Category Archives: Marketplace Lending/P2P, Online Lending

VanFUNDING Brings Leading Blockchain, FinTech, RegTech, and Capital Innovation Experts to Vancouver #VF2018

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VANCOUVER, BC / ACCESSWIRE / November 15, 2018 / VanFUNDING 2018: CONVERGE, an annual innovation, technology and capital event organized by the National Crowdfunding and FinTech Association (NCFA), will take place in Vancouver on November 29-30 at Parq Vancouver.

The event showcases leading technologies and experts in blockchain, fintech, artificial intelligence and alternative finance that are making an impact on Canada, the capital markets and the world.

The event will feature over 50 speakers including Monique Morden, CEO of Judi.ai; Brady Fletcher, Managing Director, TSX Venture Exchange at TMX Group; Toufi Saliba, CEO of Toda.Network; Mark Wang, Director of Capital Market Regulation, BC Securities Commission; Paul Schulte, Managing Editor, Schulte Research; Rojin Nair, General Manager Fintech Solutions for Celero and more.

The event will also feature its annual pitching program that will award three "Front of the Line"Dragon's Den Golden Tickets and other prizes to the winning startups. Startups selected to pitch include Flux Network, Capiche Capital Technologies, Very Good Butcher, Squamish Canyon, Drive Hockey, Veme, Moca Estimator, Symend and HeyBryan.

As NCFA Canada CEO, Craig Asano states, ''We are witnessing unprecedented change that is already affecting our daily lives - how we interact with financial services, generate digital wealth, invest, evaluate, consume, vote, store, transfer, and purchase anything of value.''

The past year has been saturated with news about blockchain's capabilities and its potential to vastly alter traditional financial ecosystems. However, as Toufi Saliba, CEO of TODA Network, notes, ''The global penetration of [this technology] is less than 0.2 per cent, of which, the vast majority of blockchains are scams.'' While individuals should remain cautious about fraudulent businesses that have arisen from people looking to cash in on the hype, Saliba explains that the next wave of blockchain adoption and utilization will be ''like a tsunami, [where] you can partake in what's yet to be the most disruptive technology in human history, or ignore it and get disrupted."

This year's theme, CONVERGE, immerses participants in content covering new capital market innovation, decentralized models, computer intelligence, infrastructure, alternative investment opportunities and the evolution of the ICO and security token offering (STO).

''The ICO market has shifted towards securitized token offerings and we are pleased to be at the forefront of this change and enabling a true security token standard with Etherparty, which offers AML KYC controls on assets that are issued from financial institutions or companies looking to raise funds through equity financing,'' said Lisa Cheng, Founder and Head of R&D for Vanbex Group.

Save your spot: http://vanfunding.com/

Link to video: watch here

VanFUNDING wouldn't be possible without the generous support of The National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association of Canada (NCFA), Toda.Network, Judi.ai, Vanbex Group, Northern Block, FrontFundr, REITIUM, FintruX, Holt Accelerator, TIMIA Capital, JJ Human Capital, Schulte Research and more.

About the NCFA:

The National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association (NCFA) 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. Learn more About Us or visit www.ncfacanada.org.

Media Contact:

Brittany Whitmore
Exvera Communications Inc.
Brittany@exvera.com

SOURCE: National Crowdfunding Association of Canada

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VF2018 Silver Partner: FINTRUX NETWORK

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FintruX Network | Conrad Lin | November 7, 2018

Making Unsecured Loans Easy, Fast, and Highly Secure

FintruX Network is the true P2P lending ecosystem built on the blockchain, powered by credit enhancements and no-code generation. The platform makes it easy for borrowers to connect with reputable lenders and servicing agencies, save money with competitive interest rates, and get an affordable loan within minutes in a fair and transparent process without physical collateral. FintruX Network aims to disrupt the way unsecured loans are being originated and administered, making unsecured loans highly secure.

An unsecured loan is a loan that is not protected or secured by any asset. In this case the lender is taking a lot more risk and would likely charge a higher interest rate. The riskier the loan, the more expensive it will be. We are going to change that.

While pursuing traditional financing, small businesses do not have access to loans when they most need it. Banks prefer to lend cash on cash, and the loan amounts requested are usually too small for financial institutions to do efficiently. If a loan is procured from alternative financing sources, the interest rate is generally too high. Finance companies only utilize a few data sets to evaluate SME borrower worthiness resulting in poor representation of credit, and traditional p2p lenders offer high interest rates due to private equity backing. Additionally, capital that could have been invested in small business credit has been largely locked out of the market. Individual investors generally lack the size and access to directly invest in small business credit, and while institutional investors have had some access to this market, they lack the tools to customize portfolios to their specific risk tolerance.

See:  The lending revolution: How digital credit is changing banks from the inside

FintruX Network is comprised by a dynamic team of skilled professionals in strategy, commercial lending, operations, marketing, sales, and technology. Our technology is supported by Robocoder Corporation, which has over 20 years of enterprise software development experience. The technology team has been servicing the securitization industry in Canada since 1999, and is currently managing billions of dollars of assets for reputable banks and insurance companies. Our team is complimented with advisors and directors ranging from esteemed individuals who have held prominent positions such as managing director of Dun and Bradstreet Asia, and director of TNG Asia, chairman of the ELFA in USA, to leaders at various fortune 500 companies in the telecom, banking, and technology sectors.

We leverage our extensive expertise and technology to create an ecosystem of lenders, borrowers, and service agencies operating in a true peer-to-peer marketplace to reduce the friction of small business (SME) lending. Our platform makes unsecured financing easy, fast, and highly secure with credit enhancements, no-code generation, and an open ecosystem.


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


THANKS FOR #VF2018 VANCOUVER!
CHECK OUT THE PICS!


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

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NCFA Canada | Oct 13, 2018

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

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

Host: Manseeb Khan, NCFA, Fintech Fridays show host

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

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

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

 

Subscribe and tune in each Friday to check out the latest movers and shakers in fintech.

Listen to more Fintech Fridays podcasts here

 


Transcription of Interview

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

Ali Pourdad: Thanks for having me.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

End of Podcast

 

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THANKS FOR #VF2018 VANCOUVER!
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4th VanFUNDING 2018 Vancouver Conference: CONVERGE – Building Bridges and Capital with Emerging Blockchain, Fintech and AI Innovations on November 29-30, 2018

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NCFA Canada | Team VF2018 | Oct 5, 2018

VANCOUVER, Canada - (Oct 5, 2018): The National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association of Canada announces VanFUNDING 2018: CONVERGE, the leading 4th Annual financial technology and capital conference held in downtown Vancouver.

The expanded #VF2018 offers world-class education, funding and networking opportunities delivered via keynotes, TEDx-style presentations, panels, workshops, executive round tables, investor pitching, meeting exchanges and mentoring. #VF2018 will cover Fintech, Blockchain, Crypto, Artificial Intelligence, Crowd and Distributed Finance, Regtech, Payments, Digital banking, Identify and Security, International Trade, Alternative Investing and Innovation Finance and more, from a diverse range of perspectives.

This year’s theme, CONVERGE, immerses participants and builds bridges across the most disruptive emerging technologies, capital market innovations and key stakeholders that are powering new global markets, new decentralized models, new forms of computer intelligence, new IP, new infrastructure and new alternative investment opportunities toward the vision of a Web 3.0. 

#VF2018: CONVERGE will feature 1.5 days of immersive educational content, 50+ speakers, dragon’s den pitching program and a multitude of networking and partnership opportunities.  New to the program this year is a unique storytelling style that attendees will experience culminating into the co-creation of the first fintech digital pop-up magazine issue.

