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Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Southeastern Pennsylvania Launches the Global Opportunity Philadelphia Fund

Vlad Poptamas

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EPAM is lead investor in blockchain-enabled regional venture investment fund; GO Philly Fund open to individual investors

Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Southeastern Pennsylvania (Ben Franklin), a leading seed stage capital provider, has formed a regional venture fund that allows private investors to invest in a broad variety of early-stage technology-focused enterprises located in the Greater Philadelphia region. The Global Opportunity Philadelphia Fund (GO Philly Fund), anchored by lead investor EPAM Systems, Inc. (NYSE: EPAM), has raised $15 million in its first close and seeks to provide up to $50 million of capital alongside Ben Franklin’s investments.

The GO Philly Fund will primarily operate as a co-investment fund with Ben Franklin. It will invest alongside Ben Franklinin early-stage investments that complete and satisfy Ben Franklin’s due diligence process. The fund will seek to make initial investments of between $50,000 and $500,000, and follow-on investments up to $3 million.

“Thanks to surging opportunity in Greater Philadelphia, the newly formed GO Philly Fund is well-positioned to attract investors and contribute to the growth of our region,” explained RoseAnn B. Rosenthal, Ben Franklin’s President and Chief Executive Officer. “Last year, we reviewed nearly 1,000 promising young companies before ultimately selecting to invest in 50 of them. This fund allows us to expand our regional impact by inviting a new group of investors to share in the opportunities our region offers.”

The fund was formed in conjunction with EPAM, a leading global product development and digital platform engineering services company headquartered in the Philadelphia area with more than $1.8 billion in revenue. “For over 25 years, EPAM has helped established, technology-driven enterprises and startups build software products and platforms, including many which have become globally recognized leaders in their respective markets. With our participation in the GO Philly Fund, we hope to reach regional startups in their earliest stages, working together with Ben Franklin to help them become the next wave of innovators and disruptors,” explained Arkadiy Dobkin, CEO at EPAM.

Subscription for the GO Philly Fund is now open to domestic and international accredited investors who seek to capitalize on the region’s growth. Many accredited investors have already committed to participation in the fund including Provco Group, Fulton Bank, and SRI Capital, while KPMG, Bridge Bank and Securitize will support the fund’s operations. Pepper Hamilton LLP acts as legal counsel on U.S. legal matters relating to the organization, management, and the offering of interests in the fund, while White and Williams, LLP acts as legal counsel on legal matters relating to international operations and fundraising.

Following its initial close, the GO Philly Fund will seek to leverage blockchain technology as part of its innovative fund raising and capital management strategy. This will facilitate individual investor participation from around the world and allow for the acceptance of cryptocurrency. The fund’s blockchain provider, Securitize, will manage KYC/AML and accredited investor compliance. “The blockchain structure will streamline investor participation and ultimately facilitate the issuance of GO Philly Fund tokens, which represent the GO Philly Fund’s limited partnership interests, on the Ethereum blockchain,” said Scott Nissenbaum, Ben Franklin’s Chief Investment Officer.

An independent report from The Pennsylvania Economy League and KLIOS Consulting recently found that the statewide Ben Franklin program, of which Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Southeastern Pennsylvania is a part, helped create 11,407 high-paying jobs, generated $386 million in tax receipts for the state, and boosted the commonwealth’s overall economy by $4.1 billion between 2012 and 2016. However, state funding shortfalls are starting to curtail the Ben’s ability to invest in companies appropriately, creating missed opportunities. The GO Philly Fund will supplement Ben Franklin’s continued efforts to support young enterprises that create a community of innovation and contribute to economic growth in Greater Philadelphia.

“As venture capital investors have shifted their focus to growth-stage investing, a gap in early-stage funding has developed. Philadelphia has not been immune and bolstering Ben Franklin’s good efforts with new funding is critical,” reflected Charles Robins, Managing Director of Fairmount Partners. Robins, a successful technology entrepreneur who founded a company that received funding from Ben Franklin and subsequently became a public company, now also serves as chairman of Ben Franklin’s board of directors.

Interests in the GO Philly Fund are being offered only through the fund’s private placement memorandum, limited partnership agreement and subscription package. A copy of the private placement memorandum containing more detailed information about Ben Franklin and the GO Philly Fund is available by request. For accredited investors and seed and early-stage companies interested in learning more, please visit: gophillyfund.com.

SOURCE Ben Franklin

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Banking/Financial Services

Wirecard and Tirol Werbung Launch Joint China Pay Initiative

Vlad Poptamas

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Wirecard, the global innovation leader for digital financial technology, and Tirol Werbung, the tourism organization of the Austrian state of Tyrol, are launching a new China Pay Initiative together with partners Innsbruck Tourism, Kitzbühel Tourism, the Kufsteinerland Tourism Association, Ötztal Tourism, the St. Anton Tourism Association and the Swarovski Kristallwelten. The initiative will enable a state-wide coverage of Wirecard’s mobile payment solution, integrating the most popular Chinese mobile payment methods into numerous Tyrolean companies. Initially, 150 businesses in the region will be equipped with the solution.

According to a Nielsen study, around 91 percent of Chinese tourists would be willing to spend and buy more abroad if more merchants accepted Chinese mobile payment methods. With this initiative, Wirecard and Tirol Werbung are therefore addressing the preferences of this target group. The state of Tyrol wants to offer Alipay, among others, as a payment option in as many businesses as possible. Wirecard is responsible for the entire payment integration and processing operations.

