Category Archives: Marketplace Lending/P2P, Online Lending

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.

 

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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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BusinessWire release | Accenture | Oct 17, 2018 Digital-only banks, fintechs and big tech companies are quietly gaining customers, while incumbents struggle to make strategic investments in their digital future NEW YORK & LONDON & HONG KONG--(BUSINESS WIRE)--New entrants to the banking market — including challenger banks, non-bank payments institutions and big tech companies — are amassing up to one-third of new revenue, which is challenging the competitiveness of traditional banks, according to new research from Accenture (NYSE:ACN). “As the banking industry experiences radical change, driven by regulation, new entrants and demanding consumers, banks will need to reassess their assets, strengths and capabilities to determine if they are taking their business in the right direction” Accenture analyzed more than 20,000 banking and payments institutions across seven markets to quantify the level of change and disruption in the global banking industry. The study found that the number of banking and payments institutions decreased by nearly 20 percent over a 12-year period — from 24,000 in 2005 to less than 19,300 in 2017. However, nearly one in six (17 percent) current institutions are what Accenture considers new entrants — i.e., companies entering the market after 2005. While few of these new players ...
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Forbes | Michael del Castillo | Oct 18, 2018 The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is launching a portal for engaging with companies using blockchain, artificial intelligence and more. Available today, the new fintech hub, or FinHub for short, is designed to bring the SEC’s existing services to a single access point and provide an easier way for companies to communicate with the public. As startups building with blockchain increasingly come under the SEC’s attention, the new portal has the potential to streamline the process of building compliant platforms prior to launch. The SEC’s FinHub will be led by Valerie A. Szczepanik, senior advisor for digital assets and innovation and associate director in the SEC’s Division of Corporation Finance. “We’ve been doing these things for years,” Szczepanik told Forbes. “This is going to bring it all together.” The FinHub will be staffed by representatives from the SEC’s divisions and offices who have expertise and involvement in fintech-related issues. See:  Canadian securities regulators provide additional guidance on securities law implications for offerings of tokens In addition to asking questions of the SEC, those who use the site will be able to request meetings. To increase engagement, a binary code “Easter egg” ...
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SEC Launches Fintech Hub To Engage With Cryptocurrency Startups And More
Gowling WLG | Shaela W. Rae | October 17 2018 Black market. Dark web. Illicit. Underground market. Illegitimate. Illegal. Organized crime. All words used to describe the illegal cannabis industry, until October 17, 2018 that is. Once it is legal to buy, possess or use cannabis for recreational purposes the discussion around the use of cannabis and how to procure it changes from hushed words in a corner to an open conversation in public. But is the public ready to embrace a substance that has been seen as illegitimate and "bad" for so long? If the experience in the US can be relied upon, the answer is "yes". According to investment bank Cowen & Co., the cannabis industry is expected to reach sales of approximately US$75-billion by 2030, up from US$6-billion in 2016, as the drug is more socially accepted. In the US today cannabis is illegal on a federal level as it is classified as a Schedule 1 narcotic, but cannabis is legal in 30 states for medicinal purposes, and in 9 states and Washington, DC, for recreational use for adults over the age of 21. See:  Canabis Company True Leaf Raises $14 Million in Cross Border US – ...
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Cannabis & blockchain: Bad romance or a perfect match?
International Monetary Fund | Release | Oct 11, 2018 The International Monetary Fund and the World Bank Group today launched the Bali Fintech Agenda, a set of 12 policy elements aimed at helping member countries to harness the benefits and opportunities of rapid advances in financial technology that are transforming the provision of banking services, while at the same time managing the inherent risks. The Agenda proposes a framework of high-level issues that countries should consider in their own domestic policy discussions and aims to guide staff from the two institutions in their own work and dialogue with national authorities. The 12 elements (see table) were distilled from members’ own experiences and cover topics relating broadly to enabling fintech; ensuring financial sector resilience; addressing risks; and promoting international cooperation. “There are an estimated 1.7 billion adults in the world without access to financial services,” said IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde. “Fintech can have a major social and economic impact for them and across the membership in general. All countries are trying to reap these benefits, while also mitigating the risks. We need greater international cooperation to achieve that, and to make sure the fintech revolution benefits the many and not ...
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The Bali Fintech Agenda: A Blueprint for Successfully Harnessing Fintech’s Opportunities
Investment Executive | James Langton | Oct 12, 2018 Money laundering and tax evasion are key concerns Canadian policy-makers initially took a hands-off approach to cryptoassets. Now, in the wake of a bitcoin boom-and-bust and continuing growth in the cryptoassets market, policy-makers are taking a second look at the emerging phenomenon. In 2015, the Standing Senate Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce issued one of Canada’s first reports examining the emerging cryptocurrency industry; that report recommends that policy-makers keep an eye on the space. Since then, the cryptoassets market has continued to grow. According to a report from the Bank of Canada (BoC), the global market capitalization for cryptoassets “grew rapidly” in 2017 and the daily transaction volume now is more than 75 times higher than it was in early 2017 – i.e., more than $25 billion a day. At this point, the BoC report states, traditional financial services institutions don’t have much, if any, direct exposure to cryptoassets, but the report cautions that these institutions could become exposed due to their clients’ trading in cryptoassets or through exchange trading in crypto-based derivatives. “Cryptoasset markets are evolving quickly and could have financial stability implications in the future if their size ...
Read More
Exploring cryptoasset regulation
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 $11.4 million Series A financing . Prior to co-founding Progressa, Ali worked in both corporate restructuring and audit & assurance, ...
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FINTECH FRIDAY$ (EP.13-Oct 12):  Road to Fintech IPO:  Capital Networks, Scalable Solutions, Putting People First with Ali Pourdad, Co-founder and CEO Progressa
Beam Platform | Alec Gordon | Aug 24, 2018 THE PROBLEM The tech industry has gotten a rude awakening this year. Following a few high profile instances of data misuse, European Union has struck down the law and put everyone who sells into Europe (or deals with anyone who does) on notice. Since introduction, GDPR was meant to show both corporations and their users that better clarity around data collection/preservation is the necessary step forward, one that will lead to a fairer digital society, and ultimately benefit all those involved. And in order to do that, the companies themselves must take matters into their own hands by building new tools to let data flow back to the user. The customers demand it, and equally deserve to have control over their digital footprint. In the end this is an EU bill with global ramifications, and we should all be paying attention. By now you most of you have gotten dozens of emails on “updates to privacy policy” and other notices of forthcoming compliance. This is a welcome reminder that it is you, the user, who’s the focal point GDPR. After decades of computer and telephone use, the companies with whom we ...
Read More
Data is a 2-way street in a post-GDPR world
Competition Bureau | Oct 10, 2018 Speech Remarks by Interim Commissioner of Competition Matthew Boswell Global Series 2018 October 10, 2018 Ottawa, Ontario Thank you. I’m pleased to be here to speak with you today. Thank you Makan, for your thoughts on these important issues. They are particularly relevant to businesses, the legal community, academia and governments around the world and to all of you who are gathered here today. Every day we see the world evolving at a rapid pace, thanks to innovation.  Development of new technologies, ways of doing business and the creation of new products have the potential to open up new areas of science, medicine and technology. Small steps lead to bigger steps.  And here in Canada, we have to be ready for both the challenges and opportunities that this is bringing to all of us. Let’s understand what we are up against. Every year, innovation in the top industrialized countries is tracked by leading authorities on the subject. And here’s what they report about Canada in 2018. On the plus side, Canada performs better than some others in four big areas: Human Capital and Research, Institutions, Infrastructure, and Market Sophistication. See:  Canada’s ‘innovation economy’ has ...
Read More
Advancing Competition in a Changing Marketplace
Crowdfund Insider | Cali Haan | Oct 9, 2018 Vancouver-based cryptocurrency exchange QuadrigaCX has been defending itself in court for the release of $28 million dollars in customer funds frozen by the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC) since January, the Globe and Mail reports. According to court documents filed by CIBC in the Canadian province of Ontario, the action to freeze the accounts was taken because the bank says, “it was unable to determine who owns the funds,” and would like the court to take possession of the money and distribute it to either QuadrigaCX, their payments processor Custodian Inc, or to the 388 affected Quadriga customers, the Globe and Mail writes. Entrepreneurs in the relatively new crypto sector industries complained for some time about bank non-cooperation. See:  International Anti-Money Laundering Standards for Crypto Expected in October The cryptocurrency press in South America has reported on numerous account closures by banks against crypto exchanges on the continent, some of which are now being contested in courts by, among others, exchanges like Walltime in Brazil. Sources within the Toronto crypto entrepreneur scene say they have suffered persistent problems with getting their businesses banked in the city- even at credit unions- and have ...
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CIBC Has Frozen $28 Million of Vancouver Crypto Exchange’s Funds Since January
Crunchbase News | Alex Wilhelm | October 8, 2018 Meet Nubank, a fintech shop out of Brazil that just raised $180 million from Tencent at a valuation of $4 billion. Forget the fact that the round is half secondary. It’s an enormous transaction, and in more normal times, it would cause a big stir. However, the capital event highlights something notable about Tencent: the China-based company’s investment cadence is staggering. Tencent is disbursing cash at a far faster rate than Alibaba, another Chinese tech shop that isn’t famous for parsimony. Tencent’s Early Christmas Tencent has been on a check-cutting bing recently, getting through eight investing rounds in September. Those ranged from a $1.5 billion deal with Lianjia (real estate services), a $450 million round for MissFresh E-Commerce (mobile grocery sales), to the comparatively staid $90 million Series B for WeShare (fintech something or other). October is looking similarly hot. Tencent is at four deals so far, and the month isn’t even half done. Here’s the list: October 1. Miniso’s 1 billion rmb Series A. October 4. Voyager Innovation’s $175 million private equity round. October 5. Bilibili’s $317.6 million post-IPO equity event. October 8. Nubank’s $180 million Series F (half secondary). Regarding Nubank, TechCrunch’s Jon Shieber has the ...
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Nubank Investment Underscores Tencent’s Quick Investing Pace