 “We are witnessing unprecedented change that is already affecting our daily lives - how we interact with financial services, generate digital wealth, invest, evaluate, consume, vote, and store, transfer and purchase anything of value.”  Craig Asano, Founding CEO, NCFA

If you are a fintech innovator, an investment professional or a company actively raising capital, or a key decision maker/stakeholder in technology and digital finance, #VF2018 is a must attend event bringing together fintech leaders, investors and emerging innovators from start-ups to scale-ups to government regulatory bodies and policy makers who have a vision for the future of finance.

Join Us in Vancouver!  VF2018 Links:

VanFUNDING 2018

AGENDA & SPEAKERS

Want to get involved?  Become a PARTNER

 


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


THANKS FOR #VF2018 VANCOUVER!
CHECK OUT THE PICS!


Bloomberg | Julie Verhage and Jennifer Surane | Dec 10, 2018 In 2018, a number of financial technology startups came into their own. Free trading platform Robinhood Markets Inc., for example, added new services and billions to its valuation. And Stripe Inc. was valued by investors at a price higher than the market caps of 249 of the companies on the S&P 500 Index. But the industry is also maturing and consolidating, and larger industry players, hoping not to be left behind by the new era of digital finance, are stepping up their hunt for acquisitions. What should we be on the lookout for in 2019? According to the fintech pros surveyed by Bloomberg—more deals, swirling IPO rumors and a continued steady stream of checks from venture capitalists. Here’s a wrap from industry experts. (Quotes have been lightly edited for clarity and length.) See:  OSC Seeks Applications for Fintech Advisory Committee IPOs looming Up to this point, financial technology startups have been hesitant to enter the public markets. And who can blame them? Most fintech companies that have gone public in recent years have seen their share prices tumble, and ample venture capital funding has buffered balance sheets. Still, a major IPO ...
Read More
Experts predict the five big fintech trends of 2019
Coinsquare release | Dec 6, 2018 The acquisition was closed for $12 million CAD and brings the leading cryptocurrency wallet on the Stellar platform into the Coinsquare ecosystem TORONTO, Dec. 6, 2018 /CNW/ - Today Coinsquare, Canada's premier cryptocurrency trading platform for trading Bitcoin, Ethereum, and other cryptocurrencies, announced it has acquired BlockEQ, the leading cryptocurrency wallet on the Stellar network. Coinsquare purchased BlockEQ for $12 million CAD and will leverage BlockEQ's technology to help Coinsquare and its users connect further with the world of cryptocurrencies. See:  House Finance Committee Urges Canadian Government to Regulate Cryptocurrencies "We have enormous respect for what the BlockEQ team brings to Coinsquare," said Cole Diamond, CEO of Coinsquare. "They are one of Canada's best tech teams, and the product they've built is immensely valuable. That combination in partnership with Coinsquare's technology and team means that we have the opportunity to build amazing things for the cryptocurrency community in Canada and far beyond." BlockEQ, which was co-founded by Jonathan Lister, Megha Bambra and Satraj Bambra, is a cryptocurrency wallet that empowers users to buy, trade, and hold cryptocurrencies in a secure manner. It allows for the tokenization of crypto assets in order to allow them ...
Read More
Coinsquare acquires BlockEQ to expand its cryptocurrency offerings
OSC Release | Dec 6, 2018 TORONTO – The Ontario Securities Commission (OSC) is seeking applications for membership on its Fintech Advisory Committee (FAC). The FAC advises OSC LaunchPad staff on developments in the fintech space and the challenges faced by start-ups in the securities industry.  OSC LaunchPad is a dedicated team that engages with fintech businesses, provides guidance and flexibility in navigating securities regulatory requirements, and works to keep regulation in step with digital innovation. The FAC will meet quarterly, with additional meetings as required. The FAC is chaired by Pat Chaukos, Deputy Director, OSC LaunchPad, and will consist of up to 15 members. Membership terms will be for one year.  Members will be selected based on whether they have direct experience in one or more of the following: Digital platforms (e.g., crowdfunding portals, crypto-asset trading platforms, online advisers); Crypto-assets or distributed ledger technologies (e.g., blockchain); Data science or artificial intelligence (AI); Venture capital, financial services, securities, legal or accounting experience with a focus on the fintech or technology sector; Fintech or technology entrepreneurship; Compliance or regulatory technology (RegTech) solutions; or Cryptography or cybersecurity. See:  OSC outlines key areas of focus for 2018-2019 Interested parties should submit a résumé indicating their ...
Read More
OSC Seeks Applications for Fintech Advisory Committee
Coindesk | Nikhilesh De | Nov 30, 2018 Members of VanEck, SolidX and the Cboe BZX Exchange met with U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) staff earlier this week to present a new argument on why the bitcoin market is ready for an exchange-traded fund (ETF). In the latest push to convince the regulator to approve a rule change which would open the door for the country’s first bitcoin ETF, the three firms met with the SEC’s Division of Corporation Finance, Division of Trading and Markets, Division of Economic and Risk Analysis and Office of General Counsel. Notably, Monday’s effort differed from previous presentations, which took more of a regulatory focus. See:  OSC approves Canada’s first blockchain ETF Instead, the proponents’ argument centered around the idea that the bitcoin market is mature enough to support an ETF, and at present looks similar to markets for other assets which already have such products. The presentation gave several examples of assets that already have ETFs, including crude oil, silver and gold. The presentation specifically tied the idea of futures markets with spot markets, noting that for money substitutes such as gold and silver, this connection between the two can be proven with empirical ...
Read More
Bitcoin ETF Seekers Met With SEC Monday In Latest Pitch for Approval
Investment Executive | By James Langton | Nov 23, 2018 Many hurdles remain for the CMRA before it becomes a reality Canada’s regulatory landscape faces a transformation as politics, shifting priorities and new legal realities push the investment industry’s overseers in new directions. Most obviously, the prospect of a fundamental reshaping of the regulatory framework in Canada now is, at least, a possibility – given the Supreme Court of Canada’s (SCC) long-awaited decision on Nov. 9, which reversed a lower court’s ruling in Quebec, that declared that a proposed federal/provincial model for a co-operative capital markets regulator is constitutional. But while this decision knocks down a basic legal obstacle for the new model for overseeing the securities industry, that doesn’t mean that the adoption of a co-operative regulator is imminent – or even inevitable. Indeed, the SCC’s decision hints at the significance of the hurdles that still must be cleared before the proposed Capital Markets Regulatory Authority (CMRA) can become a reality in Canada. Although the SCC has found that the proposed CMRA model is constitutional, that doesn’t necessarily mean it is a good idea. “It’s up to the provinces to determine whether participation is in their best interests,” the ...
Read More
Not yet a done deal
Forbes | Lawrence Wintermeyer | Dec 2, 2018 If your professional interests take you to the crossroads of financial services, regulation, compliance, and digital - especially data analytics and machine learning - which altogether is known as regtech, you are in the right place. You are part of statistically small and very geek-oriented professional community, but you know this, and though you might choose not to admit this to strangers at this year's festive parties for fear of causing great pain by boredom, you are in good company with this Contributor and my interviewee. I first met Jo Ann Barefoot when I was chairing the U.K. Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) Industry Sandbox Consultation, where she provided excellent guidance and insights. Jo Ann is one of the most dedicated and busiest advocates of the regtech space on the planet and is truly outstanding in both her knowledge and passion in this area. She dedicates her time to a number of global bodies and initiatives related to regtech: she is a Senior Fellow Emerita at the Harvard Kennedy School Center for Business & Government, a Senior Advisor to the Omidyar network, sits on the fintech advisory committee for FINRA, is an Executive Board Member of the International RegTech ...
Read More
A Regulation Revolution In Financial Services
NCFA Canada | Nov 23, 2018 JOIN US ON A STORYTELLING JOURNEY EVERY FRIDAY. Ep19-Nov 23:  Future of Business Tokenization - How Blockchain Challenges Concept of Money About this episode:   On this episode, NCFA Fintech Friday's host Manseeb Khan sits down with Alan Wunsche the CEO of TokenFunder. They chat about ICO's funding startups, tokenization of businesses and buying real estate through tokens. Enjoy! The future of business tokenization How tokenization is going to disrupt real estate and auto industry How blockchain challenges the concept of money Host: Manseeb Khan, NCFA, Fintech Fridays show host Guest:  ALAN WUNSCHE, Founder and CEO, TokenFunder (view Linkedin) Bio:  Alan Wunsche is CEO & Chief Token Officer of TokenFunder, a regulatory-compliant blockchain venture funding platform with Ontario's first regulated Initial Token Offering. He is also Chair & Co-Founder of Blockchain Canada, a Canadian federal not-for-profit corporation with a mission to connect Canadian Blockchain Innovators and to help Canada be a leader in blockchain technology. Alan is a finance technologist focused on new blockchain business models and the disruptive impacts of blockchain on global wealth distribution. He brings hands-on technology experience as a finance and risk transformation executive at a global bank (Scotiabank), management consulting (Deloitte, PwC), and ...
Read More
FINTECH FRIDAY$ (EP.19-Nov 23):  Future of Business Tokenization - How Blockchain Challenges Concept of Money with Alan Wunsche, Founder and CEO, Token Funder
CBC News | Nov 23, 2018 More than 3,000 people contributed to campaign to buy new installation from renowned Japanese artist LET'S SURVIVE FOREVER. That's the name of the infinity mirrored room the Art Gallery of Ontario plans to purchase from world-renowned artist Yayoi Kusama — that is, if its crowdfunding campaign is successful. And yes, it's always spelled in all-caps, the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) said. Over 3,000 people have already chipped in a contribution to permanently acquire the brand new Kusama installation, even though they hadn't seen it until now. The AGO said its campaign has brought in around half of the $1.3 million it needs to buy the work, but it's hoping more people donate on next week's "Giving Tuesday," a day devoted to donations following "Black Friday" shopping. Here's a look inside the room: The major installation, which will be given a special place at the downtown Toronto gallery, features mirrored orbs on the ground and suspended from the ceiling — similar to the work Narcissus Garden, which dominated a large room in the AGO during last year's ultra-popular Kusama exhibit. There's also a mirrored rectangular column inside the LED-lit room, which creates what's said to feel like an infinity room inside an infinity room ...
Read More
Art Gallery of Ontario shows off the Yayoi Kusama infinity room it's crowdfunding to buy
CNBC | Eric C. Jansen, president and chief investment officer of Finivi | Oct 31, 2018 The many big companies disrupted by blockchain have now made it a priority to harness this technology. Large firms such as Accenture, Facebook, Google, IBM and Microsoft are developing patented products and services based on blockchain's digital-ledger open-source technology that can be accessed and adapted by anyone. Ironically, the whole raison d'etre of blockchain is to circumvent the very type of centralized authority these traditional tech companies represent. Development efforts in both private and public blockchain are seeking to forge new business models. As is typically the case when faced with disruption, large companies are seeking to defend their territory by adopting the very tool that threatens them. With blockchain there's a lot at stake. The global market for blockchain-related products and services is about $700 million and is projected to exceed $60 billion annually in 2024, according to Wintergreen Research. Among the big corporate blockchain players are Accenture, Facebook, Google, IBM and Microsoft. These firms are developing products and services based on blockchain's digital-ledger open-source technology that can be accessed and adapted by anyone. Blockchain enables global transactions between parties without going through ...
Read More
Blockchain's potential will continue to spur public and private investment
CFO Innovation | by Eric Cheung, Unit4 Asia Pacific | March 15, 2018 The world as we know it is changing. Rapid technological advancements are altering industries and creating new market opportunities. As the business world accelerates towards what arguably is looking like an everything-as-a-service (XaaS) economy, the next few years will be pivotal for finance departments in making the transformations necessary to update their service offerings and deliver service excellence. Several trends are converging over the next few years that could set the stage for a service-economy shift that will keep CFOs more than ever in the driving seat. This year, 2018, may turn out to be an important turning point for the finance function as three disruptive technologies begin to be widely adopted – as the finance function of Unit4 Asia Pacific, which I lead as CFO, is finding out. In the finance function, we are developing blockchain-enabled distributed ledgers that we plan to link to our Unit4 Financials single-ledger system in 2018 Blockchain and Self-Driving Finance As the foundation of cryptocurrencies, blockchain has already played a vital role in next-generation finance tools. It is also gaining traction in a wide range of industries across Asia Pacific. In ...
Read More
A Tech CFO on Three Disruptive Technologies Transforming Finance

