Category Archives: Venture funding Best Practices

Investors, ‘starved for returns,’ flood private markets in search of high-growth opportunities

CNBC | Kate Rooney | Aug 12, 2019

  • unicorn - Investors, ‘starved for returns,’ flood private markets in search of high-growth opportunities
  • Money spent in venture capital and other alternative investments is surging as investors look for riskier, but higher-yielding investments.
  • The trend coincides with relatively low returns from more conventional Wall Street investments such as stocks and bonds, and a drop in the number of publicly traded companies.
  • “In a world where big institutional investors find themselves starved for returns, it’s not surprising that they have steadily increased allocations to private markets and you’ve seen capital continuing to flow into the asset class,” says McKinsey Partner Bryce Klempner.

Many global investors are turning toward Silicon Valley instead of Wall Street in search of returns.

The total invested in private markets hit all-time highs last year and continues to break multi-decade records this year. In the first half of the year, total investments in venture capital hit a 19-year high of $53.3 billion, according to data from Refinitiv published last week. That marked a 21% increase by total dollar amount compared to the first half of 2018.

The steady stream of funding comes alongside a drop in the number of publicly listed companies, rock-bottom global bond yields, and historically weak small-cap performance.

“The incentives for early exposure to rapidly growing, mature companies are still intact,”

PitchbBook senior manager Garrett James Black said in the firm’s 2019 “Unicorn Report” published Monday. “With those imperatives in place and current market conditions — despite concern about a supposed imminent recession— looking to persist, unicorns aren’t going away anytime soon.”

Analysts say the trend is largely the result of relatively lower expectations for Wall Street investments such as stocks or bonds. As the trade war between the U.S. and China escalates and economic indicators weaken, investors have fled to safer assets such as Treasurys. The 10-year Treasury note fell below 1.7% Monday.

‘Starved for returns’

Money managers for pensions and endowments are turning to alternative investments — private equity, venture capital or hedge funds – to “keep up with expectations that they set years ago with their stakeholders,” according to McKinsey Partner Bryce Klempner.

“In a world where big institutional investors find themselves starved for returns, it’s not surprising that they have steadily increased allocations to private markets and you’ve seen capital continuing to flow into the asset class,” Klempner told CNBC in a phone interview. “Private equity has, on average, managed to outperform public markets over the last couple of decades.”

Growth in smaller public companies has been significantly slower than their private-market counterparts. PitchBook looked at the valuations of late-stage, Series D funded companies compared to the small-cap benchmark Russell 2000. That index is in correction territory, trading nearly 14% below its 52-week intraday high in August of 2018. The S&P 500 is off by 4% from its high.series D growth - Investors, ‘starved for returns,’ flood private markets in search of high-growth opportunities

See:  Blockchain’s potential will continue to spur public and private investment

Meanwhile, there has also been a contraction in the total number of public companies. Part of that is due to mergers and consolidation, but Klempner said managers — not just investors — tend to prefer private ownership, too. They’re able to operate “outside of the quarterly spotlight or the glare of public markets,” and often take a longer-term view, he said.

“As a consequence, you’ve seen considerable management talent migrate to private equity portfolio companies,” Klempner said.

One factor allowing companies to stay private was a change in legislation. The 2012 JOBS Act raised the limit of private shareholders in a company from 500 to 2,000 – meaning companies can stay private until they reach that limit. And in many ways, companies don’t need to go public: They can raise money with ease from private investors and don’t need the cash injection that comes with an initial public offering.

Foreign buyers

Foreign investors are also looking for early entrance into quickly growing tech companies, which in the case of Uber and WeWork, stayed off of public stock exchanges for a decade. Last year, venture capital deals that included “tourist” investors soared to more than $45 billion over 102 investments. Halfway through 2019, the deal total was at 53.

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NCFA Jan 2018 resize - Investors, ‘starved for returns,’ flood private markets in search of high-growth opportunities 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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Financing Innovation: Fintech Solutions for Grants and Incentives

Funding Portal | Teri Kirk | Aug 2, 2019

Fintech solutions for grants and incentives - Investors, ‘starved for returns,’ flood private markets in search of high-growth opportunitiesGrants and incentives are an important source of funding for many companies and organizations. In fact, governments in Canada alone disburse about $26B annually through federal and provincial grants and incentives, largely to fund innovation. Yet, actioning this funding can be time-consuming and expensive for companies; many choose not to action it at all.

Now, with the trend toward fintech and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), CFOs can access the data and tools they require on their desktops and mobile devices, 24/7. This article seeks to help companies understand the grants and incentives funding marketplace and ensure that their organization is getting its fair share.

Problem: Relying on Analogue Systems to Get Money Out the Door

Grants and incentives constitute the third largest spending envelope of most governments. Yet, Administrators tend have last generation analogue systems for administering this funding and Applicants have trouble finding and successfully applying to these programs. As a result, this capital – often the very life blood of innovation—is inefficiently distributed, with as much as 50% of promised program spending diverted from the innovation sector to program overhead.

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A Modern Fintech Grants Solution for the 21st Century

The applicant community is comprised of leading companies that are transforming almost every sphere of economic activity: fintech, agri-innovation, health tech, life sciences, aerospace, cleantech, and the digital sector, among others. Successful applicants range from startups to global leaders, with more than half (51%) of the largest cheques ($10M+) going to enterprise market companies that are able to leverage this funding with their own resources to achieve a high impact on the economy.

These companies have been early and consistent adopters of today’s fintech and office automation solutions, driving the market for Big Data, Cloud, and SaaS solutions. Now, they are leading the trend towards GMS—Grants Management Systems.

What is GMS?

GMS solutions streamline processes for grant applicants, advisory firms, and administrators. Fundsuite GMS is one example of an award-winning Grants Management System that helps these user groups to navigate and succeed in the grants and incentives marketplace. It leverages AI, big data, and analytics to greatly improve funding outcomes for a wide range of applicants and administrators.

How Can My Organization Benefit from a GMS?

Comprehensive GMS solutions help applicants to quickly match their projects to the right funds, repurpose past grant applications, and efficiently manage post-award compliance processes, all while protecting the applicant’s confidential data. On the other side of the ledger, they help administrators to effectively post program information online, receive and assess applications, and automate post-award reporting and audit processes.

