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Stable first quarter opens window for Canadian IPO market: PwC

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A single initial public offering (IPO) on the Toronto Stock Exchange and a modest $327 million in total proceeds in the first quarter of 2019 made for a stable start to the year and opens a window for new issues later this year, a new report on the Canadian IPO market from PwC suggests.

The $240 million Lightspeed POS Inc. issue on the TSX was the largest of eight issues on all Canadian exchanges in the first quarter, the PwC review showed. There were five IPOs on the CSE and two on the TSX Venture in the quarter. By comparison, there were nine new issues on all Canadian exchanges in the first three months of 2018 for a value of $157 million, a quarter rocked by market volatility.

That lack of volatility in the first quarter of 2019 opens the window for Canadian issuers seeking a stable market with predictable valuations, says Dean Braunsteiner, PwC national IPO leader.

“A lot of the volatility at the end of 2018 just didn’t make it into the new year,” Braunsteiner says. “Concerns over interest rates have subsided, the global trade friction seems to have abated, Brexit has been priced-in and we’re not close enough to the U.S. election for that to be a factor yet. It’s something of a ‘Goldilocks’ moment for issuers.”

The potential for a slowing economy may still influence the decision of consumer products companies to go public, Braunsteiner adds.

The Lightspeed issue is the first of the tech companies that have long been expected to enter public markets, Braunsteiner says. The private equity owners of a number of tech companies have been expected to exit their positions and the IPO route is one traditional option.

As the tech sector potentially ascends, the cannabis sector is cooling off, Braunsteiner says. “That should leave a healthy level of capital that had been focussed on cannabis looking for other opportunities.,” he concludes. Two new issues from the cannabis sector made it to the CSE during the first quarter.

PwC has conducted its review of the IPO market in Canada for more than 15 years. The reports are issued on a quarterly basis to provide information to the corporate sector, investors, the media and others that will help them put the market into better perspective. For the purposes of the report, investment vehicles such as structured products are not included in overall results because they do not represent new equity raised for operating companies. New issues from companies that are created from the reverse takeover of an existing public company are also not included in the summary.

Follow PwC on Twitter at @PwC_Canada_LLP and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pwccanada.

 

SOURCE PwC (PricewaterhouseCoopers)

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Ocrolus Raises $24M to Modernize Workflows with a Human Touch

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Ocrolus, the only automation platform that analyzes financial documents with over 99% accuracy, today announced $24M in Series B funding led by Oak HC/FT, a premier venture growth equity fund with deep fintech expertise. Ocrolus is powered by an elegant blend of artificial intelligence and crowdsourced human quality control, enabling firms across the financial sector to automate high-stakes business processes with precision. The company will use its new funding to automate underwriting workflows for lenders and banks, and expand into new verticals.

Historically, image recognition software has not been accurate enough to automate financial review work completely. Machines struggle to parse semi-structured documents like bank statements and pay stubs, and lower quality images like cell phone pictures. Ocrolus solves these inherent problems and eliminates data entry and cleansing tasks, using its human-in-the-loop validation engine to analyze every file with over 99% accuracy. Turnkey by design, Ocrolus ingests images of any format or quality, and returns actionable data directly into its customer’s back-office systems in minutes. The platform powers business processes for hundreds of customers in the financial services sector.

“Sometimes humans are better than robots,” said Sam Bobley, Co-founder and CEO of Ocrolus. “We combine machine processes with live human intelligence to provide customers with a complete solution. The capital will be used to develop workflows for new document types, and sharpen our fraud detection and analytical capabilities.”

The round was led by Oak HC/FT, with participation from FinTech Collective and existing investors including Bullpen Capital and QED Investors, among others.

“Ocrolus is a unique company providing a rare combination of smart automation, analytics and accuracy in its solution,” said Dan Petrozzo, Venture Partner at Oak HC/FT.  “By combining its tremendous technology with an added human touch where required, the platform delivers amazing results for its customers.”

The company has grown more than 5x since announcing its Series A round in April 2018, with zero customer churn. Building on its impressive growth in small business lending, Ocrolus is now deploying its technology in consumer, auto and mortgage lending, where there is an acute need to increase speed and accuracy in underwriting operations.

“Our infrastructure is highly scalable, and continually teaches itself to become smarter,” said Vik Dua, the Chief Operating Officer at Ocrolus. “We’re excited to accelerate our product roadmap and alleviate additional pain points for our customers. Ocrolus is poised to improve the quality of work in use cases across financial services and beyond.”

 

SOURCE Ocrolus

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PINTEC Partners with Bank of Ganzhou to Establish a Fintech Research and Development Center

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Pintec Technology Holdings Ltd. (“PINTEC”; NASDAQ: PT), a leading independent fintech solutions provider, today inked a strategic partnership agreement with Bank of Ganzhou in Jiangxi Province for comprehensive cooperation in financial innovation and services, including fintech research and development, intelligent asset allocation and e-commerce.