 

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Where to Find Startup Loans in 2018

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LendingArch | Lewis Mudrich | Oct 4, 2018

If you need some funding for your small business then you may be wondering where to start, as well as how to find, the best options and most competitive rates (especially when you’re browsing through small business loan options).

Indeed, getting funding for your startup can seem like a daunting task. At the same time, there are a variety of financing options available if you know where to look. Luckily, we’ve done the research for you.

Here is where you can find the best small business loans in 2018:

Startup financing loans

Canadian startups can apply for a startup financing loan through the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC). This loan is specifically designed for startups in the first 12 months of business and can be used to help launch and grow the business.

According to the bank’s website, the loan can be used for:

  • Working capital to supplement an existing line of credit
  • Fixed assets
  • Fund marketing and startup fees
  • A franchise purchase
  • Advisory services

In order to qualify for a BDC loan, you must have a business plan in place, have experience in your field, provide personal and credit references, and show market potential. You can apply for a BDC startup loan here.

Microloans

Does your business have a social enterprise slant and community focus? You may be able to get approved for microloans from Community Micro Lending. You can apply for the lender’s “Start-Up Loan” of up to $5,000 or, if you’ve been in business for more than a year, you may be eligible for an Expansion Loan of up to $10,000. In order to qualify for this microloan program, you must be an aspiring or current entrepreneur located in the Southwest BC area.

If you’re working on a green business or green technology startup, you can also check out Microloans for green business. For example, the Vancouver City Savings Credit Union offers startup loans of up to $35,000 and expansion loans of up to $70,000.

There’s also the ACCESS Community Capital Fund that can provide loans of up to $5,000. The ACCESS Community Capital Fund is a Canadian Registered Charity that helps business owners access microloans. Some other microloan programs include the Ottawa Community Loan Fund, The Alterna Savings Community Micro-Finance Program, and ACEM Microcrédit Montréal.

Keep in mind that microloan opportunities can vary based on province so be sure to look for programs in your area.

Government financing

If you want to get your startup off the ground, you’ll be happy to learn that there are many different government financing options available.

The Government of Canada, for example, offers several different types of small business loans. These vary depending on industry, demographics, and location. For example, loans range from the Aboriginal Business and Entrepreneurship Development financing to FACTOR funding for the sound recording industry - and lots of options in-between.

To find out what’s available, look at programs that you are eligible for - based on your region - as well as certain demographic groups that you may belong to. Be sure to do your research and make sure you meet the eligibility requirements before applying for a loan.

