Category Archives: Fundraising and Investing

How I Raised $1 Million in 30 Days with Equity Crowdfunding

Entrepreneur | Murray Newlands | Dec 3, 2019

equity crowdfunding funding - How I Raised $1 Million in 30 Days with Equity CrowdfundingYou can raise a million, too. Here's how to be successful with equity crowdfunding.

There's an art to raising money for a startup. I recently joined Commerce AI as Chief Strategy Officer, and my role has two main functions: fundraising and marketing. My goal in the first 30 days was to raise a million dollars from crowdfunding. This can be a viable goal for your company as well. Here’s how.

Equity crowdfunding

Under the Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) act, there are a number of routes to crowdfunding. The starting point is a Form C round, which in essence means you can raise $1.07 million per year -- yes per year -- from non-accredited investors. This means anyone can invest over $250 at a time. This time we worked with accredited investors only but most people will start with a Form C round.

Architecting a New World: Investment Crowdfunding and Digital Assets

This model is like Kickstarter, but you give backers equity rather than a product. The equity can be a convertible note, a safe note or a fixed price round. If your goal is to raise more than $107,000, an independent CPA must review your company's financials for the past two fiscal years, or since incorporation.

Aligning the stars makes millions

You need to make sure that your startup is ready for fundraising. Smart investors on crowdfunding platforms look for a few key factors, and we had some of those.

It is all about the story. Investors want to invest in a company that is going to be a billion-dollar company. Do you have a credible path to becoming a billion-dollar company? For example, our CEO and founder had a successful previous exit. People like to back winners.

A strong team is also important. Ours is comprised of Stanford and MIT PhDs who have been working on AI technology to solve really hard problems.

Initial product/market fit is another thing investors want to see. We already had substantial revenue from major brand name customers like Unilever, Walmart, Rakuten, USPS, Chanel, Midea, Netgear, Cisco, and Coca Cola.

A sales process that’s growing that list of customers is also a big plus. We were nearly at break-even last quarter, which assured our investors that their money is safe with us.

No company can have all the boxes checked. But the more positive signals you have for investors, the better. Investors want as close to a sure thing as possible.

When fintech met crowdfunding

Creating a winning campaign

Several good equity crowdfunding platforms are available, such as StartEngine and Republic. We chose to use SeedInvest.

It’s important to create a convincing writeup and video explaining what you do and why people should invest. You should think of this as a landing that advertises your product, only you’re selling to investors rather than customers.

We focused on selling the opportunity and potential of the company, not the product. You might have an ingenious widget, but will your business become a billion-dollar company? It’s a big market out there, and investors need to be convinced that you’re going to be the winning business.

Pre-seeding the campaign

Because investors like to follow other investors, we pre-seeded a winning funding campaign. How? We had some investors with larger checks lined up to invest in the campaign. This enabled us to show strong initial traction when we launched. It also helps that crowdfunding platforms highlight companies that are gaining traction. This leads to attracting even more investors.

Getting In Early: SEC Sees Growth In Equity Crowdfunding

Always improving

Your campaign is never “done.” We kept working hard on improving our story. As a startup seeking investment, your goal is to sell your company’s potential for future growth. Getting that story absolutely right is very important. You should be practicing, thinking and brainstorming your story with as many people as possible. It should be something you’re always trying to improve.

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NCFA Jan 2018 resize - How I Raised $1 Million in 30 Days with Equity Crowdfunding 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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NOVACAP officially launches its new financial services fund

Novacap | Release | Dec 3, 2019

Novacap - How I Raised $1 Million in 30 Days with Equity CrowdfundingNovacap is the first private equity firm in Canada to launch a fund dedicated to financial services.

MONTREAL, Dec. 3, 2019 /PRNewswire/ - Novacap, one of Canada's leading private equity firms, announced the introduction of a new sector fund and its first closing. Novacap Financial Services I (the "Fund") gathered initial commitments of C$260 million, a strong start toward its target of C$500 million. A second group of institutional investors is expected to close in Q1 2020.

Driven by strong demand from new and existing investors, the Fund will be managed by three seasoned executives: Marcel Larochelle, as Managing Partner, as well as Rajiv Bahl and Alain Miquelon as Senior Partners. With a dedicated investment team, they will fully leverage Novacap's infrastructure and apply Novacap's proven investment methodology.

Novacap Financial Services I aims to invest in mid-market companies established in North America, with a focus on Canada, with strong growth potential.  Four segments are of particular interest: 1-specialty insurance and distribution, 2-asset and wealth management, 3-alternative lending and 4-financial infrastructure.

The Fund will make equity investments in order to support companies with their organic growth initiatives and to drive strategic acquisitions.

See:  Portag3 Ventures closes $320 million second fund focused on fintech investment

The Fund is backed by commitments from corporate and public pension funds, financial institutions, family offices and high net-worth individuals. "We are extremely pleased with the strong support received from our investors for this first close." said Mr. Marcel Larochelle, Managing Partner of Novacap Financial Services, "This is very timely, as we are currently pursuing some very attractive investment opportunities for the Fund."

