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Diagram announces close of $55-million second fund and adds Hamnett Hill as Partner

Vlad Poptamas

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Photo source: lnt.ma
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Diagram Ventures (“Diagram”), a venture-builder that co-founds companies that pursue big ideas in the financial and insurance sectors, announced today the successful close of a new, $55-millionsecond fund (“Fund II”) and that serial entrepreneur Hamnett Hill has joined the platform as a Partner.

Diagram teams up with experienced entrepreneurs to build technology companies pursuing big ideas in the financial and insurance sectors. By combining venture capital investment, incubator-style support and access to a unique ecosystem, Diagram helps founders focus on what they love, removing barriers and speeding their path to success.

“With the support of our anchor investor, Portag3 Ventures, Diagram has rapidly gained a strong level of investor interest both in Canada and internationally, leading us to exceed our initial fundraising target of $50-million in less than six months,” said Diagram Co-Founder & CEO, Francois Lafortune. “We are thrilled and honoured with the quality of investors in our second fund. This is a reflection of the quality of the entrepreneurs Diagram has attracted and the success of the companies we co-created with them. We look forward to partnering with more founders to build billion-dollar global companies based in Canada.”

Diagram’s first $30-million fund has made investments in five up-and-coming companies to date: DialogueCollageBreathe Lifenesto, and dfuse, and the early results of Diagram’s venture co-creation model are promising. In less than 3 years, Diagram’s portfolio companies have created more than 250 full time jobs and combined enterprise value in excess of $175m.

“Dialogue’s growth is proof positive that the Diagram model works,” said Cherif Habib, co-founder and CEO of Dialogue. “From the day we began operations, the full support of the Diagram ecosystem — its founder-centric model, access to its network of LPs and large incumbents and the support services offered by the Diagram team — has allowed us to scale rapidly and become Canada’s leading virtual health provider in three years.”

Among the Limited Partners in Fund II, which includes more than 75 angels and family offices, are: Ambassador Bruce Heyman, the former United States Ambassador to Canada and a former Partner at Goldman Sachs; Angela Strange, a General Partner of Andreessen Horowitz; Andrew Chisholm, the former Head of the Financial Institutions Group at Goldman Sachs; Charles Goldman, the President and CEO of AssetMark and the former President of Institutional Platforms at Fidelity Investments; Mark Britto, the Executive Vice President Global Sales and Credit at PayPal; Nicole Junkermann, the Founder of NJF Holdings; Anatol von Hahn, the former Group Head of Canadian Banking of Scotiabank, and Henri de Castries, the former CEO of AXA Global.

“Diagram is a key component in our broader strategy to invest in the next generation of global financial services platforms,” said Paul Desmarais III, Co-Founder & Chairman of Diagram and Chairman & CEO of Sagard Holdings. “The number of international investors in Diagram’s second fund has more than doubled and we expect this will create substantive benefits for our portfolio companies as they expand internationally. My personal commitment to Diagram is unwavering because I have full confidence in the team and that the model works.”

Diagram also announced that Montreal-based serial entrepreneur, operator, and investor Hamnett Hill will join the platform as a Partner.

“Hamnett’s decision to help build Diagram is a vote of confidence in our model. He will be a tremendous thought partner to our founders with his outstanding 20-year entrepreneurial track record. He’s seen it all!” said Dan Robichaud, Managing Partner of Diagram.

Hill, an investor in Diagram’s first fund, co-founded TotalNet, one of Canada’s largest early Internet Service Providers (ISPs);  Zero-Knowledge Systems, a high-profile pioneer in online privacy and security; Radialpoint, North America and Europe’s largest Telco & Cableco consumer SaaS provider, and most recently Smooch.io, the leading B2C omnichannel messaging software provider, which was recently sold to Zendesk (NYSE: ZEN). Exits of companies he has invested in, founded, or run reach into the several hundreds of millions of dollars. He was also the first and largest investor in Goodfood Market Corp. (TSX: FOOD) and sits on the company’s board of directors.

“Diagram’s unique, entrepreneur-focused model and the success it has enjoyed so far drew me to the platform,” said Hill. “I have yet to see anything else like it and I believe this formula represents the way forward to create the next generation of Canadian-based global businesses in the financial technology sector.”

 

SOURCE Diagram

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Fintech

SEC Qualifies DiversyFund to Drop Investment Minimums for Real Estate Fund to $500

Vlad Poptamas

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DiversyFund, a financial tech company providing everyday Americans with the same investment opportunities as the wealthy, announced today it has received qualification from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to lower the minimum amount required to invest in its commercial real estate investment trust (REIT) to $500.

DiversyFund’s Growth REIT is a fund that allows everyday people to invest in multiple value-add apartment complexes, meaning apartments in need of upgrades. These improvements may include everything from new flooring to putting in a dog park – each enhancement adds more value to the properties than the cost of making the upgrades. About one year after DiversyFund purchases a property, it begins generating cashflow from rents. Then, after 4-6 years, the company is able to sell the apartment complex, typically for substantially more than the purchase price, generating returns for investors.

Historically, to invest in a private, non-traded commercial REIT like this one, individuals had to have a net worth of at least $1 million (excluding primary residence) or an income exceeding $200,000 over the prior two years ($300,000with a spouse). The invest minimum typically required to participate in these deals would range from tens of thousands to around $250,000.

