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Category Archives: Online Funding Portals

Republic Announces $36M Series A to Democratize Access to Investing for Everyone

Republic | Business Wire | March 17, 2021

republic investing in startups - Republic Announces $36M Series A to Democratize Access to Investing for Everyone

NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Republic, a leading investment platform, announced today it has completed the initial closing of its $36M Series A fundraising. The round was led by Galaxy Interactive with participation by Tribe Capital, Motley Fool Ventures, and Broadhaven Ventures. In addition, Prosus Ventures (formerly Naspers Ventures) made a strategic investment in Republic through a purchase of Republic Notes, a novel digital security. Founded in 2016, Republic and its subsidiaries have raised more than $70 million to fund their ventures.

Republic was founded on the principle that sought-after investment opportunities should not be limited to small, closed networks of investors, and that people should be able to invest in the future they believe in. On the Republic platform, anyone can invest across startups, real estate, crypto, gaming, and small businesses. Republic has over 1 million members, who to date have invested more than $300 million in offerings under Regulation Crowdfunding (Reg CF), Reg A and Reg D. Republic provides curated deals for investors of all experience levels and interests, while empowering founders with access to a diverse and engaged investor base.

See:  Early-stage Investing – The Public gets a Seat at the Table

Republic is a leader in facilitating crowdfunding campaigns for startups and SMBs raising under Reg CF, which allows non-accredited investors to participate in private funding rounds. Earlier this week, the SEC raised the cap for how much can be raised through Reg CF from $1.07 million to $5 million per annual period, enabling founders to raise up to 5x more capital through crowdfunding, while unlocking unprecedented access to deal flow for Republic’s investor community. Republic quickly became the first investment platform to facilitate a $5m Reg CF offering under the new rules. In addition to serving retail investors, Republic recently launched Republic Deal Room, offering investment opportunities for institutional and accredited investors.

One of the first mainstream fintech firms to embrace cryptocurrencies, Republic created the Republic Note, a profit-sharing digital security meant to align the incentives of the community with activity on the Republic platform. Prosus Ventures —the venture arm of Prosus, one of the world’s largest technology investors— is backing the Republic Note, which represents Prosus Ventures’ first-ever crypto digital asset investment.

“Prosus Ventures has a strong history of being an early investor in businesses that target big societal challenges, and Republic has created a platform that has the potential to break down the systemic barriers that exist in the funding process,” said Banafsheh Fathieh, Head of Americas Investments at Prosus Ventures. “Republic’s continued growth will enable more entrepreneurs from underrepresented groups to raise funds beyond the usual gatekeepers, and investors will be able to help businesses they are passionate about when they need it most.”

“We are at the early stages of a multi-decade super-cycle of retail empowerment. Republic is at the forefront of this trend, and there is no team that better understands the intricate web of consumer tech, finance, and regulation needed to bring real innovation to the private investment space. We are thrilled to partner with Ken and team, and look forward to the amazing opportunities they will enable in the years to come,” added Richard Kim, partner at Galaxy Interactive, Republic’s lead investor.

See:  Retail investors are becoming more than shareholders

Kristine Harjes, Investment Officer at Motley Fool Ventures, also offered her perspective on the investment, “The Motley Fool has long championed the individual investor, and we feel deeply aligned with Republic’s mission to increase access to once-exclusive private investment opportunities. Motley Fool Ventures is thrilled to support Republic’s efforts to revolutionize the alternative investment landscape through its best-in-class technology and community.”

Republic has recently expanded its reach into new markets through strategic acquisitions, including Fig, a leading video game publisher backed by Spark Capital and Greycroft, Compound, a real estate investment platform backed by NEA, and NextSeed, a crowdfunding platform for local businesses. Earlier this month, Republic announced that it is expanding its crypto offerings and will be hosting digital asset sales on the platform, allowing blockchain projects to sell native digital assets to both U.S. and non-U.S. participants.

Republic CEO Kendrick Nguyen has played a key role in creating more equitable funding and investment opportunities for founders and retail investors alike.

“We have entered a new era of investing, one in which all stakeholders of a business can become shareholders. The support of marquee institutional investors in Republic’s funding round is indicative of the vast potential of our mission: to enable investors everywhere to align their passion with profit,” states Nguyen, who penned a personal letter for the Republic blog about what the future holds for Republic. With this new round of investment, Republic will continue to work towards its mission of democratizing access to investing and giving people the power to invest in the future they believe in.

About Republic

Republic is a leading investment platform that provides access to startup, real estate, crypto, and gaming investments for both retail and accredited investors. Republic has facilitated over $300 million in investments by our global community of over one million members. For more information, visit www.republic.co.

 


NCFA Jan 2018 resize - Republic Announces $36M Series A to Democratize Access to Investing for Everyone The National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association (NCFA Canada) is a financial innovation ecosystem that provides education, market intelligence, industry stewardship, networking and funding opportunities and services to thousands of community members and works closely with industry, government, partners and affiliates to create a vibrant and innovative fintech and funding industry in Canada. Decentralized and distributed, NCFA is engaged with global stakeholders and helps incubate projects and investment in fintech, alternative finance, crowdfunding, peer-to-peer finance, payments, digital assets and tokens, blockchain, cryptocurrency, regtech, and insurtech sectors. Join Canada's Fintech & Funding Community today FREE! Or become a contributing member and get perks. For more information, please visit: www.ncfacanada.org

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CCA 2020 RegCF Year in Review Report (NCFA 20% Discount)

Crowdfund Capital Advisors | Sherwood Neiss | Feb 2, 2021

RegCF Crowdfunding 2020 year in review - CCA 2020 RegCF Year in Review Report (NCFA 20% Discount)

2020 Year in Review

(Purchase with special NCFA link below and receive 20% DISCOUNT)

2020 was a year of crisis for the country and the financial markets, but it was also the year that fully demonstrated that online finance delivers capital to diverse SMEs, across the country, while providing robust investor protections. Regulation Crowdfunding:

  •  Democratizes access to capital for women and minority entrepreneurs:
    • According to a January 2021 survey of SMEs that successfully raised the maximum $1M from Regulation Crowdfunding:
      • 45.5% had female founders
      • 40.9% had minority founders
      • 100% said that they would have raised $5M if that amount would have been available to them.
    • As a point of comparison, according to an April, 2020 Securities and Exchange Commission Report (https://www.sec.gov/spotlight/sbcfac/sbcfac-learn-from-data.pdf)
        • Black, latinx and middle-eastern founders  received just  5% of all VC investment
        • Women founders received just 13% of VC investments
  • Distributes capital to local economies across the United States despite geographical biases from the Venture Capital industry.
  • Provides local investors a legal structure to support the local entrepreneurs they believe in, with a limited amount of risk capital.
  • And over the last 4 years, with appropriate investor protections, these investments have been made with no reported fraud.

See:  RegCF Online Investment: Highest Monthly Activity in July; Small Firms Most Affected by COVID-19 Find Ready Investors and Capital

No other part of this market has such complete, longitudinal data that can deliver easy to use and comprehensive transparency to the Securities and Exchange Commission and FINRA as they conduct their oversight of the private capital markets.