 

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JUST LAUNCHED: 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.

PITCHING and SPEAKING APPLICATIONS now open.

 

Links:

VanFUNDING 2018

Speaking Applications Now open

Pitching Applications (Submit by Nov 4)

 

 


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

BusinessWire release | Accenture | Oct 17, 2018 Digital-only banks, fintechs and big tech companies are quietly gaining customers, while incumbents struggle to make strategic investments in their digital future NEW YORK & LONDON & HONG KONG--(BUSINESS WIRE)--New entrants to the banking market — including challenger banks, non-bank payments institutions and big tech companies — are amassing up to one-third of new revenue, which is challenging the competitiveness of traditional banks, according to new research from Accenture (NYSE:ACN). “As the banking industry experiences radical change, driven by regulation, new entrants and demanding consumers, banks will need to reassess their assets, strengths and capabilities to determine if they are taking their business in the right direction” Accenture analyzed more than 20,000 banking and payments institutions across seven markets to quantify the level of change and disruption in the global banking industry. The study found that the number of banking and payments institutions decreased by nearly 20 percent over a 12-year period — from 24,000 in 2005 to less than 19,300 in 2017. However, nearly one in six (17 percent) current institutions are what Accenture considers new entrants — i.e., companies entering the market after 2005. While few of these new players ...
Read More
Banks’ Revenue Growth at Risk Due to Unprecedented Competitive Pressure Resulting from Digital Disruption, Accenture Study Finds
Forbes | Michael del Castillo | Oct 18, 2018 The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is launching a portal for engaging with companies using blockchain, artificial intelligence and more. Available today, the new fintech hub, or FinHub for short, is designed to bring the SEC’s existing services to a single access point and provide an easier way for companies to communicate with the public. As startups building with blockchain increasingly come under the SEC’s attention, the new portal has the potential to streamline the process of building compliant platforms prior to launch. The SEC’s FinHub will be led by Valerie A. Szczepanik, senior advisor for digital assets and innovation and associate director in the SEC’s Division of Corporation Finance. “We’ve been doing these things for years,” Szczepanik told Forbes. “This is going to bring it all together.” The FinHub will be staffed by representatives from the SEC’s divisions and offices who have expertise and involvement in fintech-related issues. See:  Canadian securities regulators provide additional guidance on securities law implications for offerings of tokens In addition to asking questions of the SEC, those who use the site will be able to request meetings. To increase engagement, a binary code “Easter egg” ...
Read More
SEC Launches Fintech Hub To Engage With Cryptocurrency Startups And More
Gowling WLG | Shaela W. Rae | October 17 2018 Black market. Dark web. Illicit. Underground market. Illegitimate. Illegal. Organized crime. All words used to describe the illegal cannabis industry, until October 17, 2018 that is. Once it is legal to buy, possess or use cannabis for recreational purposes the discussion around the use of cannabis and how to procure it changes from hushed words in a corner to an open conversation in public. But is the public ready to embrace a substance that has been seen as illegitimate and "bad" for so long? If the experience in the US can be relied upon, the answer is "yes". According to investment bank Cowen & Co., the cannabis industry is expected to reach sales of approximately US$75-billion by 2030, up from US$6-billion in 2016, as the drug is more socially accepted. In the US today cannabis is illegal on a federal level as it is classified as a Schedule 1 narcotic, but cannabis is legal in 30 states for medicinal purposes, and in 9 states and Washington, DC, for recreational use for adults over the age of 21. See:  Canabis Company True Leaf Raises $14 Million in Cross Border US – ...
Read More
Cannabis & blockchain: Bad romance or a perfect match?
International Monetary Fund | Release | Oct 11, 2018 The International Monetary Fund and the World Bank Group today launched the Bali Fintech Agenda, a set of 12 policy elements aimed at helping member countries to harness the benefits and opportunities of rapid advances in financial technology that are transforming the provision of banking services, while at the same time managing the inherent risks. The Agenda proposes a framework of high-level issues that countries should consider in their own domestic policy discussions and aims to guide staff from the two institutions in their own work and dialogue with national authorities. The 12 elements (see table) were distilled from members’ own experiences and cover topics relating broadly to enabling fintech; ensuring financial sector resilience; addressing risks; and promoting international cooperation. “There are an estimated 1.7 billion adults in the world without access to financial services,” said IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde. “Fintech can have a major social and economic impact for them and across the membership in general. All countries are trying to reap these benefits, while also mitigating the risks. We need greater international cooperation to achieve that, and to make sure the fintech revolution benefits the many and not ...
Read More
The Bali Fintech Agenda: A Blueprint for Successfully Harnessing Fintech’s Opportunities
Investment Executive | James Langton | Oct 12, 2018 Money laundering and tax evasion are key concerns Canadian policy-makers initially took a hands-off approach to cryptoassets. Now, in the wake of a bitcoin boom-and-bust and continuing growth in the cryptoassets market, policy-makers are taking a second look at the emerging phenomenon. In 2015, the Standing Senate Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce issued one of Canada’s first reports examining the emerging cryptocurrency industry; that report recommends that policy-makers keep an eye on the space. Since then, the cryptoassets market has continued to grow. According to a report from the Bank of Canada (BoC), the global market capitalization for cryptoassets “grew rapidly” in 2017 and the daily transaction volume now is more than 75 times higher than it was in early 2017 – i.e., more than $25 billion a day. At this point, the BoC report states, traditional financial services institutions don’t have much, if any, direct exposure to cryptoassets, but the report cautions that these institutions could become exposed due to their clients’ trading in cryptoassets or through exchange trading in crypto-based derivatives. “Cryptoasset markets are evolving quickly and could have financial stability implications in the future if their size ...
