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How to Determine Exactly How Much Money You Need to Push Your Business to the Next Level

Too often, entrepreneurs–especially inexperienced ones–take the “luxury” approach to funding, incorporating every bell and whistle into their expansion plan by trying to accomplish all goals at one time. That’s nice, but it’s usually not reality and often forces businesses to be cash strapped because of high debt repayments.

That’s why I suggest entrepreneurs take a three-pronged approach to their expansion planning. This exercise helps businesspeople ruthlessly prioritize their needs and determine what is a must and what is frivolous.

A, then B, then C

Let’s say an entrepreneur believes he or she needs $1 million to make their expansion plans a reality.

Now, write up a plan for that amount. What are you going to do with that million? What are the specific investments you will make? What will your cash flow look like afterward? What does your business, in general, look like?

Now do the same exercise with $500,000. Ask yourself the same questions, as well as anything else that’s pertinent. Can you primarily accomplish the same goals with half the cash?

Finally, do the exercise one more time, this time with a loan of only $250,000. What are the answers to the questions now? Might it be possible to do what you want to do with only a quarter of the original loan?

And the answer is…

No set answer will be correct.

Perhaps your initial inclination that you need $1 million was correct. And there’s a good chance that $250,000 simply won’t get the job done.

But there is a decent probability that the middle option might be feasible, especially if it makes you realize that some of the more frivolous “wish list” things you’d like to do are best set aside for now. Remember, you don’t have to accomplish everything at once, and a scaled-down plan might allow you to better focus on more important things, preventing you from overextending yourself.

Of course, don’t get too stuck on exact numbers. Maybe this exercise will have you realize your plan can go ahead effectively for $790,000. Or $615,000. Or $485,000. Or any other number.

The purpose is to gain some clarity and sharpen your focus–not to mention to allow you to decide what makes you most comfortable and enables you to sleep at night. Don’t underestimate the value of that.

Also, keep in mind the time factor. The larger the loan you seek, the longer it likely will take to receive approval from a lender. The saying “time is money” always rings true, especially in this scenario. You might miss opportunities waiting for lender approval.

Remember, business tends to be more of a marathon than a sprint. You need to pace yourself in all aspects, including financing, to better your odds of finishing the race. Hopefully, this exercise helps you accomplish that.

By Ami KassarCEO, MultiFunding.com @amikassar

 

Source: How to Determine Exactly How Much Money You Need to Push Your Business to the Next Level

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Trust: How do you earn it? Banks use credit scores to determine if you’re trustworthy, but there are about 2.5 billion people around the world who don’t have one to begin with — and who can’t get a loan to start a business, buy a home or otherwise improve their lives. Hear how TED Fellow Shivani Siroya is unlocking untapped purchasing power in the developing world with InVenture, a start-up that uses mobile data to create a financial identity. “With something as simple as a credit score,” says Siroya, “we’re giving people the power to build their own futures.” TEDTalks is a daily video podcast of the best talks and performances from the TED Conference, where the world’s leading thinkers and doers give the talk of their lives in 18 minutes (or less). Look for talks on Technology, Entertainment and Design — plus science, business, global issues, the arts and much more. Find closed captions and translated subtitles in many languages at http://www.ted.com/translate Follow TED news on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/tednews Like TED on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TED Subscribe to our channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/TEDtalksD…

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3 Purchases or Investments You Can Make to Save Money on Your Business Taxes

With a little over one month to go in 2019, small business owners should think about purchases or investments that make good business sense and will give them a break on their taxes.

Owners with available cash and a wish list should consider what equipment they need. Or, do they want to create a retirement plan or make a big contribution to an existing one? If they have home offices, are there repairs or improvements that can be done by Dec. 31? But owners should also remember the advice from tax professionals: Don’t make a decision based on saving on taxes. Any big expenditure should be made because it fits with your ongoing business strategy.

A look at some possible purchases or investments:

Need a PC or SUV?

Small businesses can deduct up-front as much as $1,020,000 in equipment, vehicles and many other types of property under what’s known as the Section 179 deduction. Named for part of the federal tax code, it’s aimed at helping small companies expand by accelerating their tax breaks. Larger businesses have to deduct property expenses under depreciation rules.

There is a wide range of property that can be deducted under Section 179 including computers, furniture, machinery, vehicles and building improvements like roofs and heating, air conditioning and ventilation systems. But to be deducted, the equipment has to be operational, or what the IRS calls in service, by Dec. 31. So a PC that’s up and running or an SUV that’s already in use can be deducted, but if that HVAC system has been ordered but not yet delivered or set up, it can’t be deducted.

It’s OK to buy the equipment and use it but not pay for it by year-end — even if a business buys the property on credit, the full purchase price can be deducted.

You can learn more on the IRS website, www.irs.gov. Search for Form 4562, Depreciation and Amortization, and the instructions for the form.

Home Office Repairs

Owners who run their businesses out of their homes and want to do some repairs, painting or redecorating may be able to get a deduction for the work. If the home office or work space itself is getting a makeover, those costs may be completely deductible. If the whole house is getting a new roof or furnace, then part of the costs can be deducted.

To claim the deduction, an owner can use a formula set by the IRS. The owner determines the percentage of a residence that is exclusively and regularly used for business. That percentage is applied to actual expenses on the home including repairs and renovation and costs such as mortgage or rent, taxes, insurance and maintenance.

There’s an alternate way to claim the deduction — the owner computes the number of square feet dedicated to the business, up to 300 square feet, and multiplies that number by $5 to arrive at the deductible amount. However, repairs or renovations cannot be included in this calculation.

Owners should remember that the home office deduction can only be taken if the office or work area is exclusively used for the business — setting up a desk in a corner of the family room doesn’t quality. And it must be your principal place of business. More information is available on www.irs.gov; search for Publication 587, Business Use of Your Home.

