotic, but cannabis is legal in 30 states for medicinal purposes, and in 9 states and Washington, DC, for recreational use for adults over the age of 21. See:  Canabis Company True Leaf Raises $14 Million in Cross Border US – ...
Read More
Cannabis & blockchain: Bad romance or a perfect match?
International Monetary Fund | Release | Oct 11, 2018 The International Monetary Fund and the World Bank Group today launched the Bali Fintech Agenda, a set of 12 policy elements aimed at helping member countries to harness the benefits and opportunities of rapid advances in financial technology that are transforming the provision of banking services, while at the same time managing the inherent risks. The Agenda proposes a framework of high-level issues that countries should consider in their own domestic policy discussions and aims to guide staff from the two institutions in their own work and dialogue with national authorities. The 12 elements (see table) were distilled from members’ own experiences and cover topics relating broadly to enabling fintech; ensuring financial sector resilience; addressing risks; and promoting international cooperation. “There are an estimated 1.7 billion adults in the world without access to financial services,” said IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde. “Fintech can have a major social and economic impact for them and across the membership in general. All countries are trying to reap these benefits, while also mitigating the risks. We need greater international cooperation to achieve that, and to make sure the fintech revolution benefits the many and not ...
Read More
The Bali Fintech Agenda: A Blueprint for Successfully Harnessing Fintech’s Opportunities
Investment Executive | James Langton | Oct 12, 2018 Money laundering and tax evasion are key concerns Canadian policy-makers initially took a hands-off approach to cryptoassets. Now, in the wake of a bitcoin boom-and-bust and continuing growth in the cryptoassets market, policy-makers are taking a second look at the emerging phenomenon. In 2015, the Standing Senate Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce issued one of Canada’s first reports examining the emerging cryptocurrency industry; that report recommends that policy-makers keep an eye on the space. Since then, the cryptoassets market has continued to grow. According to a report from the Bank of Canada (BoC), the global market capitalization for cryptoassets “grew rapidly” in 2017 and the daily transaction volume now is more than 75 times higher than it was in early 2017 – i.e., more than $25 billion a day. At this point, the BoC report states, traditional financial services institutions don’t have much, if any, direct exposure to cryptoassets, but the report cautions that these institutions could become exposed due to their clients’ trading in cryptoassets or through exchange trading in crypto-based derivatives. “Cryptoasset markets are evolving quickly and could have financial stability implications in the future if their size ...
Read More
Exploring cryptoasset regulation
NCFA Canada | Oct 13, 2018 Ep13-Oct 13:  Road to Fintech IPO:  Capital Networks, Scalable Solutions, Putting People First About this episode:   On this episode, NCFA show host Manseeb Khan sits down with Ali Pourdad the CEO of Progressa who recently closed out an $84 million dollar round. They talk about P2P loans, loan services operating within the blockchain and why being people first business matters. Enjoy! (see Transcript) Host: Manseeb Khan, NCFA, Fintech Fridays show host Guest:  ALI POURDAD, Co-founder and CEO, Progressa (LinkedIn) Bio:  Ali Pourdad has been CEO of Progressa since its inception in 2013. Under his leadership the Company has raised over $40 million of investor capital and invested over $2.0 million dollars in its proprietary "Powered by Progressa" decision engine for Canadian Enterprise partners looking to enhance collections strategy in a positive way. The company has grown to over 110 employees in Vancouver and Toronto. Ali has decisively positioned Progressa for its next generation of growth by recently executing on several initiatives, including creating one of Canada's most popular Exempt Market Bond Offerings and securing an $11.4 million Series A financing . Prior to co-founding Progressa, Ali worked in both corporate restructuring and audit & assurance, ...
Read More
FINTECH FRIDAY$ (EP.13-Oct 12):  Road to Fintech IPO:  Capital Networks, Scalable Solutions, Putting People First with Ali Pourdad, Co-founder and CEO Progressa