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By adopting the perfect grants management system for their needs, applicants can take advantage of the latest fintech developments to ensure their organization is fully benefiting from the innovation funding marketplace managed by the public sector.

 

Funds for Your Fintech Venture

Here are a few examples of funds your fintech venture can pursue today:

  1. Business Scale-Up and Productivity: This federal program helps high-growth companies to grow, adopt new technologies, enter new markets, innovate and commercialize their innovations.
  2. NRC-IRAP: The National Research Council Canada’s Industrial Research Assistance Program helps businesses to undertake innovation and R&D projects.
  3. Ontario Scale-Up Vouchers Program: This provincial program helps high-potential Ontario-based businesses to scale globally by offsetting up to $1M in eligible expenses.
  4. Innovative Solutions Canada: Keep an eye out for any fintech related challenges under this federal program! Your business could receive a grant of $150k to develop a proof of concept, and up to $1M to develop a prototype.
  5. WIL Digital: The Work Integrated Learning Program provides fintech firms and companies in other emerging sectors with $5k-$7k in wage subsidies per intern.

 

SEQ 2 Teri Kirk - Investors, ‘starved for returns,’ flood private markets in search of high-growth opportunitiesBy Teri Kirk, President, Fundingportal

Fundingportal is an award-winning fintech software and services firm. It owns and operates fundingportal.com, an online platform for organizations and industry to source and apply for funding from more than 10,000 government grants and incentives programs in Canada, the US, and the UK; and owns and operates Fundingportal GMS, a SaaS solution that powers your in-house Grants Management System.

 


NCFA Jan 2018 resize - Investors, ‘starved for returns,’ flood private markets in search of high-growth opportunities 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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5 Digital Policies Small Biz MUST Have

AiAuthority | Kristina Podnar | Jul 8 2019

digital policy and security - Investors, ‘starved for returns,’ flood private markets in search of high-growth opportunitiesIt’s hard to overestimate the role of small businesses plays in the American economy:

  • Businesses with fewer than 5 employees account for 62% of all businesses in the U.S.
  • More than half of all Americans own or work for a small business.
  • Small businesses are responsible for two-thirds of all new jobs created each year.

When you look at the magnitude of their economic impact, it would be easy to assume that small businesses know exactly what they’re doing and would be the obvious place to look for advice and best practices.

The truth, however, is that small businesses power the economy despite lacking the resources of larger organizations:

  • 77% of small businesses rely on the owner’s personal savings for their original funding.
  • Only 40% of small businesses are profitable.
  • The vast majority of businesses that fail, do so because of cash flow problems.
  • Employees of small businesses wear many hats, starting at the top. The owners or leaders of small businesses are typically responsible for three or more of the following functions: operations, finance, sales, marketing, HR, customer service, product development, or IT.

When you look at it that way, it’s not hard to understand why many small businesses regard digital policies -if they think about them at all -as something they’ll get to “someday”. But that’s very unwise when you consider that few small businesses have the resources to survive the fallout from a crisis involving their online activity.

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Owning a small business myself, I understand what it’s like to have to make choices about where to spend your resources. I certainly wouldn’t give you the same advice I give to my global clients. Instead, I’ve narrowed digital policy development down to five things you absolutely must do to protect your business, your employees, and your customers.

5 Digital Policy Initiatives to Start Right Now

1. Take Privacy Seriously and Know Which Privacy Regulations You’re Required to Meet.

Laws and regulations regarding online privacy vary by country, state, and even industry as do the penalties, which tend to be significant. Here are just a few examples:

2. The General Data Privacy Regulation (GDPR)

The GDPR is an EU law that went into effect in May of 2018. It seeks to protect the private data of EU citizens by addressing how companies collect and use data as well as the security of how that data is stored.

What many U.S. companies don’t realize is that jurisdiction is determined by the citizenship of the individual, not the physical location of the company. So any American business that collects, processes, or stores data on customers with EU citizenship is obligated to comply with GDPR requirements.

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3. The California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA)

The California legislature passed the CCPA in June of 2018, shortly after the GDPR went into effect. It’s quite similar in its bias toward consumer privacy and its potential impact on businesses. And, as the GDPR extends beyond the EU’s boundaries, the CCPA extends beyond California’s state lines. So you can’t assume you get a free pass just because you’re not physically located in California.

However, while there are many similarities between the two laws, there are also a number of technical differences. Resources like this can help you achieve compliance with both laws (if necessary) with a minimum of redundancy.

4. Brazil General Data Protection Law (LGPD)

The LGPD is Brazil’s data protection law, which will go into effect in 2020. The LGPD isn’t quite as comprehensive as the GDPR, but it does put similar emphasis on the concept that individuals, not businesses, own their data. It details both compliance requirements as well as penalties for noncompliance.

More companies are passing their own digital privacy laws all the time. In addition, certain industries, like finance and pharmaceuticals, have their own regulatory requirements.

5. Make a List of Action Steps

I recommend creating a spreadsheet that documents which laws/regulations apply to you, which countries they apply in, and what you need to do to become compliant.

One tip I like to share with my clients is to prioritize actions that satisfy more than one requirement at a time. (For example, both Russia and China prohibit transferring their citizens’ information outside of national borders, so deciding whether and how to establish a local service hub in those countries would take care of two things at once.)

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Identify Your Priorities

If you’re starting from scratch, it would be almost impossible to do everything at once. Your best strategy would be to prioritize policy development based on:

  • Your level of activity in a particular country, industry, etc.
  • The current legal environment surrounding that policy: Is the government aggressively enforcing compliance? Are consumers filing class action lawsuits? In other words, how likely is it that your noncompliance will come to light?
  • What are the penalties for noncompliance? If you do get caught, can you withstand the repercussions? Or would you be at risk of going out of business?

Assign Responsibility

Once you’ve prioritized the policies you need to address first, assign responsibility and a deadline by which you’ll follow up.

Secure Your Fort from the Barbarians at the Door

Think you’re too small to be hacked? Unfortunately, you’re wrong: 43% of cyber attacks target small businesses. And it’s a bigger deal than you might think:

  • 60% of small businesses shut their doors within 6 months of a cyber attack.
  • Cyber attacks cost these companies almost $900,000 in damages or theft of IT assets.
  • Small businesses lost nearly $1 million due to the disruption of normal operations.