Retirement Plans

Owners actually have more than a month to set up or contribute to an employee retirement plans — while some can still be set up by Dec. 31, plans known as Simplified Employee Pensions, or SEPs, can be set up as late as the filing deadline for the owner’s return. If the owner gets a six-month extension of the April 15 filing deadline, a SEP can be set up as late as Oct. 15, 2020, and still qualify as a deduction for the 2019 tax year.

Similarly, contributions to any employee retirement plan can be made as late as Oct. 15, 2020, as long as the owner obtained an extension. This means owners can decide well into next year how much money they want to contribute, and in turn, how big a deduction they can take for the contribution.

You can learn more at www.irs.gov. Search for Publication 560, Retirement Plans for Small Business.

–The Associated Press

By Joyce M. Rosenberg AP Business Writer

Source: 3 Purchases or Investments You Can Make to Save Money on Your Business Taxes

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Measuring The Total Economic Impact Of Unified Endpoint Management

Today, the average IT organization is spending at least 5% of their organization’s annual revenue on IT investments – and the cost of each investment spans far beyond its price tag. Each one needs to be deployed and maintained by IT staff that is grappling with more tools and software products than ever before. Of course, supporting an IT staff comes with its own set of costs and challenges. CIOs, CTOs, and their teams are human resource scarce and spread extremely thin, so the opportunity cost of focusing on one tool versus another has never been greater.

This complexity comes at a time where clearly defined IT strategies that bring about positive impact to the business are non-negotiable. According to IDG’s 2019 State of the CIO report, “62% of CIOs say that the creation of new revenue generating initiatives is among their job responsibilities.” 88% claim to be “more involved in leading digital transformation initiatives compared to their business counterparts.” Net-net, the onus is on IT leaders to streamline efficiencies, reduce total cost of ownership (TCO), and net a return on investment (ROI) for the business.

IT investment decisions driven by real customer data

Forrester has been instrumental in helping business decision-makers overcome their resource, budget, and investment challenges by introducing a Total Economic Impact™ (TEI) methodology. Not only does the TEI take costs and benefits into account, but also the time saved and economic impact of strategic decisions made. Forrester’s TEI assessments are drawn from real client experiences with vendor products and services. The team diligently documents customer outcomes to better understand their positive or negative business impact. Consulting this unique research methodology helps business decision makers justify and future-proof their investments.

Making the transition to unified endpoint management

If your organization is like most, it has a mix of devices that employees use to get work done – whether they’re corporate-liable or supported under a bring your own device (BYOD) program. With 464 custom apps deployed across the average enterprise, procuring a means to manage devices and everything on them (not just apps, but also content and data) has become mission-critical for businesses.

Traditionally, mobile device management (MDM), enterprise mobility management (EMM), and client management tools (CMTs) have been relied upon to get the job done. However, business use cases for devices have become more complex and wide ranging. These shifts are necessitating a tool that makes it possible to manage everything from one place. This is unified endpoint management (UEM).

Commissioned by IBM, Forrester Consulting recently conducted a TEI analysis of IBM Security MaaS360 UEM customers to determine whether they are reducing TCO and netting a quick break-even on their investment. The Forrester team took the time to glean feedback from 19 MaaS360 UEM clients representing financial services, nonprofit, utilities, manufacturing, and professional services industries. These individuals are responsible for managing anywhere from 500 to 100,000 devices for their respective businesses each day.

How UEM from IBM resulted in significant ROI1

Across the 19 clients that were interviewed, Forrester identified the following key benefits. These amount to a three-year 160% ROI and payback in less than 3 months:

  • Endpoint configuration: a 96% reduction in time spend provisioning devices
  • End-user setup: a 47% reduction in time spent getting employees up and running
  • Modern management: $22,960 saved from simplifying their management approach
  • Support ticket remediation: 50% fewer tickets and 55% less time taken to resolve them
  • Security breach remediation: 80% reduction in number of incidents experienced

Of course, these benefits were experienced by a composite organization used to represent the 19 customers surveyed by Forrester. Organizations considering UEM that are actively seeking their own customized TEI assessment can now work with IBMers to do just that. Request your own complementary assessment today to understand whether you can expect a return on your UEM investment, and if so, how quickly you can expect your payback period to arrive.

Request a custom Forrester TEI assessment now

1 The Total Economic Impact™ Of IBM MaaS360 With Watson, a commissioned study conducted by Forrester Consulting, April 2019

John Harrington is a Program Director at IBM Security, overseeing product marketing for data security and unified endpoint management (UEM). In this capacity, he works with product managers, product marketers, and account managers to provide guidance for businesses encountering modern cybersecurity challenges. He’s focused on helping clients learn how to establish digital trust and the various ways Guardium and MaaS360 can help them keep their data and endpoints protected. John is also working towards an MBA graduate degree at Villanova School of Business, and spends his spare time exploring the city of Philadelphia with his wife and their two beagles.

Source: IBM Security BrandVoice: Measuring The Total Economic Impact Of Unified Endpoint Management

Keeping Up With E-commerce: Last-Mile Delivery Service Deploys ‘Ninjas’ In Online Shopping Boom

Packages are piled higher than people at Ninja Van’s biggest sorting center at a freight facility near Singapore’s Jurong port. Southeast Asia’s big e-commerce operator, Shopee, has just finished its “9/9” online shopping sale and says it got a record 17 million orders in one day. Ninja Van now has the task of delivering most of those orders. “We spend months preparing for how much capacity they require, making sure that we change our processes and have enough drivers,” says Ninja Van’s 32-year-old founder Lai Chang Wen.

Today, Ninja Van delivers on average one million parcels a day around the region, deploying some 20,000 full-time delivery staff, who are dubbed ninjas. Ninja Van’s sales in 2017 rose 9% from a year ago to $13 million and Singaporean Lai was inducted into Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia in 2016.

