Category Archives: Fundraising and Investing

Facing disaster, corporate venture capital to undergo key stress test

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Pitchbook | Alexander Davis | March 24, 2020

Sanfrancisco - Facing disaster, corporate venture capital to undergo key stress testAfter driving much of the venture capital market's hyper-growth in recent years, corporations are poised for a decisive stress test of their zeal for funding startups.

Heading into 2020, it wasn't unreasonable to forecast another record year for VC financing involving corporate venture capital arms, such as those of titans Intel, Salesforce and Google.

But that was before the coronavirus brought the world economy to a standstill.

Turmoil spurred by the global health emergency has given rise to a new mantra for business decision-makers: Hit pause.

Inside boardrooms of every stripe, countless investment decisions are either being postponed or subjected to fresh scrutiny. Companies are suddenly on guard as they struggle to take the measure of an unfolding economic disaster, in a challenge of their commitment to venture funding.

"In that hunker-down scenario, all spending goes through a rigorous review, obviously," said Pradeep Tagare, head of the $250 million corporate venture fund at UK-based energy company National Grid. "One of the first things that gets hit is the venture capital part of it because that's an easy thing to step back on."

Corporate VC departments make strategic bets on markets, innovations, partnerships and entrepreneurial talent as a way to propel their parent companies to stretch into bold new directions. In recent years, a wide variety of corporations across all industrial sectors and geographies have jumped into the VC market, including JetBlue, Yamaha Motor and even outdoor gear company Patagonia. Just last week Dating.com said it would start investing out of a $50 million corporate fund for early-stage deals.

See:  Bank On It Podcast: Turning a Funding Failure Into a Win

Because corporations, notably SoftBank, played such a pivotal role in private fundraising recently, their willingness to stick to their VC strategies in this new downturn could go a long way toward shaping the pool of capital that will be available in the months and perhaps years to come.

Last year, startups raised roughly $136 billion in VC funding and about $141 billion in 2018. For their part, corporate venture firms participated in 1,849 US funding rounds totaling $57 billion—second only to the 1,871 deals worth $71 billion in 2018, according to PitchBook data.

Already there are signs of the coronavirus epidemic's chilling effects. Tagare said that two separate funding rounds that National Grid is backing have seen a pair of would-be CVC partners back out in recent days.

"A freeze in all activity is definitely starting to happen," Tagare said, adding that the remaining firms in the deals expect to find partners to fill the gaps left by the ones that got cold feet.

In SoftBank's case, the outlook is so dire that the company, which operates the $100 billion Vision Fund, said publicly this week that it will shed about $41 billion worth of assets as it struggles to regain investor confidence following a series of stumbles even before the global pandemic wiped out 40% of its market capitalization. SoftBank invests off its own balance sheet in addition to the Vision Fund, which raised outside capital from sovereign wealth funds and other institutions.

Under more predictable market conditions of the past several years, VC firms grew accustomed to writing checks in funding rounds that were left open without all the target capital spoken for. Tagare said that will no longer happen in this environment, adding,

"Investors are making sure that capital coming in will give the company 18 to 24 months of runway."

See:  Corporate venture capital deals hit new record as banks invest in fintech competitors

As of Friday, there have been 304 deals worth $14.2 billion with CVC participation in Q1. That's about 100 deals behind the quarterly pace seen in the past years, according to a PitchBook analysis.

One corporate VC based in Silicon Valley said that the COVID-19 crisis has caused "quite a bit of disruption" for the firm's portfolio companies in the midst of fundraising. "We're also seeing cash runways getting squeezed as revenue targets get lowered."

The damage done to the VC investing landscape may not be known until midyear, said Kyle Stanford, a venture analyst at PitchBook.

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NCFA Jan 2018 resize - Facing disaster, corporate venture capital to undergo key stress test 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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Applications OPEN: UNCDF Announces Gig Economy Challenge – Driving Financial Health for Gig Workers

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UNCDF | Jia Wei Khor | April 2, 2020

Gig economy challenge - Facing disaster, corporate venture capital to undergo key stress testAPEC Malaysia, Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM), Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) and United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) launched the Gig Economy Challenge.

The challenge is funded by MetLife Foundation through the i3 (Innovate, Implement and Impact) program.

In light of COVID-19, gig workers are likely to face new and unforeseen challenges which will affect their financial health.

Calling for applications to seek viable solutions for improving the financial health of gig workers in APEC's (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) 21 member economies.

If you have a solution, apply now!

See:  Malaysia’s potential as the fintech hub for the ASEAN region

Why participate?