Beam Platform | Alec Gordon | Aug 24, 2018 THE PROBLEM The tech industry has gotten a rude awakening this year. Following a few high profile instances of data misuse, European Union has struck down the law and put everyone who sells into Europe (or deals with anyone who does) on notice. Since introduction, GDPR was meant to show both corporations and their users that better clarity around data collection/preservation is the necessary step forward, one that will lead to a fairer digital society, and ultimately benefit all those involved. And in order to do that, the companies themselves must take matters into their own hands by building new tools to let data flow back to the user. The customers demand it, and equally deserve to have control over their digital footprint. In the end this is an EU bill with global ramifications, and we should all be paying attention. By now you most of you have gotten dozens of emails on “updates to privacy policy” and other notices of forthcoming compliance. This is a welcome reminder that it is you, the user, who’s the focal point GDPR. After decades of computer and telephone use, the companies with whom we ...
Read More
Data is a 2-way street in a post-GDPR world
Competition Bureau | Oct 10, 2018 Speech Remarks by Interim Commissioner of Competition Matthew Boswell Global Series 2018 October 10, 2018 Ottawa, Ontario Thank you. I’m pleased to be here to speak with you today. Thank you Makan, for your thoughts on these important issues. They are particularly relevant to businesses, the legal community, academia and governments around the world and to all of you who are gathered here today. Every day we see the world evolving at a rapid pace, thanks to innovation.  Development of new technologies, ways of doing business and the creation of new products have the potential to open up new areas of science, medicine and technology. Small steps lead to bigger steps.  And here in Canada, we have to be ready for both the challenges and opportunities that this is bringing to all of us. Let’s understand what we are up against. Every year, innovation in the top industrialized countries is tracked by leading authorities on the subject. And here’s what they report about Canada in 2018. On the plus side, Canada performs better than some others in four big areas: Human Capital and Research, Institutions, Infrastructure, and Market Sophistication. See:  Canada’s ‘innovation economy’ has ...
Read More
Advancing Competition in a Changing Marketplace
Crowdfund Insider | Cali Haan | Oct 9, 2018 Vancouver-based cryptocurrency exchange QuadrigaCX has been defending itself in court for the release of $28 million dollars in customer funds frozen by the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC) since January, the Globe and Mail reports. According to court documents filed by CIBC in the Canadian province of Ontario, the action to freeze the accounts was taken because the bank says, “it was unable to determine who owns the funds,” and would like the court to take possession of the money and distribute it to either QuadrigaCX, their payments processor Custodian Inc, or to the 388 affected Quadriga customers, the Globe and Mail writes. Entrepreneurs in the relatively new crypto sector industries complained for some time about bank non-cooperation. See:  International Anti-Money Laundering Standards for Crypto Expected in October The cryptocurrency press in South America has reported on numerous account closures by banks against crypto exchanges on the continent, some of which are now being contested in courts by, among others, exchanges like Walltime in Brazil. Sources within the Toronto crypto entrepreneur scene say they have suffered persistent problems with getting their businesses banked in the city- even at credit unions- and have ...
Read More
CIBC Has Frozen $28 Million of Vancouver Crypto Exchange’s Funds Since January
Crunchbase News | Alex Wilhelm | October 8, 2018 Meet Nubank, a fintech shop out of Brazil that just raised $180 million from Tencent at a valuation of $4 billion. Forget the fact that the round is half secondary. It’s an enormous transaction, and in more normal times, it would cause a big stir. However, the capital event highlights something notable about Tencent: the China-based company’s investment cadence is staggering. Tencent is disbursing cash at a far faster rate than Alibaba, another Chinese tech shop that isn’t famous for parsimony. Tencent’s Early Christmas Tencent has been on a check-cutting bing recently, getting through eight investing rounds in September. Those ranged from a $1.5 billion deal with Lianjia (real estate services), a $450 million round for MissFresh E-Commerce (mobile grocery sales), to the comparatively staid $90 million Series B for WeShare (fintech something or other). October is looking similarly hot. Tencent is at four deals so far, and the month isn’t even half done. Here’s the list: October 1. Miniso’s 1 billion rmb Series A. October 4. Voyager Innovation’s $175 million private equity round. October 5. Bilibili’s $317.6 million post-IPO equity event. October 8. Nubank’s $180 million Series F (half secondary). Regarding Nubank, TechCrunch’s Jon Shieber has the ...
Read More
Nubank Investment Underscores Tencent’s Quick Investing Pace