Ninja Van has so far raised $140 million from a group of investors that includes B Capital and super app Grab. “They’ve really been a leader in last-mile delivery. They are today, we believe, the best service in terms of delivery rates. Everything they’ve achieved using technology is driven to increase customer satisfaction,” says B Capital cofounder Eduardo Saverin, who is a director on the company’s board (and cofounder of Facebook).

Today In: Asia

Lai cofounded Ninja Van in 2014 after a stint as a derivatives trader at Barclays and then setting up Marcella, a custom menswear shop based in Singapore. Monk’s Hill Ventures Managing Partner Lim Kuo-Yi remembers passing on Lai’s pitch to invest in Marcella, but was intrigued by Lai’s proposed solution to the firm’s delivery hurdles.

That proposal is now Ninja Van. Its value proposition is providing a more effective way for Southeast Asia’s small and midsized enterprises to deliver their products as e-commerce in the region explodes. Over 150 million Southeast Asians are now buying and selling online, triple the number from 2015, according a recent report by Bain, Google and Temasek. “What Ninja Van has shown in the last four or five years is the ability to grow the business threefold year-on-year,” says Lim.

Ninja Van is one of a slew of companies offering logistics services for e-commerce deliveries such as Lalamove, GoGoVan and UrbanFox. Competing on cost, speed and reliability isn’t enough, Lai says. Ninja Van also works with SMEs to cut costs and expand their markets. Ninja Van in September introduced a program in Indonesia called Ninja Academy that teaches SME owners about social marketing, inventory management, procurement and sales strategy. “A big part of the question around Ninja Van is how do I evolve my customer base to enable the long tail of commerce,” says Saverin.

Ninja Van entered the logistics scene at an opportune time. Photo: Sean Lee for Forbes Asia

Sean Lee for Forbes Asia

Ninja Van also mines its data to find hidden efficiencies. For example, when multiple merchants are buying the same raw material or product, Ninja Van can then broker a deal to buy in bulk for a lower price on behalf of several customers. The same goes for freight space. “We are the biggest purchaser of air cargo across Indonesia,” says Lai.

With as much as 70% of its transactions still cash on delivery, Ninja Van processes more than a billion dollars in payments a year. While processing those payments, it’s sitting on a massive pool of liquid capital. “There’s opportunity there to extend some level of working capital financing to bridge that gap,” says Lim.

Grab’s investment in Ninja Van is the culmination of an ongoing discussion about collaboration. “We kept finding ways to work together,” says Lai, who first started talking with Grab’s cofounder Anthony Tan four years ago about merging their fleets to improve efficiency.

The two eventually decided that having separate, specialized fleets was more efficient than a combined one, but they have developed a special partnership. Grab customers can access Ninja Van on Grab’s app depending on the kind of delivery. Grab deploys its drivers for on-demand pickups and deliveries, but offers Ninja Van as a discount option for less urgent, next-day courier service to SMEs. Grab has already integrated Ninja Van into its service offering in Indonesia and the Philippines, and plans to do so in Vietnam later this year.

Lai, meanwhile, spends much of his time now in Malaysia and Indonesia, where Ninja Van launched in 2015. “The landscape is very exciting right now, comprised of a lot of small merchants selling on marketable channels,” Lai says. But the real prize, he says, lies beyond Southeast Asia. “There’s a lot more global flow,” he says. Lai won’t name any potential partners, but says the U.S. is “definitely a target.”

Pamela covers entrepreneurs, wealth, blockchain and the crypto economy as a senior reporter across digital and print platforms. Prior to Forbes, she served as on-air foreign correspondent for Thomson Reuters’ broadcast team, during which she reported on global markets, central bank policies, and breaking business news. Before Asia, she was a journalist at NBC Comcast, and started her career at CNBC and Bloomberg as a financial news producer in New York. She is a graduate of Columbia Journalism School and holds an MBA from Thunderbird School of Global Management. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, Washington Post, Yahoo, USA Today, Huffington Post, and Nasdaq. Pamela’s previous incarnation was on the buy side in M&A research and asset management, inspired by Michael Lewis’ book “Liar’s Poker”. Follow me on Twitter at @pamambler

Source: Keeping Up With E-commerce: Last-Mile Delivery Service Deploys ‘Ninjas’ In Online Shopping Boom

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Sick of online shopping deliveries that go MIA or take forever? Ninja Van’s Lai Chang Wen saw how traditional couriers were spoiling the experience – so he jumped in to spoil the market. Even though he had zero experience. Catch the series Game Changers on Monday, 8pm SG/HK. Watch catch-up episodes on Toggle http://bit.ly/2nRyB7Q

Borderless Investing: Eduardo Saverin And Raj Ganguly Grow B Capital

Eduardo Saverin and Rajarshi “Raj” Ganguly are two of the three cofounders of B Capital Group, a venture capital firm with close to $800 million, split between a first and a second fund (still being raised). The third cofounder is legendary investor Howard Morgan. Brazilian Saverin, 37, is based in Singapore and best known for being the cofounder of Facebook – whose shares in it give him a net worth estimated at about $10 billion.

Americans Ganguly, 43, and Morgan, 73, come from diverse backgrounds. Ganguly, based in Los Angeles, spent his early career at Bain Capital, overseeing a number of investments. Morgan, based in New York, helped start ARPAnet, the internet’s precursor, in the 1970s, and later was president of hedge fund Renaissance Technologies.

B Capital has dual headquarters in Los Angeles and Singapore, as well as offices in New York and San Francisco, with a total of 40 full-time staff. B Capital focuses on companies already in series B or C rounds, generally over $10 million in revenue, and looks to invest roughly $20 million. The trio would like to keep the total number of companies in each fund to about 20.