Credit cards

Now, here’s a lending option that you may already have access to: your credit card. While credit cards aren’t an ideal funding source, you can use them if you need to purchase products and equipment for your business - perhaps while applying for other small business loans. Just be aware: credit cards may have sky-high interest rates. With that said, there are special business credit cards  that may be a good fit for what you need.

Check out:  4th Annual VanFUNDING 2018:  CONVERGE Conference, Nov 29-30 in downtown Vancouver

Credit cards should be the last business funding option as you certainly don’t want to incur insurmountable debt at a high interest rate. Not only that but the repayment terms may not be that flexible. On the other card, a business credit card can help you manage short-term cash flow issues.

Crowdfunding

The internet isn’t just about cat memes and popular catch-phrases, it’s also a place to get money for your startup. Using the power of crowdfunding, you can utilize your network and the vastness of the internet to get your message and business out there and make some money.

Using sites like Kickstarter, IndieGoGo and specialized platforms like iFund Women (you guessed it: for female founders!) you can share information about your project and garner support from friends, family, and colleagues. Usually these sites take a fee for posting your project page, but the money you can raise will hopefully offset those fees. For more comprehensive options, check out this crowdfunding directory.

Family and friends

If you’re lucky, you may have a family member or friend who is willing to provide funds to help you with your startup costs. On one hand, this can be great as there is less red tape and hassle to get you your much-needed cash. On the other hand, if things go awry, you may lose more than your investment.

If you go this route, be sure to treat it like a business relationship. Create a contract and have a payment schedule that works for both of you. It’s important that both parties feel comfortable in this situation - it’s not just about getting your hands on the cash.

Small business loans from online lenders

If you can’t get approved for a traditional bank loan and you don’t want to hit up your friends and family, you still have another great option for a small business loan. You can apply for a loan through an online lender.

For example, LendingArch helps startup founders and small business owners compare loan options effortlessly and easily. You can compare your options in a matter of seconds and the application process is simple. On top of that, LendingArch doesn’t require any collateral for your startup loan and offers flexible repayment schedules to accommodate your business.

Better yet: when applying for a small business loan online through LendingArch, you won’t find the same restrictions you typically encounter with other loans. So, if you need funding to start your company or expand your business, we’ve got you covered.

There are no hidden fees, rates are competitive rates, and you can create a company profile in mere minutes. From there, you can start an application to see which small business loans are available to you.

See:  How Fintech Is Transforming Microfinance

Bottom line

If you’re a startup founder looking for funding for your business, there are many options out there. Using this guide, you can check out the various resources that are available to you and find a small business loan that suits your needs. But remember: be sure to apply for a loan with reasonable interest rates and repayment terms. This way you can pay back the loan on terms that work for you while focusing on growing your business.

Interested in checking out your startup loan options? Compare small business loans at LendingArch!

 