Regulation Crowdfunding was one of the most bi-partisan pieces of legislation in the year it passed. It allows any startup or small business to raise up to $1.07M online from their customers, friends, family and followers. Key points about the data and this report:

  • The data in this report consists of over 125 data points collected from disclosure documents from offerings that are filed with the SEC and listed on Online Investment Platforms.
  • Each day this data is aggregated from over 50 Online Investment Platforms that are registered with the SEC.
  • The data is cleaned, normalized and transmitted to Bloomberg daily for market analysis.
  • We look at data from exempt offerings that take place under Regulation Crowdfunding and parallel Regulation Crowdfunding/506c (Accredited Investor crowdfunding).

The data in this report demonstrates that the industry has matured to a point where the market is ready to utilize the regulatory modifications that are scheduled to go into effect in March 2021. Over the last 4 years, investors, platforms and issuers appear to have followed the law and have developed scalable operational systems as well as transparency and accountability within the model. We believe that 2021 will be a year of growth and opportunity for the Online Investment Industry for the following reasons:

  1. Local economies are struggling due to the global pandemic and access to traditional capital is still a top challenge, if not the top challenge, for small businesses.
  2. Stimulus capital, if it in fact reaches the smallest businesses and economies across the nation, represents a bandaid and entrepreneurs need access to more sustainable capital which online investment/community finance provides.
  3. Market awareness of the industry has reached a tipping point where over 90% of Congressional Districts across the United States have had at least one Regulation Crowdfunding offering.
  4. There has been no reported fraud or systemic failure in the model.
  5. As more fraud continues to pervade the public markets, and distrust in them increases, investors are looking to diversify modest amounts of capital into local businesses/entrepreneurs they believe in.
  6. The SEC voted on and approved changes that go into effect in March 2021 that would increase the maximum issuers can raise from $1.07M to $5M. This additional “head room” in funding availability will attract more issuers and more mature/larger issuers that are able to raise and utilize up to $5M in capital.

See:  Biden Administration to Review and (possibly Delay) Investment Crowdfunding Improvements

A few of the key highlights include:

  • Offerings by all types of businesses in all 50 states and Puerto Rico  successfully raised more capital.
  • Offerings were up 61% year over year.
  • The number of new Issuers (SMEs) of all sizes increased 58% and raised more in 2020 than any prior year
  • Local investors are deploying rational amounts of money into local businesses in areas outside of Venture Capital
  • Regulation crowdfunding investments continues to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 88% with high unrealized returns 
  • Demographics: 1,085 Cities, 447 industries, and 750,000 investors have engaged in Regulation Crowdfunding

NCFA 20% Discount:  Sale price $200 USD (normally $250)

Purchase the 81 page PDF report on RegCF 2020 in Review with NCFA Discount --> Here


NCFA Jan 2018 resize - CCA 2020 RegCF Year in Review Report (NCFA 20% Discount) The National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association (NCFA Canada) is a financial innovation ecosystem that provides education, market intelligence, industry stewardship, networking and funding opportunities and services to thousands of community members and works closely with industry, government, partners and affiliates to create a vibrant and innovative fintech and funding industry in Canada. Decentralized and distributed, NCFA is engaged with global stakeholders and helps incubate projects and investment in fintech, alternative finance, crowdfunding, peer-to-peer finance, payments, digital assets and tokens, blockchain, cryptocurrency, regtech, and insurtech sectors. Join Canada's Fintech & Funding Community today FREE! Or become a contributing member and get perks. For more information, please visit: www.ncfacanada.org

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Fintech Fridays EP49: Managing Private Placements Has Never Been Easier

NCFA Canada | Jan 29, 2021

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FF EP49 Banner - Fintech Fridays EP49:  Managing Private Placements Has Never Been Easier


EP49: Managing Private Placements Has Never Been Easier

Featured Guests:

BROCK MURRAY, Co-Founder and Global Head of Business Development, Katipult (LinkedIn); and

Mr. Murray is a Co-Founder of Katipult and held the position of CEO prior to Mr. Breese. Under Mr. Murray’s leadership the company entered 20 unique regulatory environments, successfully completed a public listing, and attracted enterprise customers such as ATB Financial.

KARAN KHIANI, VP Solution Engineering, Katipult (LinkedIn)

Mr. Khiani is a technical leader who played a key role in the success of Versapay Corp, a TSXV listed company acquired by private equity firm Great Hill Partners for $126 MM. Karan built a team that fueled growth and led product and consulting teams for VersaPay's top tier financial services customers.


About Katiult:

Katipult (www.katipult.com) is a provider of industry leading and award-winning software infrastructure for powering the exchange of capital in equity and debt markets. Our cloud-based platform and solutions digitize investment workflow by eliminating transaction redundancy, strengthening compliance, delighting investors, and accelerating deal flow. Katipult provides unparalleled adaptability for regulatory compliance, asset structure, business model, and localization requirements.

 

Katipult logo2 - Fintech Fridays EP49:  Managing Private Placements Has Never Been Easier

About this episode:

Join Brock Murray (Co-founder and Head of Global Business Development) and Karan Khiani (VP Solution Engineering) of Katipult, an award winning private placement software as a service company. They navigate the origins of their company, the challenges of product/market fit, the impact of COVID19, emerging retail investor trends and going public early. The best part is....their journey is just beginning. Welcome to EP49 of Fintech Fridays - Enjoy!

 

Subscribe and tune in each Friday to check out the latest movers and shakers in fintech. Listen to more podcasts here:

Season 1 | Season 2 | Season 3

 


Fintech Friday Transcript of Episode 49: Brock Murray and Karan Khiani of Katipult

Intro: Welcome to fintech Friday's a weekly podcast brought to you by the National Crowdfunding and Fintech Association of Canada and partners. Covering all things fintech, blockchain, AI and alternative finance.

 

Anna Niemira: [00:00:00] Hello, everyone, and welcome to Fintech Fridays podcast brought to you by the NCFA Canada, a leading fintech and crowdfunding association. This is Anna Niemira and I am your today's podcast host. Our podcast introduces remarkable people from the fintech community and showcases industry trends and developments. You can always refer to the past episodes by visiting our website to connect with our incredible guests and of course, their stories. Thank you so much for tuning in to today's podcast. We are thrilled to welcome our guests, Brock Murray, who is the co-founder and Head of Global Development, and Karan Khiani, VP Solution Engineering of Katipult, which is a multi-award innovative company with a Financial Post calling it "Canada's best-kept fintech secret".Gentlemen, great to have you here.

 

Brock Murray: [00:01:19] Yeah, thanks.

 

Karan Khiani: [00:01:19] Great to be here.

 

Anna Niemira: [00:01:21] Fantastic. Can you tell us, in a nutshell, what Katipult's core business is, the essence of the company?

 

Brock Murray: [00:01:33] Yes, sure, so I mean, Katipult is a software as a service business, and we provide a white label solution, a cloud infrastructure solution to alternative investment firms, and really our products helping with the exchange of kind of private capital and debt investments. And it manages the entire online investment workflow from investor onboarding all the way through to investor servicing.