“We believe that everyone deserves the choice to build their wealth,” said Craig Cecilio, co-founder and CEO of DiversyFund. “During my 20 years of experience managing more than $500 million in assets, I continuously saw the wealthy getting in on deals that weren’t accessible to the average person. After years of watching the rich get richer, I was determined to find a way to include the everyday person in these incredible investment opportunities and leverage technology to make investing simple.”

“We went through a rigorous screening process with the SEC to gain the qualification we needed to open up access to these exclusive deals and make investment minimums affordable for everyday Americans,” said Cecilio. We’re thrilled we can now give people the choice to invest for as little as $500. We’re ready to grow our community of next generation investors and start closing the wealth gap plaguing our society.”

DiversyFund doesn’t charge any platform or management fees and has eliminated third party costs by cutting out all of the middle men and managing every process internally, from purchase to sell. DiversyFund doesn’t make money until its investors make money – after the sale of the properties.

 

SOURCE DiversyFund

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Fintech

Vestmark Honored with Silver Stevie® Award at 2019 American Business Awards® Gala

Vlad Poptamas

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Vestmark is proud to have received the Silver Stevie® Award in the FinTech Solution category as part of the 17th Annual American Business Awards®, in recognition of the VestmarkONE®platform’s recently launched advanced options trading and risk management module.

Mark Peabody, Senior Vice President of Product Management, accepted the award on Vestmark’s behalf at this year’s American Business Awards gala last week at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in New York City.

This options module, available on the VestmarkONE® platform, provides an innovative trading and risk management capability that enables advisors to scale options trading and more efficiently use options strategies across all types of advisory programs.  With this tool, hundreds or even thousands of accounts – across an entire book of business – can be traded at once, without impacting accounts following models, avoiding false rebalancing alerts and model drift notifications.  The module also includes several automated risk management functions to help advisors and firms balance the risk of trading options.  For more details, visit https://www.vestmark.com/solutions/vestmark-one/options-trading-and-risk-management.

Over 3,800 nominations of public, private, for-profit, and non-profit U.S. organizations of all sizes, and from a wide variety of industries, were submitted to American Business Awards® categories this year.  More than 200 professionals worldwide participated in the judging process to select this year’s Stevie Award® winners.  For a full list of 2019 Stevie Award® winners, and to obtain more information about the American Business Awards®, visit https://stevieawards.com/aba.

In selecting the VestmarkONE® platform for its award, the panel of judges lauded the platform as an “impressive product and innovative usage of technology,” and described “VestmarkONE’s New Options Module, one of the best products in its category that allows users to provide options trading across platforms.”

“I commend our teams at Vestmark for their ongoing commitment to developing and enhancing leading edge technology solutions for financial advisors and institutions,” said John Lunny, CEO of Vestmark. “This innovative options trading and risk management module in the VestmarkONE® platform makes it possible to scale the implementation of sophisticated portfolio management strategies for clients and accounts of all sizes.  We are honored that our peers recognize the impact this innovation can have on the wealth management industry.”

 

SOURCE Vestmark

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Blockchain

Wise MPay Partners With Jelurida to Launch Blockchain Financial Services Platform in Southeast Asia

Vlad Poptamas

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Jack Bai and Jelurida team members during their visit to Singapore in November 2018 with the Wise MPay ATMs (PRNewsfoto/Jelurida Swiss SA)
Reading Time: 2 minutes

 

Singapore-based global payments technology company, Wise MPay, are working with renowned blockchain experts, Jelurida, to launch a public-permissioned blockchain financial services (BFS) platform. With KPMG research showing 27% of Southeast Asians own a bank account while local mobile connections outnumber the population by 33%, the region is ripe for a revolution in access to digital finance. Coalculus is aiming to launch in September 2019 as JPL-compliant software that brings cutting-edge digital payment, remittance, and ATM solutions to governments, banks, and the unbanked of Southeast Asia.

Banks and financial institutions consider blockchain capable of both increasing trust in multi-party centralized ecosystems and increasing the speed, security and efficiency of many traditional banking processes. The Coalculus BFS platform is being built on the time-tested Proof-of-stake (POS) consensus algorithm, ensuring high levels of decentralization, security, scalability and efficiency. Based on a permissioned version of Jelurida’s Ardor technology, Coalculus promises lower costs, faster execution of transactions, improved transparency, auditability of operations, and other advantages that will benefit both financial institutions and unbanked individuals seeking access to digital financial services.

Wise MPay also added end-to-end KYC/AML/CFT processes to its enterprise blockchain solution, value added with internet-of-things (IOT) devices such as prepaid cards and automated teller machines (ATMs). Additionally, Coalculus provides the infrastructure for easily developing, integrating, and adopting mobile applications with built-in tools like QR code generators and standard application programming interfaces (APIs).

Mr Jack Bai, Director of Wise MPay, said, “Our vision for Coalculus is to create a globally-trusted financial transaction facilitation platform, but our initial focus is between ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) countries, Hong Kong and Australia. Our framework is a convergence of public and permissioned blockchains developed on the simple idea that organizations should be able to quickly and easily implement new financial services and leverage the benefits of blockchain. This is our USP and this is why we chose Jelurida as our technology provider.”

“We are impressed by the professionalism of the Coalculus team. Wise MPay came to us with more than just a vision,” said Lior Yaffe, Senior Developer and Managing Director of Jelurida. “They keenly understand the different blockchain technologies on the market and have identified opportunities for maximizing the value of their BFS platform. It has been our pleasure to support the team at Wise MPay in making Coalculus a reality.”

 

SOURCE Jelurida Swiss SA

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