"It is a historical event as we are the first private equity firm in Canada to launch a fund dedicated to financial services businesses" said Mr. Pascal Tremblay, President and CEO of Novacap, "The Financial Services fund addresses a significant need in the Canadian market that we have observed over the past few years.  I am very proud of the team that we have assembled, who made this possible."

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NCFA Jan 2018 resize - How I Raised $1 Million in 30 Days with Equity Crowdfunding 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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Stock markets are changing: Investors, companies and regulators must be prepared

OECD | Mats Isaksson | Nov 27, 2019

OECD equity market review Asia - How I Raised $1 Million in 30 Days with Equity Crowdfunding

27/11/2019 - Asia is rapidly growing into the world’s largest stock market. In 2018, 51% of all equity capital raised through initial public offerings (IPOs) went to Asian companies. Today more than half of the world’s listed companies are from Asia. This development is reshaping global stock market in several ways, according to a new OECD report:

  • Households outside of Asia have increased their investments in Asian companies through pension funds, mutual funds and other intermediaries;
  • it is increasingly common that listed companies are majority owned by the public sector or by other private companies; and
  • smaller growth companies from Asia are using capital markets to raise money more extensively than smaller companies from the rest of the world.

See:  Social equity must be central to urban tech innovations

OECD Equity Market Review of Asia 2019 says that Asian non-financial companies raised an annual average of USD 67 billion during the last decade. This means that they surpassed the combined amount of equity raised by companies from Europe and the United States.‌

The development in Asia is largely due to a significant increase in the use of public equity markets by companies from China. Chinese companies have been the most frequent users of IPOs during the past decade, making twice as many IPOs as the US companies. However, it is not all about China. India, Korea and Japan also rank among the top 10 economies globally when it comes to the number of new stock market listings. Notably, several emerging markets, such as Viet Nam, Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia, rank higher in terms of IPOs than most advanced economies. Many advanced economies have experienced a simultaneous decrease in the number of new listings and an increase in delistings. A development that inevitably has resulted in a decline in the overall number of publicly listed companies.

Another concern in many advanced economies is the changing character of the companies that use the stock markets. Historically, around 80% of all non-financial companies that made an IPO could be characterised as smaller “growth companies”. And it is a decrease in listings by these companies that to a large extent explains the overall decrease in the number of listed companies in advanced markets. In the United States, for example, the share of growth company listings compared to the total number of listings has declined from almost 80% during the period 1995-1999, to around 50% since 2000. A similar trend can be observed in Germany and to some extent in the United Kingdom.

Despite the decline in the number of listed companies, the total market value of listed companies to GDP has increased in many advanced economy markets over the recent years. This is largely because these markets host a smaller number of larger companies. The average market value of listed companies in some markets has actually doubled in real terms over the past two decades.

See:  Shifting from Institutions to Retail Clients — NYSE direct listings

Another important feature of today’s stock markets is that they have become more integrated and that a growing share of public equity investments are being made across borders. Continued strong IPO activity in Asia and an increasing weight of Asian companies in the global stock market indices would further increase the size of foreign equity portfolio investments in Asia. But Asian companies have also taken advantage of other means to directly attract new capital from abroad, notably through foreign listings. At the end of 2018, there were 600 Asian companies listed on foreign markets.

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NCFA Jan 2018 resize - How I Raised $1 Million in 30 Days with Equity Crowdfunding 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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Portag3 Ventures closes $320 million second fund focused on fintech investment

TechCrunch | Darrell Etherington | Dec 3, 2019

portage ventures - How I Raised $1 Million in 30 Days with Equity Crowdfunding

Canadian venture capital firm Portag3 Ventures has closed a second fund focused on investing in fintech startups, with final commitments from institutional and strategic LPs totally $427 million CAD (around $320 million USD). The fund will focus on early-stage investments, and it’ll look to invest in companies globally, but with a particular focus on Canada, the U.S., Europe and some markets in the Asia-Pacific region.

“We’re on a mission to build global champions from a Canadian base,” Portag3 CEO Adam Felesky told TechCrunch regarding the firm’s base of operations and investment targets. “Canada has the talent, the expertise and one of the biggest markets in the world directly to our south.

All the ingredients are there, we just need more success stories — and we are on our way to getting them. Success will breed more success. In order to understand what it takes to succeed globally, you need to invest and work with the best of the best from around the world.

Many of the early fintech unicorns are based in Europe on the back of substantive, helpful policy changes. Canada needs to learn from these examples so we get the right ingredients for building a leading, vibrant ecosystem — and we slowly but surely are.”

Contributors to this new fund include Alterna Savings and Credit Union, Aviva France, BDC Capital, Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, CNP Assurances, The Co-operators, Eldridge Industries, Green Shield Canada and more. The list includes a lot of strategic investors, including LPs from Portag3’s first $198 million CAD ($149 million USD) close for this fund, which was announced in October 2018.