Read More
Exploring cryptoasset regulation
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 $11.4 million Series A financing . Prior to co-founding Progressa, Ali worked in both corporate restructuring and audit & assurance, ...
Read More
FINTECH FRIDAY$ (EP.13-Oct 12):  Road to Fintech IPO:  Capital Networks, Scalable Solutions, Putting People First with Ali Pourdad, Co-founder and CEO Progressa
Beam Platform | Alec Gordon | Aug 24, 2018 THE PROBLEM The tech industry has gotten a rude awakening this year. Following a few high profile instances of data misuse, European Union has struck down the law and put everyone who sells into Europe (or deals with anyone who does) on notice. Since introduction, GDPR was meant to show both corporations and their users that better clarity around data collection/preservation is the necessary step forward, one that will lead to a fairer digital society, and ultimately benefit all those involved. And in order to do that, the companies themselves must take matters into their own hands by building new tools to let data flow back to the user. The customers demand it, and equally deserve to have control over their digital footprint. In the end this is an EU bill with global ramifications, and we should all be paying attention. By now you most of you have gotten dozens of emails on “updates to privacy policy” and other notices of forthcoming compliance. This is a welcome reminder that it is you, the user, who’s the focal point GDPR. After decades of computer and telephone use, the companies with whom we ...
Read More
Data is a 2-way street in a post-GDPR world
Competition Bureau | Oct 10, 2018 Speech Remarks by Interim Commissioner of Competition Matthew Boswell Global Series 2018 October 10, 2018 Ottawa, Ontario Thank you. I’m pleased to be here to speak with you today. Thank you Makan, for your thoughts on these important issues. They are particularly relevant to businesses, the legal community, academia and governments around the world and to all of you who are gathered here today. Every day we see the world evolving at a rapid pace, thanks to innovation.  Development of new technologies, ways of doing business and the creation of new products have the potential to open up new areas of science, medicine and technology. Small steps lead to bigger steps.  And here in Canada, we have to be ready for both the challenges and opportunities that this is bringing to all of us. Let’s understand what we are up against. Every year, innovation in the top industrialized countries is tracked by leading authorities on the subject. And here’s what they report about Canada in 2018. On the plus side, Canada performs better than some others in four big areas: Human Capital and Research, Institutions, Infrastructure, and Market Sophistication. See:  Canada’s ‘innovation economy’ has ...
Read More
Advancing Competition in a Changing Marketplace
Crowdfund Insider | Cali Haan | Oct 9, 2018 Vancouver-based cryptocurrency exchange QuadrigaCX has been defending itself in court for the release of $28 million dollars in customer funds frozen by the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC) since January, the Globe and Mail reports. According to court documents filed by CIBC in the Canadian province of Ontario, the action to freeze the accounts was taken because the bank says, “it was unable to determine who owns the funds,” and would like the court to take possession of the money and distribute it to either QuadrigaCX, their payments processor Custodian Inc, or to the 388 affected Quadriga customers, the Globe and Mail writes. Entrepreneurs in the relatively new crypto sector industries complained for some time about bank non-cooperation. See:  International Anti-Money Laundering Standards for Crypto Expected in October The cryptocurrency press in South America has reported on numerous account closures by banks against crypto exchanges on the continent, some of which are now being contested in courts by, among others, exchanges like Walltime in Brazil. Sources within the Toronto crypto entrepreneur scene say they have suffered persistent problems with getting their businesses banked in the city- even at credit unions- and have ...
Read More
CIBC Has Frozen $28 Million of Vancouver Crypto Exchange’s Funds Since January
Crunchbase News | Alex Wilhelm | October 8, 2018 Meet Nubank, a fintech shop out of Brazil that just raised $180 million from Tencent at a valuation of $4 billion. Forget the fact that the round is half secondary. It’s an enormous transaction, and in more normal times, it would cause a big stir. However, the capital event highlights something notable about Tencent: the China-based company’s investment cadence is staggering. Tencent is disbursing cash at a far faster rate than Alibaba, another Chinese tech shop that isn’t famous for parsimony. Tencent’s Early Christmas Tencent has been on a check-cutting bing recently, getting through eight investing rounds in September. Those ranged from a $1.5 billion deal with Lianjia (real estate services), a $450 million round for MissFresh E-Commerce (mobile grocery sales), to the comparatively staid $90 million Series B for WeShare (fintech something or other). October is looking similarly hot. Tencent is at four deals so far, and the month isn’t even half done. Here’s the list: October 1. Miniso’s 1 billion rmb Series A. October 4. Voyager Innovation’s $175 million private equity round. October 5. Bilibili’s $317.6 million post-IPO equity event. October 8. Nubank’s $180 million Series F (half secondary). Regarding Nubank, TechCrunch’s Jon Shieber has the ...
Read More
Nubank Investment Underscores Tencent’s Quick Investing Pace

 

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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