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Despite plenty of statistics that prove the barbarians are indeed at the door, barely half of the small businesses dedicate budget resources to risk mitigation. But increasing your security would probably cost less than you think, and it would certainly cost less than a major breach. Here are some effective, relatively low-cost steps you can take right now:

Develop Strict Policies for Internal Security

A whopping 87% of small business have no data security policies for their employees:

  • Many small businesses don’t have an employee password policy that addresses things like the characteristics that make a password secure, how often it should be changed, the importance of not writing it down or sharing it with anyone, etc. And, of those that do have a password policy, only 35% strictly enforce it.
  • Only 31% install regular software upgrades.
  • Only 22% encrypt their databases.

Common practices like bring-your-own-device (BYOD) don’t help. And then you have “low-tech” risks, like not restricting physical access to servers that store sensitive information.

This is also an easy and relatively cheap problem to fix. There are plenty of online resources for best-practices regarding employee data security. Find the ones that make the most sense for your company, document them in a digital policy (including the consequences for not following the policy), and implement it. If employees don’t take the policy seriously at first, you may have to consistently enforce the consequences until they do.

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NCFA Jan 2018 resize - Investors, ‘starved for returns,’ flood private markets in search of high-growth opportunities 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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July 2019 Magazine: NCFA Fintech Confidential (Vol 1. Issue 2)

 

Visit 2019 Fintech & Funding Conference and Expo for Presentations, Interviews, Photo Gallery and more


NCFA Jan 2018 resize - Investors, ‘starved for returns,’ flood private markets in search of high-growth opportunities 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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Debt vs. Equity Financing: Pros And Cons For Entrepreneurs

Forbes | | Aug 2018

startup financing - Investors, ‘starved for returns,’ flood private markets in search of high-growth opportunitiesIs debt or equity fundraising smarter for startups?

There is more than one way to fund a new business venture and fuel its growth. For almost all, it is going to require bringing in outside money at some point. Even if that is only to multiply what is working or to create a source of emergency capital. The two primary options are to either leverage business debt financing or fundraise for equity investors.

Each method can carry its own pros and cons. It is vital for entrepreneurs not to blindly follow the herd just “because everyone else is doing it.” Discover which is best for you, at your stage in business, and stack the most advantages in your corner.

Once you have decided the course of action and have a lead investor covering at least 20% of your financing round you would typically also include in the pitch deck the form of financing in which you are raising the capital. I recently covered the pitch deck template that was created by Silicon Valley legend, Peter Thiel (see it here) where the most critical slides are highlighted.

Debt Financing

We’re all familiar with debt. At some point we’ve all probably at least had a student loan, signed up for a mobile phone contract, had a credit card, or an auto loan or lease. Debt means you are borrowing. Often, you will have to repay in monthly installments, over a fixed period of time, at a predetermined rate. Though this can vary depending on whether you are raising debt from investors, are using lines of credit or working capital loans, or even new hybrid convertible notes.

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The Pros of Debt Financing

As described in my book, The Art of Startup Fundraising, the biggest and most obvious advantage of using debt versus equity is control and ownership. With traditional types of debt financing you are not giving up any controlling interests in your business. It’s all yours. You get to make all the decisions, and keep all the profits. No one is going to kick you out of your own company.

Another big pro is that once you’ve paid back the debt your liability is over. With a fluid line of credit you can repay and borrow just what you need at any time, and will never pay more interest than you need to. Looking at the big picture, using debt can ultimately be far cheaper.

One major benefit that is frequently overlooked is that business debt can also create more tax deductions. This may not have a big impact at the seed stage, but can make a huge difference in net profits as you grow and yield positive revenues.

The Cons of Debt Financing

The most significant danger and disadvantage of using debt is that it requires repayment, no matter how well you are doing, or not. You might be burning cash for the first couple of years, with little in the way of net profits, yet still have to make monthly debt service payments. That can be a huge burden on a startup.

If entrepreneurs have not separated their personal and business credit, they may also find their entire life’s work and accomplishments are on the line if they default on the debt. Your home, cars, washing machine, and kids’ college fund can all become collateral damage.

It is also vital that borrowers understand that financing terms can change over time. Variable interest rates can dramatically change repayment terms later on. In the case of maturing balloon debt, like commercial mortgages, there is no guarantee of future availability of capital or terms when you may need to refinance. In the case of revolving credit lines, banks have a history of cutting them off, right when you need them most.

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Too much debt can negatively impact profitability and valuation. Meaning, it can lead to inferior equity raising terms in the future, or prevent it altogether.

Structures used by early stage startups such are convertible notes, SAFEs, and KISS. These forms of debt eventually convert into equity on a subsequent financing round so it is a good way to bring onboard people that are likely to partner with you on the long run with the business.

For later stage companies, the route to follow is typically venture debt.

Convertible Notes

Convertible notes are a debt instrument that also gives the investor stock options. This flexibility gives them security from the downside, and more potential upside if the start-up performs as expected. Theoretically it can also be easier for some to justify making the loan, which has specific returns and maturity dates, versus the unknown.

Convertible notes are much faster than equity rounds. There are only two documents in place, which are the convertible note purchase agreement outlining the terms of the investment, and the promissory note explaining the conversion and the amount that the investor is investing.

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With convertible notes, there are only three main ingredients the entrepreneur needs to look after.

The first ingredient is the interest that the entrepreneur is giving to the investor. This is interest to be accrued on a yearly basis on the investment amount that the investor puts into the company. The interest will continue to be applied until the company does another equity round, when the debt will convert into equity with the amount plus the interest received.

The second ingredient is the discount on the valuation. This means that if your next qualified round is at X amount of pre-money valuation, the investor will be converting his or her debt at a discount from the valuation that has been established in the next round by the lead investor.

The third ingredient to watch is the valuation cap. This means that regardless of the amount that is established on the valuation in the next round, the investor will never convert north of whatever valuation cap is agreed. This is a safety measure in the event that the valuation goes through the roof. It is a good way to protect your early investors and to reward them for taking the risk of investing in you at a very early stage.