A 2018 report found that total spending by Chinese tourists in Austria had increased by 28 percent over the previous year, making China the top spending country for tax-free purchases in the Alpine nation among non-European countries. With a share of 30 percent of all tax-free sales in AustriaChina clearly ranks first, ahead of Russia (10 percent) and Switzerland (8 percent). While the average non-European tourist spent 508 euros, visitors from China spent an average of 616 euros per purchase.

Holger Gassler, Market Manager of Tirol Werbung, said, “We expect to gain a competitive advantage as the first Austrian province to introduce Chinese mobile payment methods on a large scale. Payment convenience plays a major role for this target group in particular and can make both the region and participating merchants more attractive to Chinese tourists. The introduction of Wirecard’s digital payment platform is also one of the first projects within the scope of Tyrol’s digitization campaign.”

Roland Toch, Managing Director CEE at Wirecard, added, “Experience shows that accepting Alipay as a new payment method can lead to an increase in transaction volume with travelers from China of more than 350 percent within one year. We are proud to partner with Tirol Werbung to offer our digital payment solution to hundreds of companies and to continue the digitization of their payment processes. We look forward to expanding our partnership with Tyrol and other European regions in the future.”

 

SOURCE Wirecard AG

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Asia

World Blockchain Summit to enter Malaysia

Vlad Poptamas

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The Kuala Lumpur edition of Trescon’s World Blockchain Summit will mark the global series’ entry into the Malaysian marketplace. The summit will take place on 27 – 28 February 2019, at the Intercontinental Hotel.

World Blockchain Summit is an internationally renowned series that has hosted over 15,000 delegates in over ten countries across the world, with a special focus on hosting elites from regional governments and enterprises alike.

Malaysia is one of the newest countries on the blockchain map, as the country pushed for the active legislation of blockchain based service providers. Furthermore, after initially distancing itself from Cryptocurrencies, the Malaysian Government is now looking to classify CryptoTokens and other digital currencies as tokenised assets. The Finance Ministry has also announced it hopes to completely regulate Cryptocurrencies by Q1 of the 2019 fiscal year.

Hence, the World Blockchain Summit is arriving in Kuala Lumpur at the most opportune moment as the local blockchain industry is moving towards the wide-scale adoption of ledger based services. The summit will gather over 500 technology developers, startups, entrepreneurs and solution providers at the venue to share knowledge, implementation techniques and adoption practices for blockchain solutions into diverse industries and sectors.

Regulatory body MIGHT (Malaysian Industry-Government Group for High Technology) is helping institutions and government bodies adopt blockchain services rapidly. The Ministry of Education has also setup a degree verification system via a distributed ledger. The President and CEO of MIGHT, Datuk Dr Mohd Yusoff Sulaiman, will be delivering a keynote address at the World Blockchain Summit in Kuala Lumpur.

Mohammed Saleem, CEO of Trescon, said that Malaysia is now the centre of global news after the Government, whom first opposed blockchain and cryptocurrency services, did a full 360 and is now looking to regulate them within the country. Industries like Education, Tourism, Healthcare and Public Services can benefit from the transparency and incorruptible features a distributed ledger provides”.

The event will also have startups and ICOs present at the exhibition venue, displaying their services and products to a hoard of investors, seeking the required assistance and support needed for growth.

Some other notable industry personalities and leaders attending the event include Rene Bernard, President of ACCESS — MalaysiaKohei Kurihara, President of the Tokyo Chapter — Government Blockchain Association; and Samson Lee, Founder and CEO of CoinStreet.

PR Newswire is a News Release Distribution Partner of World Blockchain Summit.

 

SOURCE Trescon

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Asia

Vitalik Buterin to Keynote World’s First Ethereum SuperMeetup in Hong Kong

Vlad Poptamas

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Ethereum Creator Vitalik Buterin, alongside regional leaders from the Ethereum Meetup communities of Asia, are set to gather in Hong Kong to host the inaugural Asia Region Ethereum SuperMeetup. Organized by Ethereum Hong Kong and Singapore, and attended by Meetups including Ethereum Taipei, SeoulTokyoPhilippinesSydneyHanoi, and Jakarta, the event is the first major community-led regional gathering. Supported by Ethereum, TOKEN2049, Kenetic, and Digix, the Meetup will take place in the Kerry Hotel, March 13, 2019. Congregating 500 attendees, the SuperMeetup will act as a platform for discussion on the past, present, and future of the ever-larger growing Ethereum ecosystem.

The SuperMeetup will provide participants with the opportunity to learn from the leading voices in the Ethereum ecosystem as key members of the Ethereum Foundation and Ethereum Community Leaders from all across Asia come together for an informative evening of keynotes, panel discussions, and AMAs.

Speaking at the event, Ethereum creator Vitalik Buterin will provide invaluable insight into what 2019 has in store for the development of the decentralised platform. Additional confirmed speakers include Jehan Chu, Co-Founder and Managing Partner at Kenetic Capital; Shaun Djie, Co-founder and COO of Digix; Kazuki Obata of Smart Contract Capital; Brian Cheong of TTC Protocol; Chih-Cheng Liang of Ethereum Research, James Zaki of Ethereum Sydney, Veronica Andrino of Ethereum Boracay, and Teguh Kurniawan Harmanda of TokoCrypto.

Participating communities include Ethereum Hong Kong, SingaporeShanghaiTaipeiPhilippinesJapanIndonesia, and Seoul.

The event is free to attend and will take place at 6:30 PM on March 13, 2019, at TOKEN2049 in the Kerry Hotel, Hong Kong.

For more information and to register please visit: https://www.ethereumsupermeetup.token2049.com/

 

SOURCE Ethereum SuperMeetup

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