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

Bloomberg | Julie Verhage and Jennifer Surane | Dec 10, 2018 In 2018, a number of financial technology startups came into their own. Free trading platform Robinhood Markets Inc., for example, added new services and billions to its valuation. And Stripe Inc. was valued by investors at a price higher than the market caps of 249 of the companies on the S&P 500 Index. But the industry is also maturing and consolidating, and larger industry players, hoping not to be left behind by the new era of digital finance, are stepping up their hunt for acquisitions. What should we be on the lookout for in 2019? According to the fintech pros surveyed by Bloomberg—more deals, swirling IPO rumors and a continued steady stream of checks from venture capitalists. Here’s a wrap from industry experts. (Quotes have been lightly edited for clarity and length.) See:  OSC Seeks Applications for Fintech Advisory Committee IPOs looming Up to this point, financial technology startups have been hesitant to enter the public markets. And who can blame them? Most fintech companies that have gone public in recent years have seen their share prices tumble, and ample venture capital funding has buffered balance sheets. Still, a major IPO ...
Read More
Experts predict the five big fintech trends of 2019
Coinsquare release | Dec 6, 2018 The acquisition was closed for $12 million CAD and brings the leading cryptocurrency wallet on the Stellar platform into the Coinsquare ecosystem TORONTO, Dec. 6, 2018 /CNW/ - Today Coinsquare, Canada's premier cryptocurrency trading platform for trading Bitcoin, Ethereum, and other cryptocurrencies, announced it has acquired BlockEQ, the leading cryptocurrency wallet on the Stellar network. Coinsquare purchased BlockEQ for $12 million CAD and will leverage BlockEQ's technology to help Coinsquare and its users connect further with the world of cryptocurrencies. See:  House Finance Committee Urges Canadian Government to Regulate Cryptocurrencies "We have enormous respect for what the BlockEQ team brings to Coinsquare," said Cole Diamond, CEO of Coinsquare. "They are one of Canada's best tech teams, and the product they've built is immensely valuable. That combination in partnership with Coinsquare's technology and team means that we have the opportunity to build amazing things for the cryptocurrency community in Canada and far beyond." BlockEQ, which was co-founded by Jonathan Lister, Megha Bambra and Satraj Bambra, is a cryptocurrency wallet that empowers users to buy, trade, and hold cryptocurrencies in a secure manner. It allows for the tokenization of crypto assets in order to allow them ...
Read More
Coinsquare acquires BlockEQ to expand its cryptocurrency offerings
OSC Release | Dec 6, 2018 TORONTO – The Ontario Securities Commission (OSC) is seeking applications for membership on its Fintech Advisory Committee (FAC). The FAC advises OSC LaunchPad staff on developments in the fintech space and the challenges faced by start-ups in the securities industry.  OSC LaunchPad is a dedicated team that engages with fintech businesses, provides guidance and flexibility in navigating securities regulatory requirements, and works to keep regulation in step with digital innovation. The FAC will meet quarterly, with additional meetings as required. The FAC is chaired by Pat Chaukos, Deputy Director, OSC LaunchPad, and will consist of up to 15 members. Membership terms will be for one year.  Members will be selected based on whether they have direct experience in one or more of the following: Digital platforms (e.g., crowdfunding portals, crypto-asset trading platforms, online advisers); Crypto-assets or distributed ledger technologies (e.g., blockchain); Data science or artificial intelligence (AI); Venture capital, financial services, securities, legal or accounting experience with a focus on the fintech or technology sector; Fintech or technology entrepreneurship; Compliance or regulatory technology (RegTech) solutions; or Cryptography or cybersecurity. See:  OSC outlines key areas of focus for 2018-2019 Interested parties should submit a résumé indicating their ...
Read More
OSC Seeks Applications for Fintech Advisory Committee
Coindesk | Nikhilesh De | Nov 30, 2018 Members of VanEck, SolidX and the Cboe BZX Exchange met with U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) staff earlier this week to present a new argument on why the bitcoin market is ready for an exchange-traded fund (ETF). In the latest push to convince the regulator to approve a rule change which would open the door for the country’s first bitcoin ETF, the three firms met with the SEC’s Division of Corporation Finance, Division of Trading and Markets, Division of Economic and Risk Analysis and Office of General Counsel. Notably, Monday’s effort differed from previous presentations, which took more of a regulatory focus. See:  OSC approves Canada’s first blockchain ETF Instead, the proponents’ argument centered around the idea that the bitcoin market is mature enough to support an ETF, and at present looks similar to markets for other assets which already have such products. The presentation gave several examples of assets that already have ETFs, including crude oil, silver and gold. The presentation specifically tied the idea of futures markets with spot markets, noting that for money substitutes such as gold and silver, this connection between the two can be proven with empirical ...
Read More
Bitcoin ETF Seekers Met With SEC Monday In Latest Pitch for Approval
Investment Executive | By James Langton | Nov 23, 2018 Many hurdles remain for the CMRA before it becomes a reality Canada’s regulatory landscape faces a transformation as politics, shifting priorities and new legal realities push the investment industry’s overseers in new directions. Most obviously, the prospect of a fundamental reshaping of the regulatory framework in Canada now is, at least, a possibility – given the Supreme Court of Canada’s (SCC) long-awaited decision on Nov. 9, which reversed a lower court’s ruling in Quebec, that declared that a proposed federal/provincial model for a co-operative capital markets regulator is constitutional. But while this decision knocks down a basic legal obstacle for the new model for overseeing the securities industry, that doesn’t mean that the adoption of a co-operative regulator is imminent – or even inevitable. Indeed, the SCC’s decision hints at the significance of the hurdles that still must be cleared before the proposed Capital Markets Regulatory Authority (CMRA) can become a reality in Canada. Although the SCC has found that the proposed CMRA model is constitutional, that doesn’t necessarily mean it is a good idea. “It’s up to the provinces to determine whether participation is in their best interests,” the ...
Read More
Not yet a done deal
Forbes | Lawrence Wintermeyer | Dec 2, 2018 If your professional interests take you to the crossroads of financial services, regulation, compliance, and digital - especially data analytics and machine learning - which altogether is known as regtech, you are in the right place. You are part of statistically small and very geek-oriented professional community, but you know this, and though you might choose not to admit this to strangers at this year's festive parties for fear of causing great pain by boredom, you are in good company with this Contributor and my interviewee. I first met Jo Ann Barefoot when I was chairing the U.K. Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) Industry Sandbox Consultation, where she provided excellent guidance and insights. Jo Ann is one of the most dedicated and busiest advocates of the regtech space on the planet and is truly outstanding in both her knowledge and passion in this area. She dedicates her time to a number of global bodies and initiatives related to regtech: she is a Senior Fellow Emerita at the Harvard Kennedy School Center for Business & Government, a Senior Advisor to the Omidyar network, sits on the fintech advisory committee for FINRA, is an Executive Board Member of the International RegTech ...
Read More
A Regulation Revolution In Financial Services
NCFA Canada | Nov 23, 2018 JOIN US ON A STORYTELLING JOURNEY EVERY FRIDAY. Ep19-Nov 23:  Future of Business Tokenization - How Blockchain Challenges Concept of Money About this episode:   On this episode, NCFA Fintech Friday's host Manseeb Khan sits down with Alan Wunsche the CEO of TokenFunder. They chat about ICO's funding startups, tokenization of businesses and buying real estate through tokens. Enjoy! The future of business tokenization How tokenization is going to disrupt real estate and auto industry How blockchain challenges the concept of money Host: Manseeb Khan, NCFA, Fintech Fridays show host Guest:  ALAN WUNSCHE, Founder and CEO, TokenFunder (view Linkedin) Bio:  Alan Wunsche is CEO & Chief Token Officer of TokenFunder, a regulatory-compliant blockchain venture funding platform with Ontario's first regulated Initial Token Offering. He is also Chair & Co-Founder of Blockchain Canada, a Canadian federal not-for-profit corporation with a mission to connect Canadian Blockchain Innovators and to help Canada be a leader in blockchain technology. Alan is a finance technologist focused on new blockchain business models and the disruptive impacts of blockchain on global wealth distribution. He brings hands-on technology experience as a finance and risk transformation executive at a global bank (Scotiabank), management consulting (Deloitte, PwC), and ...
Read More
FINTECH FRIDAY$ (EP.19-Nov 23):  Future of Business Tokenization - How Blockchain Challenges Concept of Money with Alan Wunsche, Founder and CEO, Token Funder
CBC News | Nov 23, 2018 More than 3,000 people contributed to campaign to buy new installation from renowned Japanese artist LET'S SURVIVE FOREVER. That's the name of the infinity mirrored room the Art Gallery of Ontario plans to purchase from world-renowned artist Yayoi Kusama — that is, if its crowdfunding campaign is successful. And yes, it's always spelled in all-caps, the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) said. Over 3,000 people have already chipped in a contribution to permanently acquire the brand new Kusama installation, even though they hadn't seen it until now. The AGO said its campaign has brought in around half of the $1.3 million it needs to buy the work, but it's hoping more people donate on next week's "Giving Tuesday," a day devoted to donations following "Black Friday" shopping. Here's a look inside the room: The major installation, which will be given a special place at the downtown Toronto gallery, features mirrored orbs on the ground and suspended from the ceiling — similar to the work Narcissus Garden, which dominated a large room in the AGO during last year's ultra-popular Kusama exhibit. There's also a mirrored rectangular column inside the LED-lit room, which creates what's said to feel like an infinity room inside an infinity room ...
Read More
Art Gallery of Ontario shows off the Yayoi Kusama infinity room it's crowdfunding to buy
CNBC | Eric C. Jansen, president and chief investment officer of Finivi | Oct 31, 2018 The many big companies disrupted by blockchain have now made it a priority to harness this technology. Large firms such as Accenture, Facebook, Google, IBM and Microsoft are developing patented products and services based on blockchain's digital-ledger open-source technology that can be accessed and adapted by anyone. Ironically, the whole raison d'etre of blockchain is to circumvent the very type of centralized authority these traditional tech companies represent. Development efforts in both private and public blockchain are seeking to forge new business models. As is typically the case when faced with disruption, large companies are seeking to defend their territory by adopting the very tool that threatens them. With blockchain there's a lot at stake. The global market for blockchain-related products and services is about $700 million and is projected to exceed $60 billion annually in 2024, according to Wintergreen Research. Among the big corporate blockchain players are Accenture, Facebook, Google, IBM and Microsoft. These firms are developing products and services based on blockchain's digital-ledger open-source technology that can be accessed and adapted by anyone. Blockchain enables global transactions between parties without going through ...
Read More
Blockchain's potential will continue to spur public and private investment
CFO Innovation | by Eric Cheung, Unit4 Asia Pacific | March 15, 2018 The world as we know it is changing. Rapid technological advancements are altering industries and creating new market opportunities. As the business world accelerates towards what arguably is looking like an everything-as-a-service (XaaS) economy, the next few years will be pivotal for finance departments in making the transformations necessary to update their service offerings and deliver service excellence. Several trends are converging over the next few years that could set the stage for a service-economy shift that will keep CFOs more than ever in the driving seat. This year, 2018, may turn out to be an important turning point for the finance function as three disruptive technologies begin to be widely adopted – as the finance function of Unit4 Asia Pacific, which I lead as CFO, is finding out. In the finance function, we are developing blockchain-enabled distributed ledgers that we plan to link to our Unit4 Financials single-ledger system in 2018 Blockchain and Self-Driving Finance As the foundation of cryptocurrencies, blockchain has already played a vital role in next-generation finance tools. It is also gaining traction in a wide range of industries across Asia Pacific. In ...
Read More
A Tech CFO on Three Disruptive Technologies Transforming Finance

 

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The lending revolution: How digital credit is changing banks from the inside

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McKinsey&Company | By Gerald Chappell, Holger Harreis + | Aug 2018

Faster credit decisions, vastly improved customer experience, 40 percent lower costs, and a more secure risk profile. Here’s how to get there.

Today in traditional banks, the average “time to decision” for small business and corporate lending is between three and five weeks.1 Average “time to cash” is nearly three months. In our view, these times will soon seem as antiquated and unacceptable as the three weeks it once took to cross the Atlantic. Leading banks have embraced the digital-lending revolution, bringing “time to yes” down to five minutes, and time to cash to less than 24 hours.

