Thursday June 8 2017, Daily News Digest

Funding Circle loans

News Comments Today’s main news: Goldman Sachs now highest-interest paying bank for savers. Zopa to build challenger bank in Barcelona.  KBRA releases comprehensive surveillance report for American credit acceptance receivables trusts. CreditEase Wealth Management expands to Singapore. Today’s main analysis: Funding Circle June review. Today’s thought-provoking articles: OCC posts FAQ on fintech questions. Addepar raises $140M in quiet […]

Funding Circle loans

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United States

KBRA Releases Comprehensive Surveillance Report for American Credit Acceptance Receivables Trusts (KBRA), Rated: AAA

Kroll Bond Rating Agency (KBRA) takes rating actions on 8 American Credit Acceptance Receivables Trust.  In total, 15 notes were affirmed and 15 were upgraded. The data used are as of the April 31, 2017 collection period. No rating actions were taken on American Credit Acceptance Receivables Trusts 2017-1 and 2017-2, since these transactions have less than 6 months of seasoning. The rating actions reflect the fact that losses are in-line with KBRA’s initial loss expectations and credit enhancement has built for each class of notes. The breakeven loss multiples for each class of notes were sufficient for their respective affirmations and upgrades.

Credit enhancement for each transaction consists of overcollateralization (“OC”), subordination of junior notes, cash reserves, and excess spread. Each transaction has either met or is building to their respective target OC. The collateral for all the transactions has amortized from their initial pool balance since closing.

OCC Posts FAQ That Addresses Fintech Questions (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) is out with an FAQ to supplement a Bulletin (2013-29). Several of the items address Fintech specifically, as well as marketplace lending.

9. How can a bank offer products or services to underbanked or underserved segments of the population through a third-party relationship with a Fintech company?

Banks may partner with Fintech companies to offer savings, credit, financial planning, or payments in an effort to increase consumer access. In some instances, banks serve only as facilitators for the Fintech companies’ products or services with one of the products or services coming from the banks.

10. What should a bank consider when entering a marketplace lending arrangement with nonbank entities?

When engaging in marketplace lending activities, a bank’s board and management should understand the relationships among the bank, the marketplace lender, and the borrowers; fully understand the legal, strategic, reputation, operational, and other risks that these arrangements pose; and evaluate the marketplace lender’s practices for compliance with applicable laws and regulations. As with any third-party relationship, management at banks involved with marketplace lenders should ensure the risk exposure is consistent with their boards’ strategic goals, risk appetite, and safety and soundness objectives. In addition, boards should adopt appropriate policies, inclusive of concentration limitations, before beginning business relationships with marketplace lenders.

Read the full FAQ here.

THE REAL ESTATE START-UP JARED KUSHNER CO-FOUNDED IS NOW WORTH $ 800 MILLION (Vanity Fair), Rated: A

In May, real-estate investing start-up Cadre found itself in the limelight when The Wall Street Journal reported that Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump’s son-in-law, had failed to disclose his investment in the three-year-old company when he became a senior adviser to Trump. Jared and his younger brother, Josh, are both listed as the company’s co-founders, along with Ryan Williams, who met Josh Kushner at Harvard. Before Trump’s inauguration, Jared Kushner stepped down from Cadre’s board and sold some of his stake in the company, Bloomberg reports.

Now, the company has raised $65 million in funding, valuing Cadre at $800 million. The biggest firm to invest in the new round of funding is Silicon Valley heavyweight Andreessen Horowitz, which joins a number of institutional investors, including Vinod Khosla, David Yu, George Soros, and Trump adviser Peter Thiel in backing the real-estate tech start-up.

Cadre is just one Kushner-connected start-up in the tech world. Before he divested from his assets, Kushner had a $30 million stake in Thrive, his brother’s venture-capital firm, which invests in companies that include Slack, Glossier, Juicero, and, of course, Cadre.

Statement by Con Hurley, Executive Director, Online Lending Policy Institute (OLPI) (OLPI Email), Rated: A

“At a time when some are calling to reimpose the strictures of the Glass-Steagall Act on banks, no one is calling for a return to the days on interstate restrictions on banking activities. Yet, this is precisely what the misguided federal court decision in the Madden case would achieve.

The U.S. House of Representatives is expected to ratify the longstanding law and custom of banking in the U.S. that a loan, once made, is valid regardless of subsequent buyers or assignees of that loan. The Online Lending Policy Institute salutes this action. Further, OLPI urges the Senate to make this part of its reform legislation.”

Summary:
The CHOICE Act 2.0 introduces amendments to the National Bank Act, Federal Deposit Insurance Act, Home Owners’ Loan Act, and Federal Credit Union Act to clarify that the interest rate of a loan that is valid when made by a national bank, state-chartered insured depository institution, federal savings association, or federal credit union shall remain valid regardless of whether the loan is subsequently sold, assigned, or otherwise transferred to a third party. These amendments would overturn the 2015 decision of the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in Madden v. Midland Funding, which suggested that loans held by non-bank entities may be subject to state usury laws even where the loans were originated by national banks for which such laws are preempted. The Madden decision has created some uncertainty in the secondary markets for bank-originated loans.

InstaLend expands to three new states (PR Newswire), Rated: A

Today, InstaLend announced successful growth of its real estate crowdfunding platform, expanding to Pennsylvania, Illinois, and Georgia. As of June 1, 2017, investors in these three states, as well as New Jersey, will be able to participate in passive residential real estate investments through InstaLend’s online crowdfunding platform.

For any given project, InstaLend funds between 80 and 90 percent of the total project’s cost (acquisition + renovation) in the form of a senior debt loan. The capital provided by InstaLend is sourced through its network of crowd investors, and borrowers commit between 10 and 20 percent of total project cost as common equity.

RealtyeVest Lowers Minimum Investment Requirement for All Real Estate Offerings (PR Newswire), Rated: A

RealtyeVest lowered their required minimum investment amount today to just $5,000 for all offerings on their real estate crowdfunding platform for accredited investors. Previous minimum investment amounts ranged from $15,000 to $50,000, depending on the real estate project. The new $5,000 threshold is intended to draw first-time investors to experience RealtyeVest’s high-caliber performance with a nominal financial commitment.