 

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Whitepaper Provides Information About Cryptocommodities As The Basis For A Stable Cryptocurrency

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Incipient Industries | Steven Dryall | Sep 19, 2018

Incipient Industries Releases Whitepaper Describing How Cryptocommodities  Are Created and Used As The Basis For A Stable Cryptocurrency

Toronto, ON, Canada, September 17, 2018 - Incipient Industries Inc. announces the release of the definitive whitepaper on the subject of cryptocommodities. Following years of development combined with the dissemination of information related to cryptocurrency viability and asset- based cryptocurrencies, an actual description of how to deploy a cryptocommodity  is now available. This is a first in the burgeoning cryptocurrency industry and represents a significant step towards a stabilized digital economy.

The cryptocurrency industry is still developing and discovering ways to integrate with traditional financial systems or to replace them altogether. The introduction of cryptocoomodities into the cryptosphere creates a new category of opportunities for pioneers in the space. For those seeking a solution to a stable cryptocurrency, this is the best path to success.

See:  3 Clever Ways To Reach Crypto Price Stability, And One Giant Leap Of Faith

“This is a perfect use case for cryptocurrency and also follows the Three Pillars of a Viable Cryptocurrency framework.” says Steven Dryall, CEO of Incipient Industries, who has pioneered several key concepts of the emerging digital economy.  According to the whitepaper, cryptocommodities are an essential part of a complete digital economy;

"The functional decentralized equivalent of all financial tools do not exist. Lack of these instruments is a significant contributor to the overall volatility of cryptocurrency markets. Solutions to fill these gaps are needed to forge a viable, global digital economy.”

The next stages for Incipient Industries, after the publication of the whitepaper, include the deployment of cryptocommodities and proving use cases for a carefully selected cluster of digital assets. These deployments will follow methods that are both compliant and viable. A significant influx of cryptocommodities projects that are not initiated by Incipient Industries are also expected to enter the market following the publication of the whitepaper.

The whitepaper is available for download at the Incipient Industries website as well as other platforms where Incipient Industries has a presence.

White paper intro:

The purpose of this document is to explain the implementation and purpose of a cryptocommodity.  This document will explain what a cryptocommodity  is and outline the necessary considerations for a functional ecosystem. The ecosystem is intended to support a single type of cryptocommodity  using a predefined underlying resource. This ecosystem is designed to be replicable to enable expansion and reusability for other underlying resource quantities and types.  Regulatory or legal structure is beyond the scope of this document. Elements of a cryptocommodity  implementation will likely reach beyond a single territory so regulatory and legal structures are based on the jurisdiction of the deployment logistics.  This document is intended to be “resource-neutral”, meaning that knowing the nature of the underlying resource used in the creation of the cryptocommodity  is not required for understanding the information presented.  This document is “platform-neutral”  with regard to technology solutions. The technology platform options are specific to deployment logistics and are not necessary for understanding the information presented.  The examples provided contain elements that are interchangeable. Parts that are specific to cryptocurrency deployment are also replicable and potentially interchangeable.

Download the 12pg whitepaper (PDF) --> here

###

About Incipient Industries Inc.:

Incipient Industries is a company based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Incipient Industries has been involved with many pioneering cryptocurrency initiatives and continues to create innovative solutions for the cryptocurrency industry. The company website is http://incipient.ca.  Steven Dryall is the CEO of Incipient Industries and Co-founder of Nikola Tesla Unite Ltd. He is also co-author of The WealthTECH Book, published by Wiley, and a lecturer for The FinTECH Circle Institute. He can be followed on Twitter at @SDryall

 

 


The National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association (NCFA Canada) is a financial innovation ecosystem that provides education, market intelligence, industry stewardship, networking and funding opportunities and services to thousands of community members and works closely with industry, government, partners and affiliates to create a vibrant and innovative fintech and funding industry in Canada. Decentralized and distributed, NCFA is engaged with global stakeholders and helps incubate projects and investment in fintech, alternative finance, crowdfunding, peer-to-peer finance, payments, digital assets and tokens, blockchain and cryptocurrency, regtech, and insurtech sectors. 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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Crypto Pioneer Buys Penthouse in Former Toronto Trump Tower

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Bloomberg | By Natalie Wong and Gerrit De Vynck | June 20, 2018

A cryptocurrency baron has bought the largest and one of the most expensive condos in Canada, paying for it partly with digital money.

Anthony Di Iorio purchased the three-story penthouse for C$28 million ($21 million) at the St. Regis Residences Toronto, the former Trump International Hotel & Tower in the downtown business district. The unit totals 16,178 square feet (1,502 square meters) and includes a wrap-around patio overlooking the city’s skyline at the corner of Bay and Adelaide Streets.

Di Iorio didn’t take out a mortgage for the property because he doesn’t “like being in debt.” Instead, he cashed out some of his cryptocurrency and made a wire transfer to pay the price.

“I don’t remember exactly which ones I cashed in but this is my safety net, real estate right?” he said in an interview with Bloomberg at his new condo. He now owns two condos units in Toronto for a total investment of about C$34 million, he said. “I decided to take a bunch out and put it in real estate.”

