Category Archives: Equity Crowdfunding

The Solution To The Fintech IPO Shortage

Forbes | Ron Shevlin | July 1, 2019

fintech IPO shortage - The Solution To The Fintech IPO ShortageOBSERVATIONS FROM THE FINTECH SNARK TANK

A Seeking Alpha article titled Why Fintech May Not Be Fit For Public Consumption states:

The year 2019 seems set to be a record-setting one for venture capitalist exit value capture by means of tech IPOs. But fintech doesn't seem to be a part of this picture. VCs are certainly putting money into fintech startups. There were 170 financings in the US in the first quarter of 2019. But, as Pitchbook says, 'not one of the most valuable fintech companies in the world seems particularly close to an offering.' "

The article chalks this up to three primary causes:

1. Poor IPO performance in 2018. According to the article, "One reason nobody is in a hurry to go public is that the results of the last crop of fintech concerns that did go public have been unimpressive. Adyen and IntegraFin are prospering, but neither GreenSky nor EverQuote is "lighting up the heavens" according to Seeking Alpha.

See:  OurCrowd Double IPO Success Provides Crowdfunding Validation

2. Mega-round financing. Seeking Alpha postulates that investor interest in mega-rounds--e.g., Qatar Investment Authority's investment of $500 million in SoFi and Tiger Capital leading a round that raised $300 million for Coinbase--is another factor dampening interest in IPOs. According to Jim Marous, publisher of the Digital Banking Report:

With all of the mega-round investment in fintech firms, you would think more fintech players would cash out and go the IPO route. But why would successful fintechs, who appear to have a bottomless pit of funding at their disposal, subject themselves to the massive scrutiny that comes from going public? Fintech firms don't see a slowdown of the funding fire hose and have no desire to lose control of their vision."

3. Lack of scale. Seeking Alpha asserts that fintech "doesn't scale as easily as other sorts of tech," making fintech startups less likely to be IPO candidates. According to one veteran of the fintech startup scene (a founder and angel investor who now heads up technology innovation at a large bank, which is why he prefers to remain anonymous):

People underestimate the scale dynamics of financial services. You need a lot more maturity across all measurable KPIs before you can be successful in the long-term. In an ecosystem with these scale dynamics, if a fintech startup can use private capital at favorable costs to grow operations and monetize employee equity, and avoid the distracting microscope of quarterly filings, it's going to do so."

Pascal Bouvier, Managing Partner of Middlegame Ventures echoes this sentiment, but points out that there are startups who have achieved scale and still not gone public:

Stripe is an example of a fintech that should already be public--they've achieved scale. But for others, operational readiness at massive scale is key in order to go public. If you do not achieve repeatability in your core business you end up suffering post-IPO.”

 

The Business Model Factor

Scale is certainly a big part of the equation--but why aren't many fintech startups able to achieve scale? The answer may be their lack of a sustainable, viable business model. According to Brad Leimer, co-founder of Unconventional Ventures:

It's much easier for companies like Ayden and Klarna to go public because they have a profitable model out of the gate--they only need to achieve market share to achieve escape velocity. Fintechs have to figure out that there are alternative business models to the ones banks leverage today. The path toward more IPOs in fintech is to think differently about where the industry derives value in exchange for what they create for the consumer of business."

Interestingly, Leimer's two examples are B2B--not B2C--companies, and that might hold a clue to the dearth of fintech IPOs.

See: 

Many Fintech Startups Aren't Meeting The Criteria For Sustainable Growth

What must a fintech (or any) startup do to succeed for the long-term? To oversimplify matters, it must first either offer a new product or service to fulfill unmet needs or provide an existing product or service with innovations to marketing, distribution, service, and/or product and service features that enable it to compete with incumbents. And then second, it must either expand the market size and/or its set of offerings to sustain growth.

