News Briefing - Crowdfunding, SME And Alternative Finance

crowd at an airport

1.UK – FinTech 



Altfi reports: 

“Fidelity International, one of the world’s largest investment firms, has become the first asset manager to commit to the Fintech Pledge,  

An initiative backed by HM Treasury and the Fintech Delivery Panel, which equips fintechs with the tools needed to scale their operations, it aims to accelerate the growth of the fintech sector by opening up communications between banks and leading fintech firms.  

By agreeing to the pledge, firms must to five principles to establish efficient and transparent commercial partnerships between incumbent financial institutions and fintechs.” 



2. UK – FinTech 


The Fintech Times runs an opinion piece on data privacy regulation: 

“In the run-up to GDPR’s introduction in 2018, there was initial concern among marketers that stricter regulations would negatively impact marketing campaigns. Email marketers were especially fearful, as GDPR (in conjunction with PECR) required use of active opt-in, it significantly raised the bar for signing up new subscribers, and also required re-permissioning of existing subscribers whose consent did not meet the new standards. 

However, a series of reports by the Data and Marketing Association (DMA) clearly shows the companies who embraced the tighter regulations have benefitted. For example, in 2019 – only a year after GDPR was introduced – the DMA’s Marketer Email Tracker report found the majority of email marketers saw uplifts against all major KPIs, including deliverability (67%), open rates (74%), click-through rates (75%), and conversion rates (67%).  

While this initial uplift in email performance was welcomed, the underlying reason was simple enough. While marketers were concerned about smaller email lists, many of the subscribers they lost were their least engaged ones. Once they were removed, only those who had actively chosen to opt in and engage remained. GDPR effectively acted as a prompt to thoroughly cleanse subscriber lists and start afresh. 

This encouraging momentum was not a once-off event, and a more recent DMA report shows marketers continue to see positive increases for all key email metrics. Nearly half (48%) agree GDPR has improved data quality and email metrics (32%) with only a small minority reporting a decline. Importantly, post-GDPR ‘Mailable list sizes’ are growing again (58%), while ‘Spam complaints’ have reduced for most (62%) businesses.” 



3. UK – FinTech 

Altfi reports on the launch of the government’s Future Fund: 

“Future Fund: Breakthrough is not some feel-good documentary about the highs and lows of UK SMEs throughout the pandemic, rather it is a new pot of cash to help spur on the UK’s post-pandemic recovery. 

This latest fund is designed to help “high-growth, R&D intensive companies bring game-changing technologies to market.” 

Eligible firms are able to apply for a slice of the £375m from today as the Treasury looks to accelerate the country’s economic recovery. 

“Our Future Fund: Breakthrough scheme will enable innovative businesses in every corner of the UK to access the finance they need to scale up and bring their transformational technologies to market - all while creating high-skilled jobs and boosting the economy as part of our Plan for Jobs,” Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak said. 

“Above all, our investment will incentivise collaboration between our most ambitious entrepreneurs and private investors, helping to commercialise breakthrough products such as new medicines and green technologies that could change our lives for the better – all while creating high-skilled jobs that help boost the UK economy.” 

To be eligible for the scheme, companies must be looking to raise at least £30m, with the Future Fund contributing a maximum of 30 per cent, meaning the minimum amount of private sector funding is £21m.” 



4. US – FinTech 

Finextra reports: 

“Controversial stock trading app Robinhood is seeking to raise up to $2.3 billion at a valuation of as much as $35 billion in its upcoming IPO. 

In an SEC filing, the firm says it will look to sell around 55 million shares for between $38 and $42 apiece. It will list on the Nasdaq under the ticker symbol 'HOOD'.

The $35 billion valuation is up from $11.7 billion at Robinhood's Series G funding round in September.

In the filing, Robinhood says it has 22.5 million funded accounts as of the second quarter, up from 18 million in the first quarter.

Second quarter revenue is estimated to be between $546 million and $574 million, up from $244 million in Q2 2020. However, the firm expects to record a net loss of up to $537 million.

While the IPO valuation reflects Robinhood's reputation as one of fintech's biggest success stories, the app has also been dogged by a series of controversies.” 


5. International – FinTech 


Crowdfundinsider reports two departures for two different reasons in the crypto sector 

“In a strange turn of events that could negatively impact the crypto sector, two well-known founders and critical architects from the industry have called quits. In four days, Jackson Palmer, co-founder of cryptocurrency Dogecoin, and Anthony Di Iorio, co-founder of Etheruem have decided to quit the cryptocurrency world for different reasons. 

While, Iorio, the billionaire co-founder of Ethereum, announced his ouster from the company and cryptocurrency because of personal safety concerns, Dogecoin’s Palmer launched a scathing attack on the virtual currencies by calling them the “currency of the wealthy.” 

The 48 -year-old co-founder of Ethereum said that he would sell blockchain firm Decentral Inc, sever ties with other start-ups he’s involved with, and instead focus on philanthropy.  

He further said that he would be ‘safer’ away from crypto.  

Soon after Iorio’s announcement, Palmer took to micro-blogging site Twitter on Wednesday last and said, cryptocurrency is “an inherently right-wing, hyper-capitalistic technology built primarily to amplify the wealth of its proponents through a combination of tax avoidance, diminished regulatory oversight, and artificially enforced scarcity.” 

Palmer is an Adobe software engineer who co-founded Dogecoin with IBM software engineer Billy Markus in 2013. He further added that while the cryptocurrency claims of ‘decentralization,’ it is controlled by a few wealthy people across the world. 

He also argued that cryptocurrency had been associated with corruption, fraud, inequality, etc. 

While Palmer’s next move remains unclear, Ethereum’s Iorio plans to start a new venture around electric vehicles called Project Arrow. “I want to diversify to not being a crypto guy, but being a guy tackling complex problems. I will incorporate crypto when needed, but a lot of times, it’s not. It’s really a small percentage of what the world needs,” he said in a tweet. 

The decision of both Palmer and Iorio has sent shocks of disbelief among crypto enthusiasts, but both the prices of Dogecoin and Ethereum has gone up.”