Given the title of this article, I should preface that this is not investment advice, but rather my observations of how the industry is evolving, and where the next opportunity lies for the mainstream adoption of this technology.
In October, I wrote about the investment themes that many funds are using to build their digital asset portfolios. Essentially, “coins” running as a core part of their blockchains fall into two distinct categories: “state-free money” (eg, Bitcoin) and the “Decentralized Internet” (eg, Ethereum). Although many coins have tried mimicking them, these are the undisputed category kings. Instead of imitating, I asked myself the question, “Is there another digital asset category that’s yet to be defined?”
I think there is, and it’s what I call Open Applications. These are programs that put users back in control within the context of existing online markets, and are universally accessible across these platforms. Using Open Applications, developers can hook into existing platforms like Uber, Shopify, or Twitch to create new breakthrough experiences.
Open Applications have the potential to solve the problems of closed markets. These problems are exemplified by news we’re seeing daily: Uber drivers protesting, YouTubers being demonetized and censored, Postmates riders going uninsured into busy downtown streets.
These closed markets have various stakeholders and economic interests. They present a perfect design space for online marketplaces to solve their unique economic problems – with many of the lessons we’ve learned in crypto-economics. Ethereum is working on building a decentralized web – a worthy initiative, but one that’s probably one to two decades away from being in-market at scale – so how can we start fixing the centralized platforms society uses today?
The solution to limitations of these closed markets lies in an open design space, where Open Applications represent a way of integrating blockchain solutions into existing centralized platforms. My assertion is that no one is focusing on this at scale, although I strongly believe it has the potential to demonstrate tangible value to society at large, and can be implemented in the short term.
The complexity and dynamics of crypto have made this industry become too insular and unapproachable to the average person. But by going back to the fundamentals, you can identify the trends that are shaping what will become an incredibly important industry that has benefit to the general population. I believe Open Applications are a new category of digital asset that represents the future of blockchain and crypto in its ability to solve platform problems on a global scale.
Upbeat entrepreneurs signal improved investment intentions for 2021: Survey – OrilliaMatters
MONTREAL — A growing number of Canadian entrepreneurs say they plan to invest more in 2021 than they did last year as the vaccine rollout, improving cash flow and a quick rebound in some sectors buoys optimism for the year ahead.
The findings of the Business Development Bank of Canada’s quarterly survey of 1,000 entrepreneurs released in a new report today are the most upbeat since the pandemic began.
Pierre Cleroux, chief economist of the Montreal-based bank, says the more positive results bode well for the country’s economic recovery.
He says investment intentions are improving, with technology emerging as the biggest focus of spending.
The bank’s survey found that the key reasons for investing in technology included improving processes to reduce costs, boosting a company’s online presence and investing in remote working.
Cleroux says while many entrepreneurs were wary about allowing employees to work from home before the pandemic, he says the last 10 months have shown it can benefit a business.
“The pandemic has changed the game,” he said. “It changed the perception of working from home.”
Cleroux said remote work can improve productivity, increase worker motivation and spur innovation.
“It can also reduce costs,” he said, noting that 18 per cent of business owners surveyed by the bank said they plan to reduce their office space.
Despite an increase in COVID-19 cases across much of the country, Cleroux said the optimism uncovered by the survey is unlikely to change.
Businesses understand that once restrictions are lifted, the economy will rebound much faster than with other recessions, he said.
“This optimism we’re seeing will likely survive the second wave of the virus because we all believe the vaccine is going to improve drastically the situation of the economy,” Cleroux said.
Still, while business confidence has improved for the first time since the pandemic began, the study found that investment intentions compared to previous years are still relatively weak.
Across Canada, business investment intentions for the next 12 months are down three per cent compared with last winter, for example, but have improved significantly from last spring’s rock bottom decrease of 32 per cent, according to the bank’s report.
Investment intentions is the difference between negative and positive business sentiment.
Of note are the investment intentions of small- and medium-sized enterprises in Atlantic Canada and Quebec, which at one per cent and four per cent, respectively, are the only positive results on investment intentions in the survey.
Meanwhile, investment intentions in B.C. are down three per cent, Ontario came in at four per cent lower, while the Prairie provinces were the lowest at a 13 per cent decline.
The online survey of business owners was completed between Dec. 3 and Dec. 18, 2020. The poll measures the confidence of entrepreneurs in the economy, business and hiring outlooks, as well as investment plans over the next 12 months.
According to the polling industry’s generally accepted standards, online surveys cannot be assigned a margin of error because they do not randomly sample the population.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 18, 2021.
The Canadian Press
MMJ Group to broaden investment portfolio beyond cannabis sector – Proactive Investors USA & Canada
MMJ Group Holdings Ltd (ASX:MMJ) OTCMKTS:MMJFF) (FRA:2P9) will broaden its existing investment mandate to include strategic investments in sectors outside cannabis as approved at the company’s annual general meeting held in November 2020.
These sectors include, but are not limited to natural resources, pharmaceuticals and software services technology, which will comprise no more than 25% of MMJ’s total consolidated assets at the time the investments are made.
Increased flexibility to create growth
The diversification provides MMJ with increased flexibility to create growth and greater returns for shareholders and thereby allows MMJ to lower its investment risk and reduce the impact of market volatility from the cannabis sector to ultimately benefit shareholders.