That’s the profound result of a top priority for banks around the world: the digital transformation of end-to-end credit journeys, including the customer experience and supporting credit processes. Credit is at the heart of most customer relationships, and digitizing it offers significant advantages to banks and customers alike. For the bank, successful transformations enhance revenue growth and achieve significant cost savings. One large European bank increased win rates by a third and average margins by over 50 percent as a result of slashing its time to yes on small- and medium-enterprise (SME) lending from 20 days to less than ten minutes, far outpacing the competition. Our analysis suggests that a bank with a balance sheet of $250 billion could capture as much as $230 million in annual profit, of which just over half derives from cost efficiencies (such as less “touch time” and lower cost of risk), and the remainder comes from revenue gains (increased applications, higher win rates, and better pricing). In this article, we will look at the six design principles that successful banks have used to build digital-lending capabilities and transform their institutions.

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The variety of digital ambition

As digitization proceeds apace, the dimensions of banks’ digital ambitions vary among segments and products. Digitization is becoming the norm for retail credit processes. Personal-loan applications can now be submitted with a few swipes on a mobile phone, and time to cash can be as short as a few minutes. Mortgage lending is more complex due to regulatory constraints, yet banks in many developed markets have managed to digitize large parts of the mortgage journey. More than one bank has set an aspiration to automate 95 percent of retail underwriting decisions.

Banks are now treating SME lending as a digital priority. The reasons are clear: costs are high, and the opportunities to improve customer experience are significant. Furthermore, both traditional banks and fintechs already offer compelling digital propositions in SME lending, featuring dramatically shorter approval and disbursement times—a key factor for customers when choosing a lender.

Digital is also advancing in corporate lending, though naturally corporate banks are moving with greater caution and less urgency (given the relatively lower transaction volumes in this segment). Rather than reworking the entire customer experience, banks are enhancing common processes—for example, digitizing credit proposal papers and automating annual reviews to improve both time to yes and “quality of yes.”

Some banks’ digital strategies let corporate-transaction approvers focus their time on those clients and deals that matter the most. Low-risk credit-line renewals, for example, can be automated, while valuable human review time is focused on more complex or riskier deals. And data aggregation can be automated so that relationship managers (RMs) have the most relevant data and risk-monitoring scores at their fingertips—including financial performance, industry performance, market and sentiment data, and pertinent news and external risk factors.

Avoiding slow starts and piecemeal results

While most banks are digitizing parts of their business and operations, many are dissatisfied with progress, especially in credit. A few familiar frustrations include legacy IT systems; a general lack of trust in automated decision making; insufficient cooperation between businesses and risk, IT, and operations functions; limited data access; and scarce digital talent. Moreover, there is no single “owner” of the credit process with the discretion to drive change at scale. A number of stakeholders need to align and remain constantly aligned over a prolonged period (two to three years in banks that have executed ambitious programs successfully).

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These barriers have caused more than one bank to delay or sidetrack digitization efforts. Programs launched with great executive attention and focus lose momentum as the initial excitement of chief risk and lending officers evaporate. Investments needed to sustain programs are partly or wholly withheld. Incremental changes are sometimes substituted for planned end-to-end transformations.

However, numerous banks successfully digitized the credit journey. In the following pages, we offer the practical lessons that have emerged from these experiences, with special emphasis on SME lending, the area that is currently getting the most attention and investment.

Designing a successful digital lending transformation

Experience has shown that successful transformations rely on some basic principles.

An end-to-end journey but with limited scope

Many banks have found that an end-to-end view of the entire customer journey, including a target state set according to the customer experience, was crucial to success. For example, a Benelux bank redesigned its business-lending process from end to end, allowing it to eliminate numerous handovers. The result was about 30 percent greater efficiency. Without an end-to-end orientation, on the other hand, banks have seen disappointing results. Attempts to improve the credit process piece by piece tend to become incremental, lose customer focus, and miss the big-picture opportunity to deliver a fundamental step change in performance and approach. One Northern European bank found such an opportunity by shifting its focus for SME customers from selling products to fulfilling customer needs. As a result it radically rationalized its lending-product range down to just three simple products, massively reducing complexity. This would not have happened with a piecemeal approach.

While taking an end-to-end view, however, successful banks have learned that it pays to limit the scope of the first wave of the transformation and focus on a minimum viable product (MVP). The MVP is scoped to be substantial enough to drive real value, momentous enough to create excitement within the organization, and simple enough to be designed and implemented rapidly. Improvements can then be made progressively in waves of rapid subsequent releases.

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At one Scandinavian bank, as many as half of all credit decisions concerned SME customers with existing loans seeking additional credit. The bank decided to focus on improving their experience, since the cost to serve them was significant, but the decisions involved were less complex, as most of the necessary data were already available in the systems. Over an intense 20-week period, the bank designed a new end-to-end digital journey, including an online application process, a framework for making new credit decisions, a revised credit process with automated decision making and fast-track handling for simple cases, as well as radically simplified credit-paper and collateral-review processes. Certain features of the new journey were not included in the MVP but scheduled for later releases. This kind of approach avoids too much early-stage complexity so that a transformative solution can be implemented more quickly, establishing momentum for future change.

Building momentum for full automation

With good reason, risk managers can be wary of a fully automated approval process for business loans. Long-standing policies and decision processes often depend on manual reviews and cross-checks. Years of root-cause analysis of defaults and assessments of soft factors have proved reliable but would be missed in an automated approach.

At one bank in central Europe, the long-standing business-lending process features a decision checklist incorporating thousands of criteria and covenants for contracting and disbursement. While time consuming and costly, the process does achieve the desired risk outcome. In fact, risk functions at many banks successfully use experience-based subjective assessments to achieve low default rates. While the accuracy of data-driven model-based decision making continues to improve, risk managers are correct in taking a cautious approach to automation.

Leading banks express this caution in two ways when introducing automation. First, to establish accuracy, many banks test models on past decisions. A bank in Scandinavia ran its newly developed decision engine on all applications from the past five years. The tests proved that the automated engine based on data-driven assessments and a structured credit “decisioning” framework was better at predicting default risk than the subjective human assessments had been—and far more consistent, which was a key factor in approving the model for use on new cases.

Second, banks start small, at first directing only a few cases to the fully automated straight-through digital process flow (sometimes called the “swim lane”). One Northern European bank recently opened the swim lane for fewer than 15 percent of applications, mainly the less complex cases. As the engine proves itself, the bank will gradually increase the flow.

In the most sophisticated examples, about 70 to 80 percent of SME-lending decisions are fully automated, with the remainder referred for credit review, allowing valuable expert time to be focused on complex or marginal cases.

Embrace relationship managers

RMs play an important role in SME lending. Digitization doesn’t replace this. While for some segments it makes sense to steer customers into a mostly self-service approach, successful banks have typically opted for a “multichannel, single application” route for SME lending, where customers can complete digital applications on a shared screen with their RMs. This allows the RM to guide the customer through the process, explain results of automated risk assessments, and quickly ask any follow-up questions required.

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A Scandinavian bank went this route, for four reasons:

  • in customer testing, it was clear this is what SMEs in the region wanted
  • it allowed the strengthening of RM–customer relationships, and greater cross-selling
  • it allowed the new digital journey to be introduced alongside legacy processes, giving RMs the option of using the old process to give them reassurance (and manage the small number of cases that could not be treated with the new process)
  • the digital solution set the right incentives to discourage discounts and lowered the pressure on RMs (by delivering offers in near real time through the digital process, RMs and the bank could gain market share and margin)

Ultimately, RMs were able to provide loan approval in five to ten minutes about three-quarters of the time; more complex cases are decided in an average of 90 minutes (and not more than 24 hours) following a manual review.