Too many B2C-focused fintech startups have come to market with existing products or services whose "innovation" is digital distribution and service. That's not enough of an innovation to thrive. The world of B2C fintech in the US is characterized by:

  • Digital tunnel vision. Too many fintech startups suffer from Bank Displacement Syndrome--the belief that traditional banks can be displaced with nothing more than a digital product offering. Consumers who opened accounts with digital banks have done so because they want rewards, better interest rates, and/or better PFM tools--not because they want a "branchless" bank.
  • Featurization. A number of fintech startups have hung their point of differentiation on capabilities like providing a "safe to spend" feature or getting one's paycheck a day early. Savings tools like Digit and Qapital do a great job of helping people save, but the service is tied to some larger solution (i.e., checking account) that they don't provide. This "featurization" of fintech is creating firms with business models that won't provide sustainable growth--and the market is not ready to believe that these firms can expand product-wise.
  • High-risk lending strategies. After hitting a high of $25 per share in December 2014, Lending Club's stock price has been trading for less than $10 since the beginning of 2016. It shouldn't be a surprise. According to Pascal Bouvier, "Lending Club is an example of a fintech that should not have gone public--its credit portfolio wasn't mature enough." That's being generous. The firm's portfolio has been heavily weighted to credit card consolidation from sub-prime borrowers, and it hasn't successfully expanded market size or its offerings to create and sustain growth. The same can be said for some digital-only small business lenders.

Is there hope for the fintech IPO shortage?

Continue to the full article --> here


NCFA Jan 2018 resize - The Solution To The Fintech IPO Shortage 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

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Crowdfunding for a Startup: How it Builds a Business’ Credibility

Guest Post | Aug 14, 2019

Funding meeting - The Solution To The Fintech IPO ShortageYou see a need. You know that your new business can fill that need.

The problem is that it takes an incredible amount of capital to start a business. Besides purchasing equipment, raw materials, and computer systems, you also have the expenses that no one ever thinks about when opening a shop. Did you figure in the cost of hiring an accountant, a lawyer, and paying for workers compensation insurance?

Instead of heading to the bank with your business plan in hand, you may consider whether working with a crowdfunding site might be another feasible way to raise cash for your business expenses.

Here’s how crowdfunding sites work.

Cash in Exchange for Equity

Have you seen Shark Tank? On this TV show, investors decide whether or not they would like to provide capital for startups in exchange for a piece of the company. Sometimes the hosts compete against each other for the opportunity to invest. Sometimes they pool resources and form investment partnerships for a portion of ownership in the company. Occasionally budding entrepreneurs are sent away empty-handed.

See:  Regulation Crowdfunding Surpasses $250,000,000 in Commitments The Model is Working but its Potential is Much Greater

Equity crowdfunding works in the same way. Using a crowdfunding website such as FrontFundr, your investors provide you with funding to move your business forward for a portion of the future profits.

Donations

Perhaps your business may provide a needed service or product for a blighted area. Maybe you are interested in starting a nonprofit group to serve the greater good. If this describes your scenario, you could seek donations from crowdfunding sites. The gifts can be used to get your idea up and running, and of course, there is nothing to repay.  Interested?  Check out FundRazr, Canada's leading donation-based platform, that has helped raise north of $130 million dollars for individuals and organizations.

Donations - The Solution To The Fintech IPO Shortage

Borrowing from Individuals

Instead of borrowing money from a traditional bank, you could borrow money from individuals leveraging the compliance and match making services of a platform like Lending Loop. You will still pay a set annual percentage rate like you would when taking out a conventional loan.

Rewards

Some investors are inspired to fund new businesses by an offer of a product, service, or gift they will receive in exchange for the cash donation. For example, if you are opening a car wash, perhaps investors will give you a set amount of money for you to purchase equipment with the idea that they will receive free car washes for six months after the business is up and running.

See:  OurCrowd Double IPO Success Provides Crowdfunding Validation

If you had told someone twenty years ago that they would be able to collect cash from strangers over the internet to open a business or pursue a creative endeavor, they would have thought you were crazy. You could have found investors for your business, but only among your friends or family. Otherwise, entrepreneurs were forced to work with traditional banks who may not have been open to offering cash for products they couldn’t understand.

