News Briefing - Crowdfunding, SME And Alternative Finance

many hands in a circle

1. UK – FinTech 


Finextra reports: 


“Figures from UK Finance show that the British public are sitting on piles of loose change worth an estimated £50 million. 

The research shows that due to Covid-19 lockdowns, people have held onto cash for three times longer than before and when people receive coins, many are storing them at home rather than spending or donating them. This is particularly the case with lower denomination coins - more than half of those surveyed said they usually leave 1p, 2p, 5p and 10p change at home.

Along with the Charities Aid Foundation, UK Finance is asking people to consider donating some of this spare change to charity.

The Charities Aid Foundation says that over half the charities they spoke to last year had seen a drop in donations. At the same time, 39 per cent of the charities surveyed reported increased demand for help from those in need.

Neil Heslop, chief executive of the Charities Aid Foundation, says: "Cash donations to charities, normally the country's most popular way of giving, saw a substantial decline during 2020 and remain at very low levels compared to previous years.” 



2. UK – FinTech 


Irish mobile top-up service provider Ding has sold a majority stake to London-based private equity player Pollen Street Capital, according to Finextra. 

“Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed but the equity value is pegged at around $300 million, says the Irish Times, citing industry sources.

Founded in 2006 by Mark Roden, Ding has developed into a global leader in international top-up and credit transfers, offering customers the ability to top up online, through an app, via partners through the Ding API and in over 600,000 retail stores.

The firm now claims to serve millions of customers around the world - who have sent almost a half a billion tops-ups.

The Pollen Street Capital deal is the first time that Ding has taken external investment. As the biggest shareholders, Roden and his family can expect a major windfall.” 



3. US - FinTech 


Altfi reports: 

“Investment platform eToro has lined up a heavyweight executive to lead its growing US plans. 

Lule Demmissie, the former president of commission-free US trading platform Ally Invest, is joining as eToro’s US CEO and will take over the strategic vision for all of eToro’s American operations. 

“I have spent my career furthering the empowerment of retail investors and championing financial well being,” said Demmissie on her appointment.  

eToro’s breakthrough blend of innovation in social investing, copy trading, as well as its groundbreaking efforts in digital assets is what drew me to this amazing brand and team.” 

Before Ally Invest, Demmissie was managing director of investment products and digital guidance at TD Ameritrade, and before that worked at Morgan Stanley, J.P. Morgan, and Merrill Lynch.” 


4. US – FinTech 

Crowdfundinsider reports: 

“Shepherd, an Insurtech that offers “tech-enabled insurance for commercial construction,” has announced a $6.15 million seed round led by Spark Capital. Natalie Sandman, a partner at Spark, has joined the board of Shepherd. 

The funding included the participation of Susa Ventures, Procore Technologies, Y Combinator, Greenlight Re, Oldslip, and several angels from within the Fintech ecosystem, according to a blog post. 

Procore is a top project management platform for the construction industry and this is the first investment the company has made in an early-stage firm. 

The growth capital will be utilized to invest in the company’s engineering and underwriting teams. 

Shepherd explains that it digitizes the way insurance is procured within commercial construction.  Its platform is designed to automate the underwriting process and offers contractors rewards and incentives to invest in technology.” 


5. International – FinTech 

Crowdfundinsider reports: 

“Roxe, a next-gen international payment network, reveals that it will offer qualifying reserve banks with free access to its global Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) Plus Program. 

The new program will aim to enable countries to issue “new secondary or primary sovereign, fiat currencies backed by a standardized Bitcoin hashrate,” which will also allow their central banks to “issue CBDCs, stabilize their economies by anchoring them to the Bitcoin economy, increase revenue, and make faster, cheaper international payments and remittances,” according to an update shared with CI.”