This month, the investment manager of MMJ’s investments, Embark Ventures Inc, changed its name to Parallax Ventures Inc.
Parallax has been engaged by MMJ in this role assets since June 1, 2019. There have been no other changes to personnel or operations of Parallax.
Under the amended investment manager agreement, Parallax continues to be responsible for the identification, transacting and review of possible investment opportunities in the cannabis and now the non-cannabis sector.
Portfolio of investments
MMJ owns a portfolio of minority investments and was initially established to seek investments across the full range of emerging cannabis-related sectors including healthcare, technology, infrastructure, logistics, processing, cultivation, equipment, and retail.
VIISA Hold Virtual Investment Day For The First Time – Yahoo Finance
HO CHI MINH CITY, Vietnam, Jan. 18, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — On 7 January 2021, VIISA organized Investment Day Batch 8 on its online platform, attracting more than 80 investors as well as corporations and startup community builders. This invite-only event also marked a new milestone for tech-startups Batch 8 in their 4-month journey with VIISA.
Taking place online for the first time, Investment Day Batch 8 solves the problem of geographical distance as well as difficulties in the global context of the COVID-19 pandemic, providing opportunities for startups and investors to share and exchange the latest updates about startup ideas. The event was divided into 2 sessions: live-streamed pitching shows from startups and networking activities between founders and investors with separate rooms for each startup team.
Opening the event, Mr. Vo Tran Dinh Hieu – Board Member and Program Director at VIISA, said: “Unlike any other, we want to preserve the excitement of live pitching, so this is not a recorded video, we have all the founders here with us and they are ready to go. So it is the first week 2021 and it seems like we will have another very eventful year. The UK announced 3rd lockdown, the Capitol Hill was taken yesterday. But still in Vietnam thousands of people gathered for fireworks shows on new year’s eve. I believe this tranquility in Vietnam represents what everyone has achieved in the last year. We all have sharpened our adaptability and agility to maintain the composure of our businesses. I hope we all will carry on this great attitude forward to 2021. We started this batch in June 2020 with 3 companies and only one succeeded to graduation. During this batch, we also continued supporting the alumni to recover from the covid situation.”
This year’s Investment Day is not only an opportunity for VIISA Batch 8 startups to demonstrate their maturity, but also a chance for alumni startups who have participated in previous courses to reconfirm their development and position in the startup ecosystem. Whether the startup model is about real estate, fashion, events, e-commerce, technology, and applicability factors are all of the program priorities. With the hope to help young Vietnamese startups build their global business, these are special features that VIISA always appreciates.
Pitching in the event are 5 startups:
CYHOME: CyHome is Vietnam’s leading Property management platform that has already served top-tier customers in the field of Property management (PM) such as CBRE, Proman (Novaland), Visaho, Blue Diamond, My House… With an affordable fee, PMs now can have a world-class ERP, and service providers can have a better way to serve customers. What the startup wants to bring to market is a new way of living and working in crowded cities: with no fee, the resident/tenant should have a premium experience.
DROBEBOX: Drobebox is a disruptive fashion tech startup that offers a clothing subscription service for women. Users could unlock their dream closet, which contains thousands of premium designs with a fixed monthly fee, and enjoy any items without buying, maintaining, or laundry. Starting at 30$ per month, members could explore and enjoy up to 30 new items every month that used to cost them 1000-3000$. Using state-of-art technology such as AI, Drobebox platform provides an “infinity” closet with a true personalization experience that helps dress best every day as simple as ordering food delivery.
WISEPASS: WisePass is a lifestyle app enabling its subscribers to access products, services, or events sponsored by brands. Starting from 239,000 VND per month, a subscriber gets 3 PASS a day to enjoy anything brands provide on the platform.
VDES: VDES is the very first marketplace of the event industry, which connects event venues & event suppliers to customers in the simplest way with advanced technology. During over 4 years of operation, VDES has been partners with more than 520 vendors and organized more than 2250 events for users (customers & cooperate). With technology solutions and event-ecosystem platform, VDES offer service to vendors to increase competitive advantage, increase business efficiency, and decrease operating costs by event management system, we will launch this SAAS in 2021.
ECOMEASY: EcomEasy Asia (ECE) is a dynamic ecommerce solution provider for consumer brands in Vietnam. ECE’s integrated capabilities encompass all aspects of the e-commerce value chain from SKU selection, sales and inventory management to on-site operations, logistics and fulfilment. ECE has generated billions of VND in sales and hundred thousands of orders on all 10 ecommerce platforms operating in Vietnam for a dozen of brands.
The representative from VIISA hopes that Investment Day will provide Vietnamese startup community with many opportunities to connect and exchange knowledge, which contribute to awakening the potential of domestic businesses and open up more opportunities to promote Vietnamese startups
At the end of Investment Day Batch 8, Mr. Hieu also called for startups to apply at www.viisa.vn to capture opportunities for companionship and support from VIISA.
Established in January 2017 by FPT Ventures and Dragon Capital, VIISA is an acceleration program and seed-stage fund that invests to build global-ready startups from Vietnam. After 7 batches, there have been 40 graduates, in which some startups have successfully called for US $5.5 million committed deals from investors.
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