The firm has the slogan “innovation without borders,” reflecting the founders’ belief that innovation can originate anywhere, not just in Silicon Valley. B Capital also uses global consultancy Boston Consulting Group (BCG) to help it grow startups and match them with larger firms. Saverin and Ganguly sat down with Forbes Asia in an exclusive interview in September at Singapore’s Shangri-La hotel to discuss their goals for B Capital.

Today In: Asia

Forbes Asia: How are you deploying your capital into startups?

Eduardo Saverin: Primarily we focus on companies that have an existing level of traction. There are a lot of places where you could invest in technology, but you need to have an edge and focus. For us, together with our relationship with BCG, it’s about accelerating growth. Most companies we invest in have a B2B angle. When the company is still an idea on a napkin, it’s hard for us to introduce them to some of the largest companies in the world. So we tend to invest where there’s a particular amount of value that we can bring through those corporate introductions and value acceleration, which means they tend to translate to series B and beyond. But frankly the staging is fungible. It’s about traction.

Raj Ganguly: As we build the firm we want to be really conscious of being able to invest into some companies really early, probably smaller amounts of capital, and as some of those companies scale and grow, we want to bring larger amounts of capital to those companies. Then finally for some of the companies that really continue to go into highly accelerated growth mode, we would actually not just double-down, but we would take outsized ownership stakes. As we’re growing the capital, we’re increasing our ability to invest across multiple stages. The best use of our capital, rather than finding a new investment, is finding a company in our portfolio where we can see the trajectory of the company before an outsider can see it.

What is the value-add you want to bring to your entrepreneurs?

Ganguly: We focus on doing three things really well ourselves and then partnering with BCG and others for everything else. We focus on helping make introductions and really helping get that growth flywheel going. The second part is we are focused on hiring key C-level talents into companies once we invest into them. We find that every single time we make an investment, if we can help them with one or two better hires on the margin, it fundamentally changes the direction of the company. And third, we help them raise strategic capital. We think, while it’s great to have other venture capital firms and folks like that, there are so many large enterprises sitting on over $1 trillion of capital and many of them want to invest and partner with startups. They could be much more strategic in the capital and the value that they bring.

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Juliana Tan for Forbes Asia

Can you give an example of this value-add to a portfolio company?Saverin: One of our early investments was in a company in the clinical trials space called Evidation Health. It’s a perfect example of a business where they can develop all the technologies that they would like. The truth is, success will come from adoption of virtual clinical trials from the largest pharma companies in the world. When we first met the business, it was working with a lot of smaller biotech firms, which are the traditional early adopters of such technologies. But leveraging our partnerships, including BCG, we had a chance to meet with some of the largest pharma companies in the world.

Through those discussions we understood that, unlike traditional tech innovation cycles where things over time get a little bit cheaper and faster, in the pharma world, you were seeing kind of a reverse innovation cycle where it was getting more expensive and taking longer to get to market.

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Juliana Tan for Forbes Asia

And one of the largest pharma companies in the world took one of their existing trials that they had already done, and then just replicated it through a virtual standpoint, and saw both the speed, the cost effectiveness, and the depth of the data. That gave us conviction to invest, because we knew there was a real appetite for experimentation. Today, that business has most of the largest pharma companies in the world as customers. Some of them have become investors.

Ganguly: It just announced, a few weeks ago, a landmark partnership in dementia with Apple and Eli Lilly. We’ve been a part of helping make some of those connections.

What’s unique about B Capital’s approach to investments?

Ganguly: There are four key parts of our model. It’s about global thematic investing, one single team leveraging global data. It’s about deep local expertise in each market that we invest in. It’s about being the single highest value-add investor in every company and having the capital through partnerships with our investors and through our own capital to fund the growth of these companies as they scale. Our risk model is a lower risk model than early stage, which is about investing in ideas on a napkin, and having one of 20 companies that you know will drive your whole returns. Our model is about backing companies that have customer traction, that have a founding team that has high potential. We are looking for large potential customers and large potential partnerships that further mitigate risks. We believe our approach has upside because we’re investing in companies that are growing at 100% plus a year.

Saverin: The VC game is an information edge game. You need to leverage it not just in the first investment, but across the lifecycle of the company. Our model is about rolling up our sleeves and getting deeply involved, where entrepreneurs want us to, and where we can tremendously add value.

You believe in innovation without borders, can you expand on that idea?

Saverin: Companies are becoming global increasingly by design. There’s no border to where innovation can be received and used. Whether you start a company in Silicon Valley or in Africa or any part of the world, there really is the increasing impetus to go beyond your existing borders. When you start thinking about the evolution of innovation, some of it is the enablers, including the engineering talent. When you go to Silicon Valley, that’s actually one of the hardest places in the world to get engineering talent because of the massive competition. In other parts of the world you can ask is there enough raw talent, even though it’s not as competitive? So we’ll see a broader equalization. It would be hard for me to believe that as tech enablement becomes a big part of much larger industries, that all that innovation will come from one place. If that were to happen, I’d do anything I can to change it because the truth is the whole world is consuming technology.

What opportunities do you see in Southeast Asia?

Ganguly: We understood early that e-commerce was being inhibited in the region because e-commerce companies had to do their own delivery. That’s what really convinced us that we wanted to invest in all the picks and shovels around e-commerce, but no longer invest in e-commerce, or at least not focus on e-commerce. So today we’re investors in Ninja Van, BlackBuck, Mswipe and Bizongo, all companies that enable e-commerce.

Given WeWork’s pulled IPO, have valuations gotten overdone?

Ganguly: Where we are in the cycle and when it changes, that’s not our business. We don’t time the market, but we fundamentally take a long-term perspective. There are times when you’re in a cycle and you have to pay a little bit more for that. But if you have the right time horizon, we think it’s still far better to do that than to be looking for value plays where you’re looking at the second- or third- or fourth-best company. We always say that you might sleep better if you have a value play, but you won’t sleep very well when you exit because the valuation differential is even more stark when you exit a lower-tier player. It used to be that you were forced to go public because you had to pay out early investors. That’s no longer the case. You can now continue to stay private, and have access to very large amounts of private capital. Your early investors can cash out because later stage investors are willing to buy them out. There’s a very active secondary market. What’s changed is I think there’s no longer this belief that going public is something that you have to do. There are a lot of questions about whether going public drives long-term value. While it’s worked for some companies, it hasn’t worked for others.

What would be the process if a portfolio company might fit with Facebook?

Saverin: We are trying to facilitate introductions with any enabler, hopefully a win-win on both sides. So Facebook of course would be part of that equation, and parts of its strategy that converge with some of our focus areas, especially in financial services. Many companies will already have some type of relationship with Facebook, given where Facebook is today, through WhatsApp or otherwise. The innovation ecosystem touches Facebook all the time, so it’s just a question of extent.

Where is B Capital going to be in 10 years?

Saverin: That’s an important question. I usually think about it in two ways. We are incredibly ambitious, and we want to have an institution that will outlive us, so we are always thinking of the very long term. One thing I say every single day, whether in our partner meetings, or when we speak to our entrepreneurs, is to always push focus. Focus on what you’re doing today, that’s how you’re going to get to a bigger vision ten years from now, and even a vision well past our lifetimes. But at a really top level what I want us to do is to enable technology to get into the hands of consumers faster by leveraging the existing distribution networks of the largest companies in the world. Push intrapreneurship, it doesn’t necessarily need that push, but enable them to not only think of disruption but a positive win-win transformation. It’s not about the top ten tech companies that will take over a market by themselves, but the enablement of every company in the world with technology in collaborative innovation.

What do you mean by collaborative innovation?

Saverin: This is a really high-level idea, that can be seen in the platform technologies, such as Facebook, WeChat and others. They have created massive innovation acceleration by enabling other businesses to come on top of their platforms to gain distribution and engagement. What we are looking for is a win-win using the distribution assets of the largest companies in the world to ultimately get API-ed to the innovation ecosystem. If we get even 0.5% of the way in driving that, we will be doing the right thing for ten years from now. I think it’s not always a success when a startup out-innovates and massively disrupts a big company, when it could have leveraged a big company’s distribution, the licenses, the regulatory know-how, and so on, so that consumers could get the advantages of technology much faster.

This conversation has been edited and condensed for clarity.

Pamela covers entrepreneurs, wealth, blockchain and the crypto economy as a senior reporter across digital and print platforms. Prior to Forbes, she served as on-air foreign correspondent for Thomson Reuters’ broadcast team, during which she reported on global markets, central bank policies, and breaking business news. Before Asia, she was a journalist at NBC Comcast, and started her career at CNBC and Bloomberg as a financial news producer in New York. She is a graduate of Columbia Journalism School and holds an MBA from Thunderbird School of Global Management. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, Washington Post, Yahoo, USA Today, Huffington Post, and Nasdaq. Pamela’s previous incarnation was on the buy side in M&A research and asset management, inspired by Michael Lewis’ book “Liar’s Poker”. Follow me on Twitter at @pamambler

Source: Borderless Investing: Eduardo Saverin And Raj Ganguly Grow B Capital

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Eduardo Saverin, Co-Founder, Facebook & Co-Founder at B Capital Group alongside Raj Ganguly, Co-Founder at B Capital Group discuss how global trends in innovation and venture capital can be leveraged to benefit entrepreneurs beyond Silicon Valley. Fore more news and insights visit SuperReturn365: https://goo.gl/9nEbXA

 

How’s the Consumer Doing? Financial Sector Earnings Next Week Could Help Tell Us

Key Takeaways:

  • Big banks to kick off reporting season the week of October 14
  • Earnings for sector expected to fall slightly, analysts say
  • Brexit, trade, consumer health on topic list for Financial earnings calls

During Q2 earnings season, Financial sector results helped renew investor confidence in the U.S. consumer.

The question heading into Q3 is whether banking executives still see the same kind of strength, and if they think it can continue amid trade wars, Brexit, and signs of weakness in the U.S. economy.

Over the last three months, as the broader stock market rallied to an all-time high, slammed the brakes, and then re-tested earlier peaks, consumer health arguably did much of the heavy lifting. It felt like every time stocks pulled back, they got a second wind from retail sales, housing or some other data or earnings news that showed consumers still out there buying.

Today In: Money

The banks played a huge role in setting the stage by reporting better-than-expected Q2 results that showed signs of strong consumer demand even as some of the banks’ trading divisions took a hit. Next week, six of the biggest banks come back to talk about their Q3 experience and what they expect for Q4. Analysts expect Financial sector earnings to drop slightly in Q3.

That said, most of the major banking names have done an excellent job keeping costs in check as they wrestle with fundamental industry headwinds like falling interest rates and slowing revenue from their trading divisions. This time out, it wouldn’t be surprising to see more of the same, and you can’t rule out a bit more vigor from the trading business thanks to all the volatility we saw in the markets last quarter.

Earnings growth may not be there for Financials this time around, or it could be negligible. At the end of the day, though, Financial companies are still likely to be remarkably profitable considering a yield curve that remains relatively flat and global macroeconomic concerns, according to Briefing.com. This sector knows how to make money, but it might just not make as much as it did a year ago. Earnings will likely show large banking companies still in good financial condition with the U.S. consumer generally in decent shape for now, as the U.S. economy arguably remains the best-kept house on a tough block.

Investors have started to pick up on all this, judging from the S&P 500 Financial sector’s good health over the last month and year to date. The sector is up 3.4% from a month ago to easily lead all sectors over that time period, and up 15% since the start of 2019. The 15% gain is below the SPX’s 17% year-to-date pace, but it’s an improvement after a few years when Financials generally didn’t participate as much in major market rallies.

What to Listen For

No one necessarily planned it, but it’s helpful in a way that banks report early in the earnings season. Few other industries have larger megaphones or the ability to set the tone like the biggest financial institutions can. The other sectors are important, too, but they often see things from their own silos. Combined, the big banks have a view of the entire economy and all the industries, as well as what consumers and investors are doing. Their positive remarks last quarter didn’t really give Financial stocks an immediate lift, but it did apparently help reassure investors who were nervous about everything from trade wars to Brexit.

Going into Q3 earnings, those same issues dog the market, and bank executives have a front-row seat. How do they see trade negotiations playing out? Can consumers hold up if trade negotiations start to go south? How’s the consumer and corporate credit situation? Will weakness in Europe spread its tentacles more into the U.S.? And is there anything bank CEOs think the Fed or Congress can do to fend off all these challenges?

On another subject closer to the banks’ own business outlook, what about the shaky initial public offering (IPO) situation? That’s getting a closer look as a few recent IPOs haven’t performed as well as some market participants had expected. One question is whether other potential IPOs might get cold feet, potentially hurting businesses for some of the major investment banks.

All the big bank calls are important, but JP Morgan Chase (JPM) on Tuesday morning might stand out. Last time, CEO Jamie Dimon said he saw positive momentum with the U.S. consumer, and his words helped ease concerns about the economic outlook. More words like that this time out might be well timed when you consider how nervous many investors seem to be right now. On the other hand, if Dimon doesn’t sound as positive, that’s worth considering, too.

While few analysts see a recession in the works—at least in the short term—bank executives might be asked if they’re starting to see any slowdown in lending, which might be a possible sign of the economy putting on the brakes. Softer manufacturing sector data over the last few months and falling capital investment by businesses could provide subject matter on the big bank earnings calls.

Regionals Vs. Multinationals

While big banks like JPM operate around the world and might be particularly attuned to the effects of trade, regional banks make most of their loans within the U.S., potentially shielding them from overseas turbulence.

Regional banks also might provide a deeper view into what consumers are doing in the housing and credit card markets. With rates still near three-year lows, we’ve seen some data suggest a bump in the housing sector lately, and that’s been backed by solid earnings data out of that industry. If regional banks report more borrowing demand, that would be another sign pointing to potential strength in consumer sentiment. Refinancing apparently got a big lift over the last few months, and now we’ll hear if banks saw any benefit.

One possible source of weakness, especially for some of the regional players, could be in the oil patch. With crude prices and Energy sector earnings both under pressure, there’s been a big drop in the number of rigs drilling for oil in places like Texas over the last few months, according to energy industry data. That could potentially weigh on borrowing demand. Also, the manufacturing sector is looking sluggish, if recent data paint an accurate picture, maybe hurting results from regional banks in the Midwest. It might be interesting to hear if bank executives are worried more about the U.S. manufacturing situation.

Another challenge for the entire sector is the rate picture. The Fed lowered rates twice since banks last reported, and the futures market is penciling in another rate cut as pretty likely for later this month. Lower rates generally squeeze banks’ margins. If rates drop, banks simply can’t make as much money.

The 10-year Treasury yield has fallen from last autumn’s high above 3.2% to recent levels just above 1.5% amid fears of economic sluggishness and widespread predictions of central bank rate cuts. The long trade standoff between China and the U.S. has also contributed to lower yields as many investors pile into defensive investments like U.S. Treasuries, cautious about the growth outlook.

Another thing on many investors’ minds is the current structure of the yield curve. The 10-year and two-year yields inverted for a stretch in Q3, typically an indication that investors believe that growth will be weak. That curve isn’t inverted now, but it remains historically narrow. Still, some analysts say the current low five-year and two-year yields might mean healthy corporate credit, maybe a good sign for banks.

Q3 Financial Sector Earnings

Analysts making their Q3 projections for the Financial sector expect a slowdown in earnings growth from Q2. Forecasting firm FactSet pegs Financial sector earnings to fall 1.8%, which is worse than its previous estimate in late September for a 0.9% drop. By comparison, Financial earnings grew 5.2% in Q2, way better than FactSet’s June 30 estimate for 0.6% growth.

Revenue for the Financial sector is expected to fall 1.6% in Q3, down from 2.6% growth in Q2, FactSet said.

While estimates are for falling earnings and revenue, the Financial sector did surprise last quarter with results that exceeded the average analyst estimate. You can’t rule out a repeat, but last time consumer strength might have taken some analysts by surprise. Now, consumer strength in Q3 seems like a given, with the mystery being whether it can last into Q4.

Upcoming Earnings Dates:

  • Citigroup (C) – Tuesday, October 15
  • JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) – Tuesday, October 15
  • Wells Fargo (WFC) – Tuesday, Oct. 15, (B)
  • Goldman Sachs (GS) – Tuesday, October 15
  • Bank of America (BAC) – Wednesday, October 16
  • Morgan Stanley (MS) – Thursday, October 17

TD Ameritrade® commentary for educational purposes only. Member SIPC.

I am Chief Market Strategist for TD Ameritrade and began my career as a Chicago Board Options Exchange market maker, trading primarily in the S&P 100 and S&P 500 pits. I’ve also worked for ING Bank, Blue Capital and was Managing Director of Option Trading for Van Der Moolen, USA. In 2006, I joined the thinkorswim Group, which was eventually acquired by TD Ameritrade. I am a 30-year trading veteran and a regular CNBC guest, as well as a member of the Board of Directors at NYSE ARCA and a member of the Arbitration Committee at the CBOE. My licenses include the 3, 4, 7, 24 and 66.