Convertible notes are, in my mind, the fastest and cheapest way to fundraise. While equity rounds can be north of $20,000, convertible notes should not cost you more than $7,000.

One thing to keep a very close eye on is the maturity date. This is the date by which you agree to repay unless you have not done a qualified round of financing in which the convertible notes are converted into equity. For this reason, make sure that the maturity date is a date that you feel confident about. You need to be convinced that you will be able to raise a qualified round of financing on or before that date in order to convert the notes into equity and avoid being in default. The last thing you want to happen is to be in default and to have to shut down your business because investors are demanding their money back.

Below is a good example of how convertible notes play out in real life.

Equity Financing

This type of funding exchanges incoming capital for ownership rights in your business. This may be in the form of close partnerships, or equity fundraising from angel investors, crowdfunding platforms, venture capital firms, and eventually the public in the form of an IPO.

There are no fixed repayments to be made. Instead, your equity investors receive a percentage of the profits, according to their stock. Though there can be hybrid agreements which incorporate royalties, and other benefits to early investors.

Typically the term sheet will be summarizing what are the terms of the equity round. You can read more on term sheets by reviewing my Forbes pieces Term Sheet Template: What Entrepreneurs Should Include and Term Sheet: Here Is Everything Entrepreneurs Must Know When Fundraising.