 

Anna Niemira: [00:02:00] So you are focused on transforming and empowering firms in global capital markets.

 

Brock Murray: [00:02:08] Yeah, exactly. We're playing a very key role in the digital transformation strategies, helping groups bring more manual kind of ad hoc workflows online and particularly in the private capital markets.

 

Anna Niemira: [00:02:26] Katipult was introduced to the market in 2015 with a global scale and expansion, which was happening in 2016. Then you guys had a listing on TSX Venture in 2017 with many strategic partnerships since. So, that is an incredible feat, like truly catapulting, scaling fast. What's the recipe for your success?

 

Brock Murray: [00:03:01] You know, I think we have a ways to go before we can truly say it's a success, but, you know, I think we've done things quite unconventionally for a company of our size. You know, early days we went international, at the very beginning of our company's lifecycle. Our first five clients were all from five different countries doing alternative investment style businesses, whether it was commercial real estate or private lending. But they were in for four different regulatory jurisdictions. And that was something that we had to accommodate our product to. So, you know, on day one, we ended up with a highly flexible configurable system. And that actually kind of gave us you know, it paved the way for a lot of the kind of customers we would bring on overtime where we could meet their needs more easily than I think a lot of software products that are very static in nature. So, you know, that was one area. We also went and did a public listing early in our company's lifecycle, which I think is also quite unconventional. And that allowed us to build our profile, attract some pretty interesting and very accomplished investors and put ourselves out in the marketplace where we were interacting with our customers and investors at the same time.

 

Anna Niemira: [00:04:22] Your listing on TSX Venture, was it direct or was it IPO?

 

Brock Murray: [00:04:31] So we did what they call a non-offering prospectus, meaning we had actually raised the capital prior to going public, but we did go through the full prospectus process. So, you know, a lot of firms you'll hear about RTOs right over a reverse takeover were essentially kind of buying a shell and then taking that through kind of shortcutting the listing process. You know, Katipult did it in a way where there actually is a prospectus and went through the full kind of TSX approval process for our firm specifically. So, yeah, that's what we did in twenty seventeen.

 

Anna Niemira: [00:05:04] That's fantastic. So what was actually the most difficult to achieve during that time, during these five years since 2015?

 

Brock Murray: [00:05:16] I think standardizing our product and workflows has been the most challenging, I think with a customer, a product, and a company of our size. There's a lot of unique requirements that clients will come in with, and as your clients get bigger or as they use your product more extensively, there's a lot of new requests that also come up. So there's a need for always iterating the product, improving the product. Technology trends keep changing. New competitors arise. So there's a lot of product innovation and you need to have a team that can scale the product technically, but also the processes around serving new customers need to be scalable as well. And that's everything from, you know, life support, customer success. You're having a sales team that can do repeatable sales and well informed on what the product is and how it's evolving. So I would say scalability has definitely been one and maybe Corona another. Another area you want to touch on. Yeah.

 

Karan Khiani: [00:06:21] Yeah, so this is an interesting question, right. Because the way I see it, and this would tell you a bit about the industry, private placement software, I would say loosely fit into within this the sphere of fintech. If you were to divide up the pie, you would have something sort of like investment management software. So we would fit into that category or subcategory of fintech. That's space in and of itself. An important thing to know about us is in a direct sense, we're not going after a retail market. Right. We're going after the enterprise market and the mid-market. So the question then becomes the people that they use, the use-cases that we're solving for, do the people out there that have to deal with the manual processes, do they even know that software like ours exists? So if you ask me, the biggest challenge that we have as a company is, you know, is competing with sort of the do-nothing approach or stay with your existing process, which is largely dependent on paper-based processes, Microsoft Excel, and so on and so forth. Now, what ends up happening is you find certain prospects out there and your message resonates with them. And when you when that happens, you go down a path with your product because you want to focus on that use case. You want to get it right. But, you know, you have a different part of your sort of your prospect base that would say, hey, I want to pull your product this direction. So if you ask me about sort of our two biggest challenges, one is sort of product focus, like there are so many use cases we can solve for like what are the top news cases? We're really trying to get one hundred percent right. And the second is the education of the market. In the enterprise, most investment banks or groups that we would set into, don't even know that we exist. So there's an educational exercise that has to take place before they can go online and say, hey, I'm looking for private placement software. Now, if they are already at that point are our sales process is much easier because then we know our competitor, from a competitive standpoint, our product is the leading product. Right. So these are some ideas around some of our key challenges. They've been some of our challenges up to this point. But to Brock's point, for a company of our size, it's quite impressive how global our client base is. So we've had a lot of clients with the same use cases across the world. But going forward, as we sort of focus on zero in on the sort of areas of the market, there's a lot of education that has to happen. Now, with that said, I would say that Covid has really helped us and I can give you an example of that. So, one of the cases of, or one of the use cases we solve for within our product is e-signatures or document management. So most people are familiar with DocuSign now, especially coming out of Covid and having to say, yep, we can't be dealing with paper. Let's sign up for a DocuSign account. Let's start getting e-signatures. We have our own proprietary signature technology. And within our product, now it's easier for people to come in and say, oh, yeah, now I can see that, you know, I need something like this. It's not something I can afford to wait on much longer. You know, it's already I have if I haven't already signed up for something like it. So, yeah, I think that those are some of the key things that we talk about a lot internally.

 

Anna Niemira: [00:10:13] Yes. So is that is e-signature something that you are most proud of to develop from that period of time or is it something else?

 

Karan Khiani: [00:10:24] And I mean, I'm sure Brock has some thoughts on this, but from my perspective, we've really taken sort of that concept of e-signature and made it focused and specialized to this market. So, I would say our product is better than a generic solution, that you would get off the shelf because we're really focused on investment management and the workflow. So we either work through this into it as well. As far as like what are we most proud of? I would say this is quite, a lot of other things that would probably be higher up on the list than e-signature just in terms of the sophistication. Right. So the platform is highly configurable, the depth of the configurability, and the number of ways in which you can build the platform to do certain things. It's quite impressive.

 

Anna Niemira: [00:11:15] Yes. So.

 

Karan Khiani: [00:11:17] Brock, I think you had some thoughts on that.

 

Anna Niemira: [00:11:20] Brock, do you want to add something to it.

 

Brock Murray: [00:11:22] Yeah, just kind of in the same thinking is one of the areas I'm pretty happy with is our investor experience that we're able to provide. So, you know, to Karan's point, there's a complex workflow when doing a private deal, when investors are starting to initiate their interest, go through the transaction, electronic signature as part of that, but it is a sequenced workflow that we highly automated. So, you know, I think there are a number of pieces and a number of, I guess, areas that we would elaborate on with that. But, yeah, overall, the workflow, automation, and investor experience are areas that I think we're definitely head and shoulders above what else is out there in the market.