BusinessWire release | Accenture | Oct 17, 2018 Digital-only banks, fintechs and big tech companies are quietly gaining customers, while incumbents struggle to make strategic investments in their digital future NEW YORK & LONDON & HONG KONG--(BUSINESS WIRE)--New entrants to the banking market — including challenger banks, non-bank payments institutions and big tech companies — are amassing up to one-third of new revenue, which is challenging the competitiveness of traditional banks, according to new research from Accenture (NYSE:ACN). “As the banking industry experiences radical change, driven by regulation, new entrants and demanding consumers, banks will need to reassess their assets, strengths and capabilities to determine if they are taking their business in the right direction” Accenture analyzed more than 20,000 banking and payments institutions across seven markets to quantify the level of change and disruption in the global banking industry. The study found that the number of banking and payments institutions decreased by nearly 20 percent over a 12-year period — from 24,000 in 2005 to less than 19,300 in 2017. However, nearly one in six (17 percent) current institutions are what Accenture considers new entrants — i.e., companies entering the market after 2005. While few of these new players ...
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Banks’ Revenue Growth at Risk Due to Unprecedented Competitive Pressure Resulting from Digital Disruption, Accenture Study Finds
Forbes | Michael del Castillo | Oct 18, 2018 The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is launching a portal for engaging with companies using blockchain, artificial intelligence and more. Available today, the new fintech hub, or FinHub for short, is designed to bring the SEC’s existing services to a single access point and provide an easier way for companies to communicate with the public. As startups building with blockchain increasingly come under the SEC’s attention, the new portal has the potential to streamline the process of building compliant platforms prior to launch. The SEC’s FinHub will be led by Valerie A. Szczepanik, senior advisor for digital assets and innovation and associate director in the SEC’s Division of Corporation Finance. “We’ve been doing these things for years,” Szczepanik told Forbes. “This is going to bring it all together.” The FinHub will be staffed by representatives from the SEC’s divisions and offices who have expertise and involvement in fintech-related issues. See:  Canadian securities regulators provide additional guidance on securities law implications for offerings of tokens In addition to asking questions of the SEC, those who use the site will be able to request meetings. To increase engagement, a binary code “Easter egg” ...
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SEC Launches Fintech Hub To Engage With Cryptocurrency Startups And More
Gowling WLG | Shaela W. Rae | October 17 2018 Black market. Dark web. Illicit. Underground market. Illegitimate. Illegal. Organized crime. All words used to describe the illegal cannabis industry, until October 17, 2018 that is. Once it is legal to buy, possess or use cannabis for recreational purposes the discussion around the use of cannabis and how to procure it changes from hushed words in a corner to an open conversation in public. But is the public ready to embrace a substance that has been seen as illegitimate and "bad" for so long? If the experience in the US can be relied upon, the answer is "yes". According to investment bank Cowen & Co., the cannabis industry is expected to reach sales of approximately US$75-billion by 2030, up from US$6-billion in 2016, as the drug is more socially accepted. In the US today cannabis is illegal on a federal level as it is classified as a Schedule 1 narcotic, but cannabis is legal in 30 states for medicinal purposes, and in 9 states and Washington, DC, for recreational use for adults over the age of 21. See:  Canabis Company True Leaf Raises $14 Million in Cross Border US – ...
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Cannabis & blockchain: Bad romance or a perfect match?
International Monetary Fund | Release | Oct 11, 2018 The International Monetary Fund and the World Bank Group today launched the Bali Fintech Agenda, a set of 12 policy elements aimed at helping member countries to harness the benefits and opportunities of rapid advances in financial technology that are transforming the provision of banking services, while at the same time managing the inherent risks. The Agenda proposes a framework of high-level issues that countries should consider in their own domestic policy discussions and aims to guide staff from the two institutions in their own work and dialogue with national authorities. The 12 elements (see table) were distilled from members’ own experiences and cover topics relating broadly to enabling fintech; ensuring financial sector resilience; addressing risks; and promoting international cooperation. “There are an estimated 1.7 billion adults in the world without access to financial services,” said IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde. “Fintech can have a major social and economic impact for them and across the membership in general. All countries are trying to reap these benefits, while also mitigating the risks. We need greater international cooperation to achieve that, and to make sure the fintech revolution benefits the many and not ...
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The Bali Fintech Agenda: A Blueprint for Successfully Harnessing Fintech’s Opportunities
Investment Executive | James Langton | Oct 12, 2018 Money laundering and tax evasion are key concerns Canadian policy-makers initially took a hands-off approach to cryptoassets. Now, in the wake of a bitcoin boom-and-bust and continuing growth in the cryptoassets market, policy-makers are taking a second look at the emerging phenomenon. In 2015, the Standing Senate Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce issued one of Canada’s first reports examining the emerging cryptocurrency industry; that report recommends that policy-makers keep an eye on the space. Since then, the cryptoassets market has continued to grow. According to a report from the Bank of Canada (BoC), the global market capitalization for cryptoassets “grew rapidly” in 2017 and the daily transaction volume now is more than 75 times higher than it was in early 2017 – i.e., more than $25 billion a day. At this point, the BoC report states, traditional financial services institutions don’t have much, if any, direct exposure to cryptoassets, but the report cautions that these institutions could become exposed due to their clients’ trading in cryptoassets or through exchange trading in crypto-based derivatives. “Cryptoasset markets are evolving quickly and could have financial stability implications in the future if their size ...
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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, ...
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Beam Platform | Alec Gordon | Aug 24, 2018 THE PROBLEM The tech industry has gotten a rude awakening this year. Following a few high profile instances of data misuse, European Union has struck down the law and put everyone who sells into Europe (or deals with anyone who does) on notice. Since introduction, GDPR was meant to show both corporations and their users that better clarity around data collection/preservation is the necessary step forward, one that will lead to a fairer digital society, and ultimately benefit all those involved. And in order to do that, the companies themselves must take matters into their own hands by building new tools to let data flow back to the user. The customers demand it, and equally deserve to have control over their digital footprint. In the end this is an EU bill with global ramifications, and we should all be paying attention. By now you most of you have gotten dozens of emails on “updates to privacy policy” and other notices of forthcoming compliance. This is a welcome reminder that it is you, the user, who’s the focal point GDPR. After decades of computer and telephone use, the companies with whom we ...
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Competition Bureau | Oct 10, 2018 Speech Remarks by Interim Commissioner of Competition Matthew Boswell Global Series 2018 October 10, 2018 Ottawa, Ontario Thank you. I’m pleased to be here to speak with you today. Thank you Makan, for your thoughts on these important issues. They are particularly relevant to businesses, the legal community, academia and governments around the world and to all of you who are gathered here today. Every day we see the world evolving at a rapid pace, thanks to innovation.  Development of new technologies, ways of doing business and the creation of new products have the potential to open up new areas of science, medicine and technology. Small steps lead to bigger steps.  And here in Canada, we have to be ready for both the challenges and opportunities that this is bringing to all of us. Let’s understand what we are up against. Every year, innovation in the top industrialized countries is tracked by leading authorities on the subject. And here’s what they report about Canada in 2018. On the plus side, Canada performs better than some others in four big areas: Human Capital and Research, Institutions, Infrastructure, and Market Sophistication. See:  Canada’s ‘innovation economy’ has ...
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Crowdfund Insider | Cali Haan | Oct 9, 2018 Vancouver-based cryptocurrency exchange QuadrigaCX has been defending itself in court for the release of $28 million dollars in customer funds frozen by the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC) since January, the Globe and Mail reports. According to court documents filed by CIBC in the Canadian province of Ontario, the action to freeze the accounts was taken because the bank says, “it was unable to determine who owns the funds,” and would like the court to take possession of the money and distribute it to either QuadrigaCX, their payments processor Custodian Inc, or to the 388 affected Quadriga customers, the Globe and Mail writes. Entrepreneurs in the relatively new crypto sector industries complained for some time about bank non-cooperation. See:  International Anti-Money Laundering Standards for Crypto Expected in October The cryptocurrency press in South America has reported on numerous account closures by banks against crypto exchanges on the continent, some of which are now being contested in courts by, among others, exchanges like Walltime in Brazil. Sources within the Toronto crypto entrepreneur scene say they have suffered persistent problems with getting their businesses banked in the city- even at credit unions- and have ...
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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