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NCFA Jan 2018 resize - Investors, ‘starved for returns,’ flood private markets in search of high-growth opportunities 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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National Post | Andy Blatchford | Oct 5, 2019 The letter was drafted by a lobby group representing signatories run domestic firms that employed more than 35,000 people last year and generated more than $6 billion for the economy OTTAWA — More than 110 Canadian tech CEOs have signed an open letter urging political parties to take action to strengthen the country’s innovative economy, and avoid falling further behind international peers. So far, major parties have put forward pledges in areas like affordability, first-time home-buyers and climate change, but the campaigns have offered few promises designed to drive economic growth in the digital age. “We’re writing because Canada’s productivity is lagging and our future economic prosperity is at risk,” reads the letter addressed to Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau, Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh and Green Leader Elizabeth May. “You can help by developing economic policies that advance innovative Canadian companies, including increasing their access to skilled talent, growth capital and new customers.” The letter was drafted by the Council of Canadian Innovators, a lobby group representing some of the country’s fastest-growing companies. Combined, its signatories run domestic firms that employed more than 35,000 people last year and ...
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CarefulCents  | Ryan Friend | Sep 17, 2019 Of all the types of insurance out there, health insurance is perhaps the most important. After all, without our health, it’s difficult to do much else in life. However, in the United States, which relies mostly on a private health insurance system, costs are high, and it’s often very confusing to know how much you can expect to pay. This is because you can get health insurance in many different ways. You can buy it on your own, receive it from your employer as part of your compensation package, or get it from the federal government. However, just because the world of health insurance is confusing, it does not mean you need to pay more than you should, and knowing the average costs of the many different types of health insurance can help you understand if your premiums are fair or if it’s time for a change. Below we’ve outlined all the different factors that determine the cost of your insurance and also identified the average rates for the various options out there. In addition, you will find some tips to help you save on your insurance so that you can get ...
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Coindesk | David Pan | Oct 9, 2019 Mutual fund giant Vanguard has partnered with Nasdaq Ventures-backed blockchain startup Symbiont to develop a trading platform for the $6 trillion currency market, the companies said. With the new platform, Vanguard, which manages $5.2 trillion, aims to lower transaction costs for the trillions of dollars worth of currencies it trades annually by boosting peer-to-peer trading for investors, connecting them directly via blockchain technology. Symbiont CEO Mark Smith told CoinDesk the company teamed up with Vanguard to build the currency platform, confirming a Bloomberg report that cited an anonymous source. The platform has been operational for two months and completed its first trades during the time, according to the report. A Vanguard spokesperson told CoinDesk: “Vanguard is currently piloting a project focused on improving the efficiency and reducing risk of FX hedging.” The new platform is part of the fund manager’s commitment to lowering the cost of investing for all investors, the spokesperson said. Neither company would provide further details of the pilot. See:  HSBC settles FX deals worth $250 billion on blockchain in last year Machine Learning in Finance – Present and Future Applications The project, if successful, would be another important milestone ...
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Finextra | Oct 8, 2019 The Swiss National Bank (SNB) is working with the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) on an innovation hub in Switzerland that will initially focus on research into digital central bank money and distributed ledger technology. The SNB is working with SIX on the research, embarking on a proof of concept to explore how digital central bank money could be used in the settlement of tokenized assets between market participants. The project is making use of the SIX Digital Exchange (SDX) platform, which is currently being built and promises to be the world's first end-to-end exchange for digital assets when it launches next year offering listing, trading, settlement and custody service. See:  Mark Carney’s Trojan Unicorn — Are Central Banks Considering Stealth Nationalization in Sovereign Digital Currencies? The SDX system will be used to explore technical possibilities for integrating digital central bank money into DLT platforms. Options include the connection of the existing Swiss Interbank Clearing System or the issue of digital Swiss franc tokens by the SNB for financial market participants. Jos Dijsselhof, CEO, SIX, says: "We are pleased to contribute to this initiative and, through SIX Digital Exchange, to explore the technological possibilities with ...
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Switzerland - Investors, ‘starved for returns,’ flood private markets in search of high-growth opportunities
Andreessen Horowitz | Anish Acharya In 2006, LendingClub introduced a then-novel business model: the ability to offer online personal loans to millions of underserved customers. The peer-to-peer lender was a media and investor darling, hailed as a tech-enabled alternative to traditional banks. When LendingClub went public in 2014, it was valued at $8.5 billion, the year’s single largest US tech IPO. Now, five years later, that fintech pioneer has lost 85 percent of its market value. Meanwhile, mobile upstart MoneyLion launched in 2013, also providing online personal loans—a direct competitor to LendingClub. Today, MoneyLion claims more than 5 million users and is valued at nearly $1 billion. See:  Peer to Peer Lending: The Future of Fintech is Now LendingClub had significant competitive advantages, from low customer acquisition costs—back then, personal loans keywords weren’t nearly as competitive on Google and Facebook was actively promoting LendingClub as an early F8 partner—to improved underwriting (the company provided lenders with access to customers’ credit score, total debt, income, monthly cash flow, and social data). So why is LendingClub experiencing growing pains while MoneyLion sees significant growth? Though the latter started out solely as an online lender, it quickly morphed into an all-in-one lending, savings, ...
Read More
fintech lenders in disguise - Investors, ‘starved for returns,’ flood private markets in search of high-growth opportunities
CNBC | Chloe Taylor | Oct 8, 2019 Singapore has overtaken the U.S. to become the most competitive nation in the world, according to the World Economic Forum (WEF). In its 2019 Global Competitiveness Report, the WEF measured the strength of 103 key indicators, such as inflation, digital skills and trade tariffs, across 141 countries. The key indicators in the report were organized into 12 pillars, which included institutions, macroeconomic stability and health. The U.S., which held the top spot in 2018′s ranking, dropped into second place this year, although the report’s authors noted that it “remains an innovation powerhouse.” America received the highest score in the world in several subcategories, including ease of finding skilled employees and venture capital availability, with the U.S. also being ranked higher than any other country in the business dynamism pillar. However, the country scored relatively low in some categories, with increasing trade tariffs, declining life expectancy and low digital skills among the American population taking a toll on the United States’ overall ranking. The WEF noted that life expectancy in the U.S. is now lower than it is in China, with the U.S. having only the 39th highest life expectancy in the world ...
Read More
Singapore financial district - Investors, ‘starved for returns,’ flood private markets in search of high-growth opportunities
McKinsey & Company | Oct 2019 Ten years ago 10 years ago, the US retail banking industry was in the depths of the global financial crisis, with many one-time leading institutions struggling to survive. Since then, after bringing in billions in fresh capital, US banks have made a return to stable ground and greater liquidity. Despite this progress, aggregate return on equity is at the lower bound of sustainability, and the industry’s price-to-book value is about 1.4, not far above where it stood in 2009. Customer trust has improved from the downturn but is still well below pre-crisis levels. Though most banks were able to avoid unsettling challenges in the following ten years, few were able to break out and significantly outperform the industry. Now, however, several major forces are accelerating the evolution of the US banking industry–the encroachment of new competitors, rising expectations from customers on service levels and corporate responsibility, and an intensifying war for talent—and promising to make doing business more challenging in the coming ten years. Further, US banks have yet to go through the restructuring that has already swept European and Asian markets, where a majority of services are delivered digitally. In this report, we ...
Read More
7 transformative shifts in US retail banking banner - Investors, ‘starved for returns,’ flood private markets in search of high-growth opportunities
Crowdfund Insider | JD Alois | Oct 7, 2019 Last week, the Alberta Securities Commission (ASC) adopted a “Blanket Order” for “Startup Crowdfunding Registration and Prospectus Exemptions.” In effect, the ASC was seeking to improve access to capital for smaller firms – a good thing- but the move also highlights the disparity between the provinces and a greater need for national harmonization of online capital formation rules. Financial services in Canada are all regulated at the provincial level thus there exists a degree of disparity regarding rules. While a smaller country by population, Canada has consistently ranked high in entrepreneurship and innovation. According to a recent KPMG report, the Canadian Fintech ecosystem is thriving but, like any other country, more can be done. Crowdfund Insider reached out to Denise Weeres, Director, New Economy at the ASC and Craig Asano, Executive Director and founder of the National Crowdfunding and Fintech Association of Canada (NCFA). The NCFA has long led the charge advocating on behalf of Canada’s emerging Fintech market and various securities crowdfunding platforms. The New Economy Division of the ASC works closely with staff to coordinate efforts to facilitate capital-raising by new economy companies entering the capital market. The Division ...
Read More
Canadian flag2 - Investors, ‘starved for returns,’ flood private markets in search of high-growth opportunities
TNW Hard Fork | Yessi Bello Perez | Oct 7, 2019 As Facebook deals with the loss of PayPal‘s backing for its ‘cryptocurrency‘ Libra, the tech giant must now get ready to answer EU regulators’ questions about the potential risks posed by the project. The European Commission has requested that Facebook and the Libra Association – the body tasked with supervising the digital currency – answer questions relating to financial stability, money laundering, and data privacy risks. According to the Financial Times, which saw the commission’s questionnaire last week, this is all part of EU financial commissioner Valdis Dombrovskis’ efforts to asses whether projects such as Libra should be regulated in the EU, if new regulation is required, or whether the ‘cryptocurrency‘ should be allowed to operate at all. See:  Libra: France opposes the development of Facebook’s currency “on European soil” News on China cryptocurrency and more reforms Competition Bureau’s call for intel on anti-competitive conduct in digital economy raises eyebrows The news couldn’t come at a worse time for Facebook, which has faced increasing scrutiny and opposition from regulators in recent months. Just last month, Libra‘s founders were subject to questioning by 26 central bank officials in what was the first encounter between the ...
Read More
Facebook Libra and EU committee - Investors, ‘starved for returns,’ flood private markets in search of high-growth opportunities
Betakit | Isabelle Kirkwood | Oct 4, 2019 This week, Hut 8 Mining Corp., a cryptocurrency mining and blockchain infrastructure company headquartered in Toronto, announced it would begin trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) on October 8. In addition to expediting new listings and transactions, the Sandbox could also become a channel for new securities policy development. The company is the first blockchain or cryptocurrency company to be listed on the TSX, and is also the first to be listed via the TSX Sandbox. The program aims to accept more listing applications and transactions, and grant access to newer companies that don’t meet all the traditional requirements to be listed, such as market capitalization, a long-form prospectus, management team’s experience level, incorporation in Canada, or corporate governance practices. “Our move to the TSX, the senior public market of the TMX Group, is another significant step in our evolution to provide improved liquidity and enhanced public disclosure to investors,” Andrew Kiguel, CEO of Hut 8, said when the company first announced it would list last month. “We are grateful to the TSX for conditionally approving Hut 8 to be the first company through the TSX Sandbox.” The TSX said Sandbox ...
Read More
bitcoin mining hut 8 lists - Investors, ‘starved for returns,’ flood private markets in search of high-growth opportunities

 

The 11 Biggest Fintech Companies In America 2019

Forbes | | Feb 4, 2019

stripe CEO Patrick and President John - Investors, ‘starved for returns,’ flood private markets in search of high-growth opportunities

This article was updated on 2/4/19 to include Ripple, the fourth-most valuable private fintech company in the U.S. 

