News Briefing - Crowdfunding, SME And Alternative Finance

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1.UK – FinTech    

Finextra reports: 


“Gro, a UK DeFi startup founded by former Revolut and Spotify executive Hannes Graah, has raised $7.1 million in a seed funding round led by Galaxy Digital and Framework Ventures. 

Variant, Northzone, Nascent, a_capital and 3AC joined the round for Gro, which plans to use the funding to boost its headcount and begin rolling out products.

Gro says its products are designed to give people "simple and friendly" access to DeFi so they can create and share wealth by combining the best of decentralised and legacy finance.

The first product is a protocol that will enable access to optimised stablecoin yield and increased protection.

The startup says that, with interest rates at record lows, there is a huge demand for returns and that many are turning to cryptocurrencies to speculate on price increases.

However, the volatility of bitcoin and others makes them a risky investment, something that Gro says its product avoids, letting people use digitised pounds and dollars to profit from emerging financial services.” 



2. UK - FinTech 


AltFi reports: 


Wise (the fintech formerly known as TransferWise) is said to be following in Deliveroo’s footsteps by offering a dual-class share structure for its hotly-anticipated float on the London Stock Exchange (LSE), according to Sky News. 

The fintech, which is expected to float on the LSE later on this year, is reportedly drawing up plans to keep the control of the company in the hands of its founders and early investors. 

According to City sources, Wise will opt for a dual-class share structure to ensure that early investors and its founders don’t miss out on reaping the rewards of its listing. 

Earlier this year it was reported that Wise had appointed Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley to steer it through its LSE float. 

The option was made possible by the recent review into how companies list on the LSE by Lord Hill. 

Lord Hill’s review suggested measures to bring the LSE more in line with its American rivals in the hopes of attracting more companies to list here in London, rather than across the pond on the NASDAQ or New York Stock Exchange.  

Alongside offering dual-class share structures on the LSE, Hill’s review also suggested reducing the free float requirements in an IPO and a review of the prospectus requirements on companies were among Hill’s recommendations to the Government.” 


3. US – FinTech 


Innovation in New England. The Fintech Times reports: 

The pandemic caused every industry to suffer and adjust their style of work to make sure their aims could be achieved. The result of the Covid-19 outbreak was many businesses innovating and adapting to the situation so they could succeed and get an edge over their competitors. Innovation is a principal driver of US economic growth. In 2021, the US will spend nearly $600 billion on research and development — more than any other country in the world and more than 25% of the world’s total — helping the nation rank third on the Global Innovation Index. 

According to the results of the ranking, knowledge and technology outputs are America’s particular strengths. Some of the most notable innovations the US has produced recently are the covid-19 vaccines, and the government spent $12 billion in 2020 on their development and distribution through Operation Warp Speed. But certain states deserve more credit than others for America’s dominance in the tech era. These states continue to grow innovation through investments in education, research and business creation, especially in highly specialised industries. 

To determine the most and least innovative states, WalletHub compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia across two key dimensions, “Human Capital” and “Innovation Environment.” It evaluated those dimensions using 22 relevant metrics. Its data set ranges from share of STEM professionals to R&D spending per capita to tech-company density. Each metric was graded on a 100-point scale, with a score of 100 representing the most favourable conditions for innovation with “Human Capital” and “Innovation Environment” being worth 50 points each. WalletHub then determined each state’s weighted average across all metrics to calculate its “State Innovation Index” and used the resulting scores to rank-order its sample.” 


4. US – FinTech 


Crowdfundinsider reports on coming crypto oversight:


President Joe Biden’s young administration is poised to deliver heightened – and perhaps unprecedented – regulatory scrutiny of the exploding Fintech industry.  The groundwork for a more active regulatory regime has been set over the course of the past decade.  Prior administrations harnessed existing enforcement mechanisms to regulate the Fintech industry.  They also made policy statements and issued guidance regarding the participation of Fintech and the use of cryptocurrency assets in banking and financial markets. 

Circumstances now are ripe for a new and more active regulatory regime.  For example, cryptocurrencies have proliferated to the point of mainstream entry into the marketplace.  President Biden’s financial regulators are also uniquely positioned to bring increased attention to Fintech.  We expect a forceful dynamic between Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, who has expressed public skepticism towards cryptocurrencies, and President Biden’s other chief financial regulators, who have deep expertise and understanding of Fintech. 


5. International – FinTech 

Finextra reports: 

“Santander's consumer bank in Norway has released a new PFM app using Open Banking tools from Nordic API Gateway. 

Dubbed 'Prosoper' and billed as a 'financial friend', the app is available to all of Santander's 1.5 million customers across the Nordics as well as to non-customers of the bank.

Oskar Karlsson, product manager for open banking at Santander Consumer Bank, explains: “With Prosper, we’ve done our absolute best to build a service for both Santander customers and non-Santander customers, as we want to help as many as possible get an overview of their financial life in one app across any bank.”