RealtyeVest connects commercial and residential real estate owner-operators with investors. Their one-stop platform, realtyevest.com, provides a simple, secure, and transparent digital dashboard for accredited investors to partake in exclusive high-yield investment opportunities. New investors can complete the simple accreditation process right on the RealtyeVest website and become accredited within approximately 24 hours.

Payscape CEO Jeremy Wing On The Fintech Company’s Expansion and Move To Midtown (Hypepotamus), Rated: A

Payments to the people — it’s the motto and guiding principle behind Payscape, an Atlanta-based Fintech company that provides small to mid-size business owners with technologies that help them accept payments, streamline business, and increase cash flow. Payscape has grown exponentially since its inception in 2004 — their commitment to consistently developing and iterating new products that serve their customer base has allowed them to expand to 14 offices. They’ve processed 125 million transactions to the tune of $7 billion.

CEO Jeremy Wing and his team have had a busy 2017 thus far. The company invested $50 million to expand their operations, add 200+ jobs, and relocate to Midtown for access to talent and strategic partners. Most recently the team launched a new software product — Payscape Registration, an online registration management system with integrated payments. It’s already on the wish list of a few major universities, including Cornell University.

Q2 2017 was big for Payscape. Tell me more about your product launch and how it will add to Payscape’s current features.

Our new product includes a mobile app for event registration and payments, enhanced communication features such as text and an integration marketplace that will make it easier to connect other SaaS technologies with our platform.

You’re investing $50 million on an expansion and relocation to Midtown. What prompted your decision?

Midtown is the center of the Atlanta Fintech hub. It’s near Tech Square and Georgia Tech, and strategic partners like NCR, ParkMobile, Equifax, TTV, TechSquare Labs and Flashpoint. We not only look to partners to grow businesses, but as a major talent acquisition tool.

We also love the infrastructure for live/work/play. Most of our team will be using alternative transportation to get to our new headquarters.

With Fintech Changing Financial Services, Where Does Regulation Fit In? (San Francisco Fed), Rated: B

Which rules and regulations apply to products that use new financial technologies? The Federal Reserve is taking steps to make answers easier to find.

Take last fall’s Consumer Compliance Outlook. The Fed included a list of existing laws, regulations, and supervisory guidance that fintech firms and their depository institution partners might find relevant.

That’s why San Francisco Fed fintech advisors are available for in-person and virtual consultations with fintech firms and their depository partners.

6 Tips for Getting the Best Deal on a Mortgage (The Fiscal Times), Rated: B

Here’s what you need to know to score a mortgage in today’s market:

  1. Start the process early. You can make the process easier by having your financial documents — including tax returns, bank statements and pay stubs — in order and ready to share with your lender. More than half of borrowers recently surveyed by FreeandClear.com said that the paperwork was the most challenging part of the mortgage process. Pull your credit report, too, to make sure that there aren’t any errors or surprises that could haunt you.
  2. Shop around. Get quotes from at least three lenders, including a national bank, a local bank or credit union and an online lender.
  3. Understand private mortgage insurance. Any time you have a down payment of less than 20 percent, you’ll need to pay mortgage insurance on the loan, which will push up your monthly bill.
  4. Ask about all your loan options.
  5. Consider locking in your rate. On a median-priced home, an increase in mortgage rates from 4 percent to 5 percent would add $100 to the monthly bill, according to Zillow.
  6. Remember you don’t need to borrow the max.
United Kingdom

Your June Review – Insight and Analysis (Funding Circle), Rated: AAA

Summer has arrived, and it’s been another exciting month. We’ve been given full authorisation from the UK regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority – another step forward to offering industry-leading, tax-free returns with the Funding Circle ISA, which we plan to launch later this year. You can read the full story in this article.

You’ve helped more than 8,500 small businesses access finance in the last 6 months…

Source: Funding Circle

Totalling over £610 million lent

To see a breakdown of the loans defaulted last week simply click on loans defaulted 1st June 2017.

Assetz Capital Launches Property Secured Investment Account (P2P-Banking), Rated: A

P2P Lending marketplace Assetz Capital today announced the launch of another account type. The Property Secured Investment Account (PSIA) is marketed as a way to invest exclusively in property backed loans with automatic diversification intended to help investors spread their risk across a diverse range of lending.

The target rate for the Assetz PSIA account is 5.5%.

Alternative lender Liberis announces fintech integration with Xero (AltFi), Rated: A

Leading UK-based merchant cash advancer Liberis has partnered with accounting software firm Xero. The deep integration will open up seamless access to Liberis‘ funding products for Xero users.

A specialist in small business accounting, Xero has over one million subscribers in more than 180 countries. Those users will now be able to access Liberis’ merchant cash advances in-app or on-site.

These advances can be managed in real-time using the Xero technology platform, giving businesses an accurate overview of their cash-flows.

Folk2Folk Announces Multiple New Hires as Part of National Expansion Plans (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: B

Specialist business peer to peer lending platform Folk2Folk has hired a new Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) and four Business Development Managers (BDM). Folk2Folk specializes in secured loans for businesses across the UK. The platform matches local businesses looking for finance with investors looking for a great return.

China

CreditEase Wealth Management Expanded in Singapore to Poise for Fintech-driven Globalization (PR Newswire), Rated: AAA

Leading Chinese Fintech and wealth management company, CreditEase announced today the opening of its new Singapore office in the Asia Square Tower. The new office opening was hosted by CreditEase Founder and CEO Ning Tang, CreditEase senior executives, distinguished guests from Blackstone, KKR and Tishman Speyers and other strategic partners.

Tang forecast an explosive development in crowdfunding, robo-advisor, insurance tech and blockchain innovations in the coming decade, while reiterating the company’s willingness to share its Fintech achievements and the “development dividend” to continuously create value for clients.

CreditEase Wealth Management opened its Singapore office in October 2014 with a focus on global real estate finance and investment. Its global property FoF products have been very popular among high-net-worth Chinese clients. When it obtained an asset management license from the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) in 2016, it marked the cornerstone for further business expansion in the country.

In addition to Singapore, CreditEase operates overseas offices and affiliate offices in Hong Kong, New York, and Tel Aviv. Domestically, the CreditEase wealth management network covers over 40 mainland cities, and in in 2016 the company was awarded “Best Non-Bank Private Wealth Product” by The Asian Banker.