With the fast growth of the fintech industry, it has become a global trend for the convergence of technology, internet and financial services. According to the partnership agreement, PINTEC and Bank of Ganzhou will jointly establish a fintech research and development center, focusing on advanced fintech researches in big data, cloud computing, artificial intelligence, financial security and block chain. PINTEC will also support Bank of Ganzhou in developing a digital operation system with data services covering all business scenarios and procedures, and launching new products and services for inclusive finance.

“With the deepening of financial reform in China, the internal and external environments for the banking industry have changed fundamentally, and banks are looking for new growth models,” said Zhou Yi, deputy director, the Office of Financial Work under Ganzhou government, at the signing ceremony. “It is an effective way for traditional banks to adopt fintech solutions to speed up innovation and technology upgrade and realize business transformation. I hope the partnership between Bank of Ganzhou and PINTEC will become a good example on how a fintech company can help propel growth of a regional bank.”

Bank of Ganzhou is a state-owned regional commercial bank supervised by the Ganzhou government. After 17 years of development, it is the largest local financial institution in the Southern Jiangxi Province. With its advanced financial technology and experience, PINTEC will provide Bank of Ganzhou with efficient and customized lending solutions for individual financing, small and micro-sized enterprises financing and industry chain financing.

“Fintech is becoming a new driving force in the transformation of the financial industry, especially for traditional banks,” said Xie Kai, vice president of Bank of Ganzhou. “With this partnership, we will leverage our respective advantages and resources, and work together to drive financial innovation and revitalize traditional finance.”

“PINTEC is committed to applying advanced technology to improve the efficiency of financial services, and the partnership with Bank of Ganzhou is a major progress in our efforts to serve financial institutions,” said Chen Bingqing, chief strategy officer of PINTEC. “With the jointly established fintech research and development center, PINTEC will conduct cutting-edge fintech researches and share research results, develop new financial products and services, and contribute to the digital transformation and upgrades of the local financial ecosystem.”

By the end of 2018, PINTEC has provided fintech solutions to 93 financial partners, including Bank of Nanjing, Bank of Zhengzhou, Jiangxi Bank, Harbin Bank, Bank of Guizhou, Minsheng Securities, Industrial Consumer Finance, and China National Investment & Guaranty Corporation. Through PINTEC’s solutions, these financial institutions served 5.5 million individuals and more than 50,000 small and micro-sized enterprises, and facilitated loans exceeding RMB35 billion.

 

SOURCE PINTEC

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The Family Office Landscape – A Forever Moving Target at Anthony Ritossa’s 9th Global Family Office Investment Summit Under the High Patronage of HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco

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The 9th Global Family Office Summit hosted by Anthony Ritossaconcluded in Monaco this week as a global forum for 400+ leading family offices and ultra-high net worth individuals representing $4 trillion+ in investor wealth. Held June 18-20 and themed “The Rise and Rise of Family Offices,” the Summit surpassed previous events in terms of the quality of family participants and 600 total delegates.

In keeping with the Ritossa tradition, the elite family offices, prominent business owners, Sheikhs, Royal Families, Private Investment Companies, International Business Executives, Sovereign Wealth Funds, and Industry Professionals from throughout Europe, the Middle East and around the globe convened at the Fairmont Monte-Carlo under the High Patronage of His Serene Highness Prince Albert II of Monaco.

A crowd-pleasing talk by Formula 1 World Champion and Monaco resident Nico Rosberg proved to be a highlight and he received a standing ovation for his comments on transitioning from World Formula 1 Champion in 2016 with Mercedes AMG Petronas, Monaco, to head of the Nico Rosberg Family Office dedicated to improving the world through activities such as his Greentech Festival in Berlin. His presentation was part of the session entitled “Iconic Monaco Family Offices At Work” moderated by SVG Hon. Consul Giuseppe Ambrosio, President of the Monaco Single & Multi Family Office Association.

Importantly, The Knights Society of Elviña, formed to exalt the British and Spanish chivalric values that favored the triumph in the Battle of Elviña during the Spanish War of Independence, named Sir Anthony Ritossa as a Knight. He is now one of only 55 members of the limited society that recognizes a select group of political class, nobility, royalty as well as great writers and entrepreneurs under the Royal Patronage of His Highness Mahmoud Salah Al Din Assaf.

SVG Hon. Consul Giuseppe Ambrosio, President of the Monaco Single & Multi Family Office Association and a fellow philanthropist, presented seven prestigious award to honour select recipients for their contributions to our global society and the family office community.

Family Office Lifetime Achievement in Philanthropy 2019 Award – Presented to His Serene Highness Prince Albert II of Monaco to recognize his Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation which addresses our planet’s alarming environmental situation by supporting initiatives of public and private organizations, in the fields of research and studies, technological innovation and socially aware practices. This prestigious award was presented to Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou in 2018 and is intended to honour stellar philanthropic accomplishments on a global level.