Financial technology startups continue to attract a growing amount of attention and capital. In 2018, valuations of the biggest private companies bulged, and at least six new fintech unicorns were minted in the U.S.

U.S. fintechs raised $12.4 billion in funding, or 43% more than 2017, reports CB Insights. That growth outpaced the 30% increase in venture investments across the entire U.S. market. And fintechs will need those dollars—they tend to burn about two to three times as much cash compared with other startups, according to an analysis by Brex, likely due to factors like regulatory hurdles.

Here are the 10 most valuable private, venture-backed fintechs in the U.S.:

1. Stripe, $22.5 billion

Originally a service to help small online sellers process payments, today Stripe serves tech giants like Microsoft and Amazon, too. In 2018 the company announced three new high-profile products, including credit card issuing technology, point-of-sale software and a billing platform for subscription businesses.

Cofounders: CEO Patrick Collison, 30, and president John Collison, 28. Irish-born brothers, dropouts from MIT (Patrick) and Harvard (John) launched Stripe in 2011

See:  Experts predict the five big fintech trends of 2019

2. Coinbase, $8 billion

Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong. Photo credit: Bloomberg Finance LPMichael Short/Bloomberg

Expanding beyond its roots as a bitcoin wallet and retail exchange, Coinbase now offers cryptocurrency custody and professional and institutional trading platforms. Last year bought Earn.com, a service where users pay in bitcoin to contact experts via email, for a reported $100 million.

Cofounder & CEO: Brian Armstrong, 36, whose Coinbase holdings make him a billionaire

3. Robinhood, $5.6 billion

Broker offers commission-free trading of stocks, ETFs, cryptocurrencies and options through a mobile app. Robinhood Gold subscription service, starting at $6 per month, gives investors access to margin trading. Later this year the firm will take on the checking and savings market with a new cash management program.

Cofounders and co-CEOs: Stanford grads Baiju Bhatt, 34, a second-generation American with Indian parents, and Bulgarian-born Vlad Tenev, 32

4. Ripple, $5 billion

Its blockchain-based global settlements network aims to replace SWIFT, the interbank messaging platform that has long connected nearly every bank in the world. Also has a service that lets companies make cross-border payments in XRP, the cryptocurrency created by Ripple’s founders.

Cofounders: Jed McCaleb, 43; Chris Larsen, 58; and Arthur Britto

CEO: Brad Garlinghouse, 48, former AOL president

See:  Fintech Frenzy: Hype or Reality? A Closer Look at 6 Key Sectors

5. SoFi, $4.4 billion*

SoFi CEO Anthony Noto. Photo credit: Bloomberg Finance LPDavid Paul Morris/Bloomberg

Founded in 2011, SoFi started with online student loan refinancing and later branched into other services for affluent Millennials, including mortgages, robo-investing advice and life insurance.

CEO: Anthony Noto, 50, former Twitter COO

6. Credit Karma, $4 billion

Credit Karma cofounders (from left) Kenneth Lin, Nichole Mustard and Ryan Graciano. Photo credit: ForbesForbes

Offers its 85 million-plus “members” a growing suite of free services, including credit scores, tax-prep software, help fixing credit-report errors and alerts of new accounts opened in a user’s name. Credit Karma earns referral fees when users bite on the personalized offers for credit cards and loans it shows them.

Cofounders: CEO Kenneth Lin, 43; chief revenue officer Nichole Mustard, 45; CTO Ryan Graciano, 37

Continue to the full article --> here


NCFA Jan 2018 resize - Investors, ‘starved for returns,’ flood private markets in search of high-growth opportunities 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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NCFA Fintech Confidential Issue 2 FINAL COVER - Investors, ‘starved for returns,’ flood private markets in search of high-growth opportunities