Hong Kong’s Central Bank Inks FinTech Pact with Shenzen in China (Cryptocoins News), Rated: A

The Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA), the defacto central bank, is co-operating with the neighboring city of Shenzhen in China over developments in financial technologies or FinTech.

Given the geographical proximity between the two cities, the bilateral co-operation is certain to promote FinTech activity and adoption in two of the most prosperous cities in the region. Shenzhen is among the largest and the wealthiest cities in China, one that links Hong Kong to the Mainland.

P2P Lenders Disclosing Financial Data in NIFA’s Information Disclosure System (Xing Ping She Email), Rated: A

National Internet Finance Association (NIFA) launched the Information Disclosure System on June 5th, and the first 10 P2P lenders were known to disclose financial data in the system, including Wei Dai Network, Lufax, Souyidai.com, etc.

Now, we can search for basic and operating information of the above P2P lenders on the website of NIFA. And 8 of them have disclosed financial information as follows.

European Union

Zopa to build new challenger bank from development centre in Barcelona (Finextra), Rated: AAA

Zopa, the innovative finance company, today announces the opening of a development centre in Barcelona, Spain.

The new hub will initially focus on building the technology to support the launch of Zopa’s next generation bank and developers will work on developing payment gateways, credit card processing, and deposit systems.

Swiss Fintech Giant Cuts a Third of its Jobs (finews.com), Rated: A

Martin Saidler has built Centralway Numbrs with a considerable personal financial investment, achieving a most respectable response from investors. The firm is a global distribution platform for banking products, a super market for customers of retail banking services ranging from loans to car insurance and funds.

Centralway Numbrs in the final week of May abruptly terminated the contracts of about 50 of its staff. The people affected are programmers and other technical staff. Reason for the cuts are high development and personnel costs.

The company still doesn’t generate significant revenues with its banking app and the platform. Therefore, the fintech has to cut costs, eliminating jobs in Zurich or moving them elsewhere.

Centralway Numbrs says the reduction of jobs in Zurich is part of a restructuring process. Jobs will go in Zurich, but the company continues to hire programmers across the world who work from home – so-called remote workers, the company told finews.com.

Centralway Numbrs says the reduction of jobs in Zurich is part of a restructuring process. Jobs will go in Zurich, but the company continues to hire programmers across the world who work from home – so-called remote workers, the company told finews.com.

Centralway Numbrs has reached its first agreements with three companies this year, generating an initial return: Postbank, Norisbank and SWK Bank, three German companies which make their products available via the platform. These contracts aren’t enough to make the platform viable though.

Fashion magnate takes $ 225M+ stake in Swedish payment unicorn Klarna (TechCrunch), Rated: A

Payments startup Klarna is ramping up its valuation again as it picks up a new, strategic investor. Last valued at $2.25 billion in 2015, the company today announced that Brightfolk, controlled by fashion tycoon Anders Holch Povlsen, is becoming a “qualified owner” of Klarna — that is, buying up at least 10 percent of the company.

At Klarna’s $2.25 billion valuation, Brightfolk’s 10 percent+ stake is valued at $225 million or more. But while the company is not commenting on any of the financial terms of today’s deal, TechCrunch understands that this is an “up” round, with the valuation now higher than $2.25 billion.

Banks’ homegrown efforts dominate Poland’s fintech scene (Financial Times), Rated: A

Poland’s most popular mobile payments service was not created in a garage or innovation lab. It was designed around a conference table by the heads of country’s six biggest banks, who had decided the market needed a new service.

Poland’s most popular mobile payments service was not created in a garage or innovation lab. It was designed around a conference table by the heads of country’s six biggest banks, who had decided the market needed a new service.

In 1989, when communist rule ended, the country had just two retail banks, both of which were state-controlled. International banking groups and new private Polish banks quickly joined the fray.

Today, services such as free real-time online payments are standard, contactless payment is available in almost every shop throughout the country and customers have a choice of apps for organising their finances.

International

Suretly, a Crowdvouching Alternative to Peer-2-Peer Lending Announces ICO (Coinspeaker), Rated: A

Suretly is a unique crowdvouching platform that offers an alternative to conventional P2P lending practice. The crowdvouching model followed by Suretly works in conjunction with microfinancing organizations where investors can vouch for a borrower by offering assurance to repay a portion of the loan amount in case of default. In return for their guarantee, they will receive compensation based on the borrower’s credit rating.

Suretly mainly targets short-term loans and the platform is already dubbed as the “Tinder for Microloans.”

Suretly’s crowdfunding campaign is set for July 2017 launch, and it will be managed by the platform’s Singapore fund. The ICO follows a highly successful Pre-ICO round that raised over $350,000 in less than 48 hours.

The company has already set up its operations in Russia and has plans to enter the US market in Q4 2017.

SUR Token ICO

Suretly is planning to raise between $1.5 – $8 million USD in the next round of financing by selling 15% of its existing shares. Funds raised through the crowdsale will be used to accelerate integration into new markets and countries, spearheaded by a new, soon to be set up legal entity in Singapore.

Going Beyond Payments at the Point of Sale: AEVI and Moroku Partner to Mobilize Small Merchants (PR Newswire), Rated: A

AEVI and Moroku today announced a partnership to bring their all-in-one small merchant POS software Marrakash to AEVIs Global Marketplace; a B2B app store for smart Point of Sale (SmartPOS) devices. Marrakash is designed with the next generation of banks in mind, delivering a single solution for their small retail and hospitality merchants that seamlessly integrates their business, products, customers and payment systems into one easy-to-use platform. The partnership will leverage AEVIs open solutions and global support infrastructure to target multiple vertical markets including the hospitality, food and drink, retail andfinancial service industries.

Based in Sydney, Australia, Moroku is a pioneering Fintech firm that is providing the finance industry with engaging banking and payment experiences through gamification. AEVI’s Global Marketplace will now also feature Moroku’s Marrakash, POS software that enables small mobile merchants to grow and run their business entirely from a single SmartPOS device.