Family Office Shipping and Yachting 2019 Award – Presented to Manfredi Lefrevre d’Ovidio, Chairman, Heritage Group and Silversea Cruises, Monaco.

Family Office Private Debt 2019 Award – Presented to Evgene Denisenko, Managing Director, Apolis, Monaco.

Family Office Social Responsibility 2019 Award – Presented to Kerry E. Adler. As Founder, President and Chief Executive Officer of SkyPower, the leading global developer, owner and operator of large utility-scale solar projects with an active presence in over 36 countries and multibillion dollar electricity contracts, he is recognized as one of the early pioneers of solar energy and a leading authority on renewable energy around the world. (The 2018 award was presented to Guido Giannotta of Ferrero.) Presented to Ferrero and collected by Guido Giannotta.

Family Office Innovation in Private Equity with Impact 2019 Award – Presented to Mungo Parks, Chairman of Innovator Capital and Co-Founder of CleanEquity, Monaco.

Family Office Enlightened Governance 2019 Award – Presented to Mohamed Al Ali, CEO & Advisor, Sheikh Ahmed Al Maktoum International Investments Enterprise, UAE.

Family Office Asset Manager 2019 Award – presented to Michael S. Young, CEO of Mediatrix Capital, Inc., The Bahamas, as his second consecutive award.

“I am humbled by the tremendous success our Summits continue to enjoy. It is an honour to be able to further cooperation and collaboration between European families and their counterparts in the Middle Eastthe United StatesAsia and Latin America by presenting an opportunity for leading family offices to meet in a private, invitation-only, confidential and closed-door environment,” said Anthony Ritossa, Chairman of Ritossa Family Office, a family business dating back 600 years to the Venetian Empire in Europe.

“This is the third time that Monaco has hosted this important Summit and the 9th time this Summit has been held around the world. Every time, it is larger and larger and the quality of the attendees is better and better. This year we had at least five continents represented and all attendees are all to be commended for their tremendous accomplishments, including shared vision, values and passion for the environment and sustainability. The greatest asset of this event is the quality of family offices attending and Anthony, myself and our Summit Advisory Board are committed to protecting these assets for the future,” said SVG Hon. Consul Giuseppe Ambrosio, President of the Monaco Single & Multi Family Office Association.

“The Summit is a good mix of families, of products and services. This sharing of current activities, and future trends is very important in such gatherings as a vehicle to move forward through the balance of 2019,” said H.R.H. Prince Michel de Yougoslavie, Grandson of King Umberto of Italy & Prince Paul of YugoslaviaMonaco.

“The 9th Global Family Office Summit event in Monaco was a great achievement for Anthony Ritossa, local & international partners, and everyone who participated. Attendees traveled from all over the world for high level discussions regarding strategic partnerships that are changing the world. Phenomenal days with Multi billions in deals signed during the event. East Meets West is a theme that will continue for future Summits and we look forward to hosting the group in Dubai in November,” said Mohamed Al Ali, CEO & Advisor, Sheikh Ahmed Al Maktoum International Investments Enterprise, UAE.

“The Ritossa Family Office Summit greatly surpassed my expectations. Anthony and his team put together an agenda filled with timely and thought provoking topics combined with outstanding panelists. It was an incredible way to meet and network with  so many interesting and successful people from around the world and at the same time to make new friends,” H.S.H. Prince Hermann zu Leiningen, Grandson of King Boris III of Bulgaria and Grandduchess Maria of Russia and Managing Director, Family Office Investments of Royal Bank of Canada.

Among the events and topics that were top of mind included:

Great Wealth is Created and Destroyed by Human Beings – Families must communicate about important topics, including monetary wealth, in order to move forward. Throughout history, families will struggle and have challenges yet they must stay connected, find a safe space and understand their shared vision.

Technology is the Answer – Families are comfortable with and understand technology, its moving parts and its broad spectrum, and are now delving into new areas referred to as Deep Tech. This is the future and is used to combine different technologies to solve some of mankind’s biggest challenges such as longevity and inequality, according to Nick Ayton, Founder and CEO of Chainstarter and a family office advisor.

Sustainability, Impact + ESG Themes in High Demand –  Investors increasingly seek returns that align with doing good for the world and are eager to embrace such opportunities, especially when they incorporate artificial intelligence, machine learning and ESG metrics. Next generation investors, in particular, view this as essential to the future of our society.

Invest in Oneself + The Family– In addition to investing our money, it is essential to invest in oneself and in the family in order to make continued wise decisions. Family stewardship and philanthropy is integral to family governance and the preservation of human capital. Practicing gratitude improves family-business balance.

Elite Investor Insights – Among the investment themes favoured by Summit speakers are: IoT/artificial intelligence/machine FinTech and lending, technology, healthcare, ecommerce, education, aquaculture, entertainment, disruption, start-ups, venture, alternative assets, real estate, solar power, art, clean energy, and digital assets.

 

SOURCE Ritossa Family Office

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