Rewards - The Solution To The Fintech IPO Shortage

But when you receive money for your idea through crowdfunding, that means that you not only won the backing of a single loan officer at a lending institution. It means that dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of people think that your idea is good enough to support.

Crowdfunding sites have different specialties. Kickstarter connects creative people with resources they can use to bring their ideas to life. Kickstarter has helped artists, musicians, filmmakers, and designers. You no longer have to be a millionaire to be considered a patron of the arts.

Inventors often use Indiegogo, a crowdfunding website that has allowed entrepreneurs to raise over 1 billion dollars. Investors can receive equity in the company or receive a share in the revenue.

All you techies out there will appreciate Crowdsupply, a crowdfunding website for hardware designers and innovators. The hardware must be original, useful, and respectful.

Perhaps you already have a following, and you know you could increase your cash flow by offering exclusive content or behind-the-scenes experiences for your fan base. You may want to check out Patreon.

See:  What You Should Know About Crowdfunding Your Start-up

Designing a campaign - The Solution To The Fintech IPO Shortage

There are several websites you can visit to help raise money for a nonprofit entity. Go Fund Me was started by Indiegogo. You could also visit StartSomeGood, which allows you to submit your project for free as long as you agree to pay a service fee of 5% of your project is fully funded.

If you are seeking funds to open a business, take a look at WeFunder. This website has more than 150,000 who are interested in keeping the American Dream alive. The site is quick to tell investors that they may undoubtedly lose their money on the investments since so many small businesses fail.

Do you have a dream, but you need to raise some capital to see it to fruition? Consider seeking the help of family, friends, and strangers through a crowdfunding website.

 


NCFA Jan 2018 resize - The Solution To The Fintech IPO Shortage 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

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Regulation Crowdfunding Surpasses $250,000,000 in Commitments The Model is Working but its Potential is Much Greater

Crowdfund Capital Advisors | Sherwood 'Woodie' Neiss | Aug 7 ,2019

RegCF - The Solution To The Fintech IPO ShortageIt has been just over 3 years since Regulation Crowdfunding (Reg CF) went into effect and most recently the industry surpassed a quarter of a billion dollars in commitments. Since inception over 1,800 companies in cities all across the United States have filed to raise money under Regulation Crowdfunding. Over 271,000 investors, most of which are friends, followers or customers of these businesses have made commitments to start, scale or expand operations.

The average raise stands around $237,000 which firmly addresses the Valley of Death[1] issue. Most of the successful companies are raising funds in less than 90 days which is far faster than other forms of financing like Venture Capital or Bank Loans. There’s been no fraud or Wild West as opponents had claimed.

“Essentially we built a financing mechanism which is doing exactly what we said it would,” said Sherwood Neiss Principal at Crowdfund Capital Advisors (CCA) “We’re funding local businesses with a vested group of local investors that is creating local jobs and powering local economies.”

Regulation Crowdfunding began on May 16, 2016. It allows any startup or small business to raise up to $1,070,000 online from family, friends and followers (accredited or not) provided issuers use an online investment platform that is registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and disclose information about their company and financial wellbeing.

See:  The SEC Publishes Report on Reg CF: “The number of crowdfunding offerings as well as the total amount of funding during the considered period was relatively modest”

Since the industry began, Crowdfund Capital Advisors has been collecting information on every offering in its CCLEAR Database. CCLEAR is the leading Regulation Crowdfunding database that collects, cleans, aggregates and reports on all companies seeking funds via Regulation Crowdfunding as well as those doing parallel 506(c) offerings[2]. This information includes financial performance, security offering, valuation, industry, daily commitments and number of investors. The information is summarized and published on a daily basis on the CCLEAR Regulation Crowdfunding dashboard.