Marrakash is already in operation today with merchants in Australia, India, North America and the UK. Voted runner-up at the New Zealand Payment Innovation awards, Marrakash enables businesses to display a full product catalogue, create bespoke customer loyalty schemes and take secure card payments on the go. This gives merchants the control and freedom to run their business and take payments however, and wherever, they need. Having Marrakash available on AEVI’s Marketplace will allow vendors across the globe using AEVI-enabled POS hardware to download and add the app directly to their SmartPOS device. The strategic partnership will increase Marrakash’s speed to market in key US and European territories where AEVI already have a strong, and ever-growing, presence.

GLI Finance Owned Sancus Finance Launches New Financing Platform (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Sancus Finance, a specialist financial services provider, has launched a new funding platform for businesses looking to participate in financing on their site. The new platform is part of a series of developments designed to improve the overall service offered to both funders and businesses. Sancus is part of AIM listed GLI Finance. Sancus BMS Group, the parent of Sancus Finance, has provided in excess of £578 million of funding to SME’s and their owners and has operations in the UK, Ireland, Jersey, Guernsey, Gibraltar & the Isle of Man.

Australia

Australian P2P Lender Credit Crowd Joins Blockchain Lending Platform Othera (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

It was announced recently that Australia-based P2P lender, Credit Crowd, has joined Othera’s Blockchain Lending Platform and Digital Asset Trading Exchange. By joining Othera’s platform, Credit Crowd is seeking to evolve its P2P lending market by digitizing the trading of P2P loans on the block chain.

Founded in 2012, Credit Crowd provides short-term mortgages to borrowers as well as a marketplace for retail and institutional investors. The company claims to have originated over $100 million in loans to finance over 50 projects for its borrowers since being founded.

India

Addepar raises $ 140M amid relatively quiet year for fintech funding (PitchBook), Rated: AAA

Addepar, a B2B fintech company that offers a data-driven operating system for wealth advisors and other financial professionals, has raised $140 million in a VC round led by Valor Equity Partners, 8VC and Harry McPike. Valor Equity Partners is an existing backer, and 8VC, the venture firm led by Addepar co-founder Joe Lonsdale, previously invested in the company through its predecessor firm, Formation 8. Addepar had raised about $67 million prior to this round and was most recently valued at $292 million in 2014.

Much of the new funding will go toward research and development.

Among the other companies in the financial services industry that have raised significant equity funding in 2017 are online lender SoFi ($453 million in March) and Robinhood, the provider of a mobile stock-trading app ($110 million in April).

Overall, funding in the fintech industry is on pace for a

Canada

Crowdfunding real estate projects in the GTA (Mississauga), Rated: B

NexusCrowd, a Canadian real estate crowdfunding platform, has a number of projects on the go through crowdfunding, including a $12 million real estate redevelopment project announced in 2015 boasting three properties — one in Mississauga.

Asia

Thailand’s Kasikorn Bank launches $ 30M ‘Beacon’ fund for fintech (TechCrunch), Rated: AAA

Roll up, roll up, there’s a new fintech VC fund in Southeast Asia town. Today, Thailand-based Kasikorn Bank announced its inaugural tech fund which is 1 billion THB, just shy of $30 million, in size.

Kasikorn, which was founded in 1945 and is one of Thailand’s major banks, is calling the fund Beacon — think lights on top of lighthouses — and it is aimed at giving the firm first-mover advantage on global tech through startups based in Thailand and overseas. Thanapong Na Ranong, formerly with InVent, a VC affiliated with mobile operator AIS, will lead Beacon VC.

The capital, which is 100 percent from the bank, will go towards direct investments in startups and also contributions into VC funds as an LP. Kasikorn said today that it has already backed Dymon Asia, a fintech fund headquartered in Singapore that is targeting a $50 million final close, and put money into Bangkok-based FlowAccount, its first direct investment in a startup.

Going forward, it is targeting three to five deals per year ranging from seed-plus to Series A stage with a target across all aspects of fintech. The firm aims to lead or co-lead investments with a typical check size of $500,000 to $3 million. It did not disclose what portion of the fund is reserved for follow-on deals, but the capital itself is anticipated to last between four and six years.

Eight Indonesian fintech startups officially registered under OJK (Deal Street Asia), Rated: A

Peer-to-peer lending startups Investree, Amartha, and KoinWorks are among eight Indonesian fintech startups that have been officially registered under the Financial Services Authority (OJK) in May 2017.

As of June 5, 2017, Investree claims to have successfully disbursed Rp 148 billion unfunded loan with 592 total loans, 17.5 per cent average rate of return, and zero default.

Amartha started in 2010 as a micro-finance institution. Six years later, it changed into a P2P lending marketplace. Today, Amartha claims to have facilitated over $6 million in loans to over 30,000 women micro-entrepreneurs while maintaining a 7-year long 0% default rate.

Indonesia’s fintech sector is currently the second biggest in the region after Singapore.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Wednesday April 19 2017, Daily News Digest

FinTech MENA

News Comments Today’s main news: SoFi raised new $105M fund.Landbay unveils March 2017 UK Rental Index.P2P-Banking launches IFISA comparison database.Personal loan applications surge in Australia. Today’s main analysis: Development of fintech in Hong Kong.Fintech startups in MENA raise $100M last decade. Today’s thought-provoking articles: OCC fintech plan uncertain as comptroller term expires.Goldman’s internal fintech revolution can’t […]

FinTech MENA

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United States

Online lender SoFi has a new $ 105 million fund for yield-hungry investors (CNBC), Rated: AAA

SoFi, the online lending start-up sporting a lofty $4.3 billion valuation, has just raised a $105 million fund to give outside investors another way to buy into the company’s loans.

In a regulatory filing Monday afternoon, SoFi Prime Income Fund is listed as the issuer of equity in a limited partnership. According to the filing, the fund has 33 investors that put in a minimum of $500,000 each.

Nino Fanlo, SoFi’s chief financial officer, said the fund is the first of its kind for SoFi and provides another avenue to raise capital for issuing loans. Returns after fees are expected to be in the low double digits, he said.

OCC Fintech Plan Faces Uncertainty as Comptroller Term Expires (Credit Union Times), Rated: AAA

As the term of Comptroller of the Currency Thomas Curry expires and with no replacement in sight, the OCC could be headed toward a showdown with Congress over the agency’s decision to issue special charters to fintech companies.

In March, the OCC published a draft supplement to its licensing manual, which contains existing regulations for chartering national banks.

