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Equity Crowdfunding: How Market Leaders Are Shaping the Future of the Industry

 3 min read / 

According to a new report, 17 crowdfunded companies have successfully exited over the past five years in Israel. Israel, also known as the “startup nation”, is one of the most vibrant entrepreneurial scenes in the world and has recently seen the launch of a new equity crowdfunding marketplace, iAngels. One of its co-founders, former Goldman Sachs analyst Shelly Hod Moyal told that:

“Crowdfunding was already gaining momentum and it felt so right at that point in time. An opportunity to make a mark, to create something good and impactful for Israel by helping export Israeli tech abroad.”

Equity Crowdfunding

Israel’s global traction is confirmed by its most representative equity platform, Ourcrowd, which delivered 88% of the aforementioned exits. The company has, in fact, announced the opening of a new branch in Madrid because it sees Spain as the “gateway to South America”. The firm, which already has a global presence via its offices in the US, Canada, Australia, and Singapore, has also set up a business partnership with Cardumen Capital, a Spanish-Israeli venture fund looking for investment in tech.

Ourcrowd’s latest alliance follows ones with the United Overseas Bank Limited (UOB) in Singapore, The National Australia Bank (NAB) in Australia and The Shanghai Commercial & Savings Bank (SCSB) in Taiwan. However, Ourcrowd it is not the only equity crowdfunding platform that has been looking for international expansion.

The Competition Intensifies

In the UK, for instance, Crowdcube, the largest equity crowdfunding platform in the country, recently reported 70 crowdfunding offers listed in Q3 2017. Furthermore, the company announced a new partnership with the American platform SeedInvest with the aim of giving British investors access to the American market.

In the Nordics, both leading market companies, FundedByMe and Invesdor, are fostering their internationalisation plans. FundedByMe recently announced the start of operations in South America via its Mexico branch as well as the opening of a new office in Dubai to take the lead of the UAE market in partnership with its Finnish partner, Around/Privanet, thereby confirming that crowdfunding is experiencing tremendous growth in the APAC region. Invesdor, which defines itself as “the largest equity crowdfunding platform in the Nordic region in terms of volume and turnover”, instead continues to focus on the Nordics as they launched in Sweden with Sharpfin campaign.

Lasse Mäkelä, CEO of Invesdor, claimed that Sweden will be an important market for the Finnish platform by saying:

“It is going to be a big one; we’re launching in Sweden with a bang. Swedish investors are very experienced and savvy, and we have learnt that they are hungry for more alternative investments.”

What Next?

On the one hand, these strategic moves suggest that has always been inherently global. However, on the other, crowdfunding platforms are increasingly seeking growth through internationalisation as a way of fostering diversification among their investment offerings. While Crowdcube, for example, opted for an access alliance, FundedByMe has chosen a complementary approach while Ourcrowd utilised a mix of the two.

Therefore, these partnerships raise a key question: since alliances bring companies together to collaborate, could this trend possibly represent a further step toward the creation of new financial conglomerates over the next decade?

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Google to Open Artificial Intelligence Centre in China

 2 min read / 

Google AI China

Google will be opening its first artificial intelligence (AI) research centre in China, despite many of its services being blocked there.

Fei-Fei Li, Chief Scientist of Google Cloud, said:

“I believe AI and its benefits have no borders. Whether a breakthrough occurs in Silicon Valley, Beijing or anywhere else, it has the potential to make everyone’s life better for the entire world. As an AI first company, this is an important part of our collective mission. And we want to work with the best AI talent, wherever that talent is, to achieve it.”

The research centre will focus on basic AI research, and will consist of a team in Beijing, who will be supported by Google China’s engineering teams.

Google’s search engine and its Gmail are banned in China. However, the country has 730 million internet users, making the market too large to ignore.

Google is not the only tech giant facing restrictions in China. Facebook is also banned, while Apple’ App Store has been subject to censorship. In order to comply with government requests, Apple removed many popular messaging and virtual private network (VPN) apps from its App Store in China earlier on this year.

China has recently announced plans to develop artificial intelligence, and wants to catch up with the US. However, human rights groups are concerned by China’s use of artificial intelligence to monitor its own citizens.

Keep reading |  2 min read


A Deal Looks Likely for Disney’s Fox Takeover

 2 min read / 

Disney's Fox Takeover

The Story

Disney is on the cusp of confirming a deal to buy most of 21st Century Fox in a $60bn deal, reports claim. The sale would see Disney acquire 20th Century Fox film studios as well as Sky and Star satellite broadcasts in the UK, Asia and Europe, according to the BBC.

21st Century Fox would retain broadcasting network Fox News and Fox Sports 1. While both would remain independent initially, they “could consider a merger later with the Murdochs’ publishing company, News Corp.,” reported Bloomberg’s David Hellier and Anousha Sakoui.

Fox CEO James Murdoch could potentially be offered a senior position at Disney once the deal is done.

Why It’s Important

Fox has reassessed its place in the current media landscape and decided that to in order to be successful it would need to scale up. Disney has the scale that Fox lacks. By consolidating their efforts around news and sports, Fox will be able to play an important role in the media industry.

On the other hand, Disney’s acquisition will extend the company’s reach. Plans to roll out a new Disney streaming service could benefit from the increased international exposure, where there appears to be the most growth.

Disney would also acquire Fox’s streaming service Hulu, opening new opportunities for Disney to compete with the likes of Netflix and Amazon Prime Video.

Keep reading |  2 min read


ExxonMobil under Shareholder Pressure

ExxonMobil Shareholder

The world’s largest oil group has agreed to publish the impact of climate policies on its bottom line.

In recent years, shareholders of the world’s largest oil and gas conglomerates have been pushing companies to publish analysis of the threat they face from climate change and the threat of green policies. In a regulatory filing, Exxon announced that it would change how it reports its results to include a paper on how climate policies are hurting its business. The proposal was backed by around 60% of Exxon’s shareholders back in May, which was led by the New York state employees’ retirement fund. The move follows Exxon’s gradual shift towards addressing climate change; in the 90s, the group campaigned against the Kyoto protocol but has since committed to reducing emissions.

Keep reading |  1 min read