Here are some key data trends:

  • Capital commitments – From FY17[3] to FY18 capital commitments increased 178% from $45.7M to $81.1M. The second full FY of Reg CF saw capital commitments increase 139% to $113M. Total capital commitments to date is over $250M.
  • Issuers – During the same period the number of companies seeking to raise funds increased 187% from 317 to 592 and 137% to 810 in FY19. Total issuers to date is over 1,800.
  • Investors – The number of individual investors grew from 44.5k in FY17 to 92.6K in FY18 to 117.8K in FY19. Total investors to date is over 270,000.

“No matter how you look at it, there’s been an impressive growth of at least 250% in 2 years,” says Neiss. “If we extrapolate out over the next 2 years, we estimate that over 3,400 companies across the United States will receive half a billion dollars by over half a million investors.”

CCLEAR captures a maximum of 56 different industries from Advertising and Marketing, to Healthcare and Utilities. During the first fiscal year there were 44 industries represented. That number increased to 47 last fiscal year. While application software, alcoholic beverages, business services, consumer packaged goods, entertainment, personal services and restaurants were the most common industries seeking funds, financial services, business services, employment services and retail saw the greatest increase in offerings between the first and third fiscal years.

“The wide representation of so many industries speaks to the broad appeal of regulation crowdfunding to both companies seeking and investors looking to deploy capital,” says Neiss. “No matter what industry you are in, if you have an engaged group of customers that could be investors, Regulation Crowdfunding is something you should explore.”

Companies in 48 of the 50 States have registered to raise funds via Reg CF.

See:  OurCrowd Double IPO Success Provides Crowdfunding Validation

From an employment perspective, the data shows that Reg CF continues to sustain and support local jobs. In the first fiscal year over 1,482 jobs were supported. This grew by another 3,150 in the second fiscal year and another 4,448 in the third.

“Collectively almost 10,000 jobs have been supported around the United States since the launch of Regulation Crowdfunding,” says Neiss.

“We expect this number to grow by another 10,000 in the next 2 years. 20,000 jobs means 20,000 people employed by local businesses and reinvesting their income back into these communities through mortgage payments, groceries, dining out, education and more. This is how we support local economies. And we are doing it despite the current $1M cap on company raises. Imagine what we could do if we increased these caps from $1M to $5M, $10M or $20M? It is easy to see how we could increase this from 20,000 to 200,000 jobs.”

While not all Regulation Crowdfunding companies are revenue generating those that are had over $400M of Revenue in their most recent fiscal year.

“Given that the majority of these firms are growing and reinvesting their earnings, you can only imagine the multiplier effect that this has on local economies,” says Neiss. “Businesses are reinvesting into their local economies by purchasing goods and services to support them and hiring employees. And employees are using their paychecks to support themselves. Together we estimate they are pouring close to a billion dollars into local economies.”

Continue to the full article --> here


NCFA Jan 2018 resize - The Solution To The Fintech IPO Shortage 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

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The era of security tokens has begun

Venture Beat | Nabyl Charania and Carlos Naupari | Aug 4, 2019

digital coin - The Solution To The Fintech IPO ShortageThe excitement that initial coin offerings (ICOs) have created in the past few years has been marred by an onslaught of scams, hacks, and critical mistakes committed by careless investors. As it turns out, one of crypto’s biggest appeals — limited oversight and regulation — has proven to be its greatest vulnerability.

But cryptoassets are already coming of age. With the arrival of the security token offering (STO), the crypto space is beginning to reach an uncharted level of legitimacy in the financial community. We are about to witness perhaps even more disruption in markets and society than we’ve been promised.

What exactly is an STO?

The STO is the safe, secure, and sensible answer to the ICO. The word “security” in the name says a lot: Security tokens have to be backed by a tangible asset, like a company’s profits or shares. On the other hand, ICOs involve “utility coins,” which have the potential to amount to little more than a promise or a souvenir.

STOs also require licensing approved by the SEC and other regulatory bodies. In other words, security coins have the features and protections of traditional assets, such as a share of company stock, while also leveraging the benefits of being a digital asset. And virtually any kind of physical asset — real estate, equity, etc. — can be “tokenized,” or used to back a security coin.