Portag3’s Fund II has already been making investments prior to this final closing, and has already put money into KOHO, Clark, Integrate.ai and startup-builder Diagram Ventures, along with 13 other startups. Its first fund invested in a number of fintech-related companies, including Clearbanc, Drop, League and Wealthsimple, as well as some companies that have already exited, including Wave, Quovo and Zensurance.

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NCFA Jan 2018 resize - How I Raised $1 Million in 30 Days with Equity Crowdfunding 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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Shifting from Institutions to Retail Clients — NYSE direct listings

Future of Finance | Lex Sokolin | Dec 2, 2019

printing press - How I Raised $1 Million in 30 Days with Equity Crowdfunding

A core thesis I've held for a decade now is that personal finance -- what many in the industry call "end clients" -- is the tail wagging the dog. If you are a multi-billion dollar portfolio manager at KKR, or a multi-million dollar trader at Morgan Stanley, this might not be super obvious yet. The machinations of the high finance factory, with its blinking lights and massive bonuses, still feel like the primary activity in the industry. Once upon a time, so did the whirring of a newspaper printing press. But the examples keep piling up, and there is a way to draw a line that ends in an arrow, which points the way.

Take for example, the offering of shares to investors. The New York Stock Exchange is working on making direct listings more easily available to companies that want to go public. In short, more venture backed companies have been staying private longer, the average IPO size and cost of issuance have been going up, and the public/private market off-ramp is broken. Traditionally, investment banks intermediate private companies going public by building "liquidity" in the form of a willing book of public investors. Investor types include mutual funds, hedge funds, other banks and asset managers, and ultra high net worth investors. Maybe even some single-digit millionaires, grudgingly for the bankers of course.

See: 

It's a type of permitted market manipulation, where investment bankers often price the IPO at a discount, and the IPO purchasers often get to experience a "pop" in the price. Often -- but increasingly not at all. The breakdown of this carrot is causing private companies to re-think how they go to market. And by private companies, I mean venture investors at the top of the equity captable, like SoftBank. The failures of WeWork and Uber in the public market are key data points for this mental model.

Anyway, the large stock exchanges including NYSE and NASDAQ are exploring direct listings, which both Spotify and Slack recently used. What's a direct listing? To quote the Bloomberg article -- "Under a direct listing, a company makes its shares available for trading on a stock exchange without the formalities of a traditional IPO. That means no road show, no underwriter and no offering price". This implies that there is such built-in brand-demand that the stock starts trading without needing the guarantee of an underwriter. Popular companies are willing to take the jump and freefall into the market.

Remember Initial Coin Offerings, or its 2019 cousin Initial Exchange Offerings? Put aside your presumptions about regulation and desireability of the underlying asset. A direct listing is an Initial Exchange Offering. Or perhaps, an Initial Exchange Offering is a direct listing. You package up the investment asset, find an exchange with the largest network effect (in the crypto case, most certainly Binance; in the STO case, maybe CoinList or ConsenSys Digital Securities/Codefi), and lob it over into the ecosystem. Investors should be careful not to confuse the method of offering with the quality of the underlying investment. If all the good IPOs suddenly decided to list directly, direct listings would garner premier status. If all the good IPOs decided to tokenize and list on Coinbase (properly regulated), tokenized securities would garner premier status. This lemons problem is solvable, and direct listings are potentially the first step.

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NCFA Jan 2018 resize - How I Raised $1 Million in 30 Days with Equity Crowdfunding 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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Fintech Canada Directory Category: Wealthtech | Alternative Investing

 

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NCFA Jan 2018 resize - Fintech Canada Directory Category:  Wealthtech | Alternative Investing 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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Fintech Canada Directory Category: Capital Markets | DeFi | Crowdfinance

 

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NCFA Jan 2018 resize - How I Raised $1 Million in 30 Days with Equity Crowdfunding The National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association (NCFA Canada) is a financial innovation ecosystem that provides education, market intelligence, industry stewardship, networking and funding opportunities and services to thousands of community members and works closely with industry, government, partners and affiliates to create a vibrant and innovative fintech and funding industry in Canada. Decentralized and distributed, NCFA is engaged with global stakeholders and helps incubate projects and investment in fintech, alternative finance, crowdfunding, peer-to-peer finance, payments, digital assets and tokens, blockchain, cryptocurrency, regtech, and insurtech sectors. Join Canada's Fintech & Funding Community today FREE! Or become a contributing member and get perks. For more information, please visit: www.ncfacanada.org

Latest news - How I Raised $1 Million in 30 Days with Equity CrowdfundingFF Logo 400 v3 - How I Raised $1 Million in 30 Days with Equity Crowdfundingcommunity social impact - How I Raised $1 Million in 30 Days with Equity Crowdfunding
NCFA Newsletter subscribe600 - How I Raised $1 Million in 30 Days with Equity Crowdfunding

NCFA Fintech Confidential Issue 2 FINAL COVER - How I Raised $1 Million in 30 Days with Equity Crowdfunding