And although Curry said the OCC will issue charters to fintech companies, his own future is in doubt. His term expired this month and President Trump has not nominated a replacement, although Joseph Otting, a former associate of Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin at OneWest Bank ,has been mentioned as a possible nominee.

Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-OH), ranking Democrat on the Senate Banking Committee and Jeff Merkley (D-OR) said earlier this year that authority to issue such charters must come from Congress.

Meanwhile, traditional banking and credit union trade groups are divided over the charter proposal.

Earlier this year, NAFCU said that the OCC must ensure that online lenders are subject to the same consumer protections and data standards as banks and credit unions.

The American Bankers Association has said it supports the concept of the OCC issuing fintech charters, but wanted it to ensure that companies meet the same standards as traditional banks.

For Goldman, the Fintech Revolution Can’t Come Soon Enough (NYT), Rated: A

Goldman Sachs’s internal technology revolution cannot come soon enough.

Goldman’s fledgling Main Street operation is a bright spot. With more than $115 billion in deposits, it’s already one of the top 25 banks in the United States by that measure. Marcus, as the online consumer-lending unit is called, is experiencing “demand more robust than we thought,” the unit’s boss, Harit Talwar, said recently.

Consumer lending can earn at least a 3 percent return on assets — triple what Goldman has been managing as a whole of late.

For now, lending through new web platforms remains a small industry, with just $40 billion of credit extended over a decade, according to Deloitte.

CREATING A BETTER TOMORROW (NYSE), Rated: A

Texas-based Elevate Credit (NYSE: ELVT), which recently held its IPO at the exchange, exists because of what it sees as an opportunity in the financial services market.

In between are working people, roughly 170 million residents of the U.S. and the U.K., whom Elevate refers to as “the New Middle Class.” These are people with low or no credit scores, who often have to resort to non-prime lenders in moments of personal or medical emergency.

Elevate offers three products. The first, called Rise, is an unsecured, online loan vehicle; Sunny is its U.K. counterpart, and Elastic is a line of credit issued by Kentucky-based Republic Bank, Member FDIC. While the company’s customers have credit scores typically in the 560 to 600 range, those with lower credit or no credit can also be approved, depending on what Elevate’s data analysis reveals about their reliability.

Elevate’s analytics platform, DORA, is home grown. It’s based on open-source software tools that enable model development and risk analytics. DORA inputs and outputs are monitored and evaluated to help ensure legal and regulatory compliance. Elevate’s IQ platform deploys business logic and algorithms. And driving the analytics and decision-making technology is the very human decision to create specific data sets, generated from sources that monitor non-prime customers.

The platforms draw on more than 10 different sources of consumer information, including the big three credit bureaus as well as other bureaus that specialize in non-prime customers. In addition, Elevate acquires data from LexisNexis, ID Analytics and other unique data sources to validate the applicant’s identity and to draw inferences about the applicant’s intent to repay. Elevate uses this data in ongoing tests to optimize its underwriting, to ensure that fraud and serious credit risks are more easily distinguished from acceptable risks.

In the last year, Elevate’s charge-off rates have remained steady, while its customer acquisition costs have dropped, says Rees.

Elevate also uses its nimble, data-driven underwriting model to reward its best customers. Borrowers who establish a history of on-time repayment, and who take advantage of online financial literacy tools and videos, will see their APRs drop over time. Currently, the most responsible Elevate customers pay APRs as low as 36 percent.

Is An OnDeck Acquisition On Deck? (PYMNTS), Rated: A

When OnDeck completed its IPO in 2009, it entered the public markets with a massive amount of buzz, ending the day with a share price north of $20 dollars and a valuation around $1.9 billion.

Two years out, and the banks’ lunch remains uneaten — because those alternative lenders like OnDeck have had a rather bumpy two years.  OnDeck’s share price is down 75 percent since its 2014 IPO — in the last 12 months the firm has shed 37 percent of its value.

Today OnDeck’s market cap stands at $330 million.

Marathon Partners Equity Management, LLC has owned 1.75 percent of OnDeck since the end of 2016 — and the activist investor is now pushing for a new direction, preferably one that involves a sale.

That letter apparently did not get quiet enough of a reaction from the board — OnDeck’s official response was that they “value dialog with their shareholders,” and so as of the end of last week, the campaign ramped up.

Whether or not very drastic changes are coming soon to OnDeck remains to be seen — the annual meeting for shareholders will likely be spirited.

Not Everyone Is Happy About Latest Fintech Charter Proposal (Corporate Counsel), Rated: A

Public comments are now available from companies, regulators, advocacy groups and individuals weighing in on the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency’s licensing manual draft supplement for special purpose national bank charters.

The OCC received only 17 total comments on its March 15 supplement for evaluating bank charter applications from financial technology companies, far from the 120 it received on the broader whitepaper Exploring Special Purpose National Bank Charters for Fintech Companies, which introduced the idea of the OCC granting fintech companies these bank charters back in December 2016.

“While many states have made admirable efforts to align their regulations with technological innovation, state laws by and large were drafted for a physical branch banking environment that did not envision online delivery of financial services,” wrote Robert Lavet, general counsel of San Francisco-based personal finance company Social Finance, or SoFi, in his comments to the OCC.

In her comments, personal lending company Oportun Inc.’s chief compliance officer Joan Aristei voiced no concerns with the financial inclusion standards. She wrote the guidance on this type of plan will “inform our discussions regarding how we can modify and enhance the efforts we have already undertaken,” adding that she “appreciates the OCC’s willingness to innovate and look beyond traditional measures of financial inclusion.”

New York State Department of Financial Services superintendent Maria Vullo called the OCC’s proposal for fintech charters a “hasty and misguided effort.” She said that regulation for the financial technology providers is better left to the states, not the OCC.

The Tax Implications of Real Estate Crowdfunding (Alpha Flow), Rated: A

The first thing to understand is that an equity investor in a syndication is actually a partner in partnership. Investments in syndications will generally be considered “passive” activities.

When combining all passive activities, if the investor has a net passive loss, then the remaining net loss is effectively “suspended” whereby they are carried forward to future years and subject again to the passive activity rules. If an investor has passive income then that is taxed at the taxpayer’s marginal tax rate.

In the subsequent tax year, any passive losses that carried over can offset passive income that is generated.

