Sep 11, 2018
Crowdfunding platforms in the US are providing entrepreneurs and innovative companies with a new way of raising capital, though the number of companies that take advantage of it is still relatively small. The main reason is the legislation process and different regulations surrounding the crowdfunding platform registration.
This webinar will provide you with actionable tips on registering your crowdfunding platform in the US, and navigating Title III and FINRA.
Aug 22, 2018
[Updated in August 2018] With global transaction value set to go above UD$9bn in 2018 according to Statista, the huge growth in the popularity of crowdfunding seems unlikely to end. A predicted 29% CAGR will see the industry hit US$25bn by 2022.
This growth, coupled with increased acceptance of crowdfunding as a legitimate fund-raising strategy, is creating exciting opportunities for new crowdfunding platforms in a wide range of industries.
Creating your own crowdfunding platform is a highly effective way to connect investors with opportunities in your industry. They’re more than just good business: crowdfunding platforms are an opportunity to shape the future of your industry by helping worthy projects find motivated backers.
Platforms normally offer one or more types of crowdfunding to their partners: equity crowdfunding, debt crowdfunding, and industry-specific crowdfunding.
In this article, we’ll be looking at some of the most important factors to consider when building a platform for debt crowdfunding.
If you are not sure if debt crowdfunding is the right for you, you can discover other types of crowdfunding platforms here.
One of the most popular options is debt crowdfunding, also known as peer-to-peer lending. This allows groups of individuals or institutional lenders to lend funds to individuals or businesses in return for the principal plus interest payments.
Businesses benefit from this type of funding because they can avoid giving away equity, which may be either impossible or undesirable, while also lowering their cost of finance.
Debt crowdfunding isn’t just good for those borrowing money, it’s also beneficial to investors, because they can lend smaller amounts to many different businesses or individuals. This enables them to spread their risk while still receiving a competitive return on their investment.
Crowdfunding is a regulated form of raising capital. Your first and most important step is to research and understand the regulatory framework in which your platform and the businesses you represent will be operating.
For example, Reg CF (also known as Title III) Crowdfunding requires firms to submit a New Membership Application (NMA) with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). This application will trigger various checks & interviews that will assess the firm's’ policies and procedures for regulatory compliance. You can find crucial tips for FINRA Title III application here.
These regulations also affect the businesses on your platform – including what money can be raised and how it can be advertised – and has ramifications for the investors themselves.
Key Takeaway: Understanding your regulatory obligations is paramount. Your first priority is to find or build a platform that will support you in proving your compliance with all relevant regulations.
Regulatory compliance is crucial, but it’s far from being the only thing you need from your crowdfunding software. For this reason, most businesses creating a crowdfunding platform opt for white-label crowdfunding software, like Katipult, to provide them with the features they need. It is far quicker and cheaper to partner with an expert than it is to code a new solution from scratch.
However, not all crowdfunding platforms are created equal. You should look for software with the following features:
Underwriting services analyze the businesses applying for debt crowdfunding (and their credit file) to assess whether they meet certain minimum standards. This is an essential service that helps protect the reputation of your platform; if too many businesses default on their repayments, investors will lose trust in the opportunities you provide for them. Some platforms offer underwriting as a service, which reduces your need to outsource this elsewhere (or do it internally).
Underwriting should form just one part of a wider review process for every application. You may want to review the business, their business plan, their industry, and the text of their offering itself for both discrepancies and suitability for publishing on your platform. With the right software, this entire process can be managed using the platform itself.
Stringent KYC/AML requirements require you to run suitability and verification checks on all your potential investors; this is a necessary step for compliance and cannot be skipped. Automating these processes saves your business time and money, and by speeding up the process, you provide the end-user with a better experience.
The search features of your platform enable investors to narrow-down your opportunities by risk profile, time horizon, size, country, industry, or other criteria. This is an essential feature that makes it quicker and easier for your investors to find investments that are relevant and interesting to them. Without these features, investors are forced to trawl through tens or even hundreds of irrelevant opportunities before they find what they’re looking for – that’s if they don’t give up first.
Platforms which support multiple loan types, including monthly payment (amortized), interest-only, balloon, and single payment will be able to attract a wider variety of businesses and investors.
Many investors will prefer to re-invest their crowdfunding returns but don’t want to manage the process themselves. Instead, auto-invest features allow these investors to set up rules governing how they want their returns reinvested. Providing investors with the ability to ‘set-it-and-forget-it’ is a valuable feature that makes the process far easier and more efficient for investors.