 

Anna Niemira: [00:12:03] Yes. So, Katipult powers firms in over 20 regulatory environments worldwide! And, I'm not mistaken, it's 20 regulatory environments worldwide. That's very challenging, considering that different jurisdictions have different regulatory requirements. How have you met the challenge of unifying the variety of procedures and administrative requirements in so many jurisdictions?

 

Brock Murray: [00:12:38] It really goes back to our origins. We had to do it on day one as a company service five different customers and five different regulatory environments. So that gave us five already and ultimately have built all the infrastructure that we needed to take that forward and add additional regulatory requirements and flexibility, but also even just business process and localization requirements. So there is what Karan said earlier, right? There's a commonality between these clients. They're worldwide, but there's commonality. A lot of these industries, whether it's commercial real estate investment, the equity capital markets, types of divisions, they do operate, you know, from a business perspective, in very similar ways. And there is nuance to the regulation. So for us, it's a combination of just having the right configurability and also the right workflow changes kind of possible. So, you know, that's how we've done it. And it has been a challenge. But, you know, it was kind of a challenge that we face very early and we're able to get past early in our lifecycle so we could use it as an unfair advantage as we matured as a business.

 

Anna Niemira: [00:13:52] Right.

 

Karan Khiani: [00:13:52] And maybe just to build on that, I'll give you sort of one concrete example that I think is really cool, when we talk about regulatory environments, they have different sort of, to get very specific with an example - if you're an investor in a certain country and you're investing in a certain type of asset or a certain type of security, let's say crowdfunding, the issuer has certain requirements for what they need to collect from you. Now, fundamentally, what are we doing is we're helping build a workflow around automating that data collection and automating investor verification and identity verification and so on and so forth. So that's the fundamental requirement. We build our platform so that if you have to ask the investor five questions or 15 questions or one hundred questions and you need to inject workflow into that process, it can be done purely through a configuration. So that's how we've thought about our product, we know that from a regulation standpoint, things are changing every day. Even within the states like the 50 different states, they have different requirements. So to do have anything that's, you know, build for a point in time is just not going to work.

 

Anna Niemira: [00:15:13] Right. So is that something, it's true, like when it comes to regulatory things like there are certain things which are absolutely universal, like KYC, AML and providing certain documentation, but at the same time, from what you're saying, there are certain similarities as well. Is there one particular key difference when it comes to those regulatory requirements?

 

Karan Khiani: [00:15:43] And I'll take a stab at it and then brought you can chime in as well. For me, it comes down to going to the root of the question is who is allowed to participate in a certain type of offering? So through our platform an issuer can come on and say, hey, we want to lift something here and we want to solicit or maybe just invite investors to participate in something. So how open is that and to what extent, to what thresholds are you able to add investors into that so that they can participate in it? Or is it just the door completely open for anyone to come in and participate? So, for instance, we talk about, you know, under the Jobs Act in the US, like the distinction between Reg D and Reg S. Right. So Reg S is giving you some of the same sorts of exemptions for international investors. So having that be able to slice it off right at the very beginning and say these offerings belong to these types of these cohorts of investors and being able to really segment we call it segmentation, being able to segment that right off the bat.

 

Anna Niemira: [00:16:59] Right. So it comes to investors' investment criteria, pretty much who can do what.

 

Karan Khiani: [00:17:07] Exactly, who is exactly what is the regulations allow for? And then you can leave it to that interest as well. So the regulatory circumstances allow me to participate in something, but is this an offering I'm interested in? No. So if both of those don't hold true, it won't be it won't be something that is going to be relevant to me. So.

 

Anna Niemira: [00:17:30] Right. So, in general, when it comes to handling the retail industry, that's rather a very difficult thing. So how do you follow and meet retail investors' trends? Because those things are changing very rapidly.

 

Brock Murray: [00:17:50] Yeah, I think I mean, there's a number of aspects that we consider and there's a number of ways, I guess, people define retail. In the US, retail is often defined as an independent kind of individual investor, and that might be bucketed into accredited investors, which are high worth investors that meet criteria. In the public markets oftentimes retail is a similar right to any kind of individual that's, you know, that might be trading stocks kind of independent of any institutional involvement and things like that. In the private markets when people talk retail, it usually is just individual investors across a range of income levels or wealth statuses. So in the US, there has been a definition for a long time of what it says an accredited investor is, and that has really been the dominant force in private deals right there. They're less accessible than public markets are. You know, in many cases they are have been done offline. It's very much who you know and who you have access to. So, the definition held and kind of included a certain pool of investors for a long period of time. But the regulations will notify when they make changes to that. And in the US recently, the SEC broaden that definition, which brought in a much bigger pool of what would be determined as an accredited investor and groups that are marketing deals in the private space. Accredited investors really are the main target. It's kind of a cost of investor acquisition. It takes the same amount of work to get an investor who has a thousand dollars to invest as it does to find one who has a million dollars to invest. So, you know, that's kind of the pool that most firms are really chasing after. Will they take investors who might be at a lower kind of income tier, of course. And again, what Karan said, if the regulations allow them to, of course, they will. But that's kind of how we stay on top of what those trends are. And you see a lot of it through the client base as well. You see where clients are looking. You see what they're focusing on. You have some of the industry drivers like BlackRock, who made a pretty big declaration saying that their investor kind of portfolio and the source of their capital was going to go from about 85 percent institutional to 50 percent institutional. Right. And the retail investor base is going to go from 15 to 50. So, you know, that was a pretty big wake up call to the industry that, you know, as private deals continue to move online, or as the industry kind of digitizes and the accessibility becomes a lot more open for the average investor, you're going to see a lot more firms and even very large firms looking to tap into that to that pool, in that kind of power of capital.

 

Anna Niemira: [00:20:52] So, this is what I actually also wanted to ask you about because the investment industry, in general, has been rather conservative, with its demanding requirements. Yet, a lot is changing right now and it's changing quite rapidly. What are the key changing factors in the digital transformation, particularly in your industry, in the alternative investment industry? You mentioned already a few, but maybe there are some other key ones which you can see, where are we going from now?

 

Brock Murray: [00:21:35] Yeah. You know, I think the efficiency that investors can go through verification processes has been a focus for the last 12 to 18 months and that will be a big theme even in the next two to three years. There's still a lot of groups that are not doing that efficiently. They're not doing it digitally. And it's the basis of every single one of these firms. Investors are kind of the gold right of the industry. They all need to figure out ways to bring on investors quickly and more efficiently, in a digital format. Go-ahead.

 

Karan Khiani: [00:22:24] I was going to say Brock just to build on that as well when we talk about the investor experience - one of the first things that always comes up in conversation is so we're talking to a group that is going to be white labeling the Katipult product and the investor experience is really top of mind. So, when you think of retail and we're recording this on a day where everything related to the markets is making the news, whether it's sort of RobinHood and GameStop, investors now have a certain expectation of that how seamless that experience needs to be, how quickly they can access a platform and in three clicks be able to go from intense to decision and investment. Just to give you an example, there is always this trend of where retail goes, B2B where B2C goes, B2B eventually follows. Right. So the closest example I can think of is individuals that you and I, as consumers, we give up using checks a lot before businesses give up using checks. So business tends to follow. And the experience aspect of it that Brock mentioned is really going to be what drives and pushes these businesses to make these digital transformation decisions. So investors that do not get an app or do not get a digital experience through which they can interact with you will essentially not use your phone or not use your services. That's the point that we're getting to.