Crowdfunding syndications offer one additional special tax advantage and that is favorable long-term capital gains rates. When a property (apartment building, retail center, etc.) is acquired through a syndication and is held for longer than one year, the sale of the property would typically result in long-term capital gains. These gains are taxed at a rate of 15% (with certain exceptions). Any depreciation that was deducted on the property would be subject to tax rates not to exceed 25%.

MortgageHippo raises $ 2.25M to help lenders give you a mortgage online (Chicago Tribune), Rated: A

MortgageHippo, a mortgage-technology startup based in Chicago, has raised about $2.25 million in seed funding, the company announced Tuesday.

CMFG Ventures, based in Madison, Wis., led the $1.5 million round that closed last week, Saportas said. CMFG is the venture capital arm of CUNA Mutual Group, which sells insurance and investment products to credit unions. The investment closed MortgageHippo’s seed funding.

Inside Bond Street’s content marketing strategy (Tearsheet), Rated: A

Jones said the company is “passionate about building a brand,” which it does by creating editorial content. It has a blog that profiles business owners Bond Street serves across the country, like the guys behind the Two Hands cafes and restaurants or the women that launched Sky Ting Yoga in New York City; and an online magazine that looks at the cultural and economic impact of independent businesses in New York (celebrity restaurateur Daniel Boulud and artist Baron von Fancy are among many interviews that address the importance of supporting local businesses). It also has a podcast called the Nitty Gritty that features the entrepreneurs behind brands like Sweetgreen, charity:water, McNally Jackson and Smitten Ice Cream; and a series of city-specific resources for female entrepreneurs.

Jones declined to share Bond Street’s annual content marketing budget, but said the company has two dedicated employees working on content marketing, out of about 40 total employees.

Marketing has become expensive for online lenders because of the high cost of customer acquisition. Partnerships are an easy way to bring that cost down, Benton said. To date, Bond Street has partnered with WeWork to offer loans to member companies of the co-working space company; SMB-focused software companies like Booker and Front Desk to offer their clients discounted loans; and most recently, with NerdWallet, the comparison shopping site for credit cards and other financial services, to help provide small business owners with financing options.

Payix and Nortridge Software Announce Strategic Alliance (BusinessWire), Rated: B

Payix® and Nortridge Software announce they have formed a strategic alliance to help lenders connect with their borrowers and improve their ability to collect payments. The alliance allows Payix to offer real-time integration between its suite of collections tools and the Nortridge Loan System (NLS).

Payix’s collections tools include its intuitive, engaging and affordable mobile collections application, as well as web, interactive voice response (IVR), text, and collector portal applications. Nortridge clients can add the Payix solutions to their existing collections tools with virtually no IT work on their part and in just a few weeks’ time.

The Nortridge and Payix teams collaborated in the development of the seamless web services interface between the Nortridge Loan System and the Payix payment system, ensuring that transactions could be carried out in real-time and without interruption.

Payix’s collections tools are white-labelled to help lenders promote their own brands with their borrowers, and they were specifically designed for any size lender to use easily and affordably.

China Rapid Finance will be the Fifth Online Lender to IPO in the US (Lend Academy), Rated: B

In late March, 2017 we learned that Chinese online lender China Rapid Finance filed to go public, hoping to raise up to $100 million. They will list on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol XRF and will be the second Chinese online lender to go public in the United States.

Milbank Advises FinTech Lending Company College Ave Student Loans in Its $ 30 Million Capital Raise (Milbank), Rated: B

Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP advised College Ave Student Loans on a $30 million capital raise.

The Milbank team was led by Corporate partner Roland Hlawaty with Corporate associate Joanne Luckey.

$ 3M Raised for Clarendon Park Apartments in Phoenix Through RealtyShares (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: B

RealtyShares, a leading online marketplace for real estate investing, today announced that its network of accredited investors has collectively funded a $3 million investment for the acquisition of Clarendon Park Apartments, a 138-unit multifamily property in Phoenix, Ariz.

The deal is sponsored by Rincon Partners, an Arizona-based owner and operator of multifamily properties focused primarily on the Southwestern United States. Rincon Partners intends to use the funds to rehabilitate and modernize the apartment interiors and amenities to potentially improve its position within the market.

The property is located in midtown Phoenix, between the city’s two largest employment corridors and close to shops, restaurants and newly developed amenities. The property itself features a swimming pool, spa, clubhouse and fitness center, as well as access to light rail within two blocks.

United Kingdom

Landbay Unveils March 2017 UK Rental Index (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Last week, UK-based peer-to-peer lending platform Landbay released the March 2017 Rental Index. This report reveals details about the country’s rental market.

“Since March 2016, average rents in the UK have risen by 0.9% to £1,191. In England, rents were up 0.87% to £1,222; in Northern Ireland, they rose by 0.07% to £557; meanwhile in Scotland rents rose to £723 following annual growth of 1.25% and in Wales, the average rent is up 1.41% to £636. Average rents for one, two and three-bed properties hit £1,012, £1,152 and £1,321 respectively in March 2017.”

P2P-Banking Launches Database to Enable Investors to Compare IFISA Providers Easily (P2P-Banking), Rated: AAA

P2P-Banking launches a new IFISA database, that enables investors an easy comparison of offers by IFISA providers. UK taxpayers can invest up to 20,000 GBP per year tax-free in ISAs. This amount is per tax year, so a person could invest 20,000 GBP this tax year and invest 20,000 GBP in a different ISA next year. The Innovative Finance ISA, short IFISA, was introduced in 2016 with most offers becoming approved by HRMC only in the 2017/2018 tax year.

The new database of IFISA offers allows speedy selection and sorting to review IFISA products by different providers and then links to the provider’s website for in detail information. Investors can filter by interest rate, term, loan type, minimum investment amount, possibility of transfers in and out, flexible IFISA, bonus & cashback promotions and several other criteria.

Fintech synergy as challenger bank teams up with robo advice app (AltFi), Rated: A

Starling Bank is partnering with app-based wealth manager Moneybox for real-time savings.

Moneybox’s savings and investment services will be now offered by digital-only bank Starling to enable customers to easily open ISAs and round up their spending in real time.

The service will be available to Starling customers as early as the end of April.