BusinessWire release | Accenture | Oct 17, 2018 Digital-only banks, fintechs and big tech companies are quietly gaining customers, while incumbents struggle to make strategic investments in their digital future NEW YORK & LONDON & HONG KONG--(BUSINESS WIRE)--New entrants to the banking market — including challenger banks, non-bank payments institutions and big tech companies — are amassing up to one-third of new revenue, which is challenging the competitiveness of traditional banks, according to new research from Accenture (NYSE:ACN). “As the banking industry experiences radical change, driven by regulation, new entrants and demanding consumers, banks will need to reassess their assets, strengths and capabilities to determine if they are taking their business in the right direction” Accenture analyzed more than 20,000 banking and payments institutions across seven markets to quantify the level of change and disruption in the global banking industry. The study found that the number of banking and payments institutions decreased by nearly 20 percent over a 12-year period — from 24,000 in 2005 to less than 19,300 in 2017. However, nearly one in six (17 percent) current institutions are what Accenture considers new entrants — i.e., companies entering the market after 2005. While few of these new players ...
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Forbes | Michael del Castillo | Oct 18, 2018 The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is launching a portal for engaging with companies using blockchain, artificial intelligence and more. Available today, the new fintech hub, or FinHub for short, is designed to bring the SEC’s existing services to a single access point and provide an easier way for companies to communicate with the public. As startups building with blockchain increasingly come under the SEC’s attention, the new portal has the potential to streamline the process of building compliant platforms prior to launch. The SEC’s FinHub will be led by Valerie A. Szczepanik, senior advisor for digital assets and innovation and associate director in the SEC’s Division of Corporation Finance. “We’ve been doing these things for years,” Szczepanik told Forbes. “This is going to bring it all together.” The FinHub will be staffed by representatives from the SEC’s divisions and offices who have expertise and involvement in fintech-related issues. See:  Canadian securities regulators provide additional guidance on securities law implications for offerings of tokens In addition to asking questions of the SEC, those who use the site will be able to request meetings. To increase engagement, a binary code “Easter egg” ...
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Gowling WLG | Shaela W. Rae | October 17 2018 Black market. Dark web. Illicit. Underground market. Illegitimate. Illegal. Organized crime. All words used to describe the illegal cannabis industry, until October 17, 2018 that is. Once it is legal to buy, possess or use cannabis for recreational purposes the discussion around the use of cannabis and how to procure it changes from hushed words in a corner to an open conversation in public. But is the public ready to embrace a substance that has been seen as illegitimate and "bad" for so long? If the experience in the US can be relied upon, the answer is "yes". According to investment bank Cowen & Co., the cannabis industry is expected to reach sales of approximately US$75-billion by 2030, up from US$6-billion in 2016, as the drug is more socially accepted. In the US today cannabis is illegal on a federal level as it is classified as a Schedule 1 narcotic, but cannabis is legal in 30 states for medicinal purposes, and in 9 states and Washington, DC, for recreational use for adults over the age of 21. See:  Canabis Company True Leaf Raises $14 Million in Cross Border US – ...
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International Monetary Fund | Release | Oct 11, 2018 The International Monetary Fund and the World Bank Group today launched the Bali Fintech Agenda, a set of 12 policy elements aimed at helping member countries to harness the benefits and opportunities of rapid advances in financial technology that are transforming the provision of banking services, while at the same time managing the inherent risks. The Agenda proposes a framework of high-level issues that countries should consider in their own domestic policy discussions and aims to guide staff from the two institutions in their own work and dialogue with national authorities. The 12 elements (see table) were distilled from members’ own experiences and cover topics relating broadly to enabling fintech; ensuring financial sector resilience; addressing risks; and promoting international cooperation. “There are an estimated 1.7 billion adults in the world without access to financial services,” said IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde. “Fintech can have a major social and economic impact for them and across the membership in general. All countries are trying to reap these benefits, while also mitigating the risks. We need greater international cooperation to achieve that, and to make sure the fintech revolution benefits the many and not ...
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Investment Executive | James Langton | Oct 12, 2018 Money laundering and tax evasion are key concerns Canadian policy-makers initially took a hands-off approach to cryptoassets. Now, in the wake of a bitcoin boom-and-bust and continuing growth in the cryptoassets market, policy-makers are taking a second look at the emerging phenomenon. In 2015, the Standing Senate Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce issued one of Canada’s first reports examining the emerging cryptocurrency industry; that report recommends that policy-makers keep an eye on the space. Since then, the cryptoassets market has continued to grow. According to a report from the Bank of Canada (BoC), the global market capitalization for cryptoassets “grew rapidly” in 2017 and the daily transaction volume now is more than 75 times higher than it was in early 2017 – i.e., more than $25 billion a day. At this point, the BoC report states, traditional financial services institutions don’t have much, if any, direct exposure to cryptoassets, but the report cautions that these institutions could become exposed due to their clients’ trading in cryptoassets or through exchange trading in crypto-based derivatives. “Cryptoasset markets are evolving quickly and could have financial stability implications in the future if their size ...
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Exploring cryptoasset regulation
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 $11.4 million Series A financing . Prior to co-founding Progressa, Ali worked in both corporate restructuring and audit & assurance, ...
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FINTECH FRIDAY$ (EP.13-Oct 12):  Road to Fintech IPO:  Capital Networks, Scalable Solutions, Putting People First with Ali Pourdad, Co-founder and CEO Progressa
Beam Platform | Alec Gordon | Aug 24, 2018 THE PROBLEM The tech industry has gotten a rude awakening this year. Following a few high profile instances of data misuse, European Union has struck down the law and put everyone who sells into Europe (or deals with anyone who does) on notice. Since introduction, GDPR was meant to show both corporations and their users that better clarity around data collection/preservation is the necessary step forward, one that will lead to a fairer digital society, and ultimately benefit all those involved. And in order to do that, the companies themselves must take matters into their own hands by building new tools to let data flow back to the user. The customers demand it, and equally deserve to have control over their digital footprint. In the end this is an EU bill with global ramifications, and we should all be paying attention. By now you most of you have gotten dozens of emails on “updates to privacy policy” and other notices of forthcoming compliance. This is a welcome reminder that it is you, the user, who’s the focal point GDPR. After decades of computer and telephone use, the companies with whom we ...
Read More
Data is a 2-way street in a post-GDPR world
Competition Bureau | Oct 10, 2018 Speech Remarks by Interim Commissioner of Competition Matthew Boswell Global Series 2018 October 10, 2018 Ottawa, Ontario Thank you. I’m pleased to be here to speak with you today. Thank you Makan, for your thoughts on these important issues. They are particularly relevant to businesses, the legal community, academia and governments around the world and to all of you who are gathered here today. Every day we see the world evolving at a rapid pace, thanks to innovation.  Development of new technologies, ways of doing business and the creation of new products have the potential to open up new areas of science, medicine and technology. Small steps lead to bigger steps.  And here in Canada, we have to be ready for both the challenges and opportunities that this is bringing to all of us. Let’s understand what we are up against. Every year, innovation in the top industrialized countries is tracked by leading authorities on the subject. And here’s what they report about Canada in 2018. On the plus side, Canada performs better than some others in four big areas: Human Capital and Research, Institutions, Infrastructure, and Market Sophistication. See:  Canada’s ‘innovation economy’ has ...
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Advancing Competition in a Changing Marketplace
Crowdfund Insider | Cali Haan | Oct 9, 2018 Vancouver-based cryptocurrency exchange QuadrigaCX has been defending itself in court for the release of $28 million dollars in customer funds frozen by the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC) since January, the Globe and Mail reports. According to court documents filed by CIBC in the Canadian province of Ontario, the action to freeze the accounts was taken because the bank says, “it was unable to determine who owns the funds,” and would like the court to take possession of the money and distribute it to either QuadrigaCX, their payments processor Custodian Inc, or to the 388 affected Quadriga customers, the Globe and Mail writes. Entrepreneurs in the relatively new crypto sector industries complained for some time about bank non-cooperation. See:  International Anti-Money Laundering Standards for Crypto Expected in October The cryptocurrency press in South America has reported on numerous account closures by banks against crypto exchanges on the continent, some of which are now being contested in courts by, among others, exchanges like Walltime in Brazil. Sources within the Toronto crypto entrepreneur scene say they have suffered persistent problems with getting their businesses banked in the city- even at credit unions- and have ...
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CIBC Has Frozen $28 Million of Vancouver Crypto Exchange’s Funds Since January
Crunchbase News | Alex Wilhelm | October 8, 2018 Meet Nubank, a fintech shop out of Brazil that just raised $180 million from Tencent at a valuation of $4 billion. Forget the fact that the round is half secondary. It’s an enormous transaction, and in more normal times, it would cause a big stir. However, the capital event highlights something notable about Tencent: the China-based company’s investment cadence is staggering. Tencent is disbursing cash at a far faster rate than Alibaba, another Chinese tech shop that isn’t famous for parsimony. Tencent’s Early Christmas Tencent has been on a check-cutting bing recently, getting through eight investing rounds in September. Those ranged from a $1.5 billion deal with Lianjia (real estate services), a $450 million round for MissFresh E-Commerce (mobile grocery sales), to the comparatively staid $90 million Series B for WeShare (fintech something or other). October is looking similarly hot. Tencent is at four deals so far, and the month isn’t even half done. Here’s the list: October 1. Miniso’s 1 billion rmb Series A. October 4. Voyager Innovation’s $175 million private equity round. October 5. Bilibili’s $317.6 million post-IPO equity event. October 8. Nubank’s $180 million Series F (half secondary). Regarding Nubank, TechCrunch’s Jon Shieber has the ...
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Nubank Investment Underscores Tencent’s Quick Investing Pace