Big data—but not too big

To develop models, many banks have expressed interest in using external data (when legally permissible), including novel sources such as social media. While creative use has been made of unusual data sets, it is usually best to begin with readily available data. Transactional data have proved especially powerful. A number of banks and fintechs have developed tools to process transactions from primary operating accounts line by line, classifying them into detailed revenue and expense items. Advanced analytics can use these rich risk data to generate simplified financial statements, affordability ratios, customer- and supplier-concentration analyses, and so on, in real time. These transactional data offer substantially richer and more up-to-date insights about company performance than out-of-date annual accounts. With the second Payment Services Directive (PSD2) and other open-banking initiatives now coming into force, similar analyses can now also be performed on new customers.

Pragmatic data solutions can create real impact quickly, building momentum for subsequent, gradual data-management improvements.

Ambitious data-aggregation plans or multiyear data-lake projects are rarely good bases for digital-lending transformations. Such plans are frequently abandoned before completion. Successful transformations generally rely on existing data sources, sometimes using imperfect, robotics-based data integration (such as screen scraping) to get started. Recently, a major bank in Southern Europe successfully completed the early stages of its transformation using readily available demographic and behavioral data. That experience shows how pragmatic data solutions can create real impact quickly, building momentum for subsequent, gradual data-management improvements.

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By incorporating regulatory models in their new credit-decision engines, banks can satisfy regulatory requirements in less time and start reaping the benefits of digitization more quickly. A Northern European bank did just this, after applying the existing internal ratings-based system for business lending and building new automated analyses for affordability and cash flow.

The need for an agile approach

The divergent interests of business and risk management—not to mention operations and IT—will create inherent tensions for banks in redesigning credit processes. One Eastern European bank found that its months-long project to simplify the corporate-lending process had made little headway, ultimately due to legitimate but conflicting internal interests. The project became bogged down with individual silos optimizing for their own interests rather than collaborating on optimizing the customer’s experience. It lacked an agile approach.

Agile project delivery is essential for successful credit digitization. The starting point is a set of colocated, cross-functional, full-time, dedicated teams empowered with decision-making authority and tasked to deliver products on deadline in intense bursts of effort called “sprints.”

However, while most executives are actively talking about agile, not many are actually doing it. Worse, we see many firms adopting “cosmetic agile,” where traditional project-management approaches are peppered with agile lingo and walls filled with Post-it notes, but necessary fundamental changes in ways of working are not adopted and organizational commitments are not made.

A common failure is the inability to overcome organizational silos. A cross-functional team with business, risk, IT, and operations is simply essential, for several reasons:

  • collaborating across all functions helps strike the balance of customer-journey and business objectives with robust credit decision making and risk control
  • bringing critical-path IT-development work into the control of the agile team allows rapid iteration and testing of journeys, data integrations, and results
  • maintaining agile’s customer and “time to market” focus helps quickly assess trade-offs and work-arounds for IT and process bottlenecks as well as design solutions that allow rapid value delivery to customers

The agile redesign process is sometimes referred to as a “zero-based” approach. Teams begin with a blank sheet rather than thinking about marginal improvements to the existing process and the restrictions of existing policies. They define the essential mission, often working from the customer backward. This mode of operating can initiate deep changes that exceed incremental process adjustments and see beyond the constraints of legacy systems.

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A further powerful aspect of agile is the iterative, sprint-based approach to developing solutions. Emerging prototypes are continually tested with RMs and usually clients as well. Teams gather their feedback early on, so that less compelling ideas can be quickly discarded and attention focused on experientially successful ideas—which are also revised as needed. The working relationships fostered in agile teams create enormous engagement among colleagues from all areas of the organization, which ultimately translates into better ideas and faster results.

In a best-practice agile example, a leading European bank built a “digital lab” to enhance its credit processes systematically. Business, IT, and risk came together to align on objectives and incentives, while a dedicated organizational unit (the “digital factory”) was empowered to make decisions with quick cross-functional escalation mechanisms. The teams developed a safe IT environment to test changes before reshaping processes on a wider scale.

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

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Square partners with eBay to expand lending for ‘underserved’ small businesses

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CNBC Markets |   | Jul 24, 2018

Fintech company Square is boosting its small-business lending with an eBay partnership.

Square Capital, the lending arm of the payment start-up, will be available to eBay sellers looking to expand their business operations. Starting in the third quarter, merchants on the site can apply for a loan as small as $500 and up to $100,000 to help with everything from payroll and inventory to equipment and marketing, the companies announced Tuesday.

Square Capital’s focus since launching in 2014 has been on those businesses historically excluded from the larger financial system. The partnership will offer access to capital for those who have been “underserved when seeking funding” and give U.S. sellers a "seamless funding experience," said Jacqueline Reses, head of Square Capital.

See: 

Small-business lending is an increasingly competitive area in fintech. PayPal, which was once a part of eBay, has a program called Working Capital and provides loans to merchants based on sales history. Amazon also does this for sellers, and began extending credit to small business owners in 2011. It uses sales data to trigger invitations for financing that could boost growth.

Still, credit availability continues to be an issue for smaller merchants. Heading into this year, small businesses reported stronger revenue growth and profitability but still struggled to get loans to pay operating expenses and wages, according to the Federal Reserve’s 2017 Small Business Credit Survey. As many as 70 percent of merchants didn't receive the funding they wanted last year, the report said.

San Francisco-based Square, run by Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, is best known as a credit cards processor but also offers payment hardware. Its peer-to-peer Cash App is growing faster than PayPal’s Venmo, according to a recent Nomura report. It began offering cryptocurrency trading on the Cash App late January.

