News Briefing - Crowdfunding, SME And Alternative Finance

Lively discussion in a pub

1.UK – P2P


AltFi on problems at one of the sector’s leading investment trusts.


“The £1.1bn Pollen Street Secured Lending fund saw a fall in its net asset value (NAV) for the month of November owing to a write-down in its equity stake in Zopa.

Peer-to-peer lender Zopa raised £140m in December allowing it to stay on track for the launch of its long-awaited banking platform. The cash was needed to fulfil regulatory capital requirements, a key requirement for the lifting of restrictions on its bank licence. The new fundraise prompted a fall in its valuation, however, of 47 per cent resulting in a new money valuation of £188m. Zopa only managed to secure the funding the day before the regulators’ deadline.

The decrease in the valuation of the fund’s Zopa stake reduced the investment trust’s NAV by 0.7 per cent. 

Pollen Street Secured Lending's, formerly P2P Global Investments, Zopa position was written down by 63 per cent from £7.8m to £2.9m. The legacy equity portfolio of Pollen Street Secured Lending, is now valued at £27m (3.7 per cent of NAV).”


2. UK – FinTech


Crowdfundinsider reports that FinTech may be providing solutions to late-payment problems for small companies.


“New research performed in the UK has revealed that fewer business-to-business (B2B) invoices were paid late in 2019 when compared to 2018. Construction company Kier Construction is among several firms that have benefited from the UK’s efforts to settle payments in a timely manner.

The Construction Index confirms that Kier has been reinstated to the country’s Prompt Payment Code as of December 2019, after the successful completion of an internal project that aims to improve existing supplier relationships and engagement.”


3. UK – FinTech


Monzo, Starling, Curve, Revolut, etc – key marketing moves of 2019. AltFi reports.


“Undoubtedly 2019 marked the year when a number of fintechs entered the marketing mainstream, leaping from word of mouth and community marketing to big brand advertising, including TV spots.

Monzo claimed it saw "insane growth" on the back of its debut TV advertising campaign while Starling and Tide also debuted TV work and Curve undertook its first brand campaign, highlighting a visual overhaul.

However, there were marketing misfires in 2019, with Revolut sparking controversy with its “single-shaming” advert which drew protests from the City watchdog over the issue.

Here AltFi highlights some of the biggest advertising campaigns of 2019.”

4. International – FinTech


The White House is calling on U.S. lawmakers and businesses, as well as European nations and allies, to avoid overregulation of artificial intelligence. The announcement comes as part of AI regulatory principles introduced by the Trump administration, according to VentureBeat.

“Europe and our allies should avoid heavy handed innovation-killing models, and instead consider a similar regulatory approach. The best way to counter authoritarian uses of AI is to make sure America and our international partners remain the global hubs of innovation, shaping the evolution of technology in a manner consistent with our common values,” an OSTP statement reads.”

5. International – Equity

Crowdfundinsider brings news from Hong Kong.

AngelHub says it continues to launch new securities offerings after the successful funding of its first two issuers.

AngelHub is the only investment crowdfunding platform to receive regulatory approval from the Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) in Hong Kong.

Last spring, AngelHub was approved for two separate securities licenses. The platform is licensed by the SFC for Type 1 (Dealing in Securities) and Type 4 (Advising on Securities) activities. Later in 2019, AngelHub raised USD $3 million to help launch the platform. AngelHub is a “professional investor” platform where individuals may participate in securities offerings alongside top tier institutional firms.

In the ensuing months, AngelHub closed its first two funding rounds after vetting over 400 early-stage firms adhering to a strict due diligence and vetting process.

AngelHub reports that it is providing a unique opportunity to invest with institutions in USD $50+ million Series C offerings. AngelHub adds that it has launched new campaigns covering several sectors including Proptech and Fast Fashion/E-commerce.”