See:  TokenFunder announces Canada’s first Security Token Exempt Market Dealer

Here’s why STOs will matter for crypto investment:

Security tokens accelerate the democratization of venture capital

For decades, the world of private equity was reserved exclusively for venture capital firms and accredited investors — individuals with a net worth of at least a million dollars or with an annual salary of at least $100,000. But when Title III of the JOBS Act went into effect in May 2016, suddenly anyone could invest in private companies. It was a major win for everyday investors, and several equity crowdfunding portals opened up, showcasing many compelling opportunities in private equity.

Then 2017 happened. The advent of cryptocurrencies, blockchain technology, and smart contracts opened up an even more efficient way for entrepreneurs to raise capital without the use of a middleman, as well as the promise of a more equitable and democratized private equity landscape. While its ICO was accessible to the public, not just accredited investors, messenger app Telegram raised $850 million, marking one of the largest fundraising events in the history of tech.

Companies like Securitize, Polymath, and Harbor have become leaders in the movement to tokenize all kinds of traditional assets into security tokens. As a fundraising vehicle, security tokens allow companies to raise capital without having to lean on investment banks and stock exchanges as intermediaries. Spice VC, for example, is a tokenized fund, as is Blockchain Capital.

Given the oversight from the SEC and other regulatory bodies that security tokens are subject to, investors are able to invest in an opportunity without worrying about being scammed. Their only concern is the financial success of the company, as is the case with stock ownership. The financial regulatory framework in the U.S. creates a favorable landscape for STOs to thrive. The already corporation-friendly state of Delaware stands out in particular, as it now allows companies to write shares on a blockchain.

See:  UK Financial Conduct Authority Provides Final Guidance on Cryptoassets: Better Defines Utility Tokens

Above all, security tokens give companies an efficient way to raise capital from a broader investment pool than has ever been possible. This means innovation is accelerated and more people stand to benefit from a company’s success. Of course, easier access to capital creates a more competitive landscape, so companies that are doomed to fail will realize this inevitability sooner.

Traditionally illiquid investments are made liquid

As the old adage goes, it takes money to make money. But the advent of blockchain may do away with that notion. Before, several investment classes — including those with the highest and most bankable returns — had a prohibitively high barrier to entry.

Thanks to the technological breakthroughs of security tokens, this is no longer the case. Distributed ledgers enable the tokenization of otherwise illiquid assets, such as real estate and fine art. Security tokens allow fractional ownership, and the issuer determines how fractional that ownership is. This means virtually anyone who wants to own real estate in a place like Manhattan, for example, is able to. Even the most expensive piece of real estate, once it’s tokenized into a security token, can be divided into portions that anyone can afford. The same goes for fine art and other asset classes previously reserved for the super wealthy.

One might think this is comparable this to owning shares of a real estate investment trust (REIT), but becoming an owner of tokenized real estate offers far more flexibility, as you have more autonomy over the properties you own.

See:  OurCrowd Double IPO Success Provides Crowdfunding Validation

But everyday investors are not the only ones who win in this case. If you’re the owner of a multimillion dollar piece of property or a rare Cézanne and you want to turn it into cash, it can be difficult to find an individual with both the net worth and the interest to take it off your hands. By tokenizing whatever expensive piece of property it may be, the ownership can be divested to dozens or even hundreds of investors who may want to lay claim to it. That way, a valuable and expensive piece of property is no longer destined to sit around and collect dust.

The first known prominent example of this is the iconic Andy Warhol painting “14 Small Electric Chair” (1980), which was tokenized and offered for fractional ownership by the decentralized art gallery Maecenas. It certainly won’t be the last.

Continue to the full article --> here

 


NCFA Jan 2018 resize - The Solution To The Fintech IPO Shortage 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

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What You Should Know About Crowdfunding Your Start-up

NCFA Guest Post | July 22, 2019

Startup crowdfunding2 - The Solution To The Fintech IPO Shortage

Crowdfunding has been one of the main sources of achieving small amounts of money from larger crowds to begin a start-up company. This method of obtaining capital has been one of the most popular means of successfully being financially capable of creating an operational company without the restraints of loans or additional debt. Regardless, if you are crowdfunding your start-up, you will need to know one or two important factors.

