November 30th, 2015 by: Grow VC Group

UK is one of the most established and promising markets for alternative finance worldwide. However, data on the performance of the funded companies is still lacking, especially because the sector is still deemed not mature enough to provide reliable data. However, last week, Altfi Data, a research consultancy on alternative finance in the UK, released a report framing the state of companies that have to date raised money in the UK through the medium of equity crowdfunding.

The analysis was conducted focusing on 5 major British equity crowdfunding platforms, for a total of 367 platforms that have been financed on these portals to date. In particular 82 were successfully financed in 2013, which, according to the authors, is a statistically significant sample, as enough time has passed since funding to allow business plans to have been executed.

The research also highlights that the average volume of single equity crowdfunding campaigns has been steadily increasing since 2013. The internal rate of return on equity crowdfunding investments via the five major platforms since February 2011, instead, averages just 2.17 per cent. However, the authors estimate that, assuming that SEIS and EIS tax reliefs are fully utilised, that return increases to 33.79%.

Although, valid and reliable data are still difficult to obtain in such a young industry, this is a good first temptative of shedding some light on the trends and performance of companies finance via online investing, in order to understand better the impact of this new source of finance on local SMEs. Real time, historical, and index data is now also available on DealIndex dashboard.

Read the whole article on Crow Valley Blog.

London City - Grow VC Group

November 27th, 2015 by: Grow VC Group

On December 9th Grow Advisors (a Grow VC Group company) will present a keynote presentation to share views on what the future holds for financials services in Asia – and for wealth management in particular.

Come and listen to experts in digital disruption in finance uncover the latest trends, share experiences and thoughts on the challenges being faced today.

Many say FinTech was born in the US, but will grow up in Asia. Can Asia really lead the way forward to a new breed of financial services?

Read more on Grow Advisors blog and find how to get a ticket (by November 30).

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November 26th, 2015 by: Grow VC Group

Artificial Intelligence, AI, had a lot of its hype in 1990s. Then it became quite an unpopular term, especially among serious researchers and data scientists. Now it has come back and maybe this time it is something real. Deep learning in particular has become an important area for research and development. Applications are from personal assistants to self-driving cars and digital finance services.

Machine learning, data science, big data are all linked to AI, or a part of it, depending on definitions. AI was originally defined to mean “the science and engineering of making intelligent machines.” In practice nowadays it means a machine needs a lot of data from its environment, it must then analyze data and using machine learning models to operate in an optimal way.

Industry robots typically execute simple task in a controlled environment. But if we make robots to work at home or streets, or self-driving cars, it is not anymore possible to properly pre-define rules for all environments and situations. Then it becomes more important that the robot is able to learn from its environment and past, and also share its learning to other machines. Deep learning is a part of machine learning and it especially focuses on more abstract models to learn, when it is not possible to define exact learning targets, or rules for optimal behavior.

Apple has acquired two AI companies, Perceptio and VocalIQ, this fall. The target might be to make Siri smarter, but it can be linked to Apple’s future products too. Google has also acquired AI companies, for example, DeepMind last year. Twitter and Facebook have also been active in this area. These are just a few examples, how big internet companies that have a lot of data are now investing in AI.

Fintech and digital finance services are also active in developing AI solutions. Trading is one area where AI tools have been developed for a longer time. The focus has especially been to utilize market data and news feeds and make optimal sell and buy decisions. The next generation fintech AI is able to do much more. When the whole finance sector has a transition now to digital services and processes, the transition opens many new opportunities to use data and machines that can learn.

In the future fintech machines will have a larger role to analyze and optimize risks, manage portfolios, price finance instruments, help people with their investment and lending needs, and build longer terms scenarios. With deep learning it is not necessary to limit tasks to limited data input feeds and simple trading transaction optimization, instead it is possible to basically take any data and make long-term planning for different needs.

Internet of Things, IoT, is accelerating needs to have AI solutions. IoT itself is particularly to collect data and control actions. IoT is important for robots and self-driving cars, and for many applications and services like fintech, smart cities, and smart homes. It has been said IoT is especially about data and utilizing data. Soon we start to have so much data and so many things to control that it just becomes impossible to handle all that without machine learning. Then we see a new era when AI really comes to everyday life everywhere.

Big data has been a hot topic for a few years. But the real question is, how we can really utilize the data, otherwise it is quite useless. The utilization needs applications that can turn data into applications that help people, improve business and create new, more effective ways to do things. Machine learning, data science and AI have an important role in that work, especially when the amount of data and complexity of tasks grows rapidly.

DealIndex data AI


This article was first published on

November 25th, 2015 by: Grow VC Group

Imagine yourself the CEO or Chairman of a prominent, success financial services firm. You’ve got decades under your belt of amazing success, boom years through to the technological advances and prestige that comes with your name. Yet you’ve had this nagging inkling for several years now and confirmed that something is eating at your margins and pushing a new market position on your company. Fintech innovators, along with their specialized products are forcing a change in the market.

Or truth be told, it’s not even the innovators themselves, it’s the entire market that’s pushing for change. What do you do? Do you let the Internet and market shift cannibalize your business? Do you cannibalize your business yourself? What can do you? ​

Fintech is important, don’t get me wrong, but what is going more important than fintech itself, is the global demand and significant push for more efficient and effective services and products in the financial services market. It’s bigger than any single technology or sector and its driven by a technological ripening, a new age of consumers with strict demands, demands that include an amazing push on margins on services that are expected to be delivered virtually for nothing. And right away.

From BNP Paribas, Credit Suisse, to Morgan Stanley, Deutsche Bank, ING, institutional buyers in consumer credit marketplaces, co-investors or sponsors in various primary online marketplaces, everyone is involved with their flavor of the day. And involvement may at times seem uncoordinated, but looking behind the scenes or extrapolating positions sought, there are clear strategies in place. Strategies that represent hundreds of millions of investment and billions of sought return in the long term.

We’ve discussed the extent and scope of market shifts in financial services, as well as the investments being made into it and how those shifts may be received or viewed by various market stakeholders. The changing landscape is a fact of the market, it will not make banks obsolete and it will not eradicate the asset management business, but it will call for a fundamental review of market positions.

  1. Specialists will emerge from generalists, for example wealth advisors may end up focusing on a target market audience, where robo-advisors will appeal to the younger generations.
  2. New innovators will be subject to strict scrutiny and over time business models will need to adhere to the same requirements as the incumbent financial services sector, but business models will benefit from further emphasis on best practices, compliance and market standards.
  3. Existing technology will be reviewed and it will be ultimately replaced by leaner, more efficient solutions that can connect openly to modern challenges.
  4. Efficient technology will flow through all facets and avenues of financial services, and in this ‘second coming’ of financial services technology, it will install itself in the sector for years to come.
  5. The true nature of ‘social’ in an online setting will cause friction in the incumbent sector along with loosening control over existing user bases and their interaction amongst one another. The fact that no one can own a person, hence a user, will become increasingly clear.

Paying attention to current shifts in financial services is a great start. Becoming literate about what Goldman Sachs estimates as a $3.3 Trillion addressable market opportunity should be top of mind for anyone in the financial services market.

Read the whole article on Crowd Valley Blog.

Deal Index Alternative Finance report

Data source: Deal Index Alternative Finance report.

November 24th, 2015 by: Grow VC Group

Grow VC Group had a successful podcast some years ago and with over 100 episodes and a broad reach (more than 100,000 listens).

Now Grow VC Group restarts the podcast series with a new name “Digital Finance Today”. You can easily subscribe to follow the podcast and listen the episodes on iTunes as well as on Podcast & Radio Addict (Android users) and Youtube.

These are the times when finance market is really reshaping itself and, as we know from other industries, the digital revolution is inevitable. Listening to the podcast is an excellent and fun way to get inside to the digital finance market in the forefront.

In each episode you will hear selected top digital finance professional guest speakers being interviewed about hot topics. New episodes will be published every second week.

In the first episode Markus Lampinen, CEO Crowd Valley and Saeed Hassan, Managing Partner of Grow Advisors introduce the podcast series, talk about finance market changes, market resistance and look ahead to the impact around the world.

Stay tuned!

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