  • Technical assistance worth $100,000 to pilot your technology product or service
  • Up to $30,000 grant per team as seed capital
  • Opportunity to pilot the solution in Malaysia
  • Access to enabling partnerships, including financial institutions, technology companies and other infrastructure providers

 

Questions?

Join the info sessions!  Click below to register

7 April (Tue) 11 am ( GMT +8)

14 April (Tue) 10 am ( GMT +8)

23 April (Thurs) 11 am ( GMT +8)

 

Where can I know more?:  www.bit.ly/GigEconomyChallenge

Application Deadline:  27 April 2020

Contact finlab@uncdf.org

 


NCFA Jan 2018 resize - Facing disaster, corporate venture capital to undergo key stress test 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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Bank On It Podcast: Turning a Funding Failure Into a Win

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Bank On It podcast | John Siracusa | March 11, 2020

peerstreet - Facing disaster, corporate venture capital to undergo key stress test

This nugget was pulled from episode 160 from an interview with Brett Crosby,  co-founder & COO of PeerStreet. This nugget is on turning a funding failure into a win.

About Brett Crosby:

Brett is the co-founder and COO of PeerStreet, a platform for investing in real estate-backed loans. Crosby was previously the director of product marketing at Google, where he co-founded Google Analytics, helped start Google’s mobile advertising business and recently ran the global marketing teams responsible for the growth of Chrome, Gmail, Docs and Drive.

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NCFA Jan 2018 resize - Facing disaster, corporate venture capital to undergo key stress test 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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How Governments Should Use Crowdfunding to Battle the Economic Impact of #Socialdistancing

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Crowdfund Insider | | March 31, 2020

crowdfunding options for covid 19 - Facing disaster, corporate venture capital to undergo key stress testThe Crowdfunding industry is well aware of what economists call externalities – the fact that behavior of some people has an unintended impact on other people. Positive externalities can be observed on the Crowdfunding platforms every day due to the willingness of people to join their forces. These days, everyone becomes aware of the impact other people have directly on our lives, health, financial situation, liberties.

Crowdfunding platforms were very quick in meeting the challenge of channeling funds to those places where they are needed. Governments are now pumping billions and most likely trillions of dollars through the banking system into the economy. The alternative finance industry should not be ignored when creating the right response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

RESILIENT CAPITAL:  How Regulation Crowdfunding Stood up to the First Weeks of Coronavirus

What could governments do?

They could support the donation-based platforms by reimbursing transaction fees, because essentially it will allow more donations to flow. They could also facilitate partnerships between municipalities, regions, and platforms that encourage local donations to local projects. For instance, the platform Helfen.Berlin which collects donations for companies in exchange for gift certificates is a private initiative from the start-up industry, but it charges around 3% in transaction fees. The city of Berlin could easily support this initiative by covering these costs. This form of civic crowdfunding will be an important pillar in creating regional demand and financial support.

Some, such as the City of Berlin, are enabling access to webinars, in this case with the Crowdfunding Campus. The support could go way beyond that.

A lot of SMEs may not apply to receive the wide range of support measures given by the government, because the application procedure is too tedious or too complicated, or simply because the SME does not fit into the support categories.

But the governments could easily match the contributions from the crowd, for instance, and pledge that for every Euro in pre-sales the government contributes 0.25 Euro up to an amount of 1000 Euro. Therefore, if an SME raised 4000 Euros from the crowd, it would receive an additional 1000 Euro.

Of course, these sums are small compared to what can be raised on equity- and lending-based Crowdfunding platforms. It is too early to see the impact that COVID-19 will have on those startups, real estate, and renewable energy investment financed on equity platforms.

Start-ups might have a difficult time in the next couple of weeks, although some business models in electronic retail or electronic services might scale much quicker. But other startups might have a hard time, so we would not be surprised to see the insolvency rate going up.

SEE:  Canadian securities regulators propose new nationally harmonized crowdfunding rules for comment by May 27

In real estate equity-based crowdfunding, it depends on each location, at least in Germany and the Netherlands, it is not expected that housing prices and rents will decrease immediately, so the case for investing in real estate through crowdfunding platforms might still be there.

For renewable energy projects, the investment case continues to be strong because the climate crisis needs continued investments into solar and wind.

For all three types of equity-based crowdfunding, the investments have a long-term perspective, the payout is in the future, and at that time the markets and economies might have recovered. So investors who took a hit in the stock market might look for these platforms to diversify their portfolio, so at least in the medium-term, we should see increased investor appetite.

The equity-based Crowdfunding platforms in Germany, the Netherlands and in Europe, in general, have responded to the challenge by increasing their capacity to onboard SMEs. The Austrian-German platform Conda created the #condahilft-Landing page and promised to reduce the fees on all SME funding rounds on their platform.