National Post | Andy Blatchford | Oct 5, 2019 The letter was drafted by a lobby group representing signatories run domestic firms that employed more than 35,000 people last year and generated more than $6 billion for the economy OTTAWA — More than 110 Canadian tech CEOs have signed an open letter urging political parties to take action to strengthen the country’s innovative economy, and avoid falling further behind international peers. So far, major parties have put forward pledges in areas like affordability, first-time home-buyers and climate change, but the campaigns have offered few promises designed to drive economic growth in the digital age. “We’re writing because Canada’s productivity is lagging and our future economic prosperity is at risk,” reads the letter addressed to Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau, Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh and Green Leader Elizabeth May. “You can help by developing economic policies that advance innovative Canadian companies, including increasing their access to skilled talent, growth capital and new customers.” The letter was drafted by the Council of Canadian Innovators, a lobby group representing some of the country’s fastest-growing companies. Combined, its signatories run domestic firms that employed more than 35,000 people last year and ...
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liberal trudeau and innovation - Investors, ‘starved for returns,’ flood private markets in search of high-growth opportunities
CarefulCents  | Ryan Friend | Sep 17, 2019 Of all the types of insurance out there, health insurance is perhaps the most important. After all, without our health, it’s difficult to do much else in life. However, in the United States, which relies mostly on a private health insurance system, costs are high, and it’s often very confusing to know how much you can expect to pay. This is because you can get health insurance in many different ways. You can buy it on your own, receive it from your employer as part of your compensation package, or get it from the federal government. However, just because the world of health insurance is confusing, it does not mean you need to pay more than you should, and knowing the average costs of the many different types of health insurance can help you understand if your premiums are fair or if it’s time for a change. Below we’ve outlined all the different factors that determine the cost of your insurance and also identified the average rates for the various options out there. In addition, you will find some tips to help you save on your insurance so that you can get ...
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health insurance - Investors, ‘starved for returns,’ flood private markets in search of high-growth opportunities
Coindesk | David Pan | Oct 9, 2019 Mutual fund giant Vanguard has partnered with Nasdaq Ventures-backed blockchain startup Symbiont to develop a trading platform for the $6 trillion currency market, the companies said. With the new platform, Vanguard, which manages $5.2 trillion, aims to lower transaction costs for the trillions of dollars worth of currencies it trades annually by boosting peer-to-peer trading for investors, connecting them directly via blockchain technology. Symbiont CEO Mark Smith told CoinDesk the company teamed up with Vanguard to build the currency platform, confirming a Bloomberg report that cited an anonymous source. The platform has been operational for two months and completed its first trades during the time, according to the report. A Vanguard spokesperson told CoinDesk: “Vanguard is currently piloting a project focused on improving the efficiency and reducing risk of FX hedging.” The new platform is part of the fund manager’s commitment to lowering the cost of investing for all investors, the spokesperson said. Neither company would provide further details of the pilot. See:  HSBC settles FX deals worth $250 billion on blockchain in last year Machine Learning in Finance – Present and Future Applications The project, if successful, would be another important milestone ...
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Vanguard ForeX blockchain platform - Investors, ‘starved for returns,’ flood private markets in search of high-growth opportunities
Finextra | Oct 8, 2019 The Swiss National Bank (SNB) is working with the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) on an innovation hub in Switzerland that will initially focus on research into digital central bank money and distributed ledger technology. The SNB is working with SIX on the research, embarking on a proof of concept to explore how digital central bank money could be used in the settlement of tokenized assets between market participants. The project is making use of the SIX Digital Exchange (SDX) platform, which is currently being built and promises to be the world's first end-to-end exchange for digital assets when it launches next year offering listing, trading, settlement and custody service. See:  Mark Carney’s Trojan Unicorn — Are Central Banks Considering Stealth Nationalization in Sovereign Digital Currencies? The SDX system will be used to explore technical possibilities for integrating digital central bank money into DLT platforms. Options include the connection of the existing Swiss Interbank Clearing System or the issue of digital Swiss franc tokens by the SNB for financial market participants. Jos Dijsselhof, CEO, SIX, says: "We are pleased to contribute to this initiative and, through SIX Digital Exchange, to explore the technological possibilities with ...
Read More
Switzerland - Investors, ‘starved for returns,’ flood private markets in search of high-growth opportunities
Andreessen Horowitz | Anish Acharya In 2006, LendingClub introduced a then-novel business model: the ability to offer online personal loans to millions of underserved customers. The peer-to-peer lender was a media and investor darling, hailed as a tech-enabled alternative to traditional banks. When LendingClub went public in 2014, it was valued at $8.5 billion, the year’s single largest US tech IPO. Now, five years later, that fintech pioneer has lost 85 percent of its market value. Meanwhile, mobile upstart MoneyLion launched in 2013, also providing online personal loans—a direct competitor to LendingClub. Today, MoneyLion claims more than 5 million users and is valued at nearly $1 billion. See:  Peer to Peer Lending: The Future of Fintech is Now LendingClub had significant competitive advantages, from low customer acquisition costs—back then, personal loans keywords weren’t nearly as competitive on Google and Facebook was actively promoting LendingClub as an early F8 partner—to improved underwriting (the company provided lenders with access to customers’ credit score, total debt, income, monthly cash flow, and social data). So why is LendingClub experiencing growing pains while MoneyLion sees significant growth? Though the latter started out solely as an online lender, it quickly morphed into an all-in-one lending, savings, ...
Read More
fintech lenders in disguise - Investors, ‘starved for returns,’ flood private markets in search of high-growth opportunities
CNBC | Chloe Taylor | Oct 8, 2019 Singapore has overtaken the U.S. to become the most competitive nation in the world, according to the World Economic Forum (WEF). In its 2019 Global Competitiveness Report, the WEF measured the strength of 103 key indicators, such as inflation, digital skills and trade tariffs, across 141 countries. The key indicators in the report were organized into 12 pillars, which included institutions, macroeconomic stability and health. The U.S., which held the top spot in 2018′s ranking, dropped into second place this year, although the report’s authors noted that it “remains an innovation powerhouse.” America received the highest score in the world in several subcategories, including ease of finding skilled employees and venture capital availability, with the U.S. also being ranked higher than any other country in the business dynamism pillar. However, the country scored relatively low in some categories, with increasing trade tariffs, declining life expectancy and low digital skills among the American population taking a toll on the United States’ overall ranking. The WEF noted that life expectancy in the U.S. is now lower than it is in China, with the U.S. having only the 39th highest life expectancy in the world ...
Read More
Singapore financial district - Investors, ‘starved for returns,’ flood private markets in search of high-growth opportunities
McKinsey & Company | Oct 2019 Ten years ago 10 years ago, the US retail banking industry was in the depths of the global financial crisis, with many one-time leading institutions struggling to survive. Since then, after bringing in billions in fresh capital, US banks have made a return to stable ground and greater liquidity. Despite this progress, aggregate return on equity is at the lower bound of sustainability, and the industry’s price-to-book value is about 1.4, not far above where it stood in 2009. Customer trust has improved from the downturn but is still well below pre-crisis levels. Though most banks were able to avoid unsettling challenges in the following ten years, few were able to break out and significantly outperform the industry. Now, however, several major forces are accelerating the evolution of the US banking industry–the encroachment of new competitors, rising expectations from customers on service levels and corporate responsibility, and an intensifying war for talent—and promising to make doing business more challenging in the coming ten years. Further, US banks have yet to go through the restructuring that has already swept European and Asian markets, where a majority of services are delivered digitally. In this report, we ...
Read More
7 transformative shifts in US retail banking banner - Investors, ‘starved for returns,’ flood private markets in search of high-growth opportunities
Crowdfund Insider | JD Alois | Oct 7, 2019 Last week, the Alberta Securities Commission (ASC) adopted a “Blanket Order” for “Startup Crowdfunding Registration and Prospectus Exemptions.” In effect, the ASC was seeking to improve access to capital for smaller firms – a good thing- but the move also highlights the disparity between the provinces and a greater need for national harmonization of online capital formation rules. Financial services in Canada are all regulated at the provincial level thus there exists a degree of disparity regarding rules. While a smaller country by population, Canada has consistently ranked high in entrepreneurship and innovation. According to a recent KPMG report, the Canadian Fintech ecosystem is thriving but, like any other country, more can be done. Crowdfund Insider reached out to Denise Weeres, Director, New Economy at the ASC and Craig Asano, Executive Director and founder of the National Crowdfunding and Fintech Association of Canada (NCFA). The NCFA has long led the charge advocating on behalf of Canada’s emerging Fintech market and various securities crowdfunding platforms. The New Economy Division of the ASC works closely with staff to coordinate efforts to facilitate capital-raising by new economy companies entering the capital market. The Division ...
Read More
Canadian flag2 - Investors, ‘starved for returns,’ flood private markets in search of high-growth opportunities
TNW Hard Fork | Yessi Bello Perez | Oct 7, 2019 As Facebook deals with the loss of PayPal‘s backing for its ‘cryptocurrency‘ Libra, the tech giant must now get ready to answer EU regulators’ questions about the potential risks posed by the project. The European Commission has requested that Facebook and the Libra Association – the body tasked with supervising the digital currency – answer questions relating to financial stability, money laundering, and data privacy risks. According to the Financial Times, which saw the commission’s questionnaire last week, this is all part of EU financial commissioner Valdis Dombrovskis’ efforts to asses whether projects such as Libra should be regulated in the EU, if new regulation is required, or whether the ‘cryptocurrency‘ should be allowed to operate at all. See:  Libra: France opposes the development of Facebook’s currency “on European soil” News on China cryptocurrency and more reforms Competition Bureau’s call for intel on anti-competitive conduct in digital economy raises eyebrows The news couldn’t come at a worse time for Facebook, which has faced increasing scrutiny and opposition from regulators in recent months. Just last month, Libra‘s founders were subject to questioning by 26 central bank officials in what was the first encounter between the ...
Read More
Facebook Libra and EU committee - Investors, ‘starved for returns,’ flood private markets in search of high-growth opportunities
Betakit | Isabelle Kirkwood | Oct 4, 2019 This week, Hut 8 Mining Corp., a cryptocurrency mining and blockchain infrastructure company headquartered in Toronto, announced it would begin trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) on October 8. In addition to expediting new listings and transactions, the Sandbox could also become a channel for new securities policy development. The company is the first blockchain or cryptocurrency company to be listed on the TSX, and is also the first to be listed via the TSX Sandbox. The program aims to accept more listing applications and transactions, and grant access to newer companies that don’t meet all the traditional requirements to be listed, such as market capitalization, a long-form prospectus, management team’s experience level, incorporation in Canada, or corporate governance practices. “Our move to the TSX, the senior public market of the TMX Group, is another significant step in our evolution to provide improved liquidity and enhanced public disclosure to investors,” Andrew Kiguel, CEO of Hut 8, said when the company first announced it would list last month. “We are grateful to the TSX for conditionally approving Hut 8 to be the first company through the TSX Sandbox.” The TSX said Sandbox ...
Read More
bitcoin mining hut 8 lists - Investors, ‘starved for returns,’ flood private markets in search of high-growth opportunities