Start-ups Eligible for Crowdfunding

Although many believe any start-up could qualify for achieving successful funding from the internet, some first time companies do better than others, all based on what they are and which crowds they will attract. For example, while an online casino start-up will attract many enthusiasts, many may not be as enthusiastic upon the creation of yet another online recreational business, especially when there are already a number of successful online casinos. However, appeal to the human nature of people and offer a business aimed at helping the less fortunate, you may be able to attract a bigger crowd. Take this into consideration before appealing to the internet.

See: 

Master Your Message

Because you are reaching out to the masses, you will need to know how to accurately get your vision across to many different minded people. Just because you see things one way doesn’t mean everyone agrees with the way you vision it to be. For this reason, you will need to consider what point you want the crowds to take from your idea and you want them to see how you plan to successfully execute this vision.

Your Target Audience

Before appealing to the public, know who you want to reach. It is one thing to accept money from anyone but you essentially want to touch your audience which means you will need to know who it is you are targeting. By determining who it is you want to reach, you would have established which audience you should be addressing and fine tuning your message to reach your targeted crowd.

Prelaunch Your Product

Approach anyone who you may already know with a social platform. For example, bloggers and existing customers with a following may be able to boost your ratings and audience by connecting you with their established database of clients and followers.

See: 

Utilizing the Correct Platform

When you look at crowdfunding as a means to capitalize your start-up you will need to establish which platforms you wish to use and which will be best for your business. For this to be a successful venture this may be the most important step and as a result you should be examining all avenues through thorough research.

Crowdfunding may have been an exceptionally popular method of funding a start-up back in 2015, however it has now, like any other, become a compatible industry and as a result you wouldn’t want to be left on the backburner being just another company seeking aid in hopes of taking off. If you are aiming for success, ensure you have covered all of the above steps to successfully launch your start-up company.

 


NCFA Jan 2018 resize - The Solution To The Fintech IPO Shortage 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

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The SEC Publishes Report on Reg CF: “The number of crowdfunding offerings as well as the total amount of funding during the considered period was relatively modest”

Crowdfund Insider | | June 20, 2019

RegCF SEC report - The Solution To The Fintech IPO ShortageThe Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has published a statutory report on Regulation Crowdfunding commonly referenced as Reg CF. The mandated report must be forwarded to Congress three years after Reg CF rules became effective (May 2016).

Reg CF is the smallest of three federal “crowdfunding” exemptions allowing issuers to raise just $1.07 million from both accredited and non-accredited investors.

According to the report authors:

“the number of crowdfunding offerings, as well as the total amount of funding during the considered period, was relatively modest.”

The report tallies activity under Reg CF from May 2016 to December 31, 2018. At the end of the period, there were 45 active Portals and 9 Broker-Dealers which had participated in at least one Reg CF offering.

See:

Three platforms accounted for two-thirds of all initiated offerings and proceeds raised.

SEC: the number of #RegCF #crowdfunding offerings, as well as the total amount of funding during the considered period, was relatively modest Click to Tweet

According to the SEC:

  • Between May 16, 2016, and December 31, 2018, there were 1,351 offerings, excluding withdrawn filings, seeking in the aggregate a target, or minimum, amount of $94.3 million and a maximum amount of $775.9 million.
  • Of the completed offerings, approximately $107.9 million has been raised during the period.
  • 29 offerings reported raising at least $1.07 million from May 16, 2016, through December 31, 2018
  • The typical offering was small and raised less than the 12-month offering limit. The median target amount sought was $25,000 and the median maximum amount sought was $500,000.
  • Pointing to an external report, the SEC notes that the total number of investors in successful offerings increased from 77,558 in 2017 to 147,448 in 2018

Regarding the cost of launching a Reg CF campaign, the SEC states:

“According to the survey, the average issuer employed three people who collectively spent 241 hours to launch a crowdfunding campaign. Based on the survey estimates, the total cost of creating a campaign page, issuer disclosures, film, and video, and hiring a marketing firm, a lawyer, and an accountant amounts to approximately 5.3% of the amount raised.”