In many countries, we can see that the investors don’t only want a financial return, but want the projects to succeed. In the Netherlands, all the large equity-based crowdfunding platforms announced that their investors will agree to a grace period between 3-6 months in which the project or company doesn’t need to pay the interest and does not need to repay their loans.

Aescuvest, an equity-based crowdfunding platform based in Germany with a focus on health startups created a fast-track for start-ups developing vaccinations against Covid19 and is currently in the process of partnering with other equity-based Crowdfunding platforms in Germany.

Fundedbyme, a Swedish equity-based Crowdfunding platform, has opened its platform to include donations as well, which is a sign of the shifting business models of platforms.

In the Netherlands, the banks have access to a guarantee fund if loans get into default. This week Dutch crowdfunding platforms will also get access to these funds, providing additional support for individual crowdfunding investors. This will create additional support for companies that are now in need of attracting additional funding.

MORE:  Getting In Early: SEC Sees Growth In Equity Crowdfunding

Some of the lending platforms in Europe have announced a freeze on repayments, but there is not yet evidence that governments are supporting lending platforms to recoup these costs.

There is anecdotal evidence that investor appetite is decreasing on lending-platforms throughout Europe, with investor forums advising to shift peer-to-peer investment back towards cash and other more liquid assets and investors not willing to invest in new loans because of the uncertainty in the market. The numbers of people and companies seeking loans have increased on the platforms – the increased supply and decreased demand for investments into loans made it necessary that the owners of loans had to provide substantial rebates in order to sell off their portfolio. The interest rates on new loans have increased at many lending-based crowdfunding platforms. For the platforms, the next couple of weeks might be quite difficult, since often their fee structure is based on the repayment of the loans, not just on the intermediation.

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NCFA Jan 2018 resize - Facing disaster, corporate venture capital to undergo key stress test 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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Better Buy: Square vs. American Express

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Nasdaq Markets | | March 31, 2020

incumbent versus growth - Facing disaster, corporate venture capital to undergo key stress testAmid the market volatility, two financial services companies held investor presentations in the past several weeks. Digital payments ecosystem Square (NYSE: SQ) and financial services company American Express (NYSE: AXP) provided updates on the current market situation, and, more importantly, their long-term growth plans.

Both companies play in the financial services sector, but they are at different points in their growth cycles and appeal to different kinds of investors. Let's dive into the details and make a determination as to which is a better buy today.

See:  Growth in Canadian FinTechs Having Impact on Canada’s Banking Landscape

The companies at a glance

American Express was founded more than 150 years before Square, but it is only three times Square's size in market capitalization. For dividend and value-minded investors, the financial stalwart boasts almost a 2% yield and incredible bottom-line profits. But Square is growing faster and has more growth opportunity.

square versus american express - Facing disaster, corporate venture capital to undergo key stress test

Data from company SEC filings and Yahoo Finance. Table by author.

 

 

The case for Square

Square's stock has gotten slashed recently as small shops are suffering under shelter-in-place and closure orders for non-essential businesses. In its investor day meeting, company management indicated payment transactions have declined in March, lowered its guidance for the first quarter by about 2%, and retracted its outlook for the full year. Investors shouldn't be surprised, as it is really impossible to say how this outbreak will affect its business for the short term. But for the long term, the future is bright.

See:  Neobanks Can’t Fight the COVID-19 “Flight to Quality”

The company has grown through providing payment tools and an ecosystem for small businesses and entrepreneurs worldwide. But this innovative fintech has quietly added a second ecosystem for individuals around its Cash App. The Cash App allows individual users to initiate person-to-person payments, act as a bank account or credit card, buy stocks, and even process bitcoin transactions. Since its release in 2017, this has become a $1.1 billion annual revenue business, growing 157% from 2018. Square's brand and powerful easy-to-use software has been able to stand up this segment in record time and adds another $60 billion to its market opportunity.

In 2020, Square will start reporting its business in two segments, seller ecosystem and Cash App. Combined, these two opportunities provide a $160 billion addressable market. As for short-term viability concerns, there really aren't any. It had over $1 billion in cash and cash equivalents as of its last quarterly earnings report. After adding a recent $1 billion debt offering, the company is flush with cash to deal with an extended length of reduced economic activity or even a recession.

The case for American Express

American Express serves as a premium credit card offering for affluent consumers and cards and services for small and large corporate businesses. It has an incredible brand and, as a result, can charge more than its larger competitors. But in 2017, its revenue growth declined due to increased competition in the premium space and losing its long-time partnership with Costco Wholesale. After that difficult year, longtime executive Stephen Squeri took over as CEO in February 2018 and set a course for returning to growth.