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

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Coinsquare release | Dec 6, 2018 The acquisition was closed for $12 million CAD and brings the leading cryptocurrency wallet on the Stellar platform into the Coinsquare ecosystem TORONTO, Dec. 6, 2018 /CNW/ - Today Coinsquare, Canada's premier cryptocurrency trading platform for trading Bitcoin, Ethereum, and other cryptocurrencies, announced it has acquired BlockEQ, the leading cryptocurrency wallet on the Stellar network. Coinsquare purchased BlockEQ for $12 million CAD and will leverage BlockEQ's technology to help Coinsquare and its users connect further with the world of cryptocurrencies. See:  House Finance Committee Urges Canadian Government to Regulate Cryptocurrencies "We have enormous respect for what the BlockEQ team brings to Coinsquare," said Cole Diamond, CEO of Coinsquare. "They are one of Canada's best tech teams, and the product they've built is immensely valuable. That combination in partnership with Coinsquare's technology and team means that we have the opportunity to build amazing things for the cryptocurrency community in Canada and far beyond." BlockEQ, which was co-founded by Jonathan Lister, Megha Bambra and Satraj Bambra, is a cryptocurrency wallet that empowers users to buy, trade, and hold cryptocurrencies in a secure manner. It allows for the tokenization of crypto assets in order to allow them ...
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OSC Seeks Applications for Fintech Advisory Committee
Coindesk | Nikhilesh De | Nov 30, 2018 Members of VanEck, SolidX and the Cboe BZX Exchange met with U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) staff earlier this week to present a new argument on why the bitcoin market is ready for an exchange-traded fund (ETF). In the latest push to convince the regulator to approve a rule change which would open the door for the country’s first bitcoin ETF, the three firms met with the SEC’s Division of Corporation Finance, Division of Trading and Markets, Division of Economic and Risk Analysis and Office of General Counsel. Notably, Monday’s effort differed from previous presentations, which took more of a regulatory focus. See:  OSC approves Canada’s first blockchain ETF Instead, the proponents’ argument centered around the idea that the bitcoin market is mature enough to support an ETF, and at present looks similar to markets for other assets which already have such products. The presentation gave several examples of assets that already have ETFs, including crude oil, silver and gold. The presentation specifically tied the idea of futures markets with spot markets, noting that for money substitutes such as gold and silver, this connection between the two can be proven with empirical ...
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Bitcoin ETF Seekers Met With SEC Monday In Latest Pitch for Approval
Investment Executive | By James Langton | Nov 23, 2018 Many hurdles remain for the CMRA before it becomes a reality Canada’s regulatory landscape faces a transformation as politics, shifting priorities and new legal realities push the investment industry’s overseers in new directions. Most obviously, the prospect of a fundamental reshaping of the regulatory framework in Canada now is, at least, a possibility – given the Supreme Court of Canada’s (SCC) long-awaited decision on Nov. 9, which reversed a lower court’s ruling in Quebec, that declared that a proposed federal/provincial model for a co-operative capital markets regulator is constitutional. But while this decision knocks down a basic legal obstacle for the new model for overseeing the securities industry, that doesn’t mean that the adoption of a co-operative regulator is imminent – or even inevitable. Indeed, the SCC’s decision hints at the significance of the hurdles that still must be cleared before the proposed Capital Markets Regulatory Authority (CMRA) can become a reality in Canada. Although the SCC has found that the proposed CMRA model is constitutional, that doesn’t necessarily mean it is a good idea. “It’s up to the provinces to determine whether participation is in their best interests,” the ...
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Not yet a done deal
Forbes | Lawrence Wintermeyer | Dec 2, 2018 If your professional interests take you to the crossroads of financial services, regulation, compliance, and digital - especially data analytics and machine learning - which altogether is known as regtech, you are in the right place. You are part of statistically small and very geek-oriented professional community, but you know this, and though you might choose not to admit this to strangers at this year's festive parties for fear of causing great pain by boredom, you are in good company with this Contributor and my interviewee. I first met Jo Ann Barefoot when I was chairing the U.K. Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) Industry Sandbox Consultation, where she provided excellent guidance and insights. Jo Ann is one of the most dedicated and busiest advocates of the regtech space on the planet and is truly outstanding in both her knowledge and passion in this area. She dedicates her time to a number of global bodies and initiatives related to regtech: she is a Senior Fellow Emerita at the Harvard Kennedy School Center for Business & Government, a Senior Advisor to the Omidyar network, sits on the fintech advisory committee for FINRA, is an Executive Board Member of the International RegTech ...
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A Regulation Revolution In Financial Services
NCFA Canada | Nov 23, 2018 JOIN US ON A STORYTELLING JOURNEY EVERY FRIDAY. Ep19-Nov 23:  Future of Business Tokenization - How Blockchain Challenges Concept of Money About this episode:   On this episode, NCFA Fintech Friday's host Manseeb Khan sits down with Alan Wunsche the CEO of TokenFunder. They chat about ICO's funding startups, tokenization of businesses and buying real estate through tokens. Enjoy! The future of business tokenization How tokenization is going to disrupt real estate and auto industry How blockchain challenges the concept of money Host: Manseeb Khan, NCFA, Fintech Fridays show host Guest:  ALAN WUNSCHE, Founder and CEO, TokenFunder (view Linkedin) Bio:  Alan Wunsche is CEO & Chief Token Officer of TokenFunder, a regulatory-compliant blockchain venture funding platform with Ontario's first regulated Initial Token Offering. He is also Chair & Co-Founder of Blockchain Canada, a Canadian federal not-for-profit corporation with a mission to connect Canadian Blockchain Innovators and to help Canada be a leader in blockchain technology. Alan is a finance technologist focused on new blockchain business models and the disruptive impacts of blockchain on global wealth distribution. He brings hands-on technology experience as a finance and risk transformation executive at a global bank (Scotiabank), management consulting (Deloitte, PwC), and ...
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FINTECH FRIDAY$ (EP.19-Nov 23):  Future of Business Tokenization - How Blockchain Challenges Concept of Money with Alan Wunsche, Founder and CEO, Token Funder
CBC News | Nov 23, 2018 More than 3,000 people contributed to campaign to buy new installation from renowned Japanese artist LET'S SURVIVE FOREVER. That's the name of the infinity mirrored room the Art Gallery of Ontario plans to purchase from world-renowned artist Yayoi Kusama — that is, if its crowdfunding campaign is successful. And yes, it's always spelled in all-caps, the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) said. Over 3,000 people have already chipped in a contribution to permanently acquire the brand new Kusama installation, even though they hadn't seen it until now. The AGO said its campaign has brought in around half of the $1.3 million it needs to buy the work, but it's hoping more people donate on next week's "Giving Tuesday," a day devoted to donations following "Black Friday" shopping. Here's a look inside the room: The major installation, which will be given a special place at the downtown Toronto gallery, features mirrored orbs on the ground and suspended from the ceiling — similar to the work Narcissus Garden, which dominated a large room in the AGO during last year's ultra-popular Kusama exhibit. There's also a mirrored rectangular column inside the LED-lit room, which creates what's said to feel like an infinity room inside an infinity room ...
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Art Gallery of Ontario shows off the Yayoi Kusama infinity room it's crowdfunding to buy
CNBC | Eric C. Jansen, president and chief investment officer of Finivi | Oct 31, 2018 The many big companies disrupted by blockchain have now made it a priority to harness this technology. Large firms such as Accenture, Facebook, Google, IBM and Microsoft are developing patented products and services based on blockchain's digital-ledger open-source technology that can be accessed and adapted by anyone. Ironically, the whole raison d'etre of blockchain is to circumvent the very type of centralized authority these traditional tech companies represent. Development efforts in both private and public blockchain are seeking to forge new business models. As is typically the case when faced with disruption, large companies are seeking to defend their territory by adopting the very tool that threatens them. With blockchain there's a lot at stake. The global market for blockchain-related products and services is about $700 million and is projected to exceed $60 billion annually in 2024, according to Wintergreen Research. Among the big corporate blockchain players are Accenture, Facebook, Google, IBM and Microsoft. These firms are developing products and services based on blockchain's digital-ledger open-source technology that can be accessed and adapted by anyone. Blockchain enables global transactions between parties without going through ...
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Blockchain's potential will continue to spur public and private investment
CFO Innovation | by Eric Cheung, Unit4 Asia Pacific | March 15, 2018 The world as we know it is changing. Rapid technological advancements are altering industries and creating new market opportunities. As the business world accelerates towards what arguably is looking like an everything-as-a-service (XaaS) economy, the next few years will be pivotal for finance departments in making the transformations necessary to update their service offerings and deliver service excellence. Several trends are converging over the next few years that could set the stage for a service-economy shift that will keep CFOs more than ever in the driving seat. This year, 2018, may turn out to be an important turning point for the finance function as three disruptive technologies begin to be widely adopted – as the finance function of Unit4 Asia Pacific, which I lead as CFO, is finding out. In the finance function, we are developing blockchain-enabled distributed ledgers that we plan to link to our Unit4 Financials single-ledger system in 2018 Blockchain and Self-Driving Finance As the foundation of cryptocurrencies, blockchain has already played a vital role in next-generation finance tools. It is also gaining traction in a wide range of industries across Asia Pacific. In ...
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A Tech CFO on Three Disruptive Technologies Transforming Finance

 

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