The new service is made possible through Starling’s open APIs. The integration has two distinct features. Firstly, it allows customer data to be securely shared between the two apps, meaning transactions will appear within the Moneybox app in real time as customers spend.

Secondly, the integration with Starling means that customers will be able to set up round ups from their Starling account in a matter of seconds.

Starling Bank publicly launched its API and developer platform to enable external developers and technology companies to integrate with the banking app earlier in April, and Moneybox is the first to launch a live integration on this API.

CEO Stephen Findlay Comments on BondMason’s New SIPP Service (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

In response to growing demand from investors in search of better investment returns for their pensions, UK P2P service provider BondMason has launched a new Self-Invested Personal Pension (SIPP) service.

The new SIPP service offers a flexible, tax-efficient way to save for retirement and allows investors to access returns from a diverse set of approved P2P Lending opportunities. Investors can open with a lump sum from £5,000 and there is no tie-in – an investor can typically exit in full within 48 hours. The service also aims to allow SIPP administrators to easily and compliantly grant their clients access to returns from P2P Lending.

Social P2P venture hindered by wholesale crackdown (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

THE FOUNDER of ThinCats has said that the regulator’s clampdown on wholesale lending will affect projects that can be funded through his social peer-to-peer lending platform Community Chest.

Kevin Caley (pictured) launched the social enterprise last year and it funded its first loan in February 2017 for £130,000. The debt facility went to a local Birmingham finance company called ART Business Loans, which supports West Midlands enterprises.

But Caley says the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)’s tighter restrictions on wholesale lending mean that loans like these will no longer be possible, as the money was lent to another lender.

ClearBank: a MSFT Azure B2B Fintech (Daily Fintech), Rated: A

A well kept secret of the UK B2B banking sector, is now public. Clear Bank, a clearing Bank in the UK, is ready to compete with the four UK clearing banks,

  • Barclays
  • HSBC
  • Lloyds
  • Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS).

Clear Bank is the fifth UK clearing bank and the only one that is pure B2B since it does not offer services direct to the consumer.

Back in the 60s there were 16 clearing banks in the UK. Consolidation in this part of transactional banking has left the UK currently with 4 clearing banks that process over 80 Trillion pounds annually worth of payments in the UK.

Clear Bank will be helping Challenger banks to access the payment system at the Bank of England level, at the same level as incumbents.

Clear Bank will help the 44 UK Building societies offer current account services in a cost effective way. Right now, only 2 out of the 44 offer such capabilities to their members due to prohibitive costs.

Clear Bank will boost indirectly retail banking by reducing the substantially processing costs, which will facilitate competition for incumbents in the UK.

Clear Bank will help Fintechs by providing Banking as a service through the Cloud at a very low cost. Clear Bank will be offering an API so that Fintechs can interconnect to the ClearBank Fabric.

UK Firms VC Funding Holds Steady Despite Brexit (PYMNTS), Rated: A

According to Venture Beat, U.K.-based startups raised $1.04 billion in venture capital (VC) during the first three months of 2017. That’s a slight decrease from the $1.17 billion raised during same period one year ago, but it’s above the amounts raised in each of the last three quarters.

The U.K. remains number one in Europe for VC raised, with Germany second at $779 million and France third at $665 million.

Peer-to-peer lending service Funding Circle helped push the U.K. into the number one spot, raising $97 million in VC funding and $43 million in debt funding during the first three months of 2017.

Which fintech stocks does Neil Woodford own? (The Motley Fool), Rated: A

The fintech — financial technology — sector has emerged rapidly over the last decade. The Confederation of British Industry expects it to be worth £300bn in the UK alone by 2020.

Given Neil Woodford’s long-prevailing dislike of the big banks, it’s perhaps not surprising that he’s attracted by the relatively simple business models and exciting investment opportunities in the fintech sector.

Woodford is invested in some unquoted fintech companies, such as RateSetter, a peer-to-peer lending platform, and Seedrs, which opens up venture capitalism “to anyone with an internet connection”. However, he also has two holdings that are listed on the stock market — and very interesting they are too.

P2P Global Investments (LSE: P2P) is a FTSE 250 firm with a market cap of around £700m.

VPC Specialty Lending Investments (LSE: VSL) is in the FTSE SmallCap index but is a decent-sized company with a market cap of around £290m. Its business is similar to P2P’s and like the FTSE 250 firm, considerable quantities of cash flow into shareholders’ pockets.

George Banco appoints RateSetter co-founder to board (Loantalk), Rated: A

Guarantor lender George Banco has appointed the co-founder of peer-to-peer platform RateSetter as a non-executive director.

Peter Behrens (pictured above) – who also serves as the chief operating officer at RateSetter – co-founded the platform in 2010, and has seen more than £1.8bn of loans facilitated through the company in this time.

Alternative funding options come into focus (Works Management), Rated: B

Alternative funding options will be a major theme at Business, Innovation, Technology and Efficiency (BITE) 2017 hosted by MHA Carpenter Box at the Amex Stadium, Brighton on Thursday 27 April.

Andy Davis (pictured), former editor of FT Weekend and author of the ‘Beyond the Banks’ report on alternative finance, will be one of the industry experts forming an ‘alternative funding panel’ at the free one-day conference, where he will share his expertise with local business leaders.

European Union

Why EU Passporting Is Vital For Britain’s Fintech Firms (Forbes), Rated: AAA

The impact on fintech could be significant, as an Emerging Payments Association (EPA) report Passport to the Future makes clear: “HM Treasury estimates the UK fintech market employs 60,000 people and is worth £6bn to the UK economy. Fintech is part of the UK’s financial services sector that employs 1.9 million people and contributes 10 per cent of the UK’s GDP. Payments represents over 40 per cent of financial services in revenue terms and in 2016, 40 per cent of all fintech investments were in payments companies, amounting to £10bn globally.”

In a recent survey of its members, the EPA found that 88 per cent of its members think that passporting rights are important or very important to their current businesses, while over 91 per cent think passporting is important or very important to the UK’s fintech sector and its continued growth.

As the EPA’s report states: “This could see the flight of some or part of the 5,500 licensed companies abroad and have a significantly negative impact on the UK economy.”

Alfa Finance Launches New P2P Lender DoFinance (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Latvia based Alfa Finance Group has launched a new peer to peer lending platform named DoFinance.  The company stated it had invested €2 million to get the P2P lender up and running. The online lender is said to be available in all EU and EEA countries.