The most costly portion of the campaign preparation has to do with disclosure. This cost, on average, $6218 or a time allocation of 86 hours, according to the SEC.

See:  Architecting a New World: Investment Crowdfunding and Digital Assets

The report mentions that cost and complexity have impacted this sector of online capital formation. The authors point to previous SEC Small Business Forums where participants have made recommendations to improve Reg CF for the past few years but to date, no action has been taken on these recommendations.

The document includes some anecdotal feedback from crowdfunding platforms. For example, one platform states that “while few offerings reach the current limit, many issuers choose not to rely on the crowdfunding exemption because the limit is too low.”

Another intermediary thought the current cap was ok.

But several respondents stated that the offering limit should be higher, recommending limits from $5 million to $20 million.

Negative Selection Bias?

Importantly, the SEC report states:

“Some of these market participants stated that the existing offering limit may deter some high-quality, high-growth issuers with substantial financing needs from relying on Regulation Crowdfunding, thereby lowering the average quality of issuers in the Regulation Crowdfunding market. One intermediary respondent stated that raising the offering limit could attract more issuers and expand opportunities for non-accredited investors.”

Many platforms have crafted a workaround to bypass constricted Reg CF rules regarding investment caps and investors limitations.

It is now commonplace to run two concurrent offerings: a Reg CF and Reg D side-by-side for accredited investors. But some intermediaries told the SEC this was “unnecessarily confusing to investors and more costly to issuers.”

The report says that no enforcement actions have been taken against Reg CF issuers by the SEC but FINRA has taken 4 separate actions against a funding portal and NASAA says a small number of actions have been taken by state regulators.

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A fair amount of review is given to the development of (or lack of) a secondary market for Reg CF issued securities. To date, no platform has been able to successfully maintain a marketplace for securities as the size of the market is simply too small and affiliated costs too high.

The important concept of a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) for aggregating investors into a single entity is addressed. The report cites the potential investor protections an SPV structure could provide. An SPV could facilitate a vehicle where “small investors [could] invest alongside a sophisticated lead investor who may negotiate better terms, protect against dilution by negotiating during subsequent financings, mentor the company, and represent smaller investors on the board.”

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NCFA Jan 2018 resize - The Solution To The Fintech IPO Shortage 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

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Early-stage Investing – The Public gets a Seat at the Table

FrontFundr | Peter-Paul Van Hoeken | June 12, 2019

public seat at table 300x172 - The Solution To The Fintech IPO ShortageTraditionally, only a small group of investors, angel investors and other venture capitalists, have had access to investment opportunities in startups and growth companies. The public has been locked out from investing in startups.

Investments in early-stage companies are typically high-risk. That is why early-stage investors typically invest in a portfolio of at least 10-20 companies.  Those companies that are successful will realize exponential - ‘hockeystick’- growth and deliver huge returns for investors. The success of these companies can usually be attributed to the general public buying products and services from these companies. The same public that has had no access to investing in these companies and share in their success.

The public has been locked out from investing in startups.

Digital technology has been a significant enabler in creating online market places, such as Amazon and Shopify. These market places have dramatically increased access to products and services for every consumer and aggregated demand and supply supporting efficient price discovery that benefits all market participants.

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Why not apply the same digital technologies to connect private companies with the wider potential investor community supporting the entire process from discovery of investment opportunities to completion of investment transactions?

Welcome to the new venture capital market – The democratization of investing in early-stage companies where everyone, regardless of how deep their pockets are, can invest in companies they believe in. Investing online in private companies a.k.a. investment crowdfunding or equity crowdfunding. Anyone could become a shareholder of a company for minimum investment as low as $500, enabling the wider investor community to make multiple investments and diversify risk even with a relatively smaller sized investment portfolio.

