Knowledge Keiretsu’s inaugural UK event was hosted by Paul Rosenberg and Sarah Barham, co-founders of Knowledge Keiretsu (www.knowledgekeiretsu.com). Visit the website for future event dates in Toronto and Montreal in autumn 2017.
On 18 May, a group of entrepreneurs and disruptors, gathered at the illustrious Lansdowne Club in Mayfair, London. The objective, set and met, by the host KnowledgeKeiretsu.com, was to debate significant, new, investment options in a post-Brexit, Trump, Trudeau era of geo-political uncertainty.
In free market economies, challenges and changes present opportunities. The question of the day was, which opportunities should investors focus on right now, and why?
Arthur Sculley opened the day by describing the enormous wave of change he foresees, driven by big data, algorithms, universal broad band, bank legacy systems and the proliferation of the smartphone. Collectively, these changes are pushing the AI-enabled FinTech revolution into high gear. A senior executive with JP Morgan for much of his career, he explained how FinTech has the potential to disrupt, and even unseat, financial institutions by changing how people and organizations transact, and by offering an array of innovative products. He believes London will be the centre of this revolution because – as the world’s leading hub of international finance – there is a deep knowledge base and ecosystem, in one city, under one regulator. The UK Government is proactive, more so than those governing other financial centres, such as New York, and tech centers, such as Silicon Valley.
Arthur explained that the two areas that need the most attention are data protection, and cyber security, and will attract investment dollars. He also extolled the virtues of Canada, especially Waterloo, where his FinTech start-up, Tractr, has its development operations, as a leading source of software engineering talent. Key benefits of operating in Canada for European companies include a cost-effective, talented and stable labour pool, and a welcoming regulatory infrastructure.
David Folk, co-Founder of NEXT Integrative Minds Life Sciences, then moved the discussion on to emerging market forces he sees that have the potential to be the next megatrends, these too are driven by the proliferation of the smartphone and other AI-enabled technologies. He outlined the megatrends around neuroplasticity, epigenetics, and digital health. Together, these present the possibility of enabling entire populations to ‘rewire’ their brains and change their behaviour. The direct result will be a complete rethink of our approach to mental and physical health by offering proactive, self-directed, Internet-based tools, tools that virtually anyone can use throughout their lifetime.
David delivered compelling statistical evidence, together with emotional anecdotal context, of how real improvements can be made in, for example, the emotional welfare of adolescents. It is now known that it is possible to teach them how to rewire their responses to stress. NEXT is a very real solution to the conundrum the statistics make clear, a ‘tsunami’ of trauma and suicide in young people globally.
He also extolled the virtues of the global social impact investment movement, inspired by Sir Ronald Cohen and then UK Prime Minister, David Cameron, co-chairs of the G8 Social Impact Investment Task Force. Their stated objective is to create a new $1 trillion+ financial market and economic sector capable of tackling challenges that are ‘too large and too complex to be solved by government and the social sector alone’. (http://socialimpactinvestment.org)
Nicholas Roe, Partner, Mint/BCG Partners, then led a robust group discussion on the future of hedge funds, emerging trends in fee structures, and the challenges facing emerging managers, and the alternative sector globally. Mayor Sam Lewis (Albourne Partners) and Saleem Siddiqi (MUSST Investments) contributed to the debate. With the group asking the questions: will anyone seed hedge funds anymore? If so, what does it take to get that seed money now. And lastly – why would anyone launch a hedge fund nowadays? If they did, would an investor invest in anyone mad enough to do so? For the responses, contact us for the audio file.
Then Nick dove into a somewhat controversial, and emerging investment opportunity, recreational and medical marijuana, and the phenomenal opportunities that sector offers to investors. Nick opened with some dramatic stats: North American marijuana sales grew by 30% in 2016 to $6.7 billion (Forbes 2017); the first Canadian MM ETF took in $80 million in its first month, but has fallen 5.4% since inception; MassRoots, was denied a listing in 2016 on Nasdaq, only to be allowed to list in 2017. These data points reflect the underlying global trend of acceptance of a legitimate marijuana industry. Again, contact us for the audio file.
Karen Melonie Gould of gateway2enterprise.co.uk ended the day with an insightful look into crowd funding. Interestingly, the deal flow for crowd funding overall, since 2015, is down from 18% to 14%.
Karen covered the ‘must haves’ from her own extensive experience before launching a crowd funding campaign: this list included a lead Investor, 30% of target raise amount ‘pre-raised’, a completed SIES/SIS registration, and a powerful, professional video. Five-year financials are also essential prior to launching a campaign if it is to be successful.