News Briefing - Crowdfunding, SME And Alternative Finance

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1.UK – P2P  

Institutional  investment is the most likely source of fresh capital into the alternative lending sector, according to a survey of industry executives, reports P2P Finance News.

“Global peer-to-peer lender Prodigy Finance surveyed 117 alternative finance professionals and found that 39 per cent think that the next wave of investment will come from institutions.

Just 17 per cent of respondents predict that retail investors will be the key source of funding for the industry, while 11 per cent believe that family offices and ultra-high-net-worth investors will provide the next wave of capital.

Institutional funding dominates the alternative finance sector in the US and is growing increasingly influential here in the UK, as platforms look to scale up. MarketInvoice and Funding Circle are among the alternative finance providers that have inked City funding deals over the past year.”


2. UK – FinTech


FinSMEs runs a report of a raise for a FinTech savings app.


Oval Money, a London, UK and and Torino, Italy-based fintech startup, raised a new round of £1.3m.

The new round includes £800k raised from over 1,000 investors via Crowdcube in a campaign we previously reported.

Co-founded by Benedetta Arese Lucini, former CEO of Uber Italy, with Claudio Bedino and Edoardo Benedetto, co-founders of do-it-yourself crowdfunding platform, and Simone Marzola, expert in Machine Learning and Artificial intelligence with previous startups and now CTO, Oval provides  a personal finance app powered by collective intelligence, which features a solution for consumers to save money in a smart and automatic way, which fits with their life of variable income and expenses.

3. UK – FinTech


Professional Adviser reports a new fund launch.


“Seneca Partners has chosen a novel way to launch its new growth-focused venture capital trust (VCT) on 8 May.

It has partnered with Hygea VCT to launch a new B share class, which will be renamed Seneca Growth Capital VCT Plc upon the first allotment of the share class.

Its intention is to use the existing Hygea VCT, which originally launched in 2001 but is now winding down, as a platform for its new fund. It said it is aiming to raise £10m in its first year and anticipated making seven to 10 initial investments.

Seneca Partners said its new B share class will not have any contamination from old Hygea investments, but will take advantage of Hygea distributable dividends to reward investors for joining earlier in an effort to avoid the problem new VCTs usually run into - not being able to distribute dividends to investors in the early years.

It also said this route has offered a quicker route to market than launching its own VCT from scratch.”

4. UK – FinTech/SMEs


TechCrunch reports a chunky new raise by Liberis.


Liberis, the London-based fintech that provides finance for small businesses, has raised £57.5 million in new funding to help support the company’s growth. The alternative finance provider makes loans against a company’s future credit and debit card sales.

The majority of the new capital being raised by Liberis  is debt, which in turn will enable it to issue more loans. The facility is being provided by British Business Investments (the commercial arm of the tax payer-funded British Business Bank), Paragon Bank, and BCI Ltd.

In addition, Blenheim Chalcot has made an equity investment into Liberis. The so-called “digital venture builder” also previously backed Clearscore, the credit scoring startup recently acquired by Experian.

Providing a new financing option as a replacement for a traditional bank loan or extended overdraft — which is increasingly hard for small businesses to come by — Liberis provides funding from £1,000 to £500,000 based on a company’s projected credit and debit card sales.”

5. International – FinTech


Techworm reports on the tech-savvy ways of easing access to alternative and mainstream financial services.

“Fintech firms have exploded onto the financial scene in Singapore and other mature markets in Asia in recent times. Focusing on disruptive technologies like peer-to-peer lending, affordable digital payment solutions, and more accurate risk analysis among other things, these startups are winning over customers by replacing the service delivery model used by traditional banks with user-friendly technologies.

Fintechs are lowering the cost of customer acquisition by reducing processing costs, by improving user experience, and by developing stronger APIs that make collaboration with partner institutions easier. They are also offering their partners more points of acceptance of loan/credit card applications and access to more traffic without having to invest in new infrastructure setup.

Customers aren’t complaining either. That’s because they get curated content and information about credit cards, loans, and other financial products at one place. By leaving the grunt work to these fintechs, customers can simply focus on identifying the right product based on their need. With the help of filters, they can make the shortlisting process effortless and quick.”