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PowerBand Executes Unit Purchase Agreement to Acquire MUSA Auto Finance – A Leading FinTech Auto Lease Finance Company in the United States

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PowerBand Solutions Inc. (TSXV: PBX) (OTCQB: PWWBF) (Frankfurt: 1ZVA) (“PowerBand”, “PBX” or the “Company”), a leading online automotive auction, remarketing and vehicle acquisition and sales platform in North America, is pleased to announce, that in relation to its news release dated January 23, 2019, it has signed a Unit Purchase Agreement to acquire 60 percent of MUSA Holdings, LLC, and its subsidiaries, including MUSA Auto Finance, LLC (“MUSA”). The acquisition will transform PBX into an industry-leading FinTech company in the areas of vehicle acquisition, leasing, lending and auction services. The acquisition is subject to the approval of the TSX Venture Exchange.

MUSA Auto Finance
Founded in 2016, MUSA, based in Dallas, Texas, has quickly become a FinTech leader in the auto leasing market in the United States. Its innovative technology platform modernizes the new and pre-owned vehicle leasing experience. As a result of its proprietary technology, MUSA was awarded a contract by Tesla Motors to become a national leasing partner in 2018. During the testing phase with Tesla, which was restricted to California, MUSA developed technology that takes an application, calculates a lease, auto-decisions the application, provides an approval back to dealer partners, and prefills a lease contract accurately in less than eight seconds.

Tesla was so impressed with the ease of the platform that they sent USD$50 million in Tesla leasing contracts to MUSA over a weekend and a total of USD$90 million during the test phase. In order to accommodate the Tesla lease program, MUSA filled a USD$157.5 million financing facility to capacity in 2018, with an average FICO score of 739. MUSA’s product demand with Tesla, and dealer partners in 33 states, prompted Robert McDonald, a former Goldman Sachs VP, to describe MUSA as “one of the fastest-growing auto finance companies ever.” MUSA subsequently sold the financing facility, in May 2019, in a private placement to Crestline Investors Inc.

PBX’s acquisition of MUSA brings together two leading-edge companies with the vision to become a one-stop SaaS platform for the entire vehicle purchase lifecycle. Franchised dealers, independent dealers, and consumers will be able to:

  • Use MUSA’s real-time lease origination platform to lease new and used vehicles
  • Acquire pre-owned vehicles for MUSA consumers through PBX’s online auction platform
  • Retain customers through new lease options using the PBX-RouteOne partnership
  • Resell off-lease vehicles to D2D Automotive Auctions (“D2D”) through the PBX auction platform. D2D is a joint venture partnership owned equally by PowerBand and Bryan Hunt in the United States.

In addition to expanding its lease origination portfolio, PBX and MUSA have plans to pursue:

  • Direct-to-consumer lending platform
  • Online consumer-to-consumer marketplace – connecting individual sellers with buyers who will use MUSA for lease financing
  • Aggressive expansion toward nationwide operations by adding at least 15 states, bringing the company’s total number of states to 48.

Kelly Jennings, CEO of PowerBand, commented, “This is a transformative acquisition for PowerBand. By combining MUSA’s industry-leading leasing platform with PowerBand’s comprehensive used vehicle online remarketing auction platform, we have differentiated PowerBand in the automotive industry and will be able to offer dealers; commercial, rental and leasing companies; and consumers a one-stop online platform to buy, sell, trade and finance vehicles. We are excited to work with MUSA’s management team to accelerate MUSA’s ability to originate new leases in 2019, and beyond. We will work closely with MUSA and our partners to raise new capital and warehouse facilities. We have started conversations with automotive partners, like RouteOne, to accelerate MUSA and PowerBand’s growth in the United States.”

Jeff Morgan, CEO of MUSA, stated, “The executive team at MUSA is excited to join with PowerBand, D2D Automotive Auctions, and its other strategic partners. While we specialize in new and used auto lease finance, we are continuing to enhance our technology to achieve simplicity in an otherwise complicated process. We quickly achieved Elon Musk’svision of being able to complete a transaction on the dashboard of a Tesla at delivery, and we are really excited about new technology currently under development that we hope to announce later this year.”

Both PowerBand and MUSA are excited to announce that the MUSA leadership team will remain in place and continue to operate under the guidance of PowerBand. PBX and MUSA will work together to restructure and grow the business in 2019. Kelly Jennings and Darrin Swenson will join the Board of Directors of MUSA Holdings, LLC. The acquisition of MUSA Holdings, LLC is an arm’s length transaction. There are no finder’s fees payable as a result of the transaction.

 

SOURCE MUSA Auto Finance

Fintech

How to identify authenticity in crypto influencer channels

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Modern brands stake on influencer marketing, with 76% of users making a purchase after seeing a product on social media.The cryptocurrency industry is no exception to this trend. However, promoting crypto products through influencer marketing can be particularly challenging. Crypto influencers pose a significant risk to a brand’s reputation and ROI due to rampant scams. Approximately 80% of channels provide fake statistics, including followers counts and engagement metrics. Additionally, this niche is characterized by high CPMs, which can increase the risk of financial loss for brands.

In this article Nadia Bubennnikova, Head of agency Famesters, will explore the most important things to look for in crypto channels to find the perfect match for influencer marketing collaborations.

 

  1. Comments 

There are several levels related to this point.