See:  Amazon, Walmart, the Secret Battle for FinTech Supremacy: Part II

Squeri's focus and efforts to right the ship have paid off. Since he took over, the company has executed eight quarters of 9%-plus currency-adjusted revenue growth and adjusted earnings-per-share growth of 13% and 12% for 2018 and 2019 full-year results. It is the No. 1 small business card issuer in the U.S.. It serves over 60% of the Fortune 500 with its corporate expense cards, and its consumer cardholders spend about three times that of other networks.

For growth, it is focused on what it does best -- serving the premium consumer, strengthening its strategic partnerships, and expanding its presence internationally. Even though it is seeing weakness in its first-quarter billings, its $24 billion in cash and cash equivalents will allow the company to weather even an elongated downturn.

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NCFA Jan 2018 resize - Facing disaster, corporate venture capital to undergo key stress test 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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All businesses seeing 30% drop in revenue due to pandemic will be eligible for 75% wage subsidies: Trudeau

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CBC News | Kathleen Harris | March 30, 2020

justin trudeau funding for small businesses - Facing disaster, corporate venture capital to undergo key stress testPM warns of 'serious consequences' for companies that abuse the system

Businesses and non-profit organizations seeing a drop of at least 30 per cent in revenue due to COVID-19 will qualify for the government's 75 per cent wage subsidy program, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced today — adding that "serious consequences" await those who abuse the system.

During the daily media briefing outside his residence at Rideau Cottage, Trudeau said the number of people a business employs will not determine its eligibility. Charities and companies big and small will qualify, he said.

For those companies experiencing a decrease in revenues of at least 30 per cent, the government will cover up to 75 per cent of a salary on the first $58,700, which could mean payments of up to $847 a week. The prime minister also encouraged businesses to top up their employees wages with the remaining 25 per cent of their salaries.

Trudeau said the wage subsidies will be retroactive to March 15, 2020.

"We are trusting you to do the right thing," he said. "If you have the means to pay the remaining 25 per cent that is not covered by the subsidy, do it.  And if you think this is a system you can game or take advantage of, don't."

Trudeau said there will be measures in place to prevent exploitation but added that, in a time of "unprecedented" emergency, the government had to act quickly.

He said those who do take advantage of the program will face "stiff consequences" from society and the government.

See:  Neobanks Can’t Fight the COVID-19 “Flight to Quality”

The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) said it's pleased the government appears ready to keep the administrative requirements light to ensure the money flows swiftly.

"We stand ready to support government with any retroactive measures needed to address anyone found cheating the intent of this or other support programs," says a statement from CFIB.

While more details on the wage subsidy program are "urgently needed," the CFIB said the approach announced by Trudeau today will give "significant relief" to tens of thousands of employers and hundreds of thousands of employees.

"The decision to make the wage subsidy widely available to employers of all sizes and structures is the right approach given the unique nature of the COVID-19 pandemic," the statement reads. "The wage subsidy is the single best measure to help Canada prepare for a quick recovery the minute the emergency phase of the pandemic is over."

Delivering 'economic life support'

Aaron Wudrick, federal director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, said that while abuse of the program is likely, the government has no option but to deliver "economic life support" during the pandemic.

"They're blunt instruments, drawn up in a rush, but because speed is of the essence right now, there's not much alternative," he said.  "As long as measures are temporary, tracked and targeted as best as reasonably possible under the circumstances, I think that's about the best we can expect."

Wudrick said the government also should consider broader tax relief measures to help people weather the emergency.

Conservative small business and export promotion critic James Cumming said he welcomed the details Trudeau provided today, but added questions remain about when businesses can apply and when funds will flow.

See:  Canadian small businesses are facing extinction amid lockdowns

"There are also still two more recommendations Conservatives have made that the Liberals must implement that would support small businesses and workers, including refunding all GST remittances to the small businesses that collected them in at least the last six months, as well as backstopping banks that extend low interest loans to small businesses," he said in a statement.

The Canadian Chamber of Commerce also called it a good move, saying that it will help avoid high unemployment and the devastation it brings to local economies, while also preparing big companies to ramp back up quickly after the crisis subsides.

The decision to extend the wage subsidy to all businesses also removes potential administrative burdens or delays that could be caused by confusion over what constitutes a small or medium-sized business.

Trudeau said the government also promised to guarantee loans of up to $40,000 for small businesses which will be interest-free for the first year, as a way to help businesses "bridge to better times."