 

Anna Niemira: [00:24:08] And yes, this is actually five years ago when you guys were starting fintech had its big breakthrough, right? And now, five years later, the number of fintech companies is on the rise just because, as you said, there is this demand. There is the demand that comes from the bottom up. And so how do you actually deal with this increased competitive pressure in the industry? Because when you were starting five years ago, you might be the only one or you might have just a few competitors, and right now when we are on the edge of 20/21 there are many more fintech firms that might be very similar to yours. So how do you deal with competition?

 

Karan Khiani: [00:25:02] It's actually quite the opposite, I would say that if you ask me who our number one competitor is and continues to be, it's Microsoft Excel, right.

 

Anna Niemira: [00:25:10] Really?

 

Karan Khiani: [00:25:11] Yeah, absolutely. I mean, as I said, there's a level of discovery that has to first take place in the market about a certain segment. And I think, yes, from a retail standpoint, if I say here I want to buy stocks in the public market, there are twenty-five different ways I could choose from. But if I'm an investor and I want to participate in the private markets, obviously I'm not directly using Katipult. I would be using a firm that is in turn using Katipult, which makes our value proposition even stronger because we're sort of the fabric underneath that's holding it all together. Sorry, Brock, you were saying something.

 

Brock Murray: [00:25:54] No, I want to say something very similar to Karan's point, I mean, I think when we first started out, you know, you see any other kind of fintech that that pops up in a conversation thinking that's like your number one competitor. Quickly, quickly realized, yeah, Microsoft Excel, you know. "Do nothing" is another big competitor, where firms are not looking at any other solution. They're just not moving forward and digitizing. And, you know, 2020, I mean, it has changed that very much. I don't think firms could have survived if they didn't get pushed. To do things more in a digital format. So for us, that's great. Right. It kind of creates an opportunity for us to, like Karan said earlier, you know, getting in front of these firms and having them know about you is kind of the first part of the battle. And it's really educating them about how we can take them off of Microsoft Excel or very paper-based manual systems and move things digitally. So it's been actually a kind of a funny transition as we've matured a bit as a company where, you know, to kind of answer the question there, it's yeah, it's we're still competing with probably the most basic system that's out there.

 

Karan Khiani: [00:27:11] Think of it this way - if you have a compliance analyst or someone on the syndication team, in the investment back office and the equity capital markets, or in the wealth team, you've basically used certain you've done things a certain way for 15, 20, 30 years and they've all revolved around Microsoft Excel or spreadsheets in general, printing papers out and meeting clients over lunch. That's the process that they're used to. And in the regular course of things, the adoption of the transformation of that would have been a lot slower. One thing that for like with a lot of other fintech, what happened with Covid and people not being able to meet up for lunch and exchange papers and realizing that they need a different edge in their business to stay ahead of the competition. Right. If I can't get on a flight and meet with the client and pitch them on why they should be working with my brokerage firm, I need an edge in some other way. And so think of the experience you now get if your brokerage firm is giving you an online experience where your investors go online and complete an entire process in 10 minutes versus having to meet up for lunch and do it when the circumstances necessitate businesses doing this. So this makes our value proposition a lot stronger.

 

Anna Niemira: [00:28:44] That's fantastic to hear because I felt that there are many more firms you are competing with. But it's good to know that you are competing against one of the biggest firms.

 

Karan Khiani: [00:28:56] Or we are competing again to do nothing.

 

Anna Niemira: [00:28:59] That actually is good for you because that kind of takes your ambition as well. You want to be one of the best in the industry. Gentlemen, since you mentioned 2020, indeed, that year has changed a lot and a lot of companies went through a lot of testing. Some of them, unfortunately, couldn't make it, going further. And definitely, it has been a very pivotal year for the development in the technology industry. What do you think? What are your prognosis for 2021 and the years ahead when it comes to the growth of alternative investment products? We already know that we are moving in that direction. But what do you think? How it can branch out for it to develop?

 

Karan Khiani: [00:30:03] So I'm going to say Brock is definitely the deeper thinker, so I'm going to let him take this one.

 

Brock Murray: [00:30:09] Yeah, I am. For me, and I think for a lot of investors, the types of investments that are available in the alternative space are by far the most compelling and in many cases outperforming investments that are available. The challenge with that is there has not been accessibility for investors to participate, so, without having a substantial amount of wealth, you could never access the firms, right, there would either be a minimum of five hundred thousand dollars, for example, or a million dollars if you want to participate in the types of funds that alternative investment groups typically deal in, or if it was on a per transaction basis, you would need to be part of kind of an exclusive investment pool that may be a large commercial real estate investment group would tap into every time they do financing. And that was great for those investors, are they outperform the markets, both public, private? They did great, and that's exciting. To take that same level of institutional quality deals, which are very, very commonplace in the alternative kind of investment space in the private markets, bringing that online, so it's in a digital format where things like this can be fractionalized, broken down into much smaller investors or investment minimums and shared across a broader pool of retail investors is exactly what has been happening in the last few years. And I only see that trend accelerating in 2020 - 2021. You see, this year there's a lot of talk about retail participation in public markets. Some good, some bad. And this week it was everybody's retailers pumping up what is it, GameStop, and kind of breaking the shorts from some of the bigger funds on Wall Street.

 

Anna Niemira: [00:32:07] I heard about Blockbuster right now as well, getting three or four hundred percent or even more, much higher. So definitely, yes.

 

Brock Murray: [00:32:17] Yes. I mean, and that's very different from our world. But That's, that is retail participation, getting more engaged and involved in the public markets and the public markets have long been accessible to retail investors and investors of all classes. It a much larger market or it had been, at least in terms of what was being done digitally, whereas the private market is massive, it's much, much bigger than the public markets, except that it's all or it has been all offline and inaccessible. So it's very fragmented and it's something that is really very much still to be uncovered by investors of all sizes. So, you know, that's the way we view it. It's a superior product, right. The alternative investments best for investors. There's a lot of opportunity for outperforming other types of traditional investments, and it's only just becoming available and accessible for a lot of average individual investors. So, you know, it's exciting times. And I think we'll see a lot of investors do well if they start participating in some of these deals.

 

Karan Khiani: [00:33:28] I just said one more, because it's not really the flavor of the month, it was the flavor of the month last month. So I mentioned Blockchain but in all seriousness, when I think of building on what Brock said, the retail driving private capital markets, you know, to be more accessible, which I seek out about helping enable to a great extent, adding on one piece to that which is actually developing some real use cases where those business flows and private capital markets leverage Blockchain technology. So, for example, settlement of securities as an example. So it's a large topic, but I just wanted to say that there's a lot of retail stuff that we talk about with obviously crypto and certain assets like Bitcoin, Ethereum, and so forth. We've actually explored real-world use cases for Blockchian and how that could fit into the private capital space.