Platforms can report investment income to the appropriate tax authorities, helping investors both save time and ensure they are correctly reporting their income.
Investors want at-a-glance information about their potential loans. Built-in calculators save them time and make it easier for them to assess a potential opportunity.
UX, or user experience, is extremely important. The businesses and investors your platform serves want something that is intuitive, easy to use, and features great navigation. Most individuals take UX design for granted: if your platform is poorly designed both your customer acquisition and retention will suffer; they’ll simply take their business elsewhere.
Managing hundreds or thousands of investors manually is a huge drain on your resources. Your platform should take the administrative strain here, enabling you to quickly and easily distribute information, announcements, and reports to the relevant investors. It’s also important that your platform provides investors with the information they need – e.g., tax statements, quarterly performance reports – so that they can access these instantly without having to contact your team.
Are you ready to get your debt crowdfunding platform started? Contact a Katipult expert today.
Aug 20, 2018
After debuting in 2017 with a nomination for Technology Innovator Award, in 2018, Katipult has been nominated in four different categories.
Aug 15, 2018
One of the biggest challenges firms are facing when raising capital with accredited investors is determining their investor status quickly, reliably, and confidentially.
Recent federal laws require companies raising money through private placement capital raises where they generally solicit to verify that their investors are “accredited investors”. A simple questionnaire isn’t enough – companies must take further “reasonable steps” to prove their investors are “accredited investors” with potentially serious consequences for failing to do so.
Jul 25, 2018
Crowdfunding has proven to be a great way to fund businesses looking to get off the ground, and assist established investment firms to diversify their sources of capital. Not only does crowdfunding bring in new investors, but it also helps to spread brand awareness and stimulate discussions.
Capital raising has been a painstaking exercise associated with lots of regulatory hurdles and barriers. It has, therefore, become apparent that the traditional financing methods are simply not suitable for fast growing modern businesses.
Fortunately, starting a crowdfunding platform can help to overcome some of the many problems associated with traditional capital raises and investor management.
If you are still unsure of what crowdfunding type is right for your business, you can check our article discussing different types of crowdfunding.
Here we will discuss some of the benefits of starting your own crowdfunding platform and why this solution may be right for your business.
Jul 3, 2018
Crowdfunding has been a topic of interest for quite some time now as it has allowed thousands of small businesses and individuals to gather the capital they need to fund their growth, idea or product/service development. That being said, the landscape of crowdfunding is quickly changing. New crowdfunding platforms are entering the market to fulfil the demands of various niche and industry-specific groups.
With ample opportunity to create the next great crowdfunding software, there remains one question: how do you get in the game now before it’s too late? And what are the steps to build, scale and start your own crowdfunding platform?
Jun 21, 2018
We are pleased to announce we’ve achieved a major milestone (while adhering to our previously announced timeline of 2Q18) to introduce a blockchain-based secondary market product, which includes capabilities such as issuer buybacks, bulletin boards and auction-based price discovery. Katipult customers will be able to offer tradable securities, introduce smart contracts, and automate clearing and settlement for transactions at a much faster rate, while ensuring both the security of payments and regulatory requirements.
Jun 7, 2018
Crowdfunding, or crowdinvesting, is an effective alternative method for connecting investors with opportunities to invest in specific products, campaigns, and even entire businesses. By creating your own crowdfunding platform, you can: disrupt and reshape your industry, provide a highly valuable service, and help turn business ideas, dream projects, and new products into reality.
However, before you can start your own crowdfunding platform, you need to decide which type of crowdfunding is appropriate for your industry. Your decision will depend upon the business models and personal preferences of the industry you serve, as well as the capabilities of your investment crowdfunding software.
May 28, 2018
SWIFT Business Forum Canada gathered over 340 financial service leaders to discuss the opportunities and threats of rapid technological advancement across the financial ecosystem in Canada.
Our CIO, Ben Cadieux, was one of the panelists for “Shaping the Future: Innovation in Action” together with Tim Hogarth, VP of Innovation Strategies and Framework at TD Bank Group, and Nicholas Bayley, Managing Director of Accenture Strategy at Accenture Canada. The panel was moderated by Ryan Masters, Executive Director & Strategic Relationship Manager at SWIFT.
The panel was aiming to uncover how leaders are shaping the future of financial services by strategically employing new technologies, successfully utilizing information and Big Data, and reshaping their infrastructures.
Here are the 5 key takeaways from the panel “Shaping the Future: Innovation in Action” on SWIFT Business Forum Canada 2018: