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Archive | Power Trend Series

Crowdfunding Companies (By Jocelyn Ke)

Vinco Game Changers

Speaker: Lawrence Yong (MoolahSense)

4 February 2015

Crowdfunding Companies

*Check out event images here*

Lawrence is the founder of MoolahSense, Singapore’s only fully compliant peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platform. There is a gap between SMEs and small investors, and crowdfunding functions like a bridge between these two underserved groups in society. MoolahSense is a platform where individuals can lend directly to businesses, for a fixed return. Crowdfunding has achieved phenomenal growth and rapid acceptance around the world thus far.

Addressing Market Failures

For SMEs in Singapore, the cost of borrowing (unsecured loans) is ~5-6 times more expensive than it would be for bigger companies. It is a global problem that SMEs are only responsible for >20% of loans from the financial sector. In Singapore, SMEs make up 99% of all enterprises locally. Small, everyday investors seeking better return rates have little options, as most investment opportunities with fixed returns would require at least $100k to start with. MoolahSense is a debt-based crowdfunding platform, where businesses can quickly secure funds at potentially attractive rates and involve community engagement. For investors, with just S$1000, you could diversify your portfolio, earn better interest rates, and support local businesses at the same time.

How Does It Work?

There are 3 main steps in the entire process for businesses:

  1. Curate – Businesses will be accessed on their past revenues, willingness and ability to repay the funds
  2. Infrastructure – Once approved, MoolahSense will provide the transaction platform, legal documents and takes care of account management
  3. Control & Monitor – Businesses who are crowdfunded only write one cheque to MoolahSense, who will do the control, monitoring and subsequent splitting of investor’s funds

MoolahSense Model

A key feature of the MoolahSense platform includes the allocation and rate setting feature. The borrowing rates are decided by auction; investors who place a bid will set their own expected interest rates, and overall, the offers with the lowest rates will be selected. For every successful campaign, which usually runs for a year, the borrower (business owner) will only pay a flat 3% fee to MoolahSense.

Campaigns

MoolahSense’s first offer was Smaths Consulting, which raised S$100,000 in 20 days at a final rate of 9.9% interest. In the end, it was oversubscribed, with 44 individual investors who placed a bid (but only the offers of 19 people were selected). Ian Gan, Smaths CEO, expressed pleasant surprise from the PR that the fundraising has garnered, with The Straits Times, Business Times and Channel News Asia, each writing a feature on it.

What’s Next?

Moolah 9 is an introductory incentive for businesses in the following 9 sectors: education, retail, F&B, lifestyle & wellness, business services, ICT, engineering & contracting, manufacturing, trading & logistics. This promotion runs till 31st March 2015 – find out more here. You can connect with MoolahSense on Facebook for more updates on future campaigns.

 

Question and Answer Session

1. What will happen if the borrower (business) cannot fulfil their repayments?

MoolahSense has a 3-stage recovery process: at the first stage, there will be a penalty charge (late fees), and arrears will accrue to investors at 24% p.a. Following that, professional debt collectors will be called in to recover funds. Failing all methods, the third stage would likely result in legal action or involve restructuring. These extra costs will be borne by investors, as MoolahSense is not a party to the contract, but will assume the roles of monitoring, controlling and managing these transactions.

2. Is MoolahSense’s revenue model so simple?

Yes, there is only the 3% fee on total approved funds to be paid by the borrower. However, there is a lot of consulting involved from our side, which is still complimentary for the time being.

3. Can startups participate to borrow from this platform?

Most startups have a long gestation period, and thus may not be suitable for debt-based crowdfunding (depending on what stage they are at). Most importantly, the business must demonstrate capability to repay their investors (proven track record). They might consider exploring rewards-based or equity-based crowdfunding though.

4. How do you know ascertain the borrower’s future performance?

MoolahSense’s crowdfunding campaigns only run for a year (12 months), with immediate monthly repayments that include principal and interest. As mentioned, the rates are set by an auction process. There is no guarantee to future performance, but our curation process when we access borrowers are stringent, and we have our recovery processes in place too.

 

Interested in how you can start investing in local businesses too? Or would you like to list your business on MoolahSense to get funding? Do check out their detailed, comprehensive FAQ page on their website.

Written by

Jocelyn Ke (www.jocelynke.com)

Power Trends Of The Future (By Jocelyn Ke)

Vinco Game Changers
Speaker: Mohan Belani

4 February 2015

Power Trends of the Future

*Check out event images here*

Mohan Belani is in a good position to share about upcoming trends. The co-founder of e27.co is also in charge of running Echelon, Asia’s premiere technology and business conference. Here is his take on the 9 hottest trends in Asia (and around the world):

1. Wearables

Going beyond fitness wearables, there are now much more well designed products with real world applications in health care and beyond. The wearables industry is only expected to become more mainstream, hitting $8 billion in 2018. There are jackets with solar panels which can charge your smart phones; and a glowing orb with an accompanying clip for your pillow, which analyses and helps you make your sleep even better. Don’t forget smart glasses too, they would likely make a bigger comeback in future.

2.  E-Commerce

Although not a new creation, e-commerce has huge numbers behind it. In the US, where the market is more mature, e-commerce sales broke the US$1 trillion mark a few years back in 2012. However, Asia-Pacific is where the total projected e-commerce sales is expected to be the largest (2012-2017). Asian countries with the biggest markets are China, India and Indonesia (surprise!) for now, but the absence of the other emerging markets are not to be forgotten. A region of rising disposable income and greater internet penetration, there is a lot of untapped potential for online retailers as more people in APAC go online.

3. Mobile Consumption

Just in Asia-Pacific, out of a population of ~3.882 billion people, there are 1.255 billion users of internet on the mobile phone. Compared to the US, there is ample room for growth. Ads on phone apps have now become the most popular way in which we are exposed to advertisements (48%), followed closely by search engines (40%). Also, of all mobile phone users, up to 68% have spent money through their phones, which makes it very attractive to businesses to tap on this market.

4. Mobile Messaging

There are many choices for consumers: Line, WeChat, WhatsApp, Kik, Viber and more, but these apps seem to be more popular in some countries but not others. When Facebook bought over WhatsApp for ~$19 billion recently, the war for users just got hotter. In terms of innovation, the future seems to gravitate towards a migration of social networks to contact lists, like what Humin does.

5. Internet of Things (IoT)

Also known as “the connected life”, it is the future where every device is connected to the internet, and is able to communicate with other devices too. Increasing adaptation of IoT across more different products will also bring about the ability of the devices to modify itself to situations. SmartThings can outfit your entire house with devices that would recognise your routines and preferences, from lights to locks and motion sensors.

6. 3D Printing

Mohan believes that 3D printing will take Asia by storm. The constant technological advances in this field will only open more possibilities of what 3D printing can accomplish. There have been houses built using parts from 3D printers, and makeup whose exact shade and color can be printed from home, using a special printer called Mink. Amazon has also begun listing 3D printed items for sale, as a small start. When large companies start to take notice of something, it means that the industry is very likely to pick up or change.

7. Virtual Reality 2.0

There has been more interest in recent years about virtual reality (VR). The Oculus Rift will finally be offered to consumers sometime this year in 2015, bringing VR to many more people than before. The head-mounted virtual reality display has mainly attracted interest from the gaming industry and gamers themselves. VR also has other applications in surgery, flight stimulation, travel and even for very expensive property developers who outfit the houses with virtual furniture.

8. Beacon Technology

This technology is not new, but the recent meshing of beacons and smartphones have sprouted many new applications across industries. Beacons are low-cost and low-energy pieces of hardware which can detect and send prompts to smartphones, when they are in physical proximity. Retailers have begun to utilise this technology, sending customers offers and targeted information as they walk around the store. Virgin Atlantic has beacons to recognise its customers during check-in. Beacons merges the online/offline experience, and will change the way businesses interact with customers indoors.

9. Drones

Drones are also known as Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVS), and are either controlled by a person or have pre-set programmes. They are fast, efficient and consume little energy. Coca Cola used drones to drop off cans of cold cola to foreign construction workers (a tie in with the Singapore Kindness Movement), while Amazon and Alibaba are testing the use of drones to deliver parcels. Unlike the USA, there is currently not much regulations on how drones can be used in many parts of Asia.

Ending off the session, Mohan posed a rhetoric question: How can we use trends to offer real world value, and create a better world out of it? At least we are all aware of the biggest technological trends that is happening around us right now.

Question and Answer Session

On Robotics: Robots are fascinating, but their cost, size, weight and power consumption pose some issues. They are very hot in Japan. They are very useful when fused with other technologies (for specific applications), for example, cars.

On Crowdfunding: It is a huge game changer for fund raising and backing. It gives consumers access to products before they are officially launched. When products or ideas receive a lot of crowdfunding, it does two things: first being validation and market acceptance. The second is the reduced risk for investors, who are also more willing to fund companies doing well with crowdfunding.

On Marketplaces: A platform is not the same as a marketplace (Uber, Airbnb). Marketplaces are good for services that can be scaled on a global level. As the size of the audience goes up though, the cost goes down and becomes commoditised. Therefore marketplaces have to evolve, like what Uber did when it branched out into deliveries. The steps are (1) Build core (2) Build audience (3) Add more value added services

On e27’s Next Big Thing: There are no plans to offer new services for now, but instead to focus on a wider audience and entering new markets (Australia, Myanmmar, Indonesia). The Echelon conference is one of our main events, as well as an upcoming invite-only investment opportunity.

On Innovations in Education: There will be more use of apps to drive children to consume information. The real innovation in education will be the tracking, monitoring and automated dispensing of tailored content for the child’s progress. Learning will suit the learner’s abilities, content will evolve by itself, and teachers will have access to dashboards full of information. Analytics will be available and children’s abilities across countries can also be compared. This would be when education has transformed.

 

Written by

Jocelyn Ke (www.jocelynke.com)

 

Nicola Castelnuovo (Founder, Crowdonomic) – Crowdfunding and Crowdsourcing

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An experiential ‘workshop’ rather than a talk, Nicola Castelnuovo, Founder of Crowdonomic, gives us a good overview of crowdfunding around the world and the region.

He touched upon the nuances of different platforms and brought up an excellent case-study for us to work on.

If you’re looking for expert advice on how to raise funds, particularly within the region, Nicola is the person to look for!

Check out our event here.

Luv Khemani (Founder, FYB-SG) – Investments, Business and Bitcoin

pic editToday we met up with Luv Khemani, Founder of FYB-SG, the 1st Bitcoin Exchange in Singapore. Bitcoin is not a easy thing to comprehend.

But Luv managed to impress us with his simple yet comprehensive explanation on the technology, implications and possibilities of Bitcoin in our 21st Century Economy. 

With an insightful Q&A with questions flying, Luv provided us with concrete advice on Bitcoin and moving forward.

Take a look at our pictures here!

Qi Yun (Founder, Envis8ge) – My Grandmother Can Do Social Media Better Than You

_DSC5557A truly in-depth discussion w loads of insights by Qi Yun, Founder of Envis8ge.

Unlike most other Social Media talks, this one is laden with useful tips and information that held us spellbound! We love the inpromptu case study and the study of detailed system put in place for Social Media strategy planning.

Check out our event pics here, held at SCAPE Singapore.

 

 

 

Kelvin Ng (Founder of VoilàX) – How User Experience (UX) Can Influence A Local Startup

20140822_210828An incredible and detailed session on the relevance and importance of User Experience (UX) for both companies and individuals.

Kelvin Ng, founder of VoilàX showered us with some insightful tips on how to improve and create better systems, and we had tremendously insightful glimpses on creating a great User Experience for customers and the people we meet. 

Click here to check out the pics!

Charlie Ang (Founder of FutureCraft) – Age Of Digital Disruption

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Held at Prudential @ Scotts, Charlie Ang, Founder of FutureCraft and Innovation Institute, shared with us 5 key shifts in business that will impact the way we see and operate in the world today. Charlie answered our burning questions on the shifts in Education and the fast moving pace of the technology.

We met up with old friends and made new ones, each of us leaving the room with newfound inspiration to not only survive but to thrive in the world of tomorrow.

Get a glimpse of our past talk on the future here!