 

Anna Niemira: [00:34:38] Well, that is absolutely fantastic. This is great for many people to hear about, because indeed, as you said, perhaps Bitcoin has been the flavor of last month, but it's still, quite strong right now. And I think a lot of people are looking for alternatives when it comes to investment, not just having the investment digitally, but what's available to them as well. So if you guys were to give some advice to the fintech community, what that would be?

 

Karan Khiani: [00:35:19] Good question.

 

Brock Murray: [00:35:22] Very good question. I would say just be persistent. I think that's something I was told, you know, a number of years ago. Stay very focused and be persistent, so don't try to do everything, don't try to service everybody. Don't try to be the flavor for everybody. Pick your focus, become the best at it. And don't give up and be extremely persistent and it's not necessarily the recipe for success, but, you know, it increases the likelihood of success drastically.

 

Anna Niemira: [00:35:57] So mastering your skills, Be the best at what you are the best and just keep going and developing and growing in that direction, that it's better to focus on the niche market and just become really a pioneer in it versus being a jack of all trades.

 

Brock Murray: [00:36:16] Exactly. And as an early company, you know, you have to be opportunistic. So you might have to keep your eyes open to what that path is. And but when you know, you have that path and once you validate that and there's customer demand and you know the opportunity is there, then yes. And then focus, don't get distracted, and be persistent.

 

Anna Niemira: [00:36:38] So having courage. That's one more thing, right? Seeing the trends and analyzing everything, but having personal courage to go after what you are seeing and sometimes, yes, going with a gut feeling as well.

 

Brock Murray: [00:36:54] Exactly. Yeah, a conviction for what you think is the market opportunity. And if again, if you're a fintech it's going to be a technology-based initiative, and if you know you have something that is going to be in demand and, you know, it's kind of a blue ocean, as they say, go after it.

 

Anna Niemira: [00:37:15] So one more thing. How about companies keeping up with the governance? And just because a lot of companies, particularly in the fintech world, generally in the innovative industry, a lot of companies are in the sandbox testing and often focusing on the products, but they're not really focusing on their company's administrative tasks and governance and staying within the regulatory requirements as well, and sometimes that might catch them in the future. So what do you think about it? Because you guys actually have done this very early and you prepared yourself and very quickly listed, so you needed to pay attention to just general requirements from the industry as well, and not trying to break the rules, but rather like obeying the rules and trying to fit in. So, how about for the companies to stay really focused also on fitting in within the regulatory environment as well?

 

Brock Murray: [00:38:24] As a fintech, I mean, that's definitely a very important aspect of your initiative. There are a lot of regulatory rules out there. Some can prohibit you from what you think is the opportunity. Some can further create the opportunity because they're great for software companies, for fintech companies, compliance and regulation, create cumbersome administrative tasks. Cumbersome administrative tasks create opportunities for software companies. So, yeah, you definitely need to be informed, make sure that you are within those rules and if you're not, you can have some serious issues. So, I think for us, we've navigated that right with working with the right types of clients, making sure your software licensing agreements ensure that your clients are responsible for their regulatory requirements and things of that nature. But you definitely need to know the lay of the land if you're going to be pursuing a fintech opportunity and there are some cases of groups that have done things out of bounds and strong regulators like in the US or in the U.K. or Canada, well, will definitely learn about what you're doing and come after you if you're doing things outside of the rules.

 

Anna Niemira: [00:39:47] Super, thank you so much, guys. It was truly such a pleasure speaking with you and thank you so much for introducing Katipult to NCFA podcast audience. And ladies and gentlemen, that's a wrap on the behalf of the FinTech Fridays podcast. We would like to thank Brooke Murray and Karan Khiani for joining us on this show and you for tuning in. Please feel free to share your thoughts with us. We always welcome your feedback. So once again, I'm inviting you to visit NCFA website to check out some of the fantastic past episodes. We Look forward to having you next Friday for another episode of FinTech Fridays. Wish you a great weekend. Thank you very much. And once again, thank you so much to Brock Murray and Karan Khiani for joining us today for today's podcast. Thank you so much.

 

Karan Khiani: [00:40:56] Thanks for having us.

 

Anna Niemira: [00:40:59] Thank you.

 

Outro : you've been listening to Fintech Fridays brought to you by NCFA and partners. Tune in weekly for the latest fintech Friday podcast by subscribing to this channel. The National crowdfunding and Fintech Association of Canada is a non-profit actively engaged with social and investment fintech sectors around the globe and provide education research industry stewardship services and networking opportunities to thousands of members and subscribers. For more information please visit ncfacanada.org. Oh yeah.

 

End of Podcast

 

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NCFA Jan 2018 resize - Fintech Fridays EP49:  Managing Private Placements Has Never Been Easier The National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association (NCFA Canada) is a financial innovation ecosystem that provides education, market intelligence, industry stewardship, networking and funding opportunities and services to thousands of community members and works closely with industry, government, partners and affiliates to create a vibrant and innovative fintech and funding industry in Canada. Decentralized and distributed, NCFA is engaged with global stakeholders and helps incubate projects and investment in fintech, alternative finance, crowdfunding, peer-to-peer finance, payments, digital assets and tokens, blockchain, cryptocurrency, regtech, and insurtech sectors. Join Canada's Fintech & Funding Community today FREE! Or become a contributing member and get perks. For more information, please visit: www.ncfacanada.org

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Biden Administration to Review and (possibly Delay) Investment Crowdfunding Improvements

Crowdfund Insider | | Jan 22, 2021

white house regulatory freeze for review - Biden Administration to Review and (possibly Delay) Investment Crowdfunding ImprovementsYesterday, Assistant to the President and Chief of Staff Ronald Klein distributed a Presidential Action by President Joe Biden that is poised to impact recent improvements to security crowdfunding including the Reg CF and Reg A+ exemption. Entitled Regulatory Freeze Pending Review, President Biden has ordered that rules that have been published in the  Federal Register but have not taken effect will be delayed by 60 days of the memorandum which would be March 22, 2020. Rules that have been sent to the Office of the Federal Register but not published are to immediately withdrawn for review and, perhaps, approval.

On December 5, 2020, Representative Maxine Waters, Chairwoman of the House Committee on Financial Services, sent a letter to President-Elect Biden requesting a rollback of a litany of rule changes enacted by the Trump administration – some of which impacted Fintechs.

On January 15, 2020, Chair Waters sent a 2nd letter addressed to the incoming Biden administration asking him to

“temporarily suspend any midnight regulations” promulgated by the Trump administration.

This letter asked that any rules that have not yet been published in the Federal Register while requesting to

“postpone the effective dates of rules at least 60 days that have already been published in the Federal Register but which have not yet taken effect.”

See:  Regulation Crowdfunding Cap moves from $1.07M to $5M on March 15, 2021

The Presidential action may impact improvements to the investment crowdfunding sector including funding increases to Reg CF and Reg A+, as well as some other areas of Fintech.