International

Simplex Partners with Beacon – Risk Magazine’s FinTech Start-Up of the Year (BusinessWire), Rated: A

Simplex Inc., one of Asia’s leading financial services technology firms, announced a strategic partnership with Risk Magazine’s FinTech start-up of the year, Beacon Platform, Inc.

The partnership combines Simplex’s expertise in implementing trading and risk management solutions with Beacon’s experience in building cross-asset trading and risk management platforms for industry leaders including Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan and Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

Australia

Personal loan applications surge as credit cards wane (The Sydney Morning Herald), Rated: AAA

Australians are shunning high interest credit cards and turning to personal loans for large purchases.

Driving the switch are tech-savvy consumers taking up loans from peer-to-peer (P2P) lenders, a new breed of online competitors to banks.

Credit card applications fell by almost 4 per cent in the March 2017 quarter compared with the same quarter last year, the latest report on consumer credit by credit bureau Equifax shows. That’s the biggest fall since September 2012 quarter.

Reserve Bank figures suggest that more frequent but lower value transactions are being made on credit cards.

One P2P lender is showing an interest rate on its website of 10.3 per cent on a $10,000 unsecured personal loan paid back over three years.

Banks would typically charge 13.02 per cent for a loan on the same terms, while credit cards are higher still – typically 14.15 per cent for a non-rewards credit card and 19.6 per cent for a rewards card, plus annual fees.

China

Development of Financial Technologies (Legislative Council Panel on Fiancial Affairs), Rated: AAA

This paper provides an update on the local financial technologies (Fintech) landscape and measures to support the development of the industry.

The number of Fintech start-ups operating in co-working spaces and incubator/accelerator programmes in Hong Kong increased by 60% between August 2015 (86) and August 2016 (138), according to Invest Hong Kong (InvestHK)’s Start-up Profiling Survey.

Hong Kong attracted about US$400 million of venture capital (VC) investment in Fintech companies during 2014-2016, lower than the Mainland and India (both of which are economies with huge domestic markets) but ahead of regional peers such as Australia, Japan and Singapore1 .

Universities such as The Chinese University of Hong Kong and The Hong Kong Polytechnic University will launch dedicated, publicly-funded firstyear first-degree and senior year programmes in Fintech starting from the 2017/18 academic year. Moreover, The University of Hong Kong’s School of Professional and Continuing Education has been offering a part-time, four-month programme, Executive Certificate in Internet Finance.

For payment services, the general public is increasingly receptive to new products and services, as Stored Value Facility (SVF) operators are launching new services while banks are rolling out new payment services (such as a note-issuing bank’s mobile App which enables cross-bank P2P fund transfer through mobile messaging). Building on the momentum from the introduction and development of various new payment channels in the market, the Government will strive to provide more convenient means for settling government bills and fees, such as making on-line credit card payment through digital wallets in mobile phones. HKMA will also work with the Government to explore with the industry ways of improving the payment infrastructure (such as introducing the Faster Payment System in 2018) and encouraging more standardisation in payment applications across various services providers, including the use of QR codes in streamlining the payment process, and facilitating the development of new electronic and mobile payment channels by the Government for various government services.

Read the full report here.

Alibaba’s Ant Financial Increases Bid for MoneyGram (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Dallas based MoneyGram (NASDAQ:MGI), a global provider of money transfer services, has become quite popular. This past January, Alibaba’s Ant Financial subsidiary announced it had offered the firm $13.25 per share to acquire the company. The two companies had entered into a definitive agreement to merge.  Today, it appears that agreement was not quite as definitive as thought as Ant Financial has now increased the share offer to $18/share.

Last night, MoneyGram and Ant Financial announced they had updated the agreement in an effort to fend off a competing bid by Kansas based Euronet Worldwide.

Dianrong Announces New Financial Leadership Appointments (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: B

Chinese peer-to-peer lending platform, Dianrong, announced on Tuesday the following financial leadership changes, effective immediately: Xuxia Kuang, the lender’s CFO, has been named COO. Yawen Cui has joined Dianrong as the new CFO. Kuang and Cui will report to Dianrong founder and CEO Soul Htite.

MENA

‘Fintech startups in Middle East, North Africa raised $ 100m last decade’ (Venture Burn), Rated: AAA

Fintech startups in the Middle East and North Africa have raised $100-million over the last decade, yet 28% fail in their initial years, says a new report by business support organisation Wamda and online payment gateway Payfort.

The region was home to 105 fintech startups by the end of 2015 (see featured image), with half of these having been launched since 2012. In all 30 firms are situated in North Africa. The UAE leads with 30 fintech startups, followed by Egypt with 17 and Jordan and Lebanon with 15 each.

Just 10% of fintech startups in the region account for 43% of investments and employ 55% of the 1600 employees in the sector.

Africa

How to make sure your crowdfunding campaign is successful (Destiny Man), Rated: AAA

“The vast majority of the South African market activity – $13,8m – came from peer-to-peer consumer and business lending, with the remaining $1.2 million spread across microfinance, donation-based and reward-based crowdfunding,” according to a report published by the Cambridge Centre for Alternative Funding.

In order to reap the benefits of crowdfunding, it’s important to launch a great campaign. Patrick Schofield, CEO and founder of Thundafund, a crowdfunding platform that has helped several companies start or expand, says there are several things you can do to increase the chances of success for your business.

“Spend as much time on pre-campaigning planning as you would on your actual campaign. If you’re thinking of [running a campaign] for up to 45 days spend, 45 five days getting your ducks in a row,” he says.

Approaching journalists and key influencers will get you enough people who can make noise about what you’re doing.

‘Crowdfunding is the future’(Times Live), Rated: A

In an alternative funding benchmarking report by the UK’s Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance, published last month, South Africa was identified as the potential leader in the growth of online and peer-to-peer lending models in Africa.

In 2015 South Africa represented 18% of the total African online alternative finance market, raising more than $15-million. Kenya was the only African country ahead of it, with $16.7-million raised. South Africa’s online alternative finance market focused more on business activity and less on charitable causes.

Local IT firm Khonology has partnered with the UK’s White Label Crowdfunding to develop bespoke crowdfunding platforms for entrepreneurs here.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor