Finance Global Tech

Alibaba Changes IPO Course, Heads For New York

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All my previous predictions that e-commerce leader Alibaba would ultimately make its mega IPO in Hong Kong were wrong, with word that the company is now firmly fixed on New York for its highly anticipated share sale. In my defense, I should say that a huge surge in positive sentiment over the last 5 months towards China Internet stocks on Wall Street undoubtedly helped change Alibaba’s mind. The company had previously stated on numerous occasions that Hong Kong was the preferred venue for its blockbuster IPO, which reports are now saying could raise up to $15 billion, making it the world’s biggest Internet offering since Facebook raised $16 billion in 2012.   More

Finance

Does Bitcoin Bite, Bark, or Bumble?

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Of all the surprises and gifts tumbling tumultuously from the world's startups and programmers, none are more daunting to the casual observer than Bitcoin. What is it, really? Should I buy some? What would that mean? Where would it be? Why are so many smart people doing so, and creating companies to help others do that? What problems does it solve? For one thing, a transnational currency that can be traded without intermediaries has appeal. But while we can say that confidently, it's not even clear Bitcoin fits that definition. Now at least a thorough examination of the phenomenon has emerged from Goldman Sachs. The company has great incentive to get its analysis of Bitcoin right, so when it says this is not really a currency, we should take note.   More

Finance

Lenddo’s Borrowers in Mexico and The Philippines Get Credit Via Facebook

Lenddo helped Luivin Ortiz of Columbia secure an educational loan.

Jeff Stewart believes he can figure out if you will repay your debts by studying who you know and what they say about you. For him, it's better than a credit score. Stewart is CEO and co-founder of Lenddo, which gives small loans to borrowers in developing countries based on information it gleans from their accounts on Facebook and other social networks. Stewart was running two earlier companies when he and his New York-based partners noticed something odd: their hardworking and educated employees in other parts of the world were often unable to secure loans. Why, he wondered, would local lenders ignore such eligible, middle-class consumers in emerging economies? Finding out proved an irresistible challenge.   More

Finance

Cyberthreats to Bank Accounts on the Rise

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On the same day that news broke that 40 million customer account records were stolen from retail giant Target, the regulator of the nation’s largest financial institutions warned that customers’ financial information is increasingly under assault in their banks as well. The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency on Thursday, in its Semiannual Risk Perspective, warned that “Cyberthreats continue to increase in sophistication and frequency.” The agency noted, “Known impacts include … identity theft, fraud, and theft of intellectual property.”   More

Digital Finance Video

Kirkpatrick: Bitcoin Matters Because It Is Transnational, Nongovernmental

Bitcoin is booming. Backed by Washington and such business and Wall Street heavyweights as Virgin founder Richard Branson and Bank of America strategist David Woo, the virtual currency has emerged as a financial phenomenon, trending in news from Argentina to Zimbabwe. Many buyers and banks, however, remain skeptical of Bitcoin’s viability and worriedly point to its extreme volatility and connection with illegal sales and money laundering. Techonomy’s David Kirkpatrick, also a contributing editor at Bloomberg, appeared on Bloomberg Surveillance on Monday to talk Bitcoin with Bloomberg reporter Matt Miller.   More

Digital Finance

Bitcoin: Bubble? Maybe. The Wave of the Future? Definitely.

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Bitcoin. The world’s newest and hottest virtual currency. It has become the story du jour for a financial media hungry for stories, and its sudden surge in recent weeks, going from a price of less than $200 barely a month ago to $1,200 last week, certainly attracted attention. And of course, rarely do things gain so much so fast without a concomitant fall. A virtual currency only invented in 2009, with a limited number of units in circulation that sees its value quintuple in a matter of days to command a total market of more than $10 billion simply begs for the word “bubble.” But is it? Here’s where everyone has an opinion.   More

Finance Techonomy Tucson

Why Disruptive Change Points to a New Humanism in Banking

Value is being redefined, and many are rethinking what constitutes real wealth and well-being, beyond money and GDP. We have to rethink how we measure wealth. Robert Kennedy said: “GDP measures everything ... except that which makes life worthwhile." Happiness indicators like Bhutan’s Gross National Happiness, the OECD’s Better Life Index, and the UK’s Happy Planet Index are already helping the world define well-being and wealth beyond money.   More

Finance Global Tech

Alibaba-Yahoo: Still Some Love?

Alibaba may have lost its affection for Hong Kong’s securities regulator after an impasse over its IPO plans, but it appears to be moving in a happier direction these days with U.S. Internet giant Yahoo. That’s my assessment, following word that Yahoo will hold onto a larger share of China’s e-commerce leader than the two sides had previously agreed to last year when they reached a landmark deal to end their stormy 7-year-old marriage.   More

Finance Global Tech

International Board Bound for Shanghai New Trade Zone?

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I’ve avoided writing about the new Shanghai Free Trade Zone (FTZ) up until now, despite exhaustive coverage in both domestic and international media. But now I’m lifting my informal ban, following new reports saying the FTZ could soon host a proposed but long-stalled international board where foreign companies could list their shares in China. Such a development would be quite exciting, as it could finally allow big names like China Mobile and Lenovo, which are technically based overseas, to finally make their shares accessible to investors in China.   More

Digital Finance

How Mobile Money Can Change Even More Lives

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Changing the way we use money is one of the most promising and innovative ways that mobile technology is changing lives around the world. Mobile money is already being used by banks and mobile network operators to provide millions of unbanked consumers a way to store and access money digitally. For millions of consumers in developing countries, mobile money is transforming lives by providing access to financial services and the ability to pay and be paid electronically—sometimes for the first time in their lives.   More

Finance Global Tech

Yahoo’s China Buy: What’s The Strategy?

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If Yahoo’s new chief executive Marissa Mayer wanted to confuse the market about her China strategy, she’s doing a good job with the company’s latest move in the market. Just three months after shuttering its China email service, in what looked like the prelude to a withdrawal from the market, Yahoo has announced its purchase of a Chinese R&D startup. In all fairness, Mayer has only been on the job for a year and these kinds of little strategic moves are relatively common for incoming executives. But this kind of mixed signal could also auger a confused strategy in China, similar to Yahoo’s previous strategy that ultimately led to its failure twice in the complex market.   More

E-Commerce Finance Global Tech

Alibaba Turns to Travel as Profit Zooms

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Too much money isn’t always a good thing, as it often pressures companies to put that money to work even when good investment opportunities are limited. Baidu demonstrated that reality earlier this week with its purchase of an online app store that had little relationship with its core online search business, and now Alibaba is showing similar tendencies with its investment in an online travel services website. In Alibaba’s case, the new investment comes as the e-commerce leader posted a record second-quarter profit, and as it prepares for a blockbuster IPO that increasingly looks like it will take place in Hong Kong.   More

Finance Global Tech

Cloudary, Spreadtrum Pull Out Of NY

The exodus of Chinese tech firms from New York stock exchanges continues at a steady pace, with cellphone chip maker Spreadtrum announcing a sweetened buyout offer and online entertainment firm Shanda indefinitely delaying its IPO plans. These latest moves reflect not only the chilly U.S. investor climate towards Chinese firms, but also the fact that many of these firms have become attractive buyout targets due to their low valuations. As a result, we could see some interesting bidding wars emerge in the weeks ahead for a few of the companies that have already received buyout offers.   More

Digital Finance

Look Who’s Crowdfunding Now

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The world’s most famous real-estate mogul, Donald Trump, is jumping into the crowdfunding fray. Trump has partnered with Bill Zanker, founder of The Learning Annex, to create FundAnything, a crowdfunding platform that allows people to create campaigns for any amount of money in various categories—creative arts, causes, personal pursuits, business ideas. The site charges a nine percent commission, returning four percent to the creator if the fundraising goal is achieved. FundAnything also enables entrepreneurs to offer non-financial rewards in exchange for donations.   More

Finance Government Startup Culture

Why the JOBS Act Hasn’t Launched Equity Crowdfunding

When the JOBS Act was signed into law, its knotty crowdfunding provisions quickly became a source of consternation for the SEC. More than one year later, the law continues to languish, as the SEC moves slowly to implement its two most important provisions. One would enable general advertising for private investment offerings, and another would open the floodgates by allowing unaccredited investors to participate in online equity crowdfunding.   More

Finance IoE

A16Z’s Chris Dixon on the Internet of Locks, Cars, New York, and Everything Else

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Chris Dixon is a New York guy with a degree in philosophy from Columbia University. He’s also, as of last fall, a partner at hot Silicon Valley venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz (which shortens its name to A16Z—16 is the number of letters between the A and the Z). All in all, that gives him a pretty interesting point of view on the big technology shift that’s being labeled the Internet of Everything (IoE). Dixon already has quite a track record as an investor and entrepreneur. He co-founded Hunch, which eBay bought for $80 million in 2011, and then started Founder Collective, a seed-stage venture fund. Alone or with a fund, he’s been an early-stage investor in Kickstarter, Pinterest, Foursquare, Dropbox, and Warby Parker.   More

Finance Manufacturing

With $30 Million, Shapeways Will Push 3D Printing Frontiers

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Peter Weijmarshausen believes that 3D printing "is fundamentally changing the manufacturing ecosystem in its entirety." Several deep-pocketed investors agree. Weijmarshausen announced today that Shapeways, the 3D printing marketplace he heads, has raised $30 million in a series C financing led by Andreessen Horowitz. Existing investors Union Square Ventures, Index Ventures, and Lux Capital also participated in the round. Since its founding in 2007, Weijmarshausen says Shapeways has seen a drop in 3D printing prices, an expansion of printable materials, and users upload over 1 million designs.   More

Business Finance Government

What’s Next in the Techonomy?

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In the last few decades, we have witnessed exponential technological growth and change. However, as we enter the second half of the metaphorical chessboard, it remains unclear how that technology will reshape our economy, political systems, and collective future. One thing is clear: in the hands of existing institutions—firms, schools, non-profits, civic institutions and governments—this awesome technology will achieve only a fraction of its potential.   More

Finance Startup Culture

Agile London Startups Give Banks a Run for Their Money

Refugees from London's financial sector are flocking to the the city's burgeoning startup scene, launching lean, Web-based companies that capitalize on public mistrust of banking institutions, and use tech tools to trim costs and improve customer service.   More

Business Finance

The Sector-Based Approach to Impact Investing

Want to change the world, or at least an industry? To spark and nurture social change, impact investors need to focus on whole sectors rather than individual firms, writes Omidyar Network in a recent report. Omidyar Network is a philanthropic investment firm that invests in both for-profit and non-profit organizations. It is focused on fostering economic advancement; areas of investment include microfinance, low-cost education for the poor, and mobile payment platforms.   More