Investment crowdfunding offers early-stage companies the opportunity to raise capital from the public - The same public that may be the early (and future) customers of these emerging companies. With investment crowdfunding, the public has taken a seat at the early-stage investing table and brought a large pool of available capital.

Investment Crowdfunding could unlock $2.5 billion per year in Canada for in early-stage companies

We estimate that in Canada $2.5 billion per annum of total financial assets held by Canadians could be directed towards investments in early stage companies. This figure is based on a conservative assumption that 1.8% of total financial assets would be directed towards investment in the private markets. $2.5 billion is a significant pool of capital in comparison to $162 million invested in Canadian startups by angel investor and $3.4 billion investments in Canadian startups and growth companies by venture capital and private equity firms in 2017.[1]

Investment crowdfunding can also help address the challenge for early stage companies to attract capital. Startup Genome published its Global Startup Ecosystem Report 2019[2] on May 9th, ranking the top startup ecosystems in the world. No surprise Silicon Valley takes the first place. Toronto-Waterloo ranked 13th, up three spots from last year.

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Vancouver tumbled nine places from last year and ranked 24th. The report mentions that Vancouver as one of the top global ecosystems is hindered by a gap in early-stage funding, $320 million million in the period 2016 to first half 2018 compared to the worldwide average of $1.1 billion.

Investment Crowdfunding is democratizing the venture capital market

Montreal in 49th spot (down 15 places) $600 million went towards early-stage funding. However, even in the Toronto-Waterloo corridor, early-stage funding in startups is relatively low in comparison to its 13th place ranking with US$1.1 billion in 2016 to H1 2018.

Startup Genome ranked London (U.K.) as the 4th global ecosystem for early-stage funding with $4.3 billion in 2016 to H1 2018. EU-Startups highlights London’s exceptional access to venture capital funds, angel investors, crowdfunding platforms, banks and other financial possibilities.[3]

In the U.K., where investment crowdfunding has been around for nearly ten years, it has gone mainstream and is now an integral part of the startup funding ecosystem.

High growth entrepreneurship is key to Canada’s future economic success. Early stage companies drive innovation, economic growth, jobs and wealth creation. We need to help get these startups and growth companies to access the finance they need to grow and thrive. As we have seen in other countries like the U.K., investment crowdfunding can help expand the early-stage capital pool. Moreover, it goes further than helping early-stage companies get funding, investment crowdfunding also enables the public to share the risks and returns on venture capital investments jointly.

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Investment crowdfunding has the potential to unlock a large pool of capital from the public and empowers everyone to invest in companies they believe in and share risks plus returns. Also in Canada, investment crowdfunding is poised to become integral to the venture capital market. Together we can make that happen.

Peter Paul van hoeken - The Solution To The Fintech IPO ShortagePeter-Paul Van Hoeken is founder and CEO of FrontFundr, a Canadian investment crowdfunding platform. He is a director of the Private Capital Markets Association Canada (PCMA), Advisor to the National Crowdfunding and Fintech Association Canada (NCFA) and member of the Ontario Securities Commission Launchpad Fintech Advisory Committee.

[1] Statistics Canada (2019), Canadian Venture Capital Association, CVCA (2019), National Angel and Capital Organization Canada, NACO (2017), FrontFundr Team Analysis (2019)

[2] Startup Genome (2019), Global Startup Ecosystem Report 2019

[3] EU-Startups (2018), London’s startup ecosystem at a glance (November 20, 2018)

 


NCFA Jan 2018 resize - The Solution To The Fintech IPO Shortage 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

Latest news - The Solution To The Fintech IPO ShortageFF Logo 400 v3 - The Solution To The Fintech IPO Shortagecommunity social impact - The Solution To The Fintech IPO Shortage
NCFA Fintech Confidential Issue 2 FINAL COVER - The Solution To The Fintech IPO Shortage