News from around the world

Apple recently unveiled its new Apple credit card. The tech giant is moving into the world of banking in partnership with Goldman Sachs and Mastercard, with Apple users able to sign up for the card this summer. Although Apple is a bit late to an already competitive marketplace, its significant brand and customer base should allow them to attain a sizeable chunk of market share. CNBC reports:

Source: Apple via CNBC

“Money is just a form of data, and Apple has been great at managing access to data. They’ll take the same approach to money over time,” said Ryan Gilbert, general partner at Propel Ventures. “Apple has raised the bar — we’ll see most issuers rethinking their products and seeking to copy Apple.”

In addition to putting pressure on other branded credit card issuers, this move signifies a likely threat to Fintech companies.

“It is conceivable that Apple continues to offer more financial products to its customer base, particularly bank accounts which is quite complementary to credit accounts,” said Kyle Lui, partner at venture capital firm DCM. “That would be much more competitive to fintech unicorns like SoFi, Chime and even Robinhood.”

Apple has been incredibly successful in capturing loyalty in many areas of people’s lives, which could be a significant reason for people trusting them as a mode for personal finance.

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A recent article in The Guardian highlights some predictions as to the future of the cannabis industry, as legal marijuana “ended last year as one of the world’s hottest investment products.” The Guardian reports:

Future of the cannabis industry

The European cannabis market will be worth €123bn (£106bn) by 2028, according to the London-based analysis firm Prohibition Partners. That is more than twice the revenues that Apple reported in the region last year and larger than the annual economic output of Ukraine.

Some of the more fanciful forecasts suggest that the world is witnessing the birth of an industry which could be worth from $500bn to $1tn.

The International Cannabis Business Conference takes place in Berlin 31 March–2 April while the CannaTech conference coincidingly occurrs 1–2 April in Tel Aviv.

For those seeking advice on how to invest in the cannabis industry, CNBC’s Tim Seymour gives some tips in a recent Forbes contributor article. He stressed that investors need to understand how to approach the sector— they “need to understand as much about the underlying companies in the cannabis industry as they can.” Investors also need to stay a step ahead of the curb by understanding which companies are growing and evolving. Seymour states via Forbes:

“I think to do that, investors need to try to speculate what the legislative cycle will be, especially in the U.S., what federal legal changes will take place in the next 3 to 12 months, and what that will mean for the ability of legacy players to grow – but will also expose them to external competition from outside the sector.”

Finally, Seymour explains that the key to investing defensively—which is advised as the industry is still high growth, highly speculative, and highly volatile—is to have a diverse portfolio.

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Fintech firms in the U.K. are having a difficult time attracting top talent as Brexit looms. Reuter’s reports:

The Fuelling Fintech report from TheCityUK, which promotes Britain as a financial center, and recruitment firm Odgers Berndtson, said fintech and other financial services firms must work harder to secure the skills they need.


Fintech employs 60,000 people and investment grew by 154 percent in 2017.


The report offers ways to generate more “home grown” tech talent as immigration faces curbs after Brexit.

The fear is that skilled migrants with the talents needed (including coding, cloud computing, machine learning, software development, cyber, artificial intelligence and blockchain) will leave the U.K. before it’s able to develop “home-grown talent.” Britain has risen as a leading fintech hub in the EU, but is facing growing competition from other rising EU cities (including Paris, Berlin, and Luxembourg) as it’s future access to the vast EU single market remains unclear.

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Sources close to TransferWise, the Estonian-founded money transfer startup, say that the company is seeking to sell stake in a new funding round. Reuters reports:

The fundraising comes as TransferWise and other startups are shaking up the industry by using new technology to move cash across borders, often at less costly rates than banks and other traditional players.
 
TransferWise, one of Europe’s best-funded financial technology firms, is seeking to raise up to $300 million, which would value the company at around $4 billion, one of the sources said.


The latest fundraising round is being organized by investment bank Goldman Sachs Group Inc, said the sources, who asked not to be identified because the matter is confidential.

TransferWise’s website and app are available in 50 countries and 49 currencies, has been used by over four million people and transfers more than $4 billion (USD) per month.

All about Bondora

Germany’s Basic Thinking recently published an article on how to invest with Bondora using your smartphone.

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