Reg CF is poised to increase its funding cap from $1.07 million to $5 million. Reg A+ may increase from $50 million to $75 million. Increasing the funding caps of these two exemptions make them more viable and in line with current requirements for younger firms. The updates by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) were broadly lauded by the securities crowdfunding industry and many members of the industry view the changes necessary for survival.

The regulatory improvements also include several other updates that are designed to help entrepreneurs and younger firms. The entire list is viewable here.

So what happens next?

President Biden has appointed Gary Gensler to head the SEC. As was previously covered, Gensler has a solid knowledge of Fintech and, specifically, expertise in blockchain technology. Gensler has researched this sector of Fintech and previously taught a class on the subject at MIT. It is unclear as to when he will be approved by the Senate but his appointment should move relatively quickly. It would then be up to him to review the improvements to the crowdfunding ecosystem.

See:  NCFA Response to CSA on NI 45-110 Harmonized Securities Crowdfunding Rules

Alternatively, Acting SEC Chair Allison Herren Lee could be asked to review rules. As a Commissioner, Lee disagreed with the changes stating her “concerns with the individual provisions of the final rule are numerous.” She questioned the “wisdom of increasing capital raising limits in offerings,” adding that “investors have demonstrated no interest, and issuers no need, for such increases.” But with Gensler on-deck, you can expect any determination will be made by him.

Continue to the full article --> here

 


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

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Catching the Wave: Capitalize on New Opportunities in Private Placements

Katipult | Vuk Stojkovic | Dec 23, 2020

Catching the wave private placement trends - Catching the Wave: Capitalize on New Opportunities in Private PlacementsPrivate markets just completed a decade of explosive growth. According to McKinsey’s “A new decade for private markets” review, 2019 saw record numbers in terms of private placement volume, with global private deal annual volume reaching $919B. The opportunity is here, and it is enormous.  This article covers select insights from industry thought leaders on the latest trends in technology-first private placement markets.

 

5 Private Placement Insights

Market Growth

Currently, forecasts are putting global alternative AUM at over $20 trillion by 2025, which is twice the value they were at in 2018. The number of deals more than doubled from 2009 to 2019. Behind these figures is strong investor demand, supercharged by recent regulatory changes.

Regulatory Changes

Recent SEC regulatory changes have served as a catalyst and provided more options for equity capital markets to source capital from individual investors, creating a necessity for organizations to prioritize building out compliance and syndication processes for retail participation. Due to the administration involved with the participation of larger numbers of investors, many firms have only made their private deals available to institutional investors, with retail participation hovering around 10%. Firms looking to capitalize on the new influx of retail investors are prioritizing efficiency improvements of internal processes.

New Investor Class Emerging

According to Blackstone, the percentage of its capital contribution by retail investors will shift dramatically in the first half of the next decade. By 2025 retail investors are projected to have a level of capital contribution equal to that of institutional investors. This means that organizations seeking sustainable growth in the space need to couple their private placement strategy with internal technology projects that prioritize building out compliance and syndication processes necessary for retail distribution.

See:  Top Investors Advice To Prepare For The Next Decade

Although the demand for private deals is reaching record highs, there is not enough accessible supply of investment opportunities. As a result, competition amongst quality firms is accelerating to fulfil investor appetite.

The Bottleneck: Manual Processes

Firms relying on spreadsheets, email, and physical mail in 2020 will find it increasingly difficult to scale their business. The main factor behind the low rate of retail participation in deals is the inability of firms to increase the number of investors they are able to service without significantly expanding their workforce. The largest culprit is the legacy systems and processes that bring inefficiency to workflows such as investor onboarding, document execution, signature collection, and payment reconciliation.

On top of not being scalable, these outdated processes often come with human error and correction efforts are tedious, expensive, and create opportunity cost. A situation such as COVID-19 only exacerbates these issues since the old processes are simply not equipped to handle the logistical challenges organizations are now faced with. Centralizing these workflows on an online platform is allowing firms to maintain business continuity while simultaneously removing old operational issues.

Top Firms are Digitizing

Even though there is now an industry consensus on the value added by digital solutions, many smaller firms have not yet committed to a necessary digital transformation strategy like the industry’s largest firms. There are various reasons keeping organizations from making technology a priority, however their competitiveness is declining as a result. While the goals of digitization projects may vary from firm to firm, some common business outcomes that need to be addressed include lowering operational costs, enhancing investor experiences, driving new revenue, and improving reporting and decision making.

See:  Digital Financial Inclusion in the Times of COVID-19

Three Must-Have Solutions When Digitizing

Replacing labor-intensive, ad hoc tasks with standardized and automated workflows will deliver benefits across all business segments; accelerate growth through shortening the deal cycle, enhance investor relationships and drive cost reduction and back-office productivity.

It should be noted that back office efficiency is not the only facet of digitization that delivers value to firms; the adverse impact that manual processes have on the quality of investor experience is also eliminated. Whether it is during the onboarding process or after the fact, users should be able to complete all interactions with a firm conveniently and access all necessary information in a way that is intuitive and seamless. Platforms that help organizations achieve this are going to be much more than a productivity tool by the people using them.

1. Investor Onboarding

This crucial part of the investor journey is perhaps most visibly impacted by solutions such as the one offered by Katipult. The onboarding process is currently plagued with inefficiencies that can be entirely removed by digitizing the entire workflow. This includes systems to manage digital form submissions, ensure compliance, and automate KYC.

See: 

SEC Proposes to Update Accredited Investor Definition to Increase Access to Investments

Alberta and Saskatchewan securities regulators seek comment on proposed new exemption designed to facilitate access to capital

2. Subscription Document Generation (smart forms)

Smart forms are a high impact feature of private placement software that allow firms to scale the volume of deals without expanding the workforce. Smart forms keep track of appropriate investment vehicles and investor exemptions, and merge all required information in a guided workflow to ensure accurate execution of signatures and initials.

3. E-Signatures

High on the list of priorities for leading firms has been replacing “wet” signatures with their electronic or digital counterparts. This allows firms to avoid playing tag with investors whose investments can’t move forward because of a missing signature. Collecting these electronically plays an important part in improving both the company’s back office efficiency as well as the investor experience.

It is important to understand the business fit of an e-signature solution before you go ahead with the implementation. There are many off-the-shelf solutions available on the market and companies need to plan in order to avoid going through a huge digitization project that ends up with disjointed solutions that don’t work together. A fully integrated solution is key, so whether you decide to integrate separate solutions or find one purpose-built for your platform, just make sure you have a clear path to making the whole ecosystem work together.

About the Author:  Brock Murray is Head of Global Development & Director as well as co-founder and founding CEO of Katipult | TSXV: FUND. Under his leadership the company entered 20 unique regulatory environments, successfully completed a public listing, and attracted enterprise customers such as ATB Financial.

Fintech Confidential issue 3 cover 1 - Catching the Wave: Capitalize on New Opportunities in Private Placements

This article appears as a featured article in NCFA's digital magazine, Fintech Confidential (Issue 3 Dec 2020). Click to read the latest thought leadership, insights and trends about Fintech in Canada:

Checkout NCFA's digital magazine, Fintech Confidential (Issue 3, Dec 2020) --> here

 

 


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

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How to Choose the Right Financial Partner for Your Business

Loop | Dimple Lalwani | Dec 7, 2020

Getloop 1 - How to Choose the Right Financial Partner for Your BusinessWhile this may be simply-stated, we're not oblivious to the fact that such a task can be a true undertaking. There are plenty of financial options out there to consider, but the true challenge is finding the one that will be most beneficial for your business.