 

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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

BusinessWire release | Accenture | Oct 17, 2018 Digital-only banks, fintechs and big tech companies are quietly gaining customers, while incumbents struggle to make strategic investments in their digital future NEW YORK & LONDON & HONG KONG--(BUSINESS WIRE)--New entrants to the banking market — including challenger banks, non-bank payments institutions and big tech companies — are amassing up to one-third of new revenue, which is challenging the competitiveness of traditional banks, according to new research from Accenture (NYSE:ACN). “As the banking industry experiences radical change, driven by regulation, new entrants and demanding consumers, banks will need to reassess their assets, strengths and capabilities to determine if they are taking their business in the right direction” Accenture analyzed more than 20,000 banking and payments institutions across seven markets to quantify the level of change and disruption in the global banking industry. The study found that the number of banking and payments institutions decreased by nearly 20 percent over a 12-year period — from 24,000 in 2005 to less than 19,300 in 2017. However, nearly one in six (17 percent) current institutions are what Accenture considers new entrants — i.e., companies entering the market after 2005. While few of these new players ...
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Banks’ Revenue Growth at Risk Due to Unprecedented Competitive Pressure Resulting from Digital Disruption, Accenture Study Finds
Forbes | Michael del Castillo | Oct 18, 2018 The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is launching a portal for engaging with companies using blockchain, artificial intelligence and more. Available today, the new fintech hub, or FinHub for short, is designed to bring the SEC’s existing services to a single access point and provide an easier way for companies to communicate with the public. As startups building with blockchain increasingly come under the SEC’s attention, the new portal has the potential to streamline the process of building compliant platforms prior to launch. The SEC’s FinHub will be led by Valerie A. Szczepanik, senior advisor for digital assets and innovation and associate director in the SEC’s Division of Corporation Finance. “We’ve been doing these things for years,” Szczepanik told Forbes. “This is going to bring it all together.” The FinHub will be staffed by representatives from the SEC’s divisions and offices who have expertise and involvement in fintech-related issues. See:  Canadian securities regulators provide additional guidance on securities law implications for offerings of tokens In addition to asking questions of the SEC, those who use the site will be able to request meetings. To increase engagement, a binary code “Easter egg” ...
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SEC Launches Fintech Hub To Engage With Cryptocurrency Startups And More
Gowling WLG | Shaela W. Rae | October 17 2018 Black market. Dark web. Illicit. Underground market. Illegitimate. Illegal. Organized crime. All words used to describe the illegal cannabis industry, until October 17, 2018 that is. Once it is legal to buy, possess or use cannabis for recreational purposes the discussion around the use of cannabis and how to procure it changes from hushed words in a corner to an open conversation in public. But is the public ready to embrace a substance that has been seen as illegitimate and "bad" for so long? If the experience in the US can be relied upon, the answer is "yes". According to investment bank Cowen & Co., the cannabis industry is expected to reach sales of approximately US$75-billion by 2030, up from US$6-billion in 2016, as the drug is more socially accepted. In the US today cannabis is illegal on a federal level as it is classified as a Schedule 1 narcotic, but cannabis is legal in 30 states for medicinal purposes, and in 9 states and Washington, DC, for recreational use for adults over the age of 21. See:  Canabis Company True Leaf Raises $14 Million in Cross Border US – ...
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Cannabis & blockchain: Bad romance or a perfect match?
International Monetary Fund | Release | Oct 11, 2018 The International Monetary Fund and the World Bank Group today launched the Bali Fintech Agenda, a set of 12 policy elements aimed at helping member countries to harness the benefits and opportunities of rapid advances in financial technology that are transforming the provision of banking services, while at the same time managing the inherent risks. The Agenda proposes a framework of high-level issues that countries should consider in their own domestic policy discussions and aims to guide staff from the two institutions in their own work and dialogue with national authorities. The 12 elements (see table) were distilled from members’ own experiences and cover topics relating broadly to enabling fintech; ensuring financial sector resilience; addressing risks; and promoting international cooperation. “There are an estimated 1.7 billion adults in the world without access to financial services,” said IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde. “Fintech can have a major social and economic impact for them and across the membership in general. All countries are trying to reap these benefits, while also mitigating the risks. We need greater international cooperation to achieve that, and to make sure the fintech revolution benefits the many and not ...
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The Bali Fintech Agenda: A Blueprint for Successfully Harnessing Fintech’s Opportunities
Investment Executive | James Langton | Oct 12, 2018 Money laundering and tax evasion are key concerns Canadian policy-makers initially took a hands-off approach to cryptoassets. Now, in the wake of a bitcoin boom-and-bust and continuing growth in the cryptoassets market, policy-makers are taking a second look at the emerging phenomenon. In 2015, the Standing Senate Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce issued one of Canada’s first reports examining the emerging cryptocurrency industry; that report recommends that policy-makers keep an eye on the space. Since then, the cryptoassets market has continued to grow. According to a report from the Bank of Canada (BoC), the global market capitalization for cryptoassets “grew rapidly” in 2017 and the daily transaction volume now is more than 75 times higher than it was in early 2017 – i.e., more than $25 billion a day. At this point, the BoC report states, traditional financial services institutions don’t have much, if any, direct exposure to cryptoassets, but the report cautions that these institutions could become exposed due to their clients’ trading in cryptoassets or through exchange trading in crypto-based derivatives. “Cryptoasset markets are evolving quickly and could have financial stability implications in the future if their size ...