The hotel is owned by InnVest Hotels LP and operated by Marriott International Inc. as the Adelaide Hotel Toronto, and will be rebranded the St. Regis once a renovation is complete. Residences in the building are owned by JCF Capital ULC.

See:  $57.9B deployed into fintech so far this year, Canada one to watch

Di Iorio got into the cryptocurrency craze on the ground floor as a co-founder of Ethereum. He was active in Toronto’s early blockchain community and was on the initial team that put together Ethereum, now the leading alternative to the Bitcoin platform. Ether, the currency that runs on Ethereum, now has a market value of around $50 billion compared with Bitcoin’s $115 billion. Di Iorio now runs Decentral, an “innovation hub’ in Toronto focused on blockchain projects. It’s the creator of the popular cryptocurrency wallet Jaxx.

Continue to the full article --> here


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: ncfacanada.org

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Read More
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Read More
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Read More
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Competition Bureau | Oct 10, 2018 Speech Remarks by Interim Commissioner of Competition Matthew Boswell Global Series 2018 October 10, 2018 Ottawa, Ontario Thank you. I’m pleased to be here to speak with you today. Thank you Makan, for your thoughts on these important issues. They are particularly relevant to businesses, the legal community, academia and governments around the world and to all of you who are gathered here today. Every day we see the world evolving at a rapid pace, thanks to innovation.  Development of new technologies, ways of doing business and the creation of new products have the potential to open up new areas of science, medicine and technology. Small steps lead to bigger steps.  And here in Canada, we have to be ready for both the challenges and opportunities that this is bringing to all of us. Let’s understand what we are up against. Every year, innovation in the top industrialized countries is tracked by leading authorities on the subject. And here’s what they report about Canada in 2018. On the plus side, Canada performs better than some others in four big areas: Human Capital and Research, Institutions, Infrastructure, and Market Sophistication. See:  Canada’s ‘innovation economy’ has ...
Read More
Advancing Competition in a Changing Marketplace
Crowdfund Insider | Cali Haan | Oct 9, 2018 Vancouver-based cryptocurrency exchange QuadrigaCX has been defending itself in court for the release of $28 million dollars in customer funds frozen by the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC) since January, the Globe and Mail reports. According to court documents filed by CIBC in the Canadian province of Ontario, the action to freeze the accounts was taken because the bank says, “it was unable to determine who owns the funds,” and would like the court to take possession of the money and distribute it to either QuadrigaCX, their payments processor Custodian Inc, or to the 388 affected Quadriga customers, the Globe and Mail writes. Entrepreneurs in the relatively new crypto sector industries complained for some time about bank non-cooperation. See:  International Anti-Money Laundering Standards for Crypto Expected in October The cryptocurrency press in South America has reported on numerous account closures by banks against crypto exchanges on the continent, some of which are now being contested in courts by, among others, exchanges like Walltime in Brazil. Sources within the Toronto crypto entrepreneur scene say they have suffered persistent problems with getting their businesses banked in the city- even at credit unions- and have ...
Read More
CIBC Has Frozen $28 Million of Vancouver Crypto Exchange’s Funds Since January
Crunchbase News | Alex Wilhelm | October 8, 2018 Meet Nubank, a fintech shop out of Brazil that just raised $180 million from Tencent at a valuation of $4 billion. Forget the fact that the round is half secondary. It’s an enormous transaction, and in more normal times, it would cause a big stir. However, the capital event highlights something notable about Tencent: the China-based company’s investment cadence is staggering. Tencent is disbursing cash at a far faster rate than Alibaba, another Chinese tech shop that isn’t famous for parsimony. Tencent’s Early Christmas Tencent has been on a check-cutting bing recently, getting through eight investing rounds in September. Those ranged from a $1.5 billion deal with Lianjia (real estate services), a $450 million round for MissFresh E-Commerce (mobile grocery sales), to the comparatively staid $90 million Series B for WeShare (fintech something or other). October is looking similarly hot. Tencent is at four deals so far, and the month isn’t even half done. Here’s the list: October 1. Miniso’s 1 billion rmb Series A. October 4. Voyager Innovation’s $175 million private equity round. October 5. Bilibili’s $317.6 million post-IPO equity event. October 8. Nubank’s $180 million Series F (half secondary). Regarding Nubank, TechCrunch’s Jon Shieber has the ...
Read More
Nubank Investment Underscores Tencent’s Quick Investing Pace

 

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