News Briefing - Crowdfunding, SME And Alternative Finance

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1.UK – P2P

Peer2Peer Finance News reports that Thin Cats has £800 million stored up for UK SMEs.

“Business lender ThinCats has £800m in capital which it is “ready to deploy” to fund UK-based small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

In its annual review of 2018, ThinCats revealed that two major funding programmes had allowed it to secure £700m for SME funding from four institutional investors. This included a £200m combined commitment from ESO Capital and Waterfall Asset Management, £300m from Insight Investment, and £200m from BAE Systems Pensions.

Combined with the peer-to-peer platform’s £100m of retail funding, this means that ThinCats began 2019 with £800m in capital, ready to invest in UK businesses.

“We are delighted to have secured £700m of institutional funding in little over a year,” said Ravi Anand, managing director of ThinCats.

“This level of funding validates our ambition to provide better funding solutions to UK SMEs and our investment in the processes and people to deliver that ambition. Looking forward into 2019 we will continue to diversify our pool of investors generally and to support new product launches.”

2. UK – FinTech


Crowdfund Insider on UK venture-capital investor Augmentum’s latest moves:


Augmentum Fintech plc (LSE: AUGM) announced on Thursday it has invested £7.5 Million in online lending platform. Founded in 2018, Augmentum Fintech claims to be one of Europe’s leading venture capital investors that is focused exclusively on the fintech sector. The group invests in early and later stage fast growing fintechs that are “disrupting the banking, insurance, asset management, and wider financial sectors.”

3. US – FinTech


Crowdfund Insider reports:

Albo, a Mexico-based fintech that offers consumers digital accounts with prepaid Mastercards for receiving, transferring, and spending, announced on Thursday it secured $7.4 million through its Series A investment round, which was led by Mountain Nazca and joined by the impact investment firm Omidyar Network, and Greyhound Capital.

Launched in 2016, Albo revealed it offers consumers in Mexico the possibility to have a digital account with access to an international Mastercard and an app to receive and transfer money, as well as make payments seamlessly, with minimal fees and in a fast and efficient way. The company reported it has become a financial ally for its users, constantly improving its platform and offering tools to help them to better manage their finances and improve their financial health.”

Mexican Fintech Albo Secures $7.4 Million Through Series A Funding Round Led By Mountain Nazca | Crowdfund Insider

4. International – FinTech


The South China Morning Post on regulatory moves in China:


“Regulation is often seen to play a critical role in the development of FinTech. The early days of FinTech development saw many technology companies trying to offer new ways of delivering financial services. Like money transfers, or peer-to-peer (p2p) lending, they are usually regulated activities, but the existing regulations are set for traditional, large and comprehensive financial institutions. The FinTech community often argues that the regulation for them should be tailored to the specific services they provide.

Some FinTech activities can be regulated by extending current regulations, for example, extending the remittance regulation to the money transfer business. For most other FinTech business models, new tailor-made regulations would be required. However, coming up with new tailor-made regulations for a new business FinTech model may not be practical, and whether that should be done depends on the perceived novelty or economic benefits of that FinTech activity. In some cases, regulators may make use of the exemption provisions in the existing regulation, such as the exemptions for accredited and professional investors.

5. International – AltFi


India Infoline on moves by a P2P player to bolster governance.


“BigWin Infotech Private Limited’s, a Peer-to-Peer (P2P) lending marketplace today announced V. Balakrishnan, an industry veteran as a member of the Advisory Board.
V. Balakrishnan has held leadership positions in finance and is an expert in Corporate Finance, International Taxation, Risk Management and Mergers & Acquisitions. Balakrishnan has founded Exfinity Venture Partners where he currently serves as a Partner and Chairman of the firm. Prior to this, he has served as Head of BPO, Finacle & India Business Unit at Infosys and further as the Chief Financial Officer of Infosys Ltd; from May 1, 2006 to October 31, 2012. Moreover, he was Secretary and Senior Vice President - Finance of Infosys Ltd., from his joining in 2001 to April 2006. He was a full-time Director on the Board of Infosys Limited from June 2011 to December 2013. Much deserved, he is also a recipient of the "Best CFO" award from CNBC India and Finance Asia.”

6. International – FinTech


A German-regulated offering from Neufund features in Crowdfund Insider:


“Neufund, a security token offering platform, completed its first issuance of digital securities in their parent company, Fifth Force GmbH, company last month. The purchased tokens will be minted for shareholders on February 12, if everything goes as planned.

The equity token raised an equivalent of €3 387 752.12. The pre-money valuation was pegged at €125 million but purchasers received a 40% discount off the rack rate. The equity token represents not just ownership but voting shares in the company. While Neufund has not made any announcements regarding liquidity, it is expected the token (FTH) will be listed on one or several exchanges within the coming weeks.

There is more than a bit of trailblazing here and not just for Neufund but for the German regulators (BaFin) too who had to greenlight the offering.”