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Exploring cryptoasset regulation
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 $11.4 million Series A financing . Prior to co-founding Progressa, Ali worked in both corporate restructuring and audit & assurance, ...
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FINTECH FRIDAY$ (EP.13-Oct 12):  Road to Fintech IPO:  Capital Networks, Scalable Solutions, Putting People First with Ali Pourdad, Co-founder and CEO Progressa
Beam Platform | Alec Gordon | Aug 24, 2018 THE PROBLEM The tech industry has gotten a rude awakening this year. Following a few high profile instances of data misuse, European Union has struck down the law and put everyone who sells into Europe (or deals with anyone who does) on notice. Since introduction, GDPR was meant to show both corporations and their users that better clarity around data collection/preservation is the necessary step forward, one that will lead to a fairer digital society, and ultimately benefit all those involved. And in order to do that, the companies themselves must take matters into their own hands by building new tools to let data flow back to the user. The customers demand it, and equally deserve to have control over their digital footprint. In the end this is an EU bill with global ramifications, and we should all be paying attention. By now you most of you have gotten dozens of emails on “updates to privacy policy” and other notices of forthcoming compliance. This is a welcome reminder that it is you, the user, who’s the focal point GDPR. After decades of computer and telephone use, the companies with whom we ...
Read More
Data is a 2-way street in a post-GDPR world
Competition Bureau | Oct 10, 2018 Speech Remarks by Interim Commissioner of Competition Matthew Boswell Global Series 2018 October 10, 2018 Ottawa, Ontario Thank you. I’m pleased to be here to speak with you today. Thank you Makan, for your thoughts on these important issues. They are particularly relevant to businesses, the legal community, academia and governments around the world and to all of you who are gathered here today. Every day we see the world evolving at a rapid pace, thanks to innovation.  Development of new technologies, ways of doing business and the creation of new products have the potential to open up new areas of science, medicine and technology. Small steps lead to bigger steps.  And here in Canada, we have to be ready for both the challenges and opportunities that this is bringing to all of us. Let’s understand what we are up against. Every year, innovation in the top industrialized countries is tracked by leading authorities on the subject. And here’s what they report about Canada in 2018. On the plus side, Canada performs better than some others in four big areas: Human Capital and Research, Institutions, Infrastructure, and Market Sophistication. See:  Canada’s ‘innovation economy’ has ...
Read More
Advancing Competition in a Changing Marketplace
Crowdfund Insider | Cali Haan | Oct 9, 2018 Vancouver-based cryptocurrency exchange QuadrigaCX has been defending itself in court for the release of $28 million dollars in customer funds frozen by the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC) since January, the Globe and Mail reports. According to court documents filed by CIBC in the Canadian province of Ontario, the action to freeze the accounts was taken because the bank says, “it was unable to determine who owns the funds,” and would like the court to take possession of the money and distribute it to either QuadrigaCX, their payments processor Custodian Inc, or to the 388 affected Quadriga customers, the Globe and Mail writes. Entrepreneurs in the relatively new crypto sector industries complained for some time about bank non-cooperation. See:  International Anti-Money Laundering Standards for Crypto Expected in October The cryptocurrency press in South America has reported on numerous account closures by banks against crypto exchanges on the continent, some of which are now being contested in courts by, among others, exchanges like Walltime in Brazil. Sources within the Toronto crypto entrepreneur scene say they have suffered persistent problems with getting their businesses banked in the city- even at credit unions- and have ...
Read More
CIBC Has Frozen $28 Million of Vancouver Crypto Exchange’s Funds Since January
Crunchbase News | Alex Wilhelm | October 8, 2018 Meet Nubank, a fintech shop out of Brazil that just raised $180 million from Tencent at a valuation of $4 billion. Forget the fact that the round is half secondary. It’s an enormous transaction, and in more normal times, it would cause a big stir. However, the capital event highlights something notable about Tencent: the China-based company’s investment cadence is staggering. Tencent is disbursing cash at a far faster rate than Alibaba, another Chinese tech shop that isn’t famous for parsimony. Tencent’s Early Christmas Tencent has been on a check-cutting bing recently, getting through eight investing rounds in September. Those ranged from a $1.5 billion deal with Lianjia (real estate services), a $450 million round for MissFresh E-Commerce (mobile grocery sales), to the comparatively staid $90 million Series B for WeShare (fintech something or other). October is looking similarly hot. Tencent is at four deals so far, and the month isn’t even half done. Here’s the list: October 1. Miniso’s 1 billion rmb Series A. October 4. Voyager Innovation’s $175 million private equity round. October 5. Bilibili’s $317.6 million post-IPO equity event. October 8. Nubank’s $180 million Series F (half secondary). Regarding Nubank, TechCrunch’s Jon Shieber has the ...
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Nubank Investment Underscores Tencent’s Quick Investing Pace

 

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Peer-to-peer lending will help small businesses stay afloat

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The Globe and Mail | Michael King and Craig Asano | May 30, 2018

With interest rates on the rise and the Canadian banks moving up lending rates, the higher cost and reduced availability of credit will affect all Canadian businesses, like a rising tide lifting all boats. Inevitably some boats will be swamped and sink, particularly if they are smaller and more vulnerable.