 

A Focus on the Future: How to Run a Forward-Thinking, Profitable Business

May 24, 2018

small business growth and competition - A Focus on the Future: How to Run a Forward-Thinking, Profitable Business

Many brands claim to be forward-thinking, but few fail to formalize the practice in their business, which can reduce their profitability. If you want to embody the word, you must strive to proactively look to the future to increase your revenue and grow your company. Learn how to run a forward-thinking business.

Hire a Technology Scout

Companies serious about competing with their competitors and satisfying their customers must hire a technology scout. It is their job to identify the best-emerging technologies that can be applied to your business, which can improve the customer experience, streamline internal processes, and increase business profitability. If you do not have a big budget to hire a technology scout, identify if an employee who has a technical background and can make recommendations for the business.

Alter Your Perception of Demographics

If you want to connect with modern consumers, you must change your tactics when targeting audiences. Changing lifestyles have ultimately led to a blurring of demographics. So, rather than targeting people by their age, gender, location, or salary, you must tap into their values, aspirations, and lifestyles. You can find more about how to target new demographics with Sage’s advice in here.

Conduct Annual Scenario Planning

Prevention is always better than cure, which is why you should conduct annual scenario planning. Asking “what if?” for a range of realistic problems in the future can prevent them from becoming a reality, or could help the business to quickly bounce back from a disaster. There are multiple scenarios your business should consider that involve financial issues, PR disasters, data breaches, global economic environment, political problems, product availability, and industry changes.

See:

Review the Past

If you want your business to enjoy a profitable future, you must review your company’s past to identify productivity problems, internal mistakes, or poor marketing campaigns. You could also learn from a successful campaign or can utilize past data to strengthen your company.

Dare to be Different from Your Rivals

If you want to capture your audience’s attention and set your business apart from your rivals, you must be prepared to take risks. This means embarking on a new idea or process, which could improve brand awareness, profitability, and growth. Not every risk will pay off, but you simply need to learn from the mistake and try again.

Read As Much as Possible

If you want to develop a forward-thinking mindset, you must read as much as possible, so there is always substance behind your thoughts and ideas. Read industry books and articles will help you to easily spot emerging trends, and you can learn from others’ mistakes to ensure your company’s success. The more knowledgeable you are about your industry, the easier it will be to pitch a new process, technology, or vision to board members, management, and shareholders.

Share Your Vision with Your Team

It’s imperative that every member of the team is working towards the same goals, so the business can quickly and easily reach its vision. Encourage your staff to offer their ideas and opinions to create a more creative, visionary business, which will make your team feel excited to be apart of the company’s future.

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NCFA Jan 2018 resize - A Focus on the Future: How to Run a Forward-Thinking, Profitable BusinessThe National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association of Canada (NCFA Canada) is a cross-Canada non-profit actively engaged with cryptocurrency, blockchain, crowdfunding, alternative finance, fintech, P2P, ICO, and online investing stakeholders globally. NCFA Canada provides education, research, industry stewardship, services, and networking opportunities to thousands of members and subscribers and works closely with industry, government, academia, community and eco-system partners and affiliates to create a strong and vibrant crowdfunding and fintech industry.  Join Canada's Fintech & Funding Community today FREE!  Or become a contributing member and get perks. For more information, please visit:  ncfacanada.org