Source: How’s the Consumer Doing? Financial Sector Earnings Next Week Could Help Tell Us

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Peloton IPO Disappoints, But Fintech Lender Oportun Gains 8% In Nasdaq Debut

Oportun Financial, a fintech company that offers low-cost loans to those it calls “credit invisible,” raised $94 million in its IPO on Thursday. The company, which offered 23% of its outstanding shares to the public, debuted on the Nasdaq under the ticker OPRT.

The trading day’s most anticipated IPO, fitness startup Peloton, ended in disappointment after the stock closed 11% lower than its IPO price, but Oportun closed its first day of trading with an 8% gain and showed no signs of slowing down in the hours immediately following the market’s close.

Oportun sold 6.25 million shares (a quarter of which were from insiders) priced at $15, on the lower end of its target range of $15 to $17.  Shares jumped to $16.43, or nearly 10%, initially, but as of 2:00 p.m. EST were trading closer to $16. Shares had climbed back $16.17 by 4:00 p.m. EST.

Today In: Money

Oportun’s focus is the 100 million American borrowers with no credit or limited credit history, as well as those it says have been “mis-scored” by traditional methods that do not accurately reflect creditworthiness. The company brought in nearly $500 million in revenue last year, up from $360 million in 2017.

Oportun was founded in 2005 to serve the underbanked Hispanic community and once operated as Progreso Financiero. It has since broadened its mission and disbursed more than $7.3 billion in loans ranging from $300 to $9,000 to more than 1.5 million customers, about half of whom did not have a FICO score when they were awarded their first loan.

The San Carlos, California-based company uses traditional credit bureau scores as well as alternative data, like a borrower’s mobile phone and utility payment history, to assess creditworthiness, much in the same way that startups like Tala, which provides micro loans to the unbanked, and Kabbage, which provides small business loans, do.

Fintech IPOs have been few and far between in recent months, despite a public market newly saturated with tech giants like Slack, CrowdStrike, Uber, and Peloton. Only three fintech unicorns went public last year, according to CB Insights, and just one in the United States: online home improvement lender GreenSky, which raised $800 million in its May 2018 IPO. Its shares have fallen more than 70% since its offering.

According to a PitchBook analysis, none of the top ten most valuable fintech companies, including Stripe, Coinbase, Robinhood, and TransferWise, all of which are at least ten times Oportun’s size, are close to a public offering.

“Our decision to go public was driven in large part by our desire to get the capital we need to continue the pursuit of our mission,” Oportun CEO Raul Vazquez said. He says the company is planning to strengthen its presence in the 12 states in which it operates, expand to new markets on the East Coast, and launch a credit card product in the first quarter of 2020. Prior to its IPO, Oportun had raised $266 million from the likes of Fidelity Management and Institutional Venture Partners.

Oportun’s offering is expected to close on September 30. Barclays, J.P. Morgan Securities, and Jefferies were the lead underwriters.

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I’m an assistant editor on Forbes’ Money team, covering markets, fintech, and blockchain. I recently completed my master’s degree in business and economic reporting at New York University. Before becoming a journalist, I worked as a paralegal specializing in corporate compliance and the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

Source: Peloton IPO Disappoints, But Fintech Lender Oportun Gains 8% In Nasdaq Debut

The Wall Street Journal created this video as part of their Financial Inclusion Challenge. Oportun was a finalist for using technology to help low-income workers build credit.

Ever Thought Of A 100-Year Green Bond? French Railway Firm Is Pitching The World’s First

It seems green bonds, sometimes referred to as climate bonds, are becoming ever so popular by the day with issuance tipped to reach record levels in 2019. However a French railway firm has notched industry trend setting way up the charts by launching the world’s first 100-year green bond.

Societe Nationale des Chemins de Fer Réseau (SNCF Réseau), France’s state-owned railway network management firm, which has already raised €2.8 billion ($3.10 billion) in green bonds in 2019 alone, confirmed Friday (August 23) that it has launched its 100-year product.

The near €100 million in book value raised would be used to finance green projects meeting its eligibility criteria for improvement, maintenance and “energy optimization” of railways. Some of the funds would also be allocated to sustainability components of new route and track extensions, the company said.

In total, SNCF Réseau has so far raised €5.4 billion in green bonds, nearly doubling the figure this year. Following the latest investment round in its green bond program, the French company now ranks seventh in the global green bond issuance market.

Green bonds are typically asset-linked and backed by the issuer’s balance sheet, earmarked to be used for climate and environmental projects. According to rating agency Moody’s, issuers brought $66.6 billion of green bonds to market globally the second quarter of 2019, propelling first-half issuance to a record $117 billion up 47% on an annualized basis compared to the first six months of 2018, and compared against the 11% year-over-year growth for the same six month periods of 2017 and 2018.

However, there has been criticism over the criteria for green bonds. On paper such bonds allow firms to raise finance for low carbon and climate-friendly projects thereby offering a promising solution to those looking to go green via climate initiatives.

But there have been instances of companies using the proceeds of green bond issuance to pay of other debts. Some issuers offer green bonds targeting specific projects, but often fail to outline a clear, long-term strategic environmental goal.

For its part, SNCF Réseau’s 100-year bond and previous issuance drives strictly comply with the European Commission’s green bond standard. The French railway network operator now takes over the title of the world’s longest maturing green bond from Energias de Portugal (EDP) and Energie Baden-Wuerttemberg (EnBW) whose bond had a maturity of 60 years.

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I am a UK-based oil & gas sector analyst and business news editor/writer with over 20 years of experience in the financial and trade press. I have worked on all major media platforms – print, newswire, web and broadcast. At various points in my career, I have been an OPEC, Bank of England and UK Office for National Statistics correspondent. Over the years, I have provided wide-ranging oil & gas sector commentary, including pricing, supply scenarios, E&P infrastructure, corporations’ financials and exploration data. I am a lively commentator on ‘crude’ matters for publications and broadcasting outlets including CNBC Europe, BBC Radio, Asian and Middle Eastern networks, via my own website, Forbes and various other publications. My oil market commentary has a partial supply-side bias based on a belief that the risk premium is often given gratuitous, somewhat convenient, prominence by cheeky souls who handle quite a few paper barrels but have probably never been to a tanker terminal or the receiving end of a pipeline. Yet having done both, I pragmatically accept paper barrels [or should we say ‘e-barrels’] are not going anywhere, anytime soon!

Source: Ever Thought Of A 100-Year Green Bond? French Railway Firm Is Pitching The World’s First

10 years ago, the World Bank Treasury issued the first green bond then laid out the first blueprint for sustainable fixed income investing, transforming development finance and sparking a sustainability revolution in the capital markets. Learn about the revolution.

ONEX Is Coming Back & Its Actually Perfect For Investing

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Founded in 1984, ONEX invests and manages capital on behalf of his shareholders, institutional investors and high net worth clients from around the world. ONEX platform include: ONEX Partners, private equity funds focused on larger opportunities in North America and Europe, ONCAP, private equity funds focused on middle market and smaller opportunities in North America, ONEX credit, which manages primarily non-investment grade debt through collateralize loan obligations, private debt and other credit strategies and Gluskin Sheff’s actively managed public equity and public credit funds.

In total ONEX assets under management today are approximately $39 Billion, of which approximately $6.9 Billion is their shareholder’s capital. With offices in Toronto, New York , New Jersey & London, ONEX is experienced management teams are collectively the largest investors across ONEX platforms.

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ONEX main task is to increase customer profits. In trading, ONEX use automated bots, the latest strategies and approaches for working on each exchange, this ensures the declared high income. Safety is ONEX top priority. In every decision make, ONEX is supervised by security concerns. They use the most reliable and effective technologies available to ensure the safety of investors funds.

The investor has the right to:

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The ONEX Financial Corporation team has specifically designed smart, high-return investment packages. Each package has its own life and type of charges. Be careful when choosing an investment rate. Those who believe in us will be satisfied and get a good profit. For us, the most important thing is the loyalty of our customers, therefore ONEX Financial Corporation always tries to take into account the general situation in the cryptocurrency market, this allows us to consistently increase the company’s profits, and earn not only an increase but also a decrease in the market.

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Microloan Startup Tala Raises $110 Million In New Funding

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Tala, a Los Angeles startup that makes microloans to consumers and small business owners in emerging markets, is announcing today that it has raised $110 million in funding. The new Silicon Valley venture capital firm RPS Ventures, cofounded by Kabir Misra, former managing partner at Softbank’s $100 billion Vision Fund, is leading the round. Tala’s backers include PayPal, billionaire Steve Case’s VC firm Revolution, Chris Sacca’s Lowercase Capital and Data Collective, among others. The new funding values Tala at nearly $800 million, according to an investor. Tala has raised more than $200 million in equity investment to date.

Shivani Siroya, 37, founded Tala in 2011 after stints as an investment banking analyst and as an analyst at the U.N. Population Fund, where she did socioeconomic research. Tala’s mobile app lets people in Kenya, the Philippines, Tanzania, Mexico and India take out small loans ranging from $10 to $500. Most use the app to invest in their small businesses, like shops and food stands. To evaluate borrower risk, Tala uses cell phone data instead of credit scores, looking at loan applicants’ habits, like whether they pay their phone bills on time.

Siroya first launched Tala’s app in Kenya in 2014. Today it has more than four million customers who take out three to six loans a year at a 10% average monthly interest rate. Its 600 employees are spread across offices in Santa Monica, Kenya, Mexico, the Philippines and India. The company made Forbes’ Fintech 50 list earlier this year.

Tala’s closest competitor is Branch, a five-year-old San Francisco company led by Matt Flannery, who previously cofounded donation crowdfunding platform Kiva.org. Branch has four million customers and an average monthly interest rate of 15%. Earlier this year, it raised $70 million in equity financing from investors like Visa and Andreessen Horowitz, plus $100 million in debt. Tala also raised $100 million in debt over the past year to help fund its loans.

With its new capital, Tala plans to make a bigger push into India and expand to new countries, potentially in regions like West Africa, Southeast Asia and Latin America. It also plans to launch new products. In Kenya, Tala has already tested a micro health insurance offering that would cover customer visits to a hospital. It expects to launch its first microinsurance product in the next 12 months. It has also piloted a financial education and coaching program, and it plans to test additional products over the next year.

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I cover fintech, cryptocurrencies, blockchain and investing at Forbes. I’ve also written frequently about leadership, corporate diversity and entrepreneurs. Before Forbes, I worked for ten years in marketing consulting, in roles ranging from client consulting to talent management. I’m a graduate of Middlebury College and Columbia Journalism School. Have a tip, question or comment? Email me jkauflin@forbes.com or send tips here: https://www.forbes.com/tips/. Follow me on Twitter @jeffkauflin. Disclosure: I own some bitcoin and ether.

Source: https://www.forbes.com/

Trust: How do you earn it? Banks use credit scores to determine if you’re trustworthy, but there are about 2.5 billion people around the world who don’t have one to begin with — and who can’t get a loan to start a business, buy a home or otherwise improve their lives. Hear how TED Fellow Shivani Siroya is unlocking untapped purchasing power in the developing world with InVenture, a start-up that uses mobile data to create a financial identity. “With something as simple as a credit score,” says Siroya, “we’re giving people the power to build their own futures.” TEDTalks is a daily video podcast of the best talks and performances from the TED Conference, where the world’s leading thinkers and doers give the talk of their lives in 18 minutes (or less). Look for talks on Technology, Entertainment and Design — plus science, business, global issues, the arts and much more. Find closed captions and translated subtitles in many languages at http://www.ted.com/translate
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