In this article, we'll discuss a few of the most common financing options, so you can get a better idea of what's available and what might work best for your D2C brand. Read on to learn more.

Importance of the Right Growth Capital from the Right Financial Partner

As you begin searching for and comparing inventory financing solutions for your eCommerce brand, there are a few points you'll want to consider. Here are three items to keep in mind as you select the best option for you:

1. Expert advice on managing cash flow. Some financial partners don't offer this type of guidance—rather, they offer a purely transactional relationship, with little to no guidance or advice. Some financial partners will solely offer capital without any additional services, either because of the way their business model is structured or because their business does not generate sufficient revenue to provide additional resources beyond the capital provided.

See:  Managing Finances in a New Startup

Even if you believe you can do without the extra financial services, it may end up benefiting your business to have a financial partner you can turn to for advice on maximizing your revenues and margins, as well as providing inventory loans for growth.

2. As a new, high-growth brand with a limited history, you can expect to pay a higher cost for capital than more established companies (generally from newer financial companies that operate on a revenue share model). Effective cost of capital could be costing you substantial dollars, ultimately impacting your margins, valuation, and your ability to scale your business profitably.

3. The ability to borrow funds for inventory and generate revenue in the short-term is paramount. In doing so, you can unlock the necessary cash for other working capital expenses, such as marketing efforts, ads, salaries, and more, which will help promote brand awareness and allow you to expand.

Types of Financial Partners Available to Your D2C Brand

1. Banks

Though a bank loan might seem like the most straightforward route to securing funds, a bank's business line of credit is typically on the low side—especially for new businesses that have only a few years of financials. Typically ranging from $1,000 to $250,000, it's likely that a business line of credit from the bank won't supply the growth capital you need if you are growing your business substantially month to month. Banks can also be quite slow to replenish funds at the end of a fiscal year—it would not be uncommon to receive additional capital toward the middle or end of the following year.

Pros vs. Cons

There are a few advantages of using a business line of credit. For one, they are fairly flexible, allowing you to pay only for what you actually use. It also may be convenient for you that a loan from a bank is tied to other products and services, such as credit cards, bank account, savings, and more, which will serve to keep your finances more streamlined. You'll also be able to build business credit and develop your credit history, which will speak to your reputability for future loans.

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Equally important to consider are the disadvantages of a bank loan. Specifically, banks offer less money upfront due to a lack of understanding of eCommerce business models. The challenge for high-growth eCommerce businesses is balancing cash flow for their Direct-to-Consumer and wholesale needs. Specifically, high-growth eCommerce brands often need to fund substantial purchase orders placed by large retailers or other subscription box services, and often, payment from these orders isn't received for months. The inability to process these orders due to a lack of initial funds can result in missed revenue opportunities, hence slower growth from year to year.

Banks also present the problem of higher currency exchange rates for international business, which is unavoidable in the world of eCommerce. In fact, it's likely that a good deal of your business may be conducted with overseas entities—whether it be for your products themselves or your packaging costs—so higher currency exchange rates can end up significantly hurting your profits, and may even impact your ability to qualify for more affordable capital elsewhere.

2. Merchant Cash Advance Products

Also known as revenue-sharing financing, merchant cash advances are not the same as using a revolving business line of credit. Rather, this process basically entails receiving funds from a financing company in exchange for a cut of your future sales, including a fee.

‍Pros vs. Cons

The primary benefit of a merchant cash advance (MCA) is that it's fast—you can have the funds you need (typically up to $500,000) in as little as one day. It's also easy to qualify for, even without excellent credit. Repayment is flexible, and depends upon the amount of sales you make during a given period.

See:  NEW REPORT: Small Business SOS – It’s Time to Supercharge Local Crowdfunding to Unlock Needed Capital

Unfortunately, merchant cash advances come with higher fees than most loan options, ranging from 6-20% of the amount borrowed. The more sales you make, the quicker you have to pay back what you've borrowed, which dramatically increases your effective cost of capital. If you have a particularly slow month, be prepared for your MCA provider to take the majority of your profits. There is also little regulation for this method of lending due to the fact that a merchant cash advance is not actually a business loan. Between the high fees and minimal regulation, it may be easy to fall into a cycle of debt.

3. Royalty Financing

Another popular option to consider for your business is royalty financing, which involves receiving funds based on future revenue. The amount borrowed is then paid back as a percentage of your business's revenue. In some ways, this process may sound similar to a merchant cash advance, though the two differ because royalty financing is a loan.

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

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Binance has begun to block U.S. users from accessing its exchange platform

The Block Crypto| Yogita Khatri | Nov 9, 2020

binance - Binance has begun to block U.S. users from accessing its exchange platformQuick Take

  • Binance has started blocking U.S. users from accessing its platform, The Block has learned.
  • An email obtained by The Block directed a user to withdraw their funds within 90 days if they were based in the U.S.
  • The move comes more than a year after Binance first announced that it would stop serving U.S. residents from September 2019.

Crypto exchange Binance has begun blocking U.S. users from accessing its exchange platform, The Block has learned.

The move comes more than a year after Binance first announced in July 2019 that it would stop serving U.S. residents from September of that year.

Until now, the exchange was still effectively allowing U.S. users to access its platform. As The Block reported recently, a U.S. resident just had to click "I'm not [American]" to set up an account on Binance.com. It remains possible to create an account in this fashion.

See:  5 Trends to Watch in Fintech Regulation

Binance is now sending emails to U.S. residents based on their IP addresses in what appears to be a significant step toward enforcing its previously announced blockade of such users. One such email, sent Sunday and obtained by The Block, reads:

"We noted your account may be associated with the U.S. due to an IP address you connected from in the past. In-line with regulatory requirements, we are unable to provide services to U.S. citizens or residents."

"If you are a U.S. citizen or resident, please transfer your assets out of your account within 90 days. You may consider using Binance U.S. or other U.S. platforms," the email continues.

A member of Binance's customer support team told The Block that "once our system detects the access of account or the factors mentioned in the email are detected within the account then the following email notification will be sent out to users."

See:  The case against BitMEX is a compass pointing towards the future of crypto regulation

Recent issues

Binance's move comes soon after the U.S. government launched twin legal cases against crypto derivatives exchange BitMEX.

The U.S. Department of Justice and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission recently charged BitMEX and its founders for violating know-your-customer (KYC) and anti-money laundering regulations, among other allegations. In light of this case, BitMEX accelerated its KYC program, requiring all customers to be verified by November 5 — three months earlier than its original deadline of February 2021.

BitMEX rival Deribit will also require all users to become verified before the end of this year, as The Block reported last month. (Deribit already blocks U.S. residents based on IP addresses).

Continue to the full article --> here

 


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

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