Under certain conditions, up to $10,000 of the loans could be non-repayable.

Trudeau also announced that GST and HST payments, as well as duties and taxes owed on imports, will be deferred until June, which he said amounts to $30 billion in interest-free loans to businesses.

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NCFA Jan 2018 resize - Facing disaster, corporate venture capital to undergo key stress test 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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Neobanks Can’t Fight the COVID-19 “Flight to Quality”

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Linkedin | Richard Turrin | March 29, 2020

death of dance - Facing disaster, corporate venture capital to undergo key stress testNeobanks are caught in the middle of a coronavirus induced "flight to quality" that they may not be able to fight. Investors are moving capital away from risk and toward the safety of larger incumbents. Preliminary figures from the Federal reserve show large cash movements into the larger incumbent banks, perhaps based on the belief that they are "too big to fail" and provide a haven for cash.

Neobanks are trying to gain deposits and user trust in what is now a very different market than when they launched, and their response to these changes in upcoming months will be critical. For the record, I like neobanks and think that they have had a profoundly positive influence in making banking services better for everyone.

See:  NorthOne announces Series A round of $21M USD

That said, their position as newcomers, heavy dependence on investor support, high valuations, and lack of profits puts some in the same category as WeWork. A cautionary comparison and perhaps an overstatement, but amid a financial crisis apropos. It’s now harder to see how ease of use will attract investors who are suddenly more worried about trust and safety.

Let's look at how neobanks are going to do in three critical areas, deposits, investors, and interest rates.

Increase in Deposits of Large U.S. Commercial Deposits 

covid 19 impact bank deposits US - Facing disaster, corporate venture capital to undergo key stress test

Source: Federal Reserve Data

The “flight to quality” is already hitting neobanks according to statistics just out from the Federal Reserve and is providing the first hints that the world has changed rather suddenly for neobanks.

Drilling more deeply into the Fed data shows why this is critical for neobanks. The chart below shows the weekly percentage gain in new deposits from 26 February through 18 March between large and small commercial banks. Large banks showed a monthly gain of 5.6% in deposit increases compared to 1.7% for small banks. More money poured into large banks than small. (Source: Bloomberg and Federal Reserve Data)

For perspective, this represents a remarkable 6-fold increase in deposits for large commercial banks, compared to the prior year. Of critical importance for neobanks is that investor’s preference for large banks more than doubled compared with last year. This should be terrifying for neobanks.

See:  The Cash Crisis: Why America’s financial plumbing has seized up

Clearly, this data is signaling that neobanks are going to have to fight even harder for deposits given a protracted period of economic turbulence. The problem is that they have limited tools to compete. The first is to offer higher interest on accounts, which we will see is becoming more expensive. The second is to provide other unknown new services, which cost time and money to develop. Additional expenses of any kind combined with reduced deposits will stress their business models and force them to go back to investors for more money. Investors may no longer have the funds to support them, or offer it at rates that severely challenge their operations.

V.C. Investors

The VC industry might actually be facing a disaster. Corporate venture capital activity is shown in the graph below and is far behind last year. Whether this trend continues and rises to the level of "disaster" remains to be seen, but it will undoubtedly impact neobanks dependent on funding to survive.

Neobanks have been either blessed or cursed, with a tremendous amount of easy money from deep-pocketed V.C. investors. Their business models require regular investment to acquire clients and scale as they operate at a loss. The party is over, and if SoftBank is any indicator, the market for both fundraising and investment is now clearly limited. Softbank’s second fund failed to meet its fundraising target, and it is now forced to sell down its investments rather than invest. While Softbank certainly doesn't represent the industry, its difficulties signal changing times.

No Disaster for Neobanks

I am not predicting disaster for neobanks. If ever there were nimble competitors able to stop and turn on a dime to meet a market challenge, it would be neobanks. In addition, the market for 100% digital non-branch based banking is exploding as a result of COVID-19. This trend won't end any time soon, and neobanks are perfectly positioned to capitalize on it.

See:  Facing disaster, corporate venture capital to undergo key stress test

The problem is that incumbents learned from neobanks in the past years and bettered their digital offerings to the point that the digital convenience gap they enjoyed is closing. That doesn't mean that clients actually -like- incumbent banks, they don't and find no joy doing business with them (see my articles in the references), but in times of market volatility, they want size and the perception of security it brings. Neobanks can't possibly fight this, and it will severely hamper their ability to draw clients away from incumbents and potentially force them to scale back their world-conquering ambitions.

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NCFA Jan 2018 resize - Facing disaster, corporate venture capital to undergo key stress test 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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