One set of borrowers at greater risk are Canada’s 1.14 million small businesses, defined as companies that employ up to 99 workers. Statistics Canada reports that small businesses represented 98 per cent of all businesses, employed 70 per cent of workers, and generated 30 per cent of each province’s GDP on average. This category includes startups and high-growth firms, which represent Canada’s best hope for job creation and economic growth.

As credit becomes less available, small businesses face a difficult choice of cutting back on investment or turning to more expensive borrowing, such as credit cards or payday loans. Either option is bad.

Fortunately, small businesses now have an alternative source for loans called peer-to-peer (P2P) lending. These online platforms match borrowers and investors directly and can provide loans cheaper and faster than traditional sources. How can that be? The answer is technology.

Taking a step back, small businesses are financed differently than big ones. Most Canadian startups have neither the credit history nor the collateral to secure a bank loan. Statscan reports that more than 80 per cent of startups rely on alternative funding sources such as the entrepreneurs’ savings and personal loans taken out by owners. Only 45 per cent can access credit from financial institutions and 19 per cent receive trade credit from suppliers.

Technology is disrupting this paradigm. P2P lending platforms allow businesses (and individuals) to take out a loan online with the funds crowdsourced by investors who pool their savings to fund loans. Traditionally only financial institutions were set up to screen borrowers and allocate credit. But technologies such as the internet, cloud computing, data analytics and artificial intelligence have opened this asset class to new lenders such as your neighbour or a fellow business owner.

Canada’s first P2P platform, Lending Loop, was launched in late 2015 – a decade after this model was pioneered in Britain by Zopa. Last month, Lending Loop passed $20-million in loans funded on its platform by more than 20,000 Canadian investors. While $20-million is impressive, it is still only a sliver of the $95-billion of credit outstanding to Canadian small businesses as reported by Statscan.

The average small business borrower on Lending Loop’s platform is borrowing $75,000 to $100,000 for three to five years. While interest rates vary substantially, P2P loans typically start at around 6 per cent with an average interest rate of 12 per cent, significantly lower than a credit card. These loans are used to finance inventory and equipment, or to hire new employees.

The Canadian P2P lending market got a boost this month when the Ontario government announced it would contribute $3-million over the next two years to loans funded on Lending Loop’s platform. The Ontario government will fund up to 10 per cent of small business loans, supporting funding of $30-million.

See:

Besides the obvious benefit to small businesses, Ontario’s announcement was important for two reasons. First, Ontario has drawn attention to P2P lending as an alternative funding source and raised awareness among businesses to accelerate adoption. And second, by partnering with a fintech startup, Ontario is leading by example and giving a boost to entrepreneurs working to democratize finance.

Here are four more steps that Canadian policy makers can take to promote P2P lending:

First, Canada should follow Britain and adopt new P2P lending regulations, as opposed to shoehorning this sector under existing equity regulations. New regulations should ensure the cost of due diligence borne by lenders is proportionate to the investment risk.

Second, retail investor caps for P2P lending should be raised over time if this asset class is proven to be low risk, increasing the pool of funds available to meet the needs of small businesses.

Third, the federal government should partner with industry to provide more education for investors and small businesses. This effort should include data collection and benchmarking to allow researchers to establish what is working and what is not.

Fourth, Canada should adopt Britain’s mandatory referral program. Banks that reject a small-business loan must refer unsuccessful applicants to a government portal that connects them with alternative lenders who may be able to assist them.

Our hope is that Canadian politicians recognize that promoting innovation means more than cutting ribbons and offering tax credits. It is about plugging holes in a leaky financial system and adding wind to the sails of small businesses to move them forward.

 

Continue to the full article --> here

 


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

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Silicon Valley Bank Is Coming for Canada’s Burgeoning Tech Scene

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Bloomberg | By | May 14, 2018

Canada’s tech scene is heating up, and one of Silicon Valley’s oldest financial institutions wants a piece.

Silicon Valley Bank, the 35-year-old lender focused on tech startups and venture capital firms, plans to hire more than a dozen bankers in Canada with the goal of eventually banking 40 percent of the country’s tech and life science companies. It’s received authorization from Canada’s finance minister to open and is waiting on final regulatory approvals to begin lending.

Canada’s tech scene is thriving. Startups are proliferating, fueled by increased local investment and the presence of big-name U.S. venture firms like Andreessen Horowitz and Sequoia Capital. Internet giants including Amazon.com Inc. and Google are hiring thousands of engineers in Vancouver and Toronto and home-grown success stories like Shopify Inc. are taking off.

See:  PayPal is going after the big banks

With all that activity comes opportunity for banks willing to lend to small, unproven startups, said Barbara Dirks, Silicon Valley Bank’s recent hired head of Canada.

Canadian banks have a long-standing and concrete view of risk that might make it difficult for them to dive into earlier-stage tech, said Dirks, a veteran of Bank of Montreal and Royal Bank of Canada. Silicon Valley Bank brings a unique understanding of tech and the web of relationships in Silicon Valley and around the world to get startup investing right, she said.

Risk Appetite

“We’ve been in the space for so long, so something which may look risky to one institution is right in our expertise,’’ Dirks said.

At least one of those Canadian banks might beg to differ. Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce has trumpeted its own interest in the tech scene, recently buying tech-focused lender Wellington Financial and putting its CEO Mark McQueen in charge of a new “innovation banking’’ division. While Silicon Valley Bank will initially only have permission to give loans, CIBC’s unit is already licensed to offer a full range of banking services in Canada.

Silicon Valley Bank won’t be starting from scratch though. It already helps hundreds of Canadian companies including Shopify, Drop Technologies Inc. and Lightspeed POS Inc. with their U.S. banking, Dirks said. The goal now is to catch Canadian companies earlier and compete for deals directly. The bank will be focused on loans from as small as $750,000, all the way to leading syndicates of hundreds of millions of dollars, said Mark Gallagher, senior market manager for the U.S. northeast and Canada.

Global Connections

Gallagher has led a team for years that’s helped Canadian tech companies bank in the U.S., but watching the activity of the last few years, he said he knew it was time to step up Silicon Valley Bank’s presence north of the border.

“The broad diaspora of Canadians both in the U.S. and that have returned from the U.S. that have experience scaling companies is very strong,’’ Gallagher said. Venture capital investment reached about C$3.8 billion in 2017, up from $3.2 billion the year before, according to the Canadian Venture Capital & Private Equity Association.

Check out:  RBC first Canadian bank to open an API developer portal

Canadian companies that want to compete globally generally need to expand outside of their home market quickly. Shopify, the country’s best-known success story since BlackBerry, gets the vast majority of its revenue from outside of Canada. Linking companies up to partners and investors around the world is a major part of what gives Silicon Valley Bank a competitive edge, Dirks said.

Serious Swagger

“We connect companies between Canada and Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley and New York, Israel, China, etc.,’’ she said. “That will be one of the things that we’ll be able to contribute to the ecosystem.’’

Continue to the full article --> here

 


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

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