 

LEVEL 1

Analyze approximately 10 of the channel’s latest videos, looking through the comments to ensure they are not purchased from dubious sources. For example, such comments as “Yes sir, great video!”; “Thanks!”; “Love you man!”; “Quality content”, and others most certainly are bot-generated and should be avoided.

Just to compare: 

LEVEL 2

Don’t rush to conclude that you’ve discovered the perfect crypto channel just because you’ve come across some logical comments that align with the video’s topic. This may seem controversial, but it’s important to dive deeper. When you encounter a channel with logical comments, ensure that they are unique and not duplicated under the description box. Some creators are smarter than just buying comments from the first link that Google shows you when you search “buy YouTube comments”. They generate topics, provide multiple examples, or upload lists of examples, all produced by AI. You can either manually review the comments or use a script to parse all the YouTube comments into an Excel file. Then, add a formula to highlight any duplicates.

LEVEL 3

It is also a must to check the names of the profiles that leave the comments: most of the bot-generated comments are easy to track: they will all have the usernames made of random symbols and numbers, random first and last name combinations, “Habibi”, etc. No profile pictures on all comments is also a red flag.

 

LEVEL 4

Another important factor to consider when assessing comment authenticity is the posting date. If all the comments were posted on the same day, it’s likely that the traffic was purchased.

 

2. Average views number per video

This is indeed one of the key metrics to consider when selecting an influencer for collaboration, regardless of the product type. What specific factors should we focus on?

First & foremost: the views dynamics on the channel. The most desirable type of YouTube channel in terms of views is one that maintains stable viewership across all of its videos. This stability serves as proof of an active and loyal audience genuinely interested in the creator’s content, unlike channels where views vary significantly from one video to another.

Many unauthentic crypto channels not only buy YouTube comments but also invest in increasing video views to create the impression of stability. So, what exactly should we look at in terms of views? Firstly, calculate the average number of views based on the ten latest videos. Then, compare this figure to the views of the most recent videos posted within the past week. If you notice that these new videos have nearly the same number of views as those posted a month or two ago, it’s a clear red flag. Typically, a YouTube channel experiences lower views on new videos, with the number increasing organically each day as the audience engages with the content. If you see a video posted just three days ago already garnering 30k views, matching the total views of older videos, it’s a sign of fraudulent traffic purchased to create the illusion of view stability.

 

3. Influencer’s channel statistics

The primary statistics of interest are region and demographic split, and sometimes the device types of the viewers.

LEVEL 1

When reviewing the shared statistics, the first step is to request a video screencast instead of a simple screenshot. This is because it takes more time to organically edit a video than a screenshot, making it harder to manipulate the statistics. If the creator refuses, step two (if only screenshots are provided) is to download them and check the file’s properties on your computer. Look for details such as whether it was created with Adobe Photoshop or the color profile, typically Adobe RGB, to determine if the screenshot has been edited.

LEVEL 2

After confirming the authenticity of the stats screenshot, it’s crucial to analyze the data. For instance, if you’re examining a channel conducted in Spanish with all videos filmed in the same language, it would raise concerns to find a significant audience from countries like India or Turkey. This discrepancy, where the audience doesn’t align with regions known for speaking the language, is a red flag.

If we’re considering an English-language crypto channel, it typically suggests an international audience, as English’s global use for quality educational content on niche topics like crypto. However, certain considerations apply. For instance, if an English-speaking channel shows a significant percentage of Polish viewers (15% to 30%) without any mention of the Polish language, it could indicate fake followers and views. However, if the channel’s creator is Polish, occasionally posts videos in Polish alongside English, and receives Polish comments, it’s important not to rush to conclusions.

Example of statistics

 

Wrapping up

These are the main factors to consider when selecting an influencer to promote your crypto product. Once you’ve launched the campaign, there are also some markers to show which creators did bring the authentic traffic and which used some tools to create the illusion of an active and engaged audience. While this may seem obvious, it’s still worth mentioning. After the video is posted, allow 5-7 days for it to accumulate a basic number of views, then check performance metrics such as views, clicks, click-through rate (CTR), signups, and conversion rate (CR) from clicks to signups.

If you overlooked some red flags when selecting crypto channels for your launch, you might find the following outcomes: channels with high views numbers and high CTRs, demonstrating the real interest of the audience, yet with remarkably low conversion rates. In the worst-case scenario, you might witness thousands of clicks resulting in zero to just a few signups. While this might suggest technical issues in other industries, in crypto campaigns it indicates that the creator engaged in the campaign not only bought fake views and comments but also link clicks. And this happens more often than you may realize.

Summing up, choosing the right crypto creator to promote your product is indeed a tricky job that requires a lot of resources to be put into the search process. 

Author Nadia Bubennikova, Head of agency  at Famesters

Author

Nadia Bubennikova, Head of agency at Famesters

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Fintech

Central banks and the FinTech sector unite to change global payments space

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The BIS, along with seven leading central banks and a cohort of private financial firms, has embarked on an ambitious venture known as Project Agorá.

Named after the Greek word for “marketplace,” this initiative stands at the forefront of exploring the potential of tokenisation to significantly enhance the operational efficiency of the monetary system worldwide.

Central to this pioneering project are the Bank of France (on behalf of the Eurosystem), the Bank of Japan, the Bank of Korea, the Bank of Mexico, the Swiss National Bank, the Bank of England, and the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. These institutions have joined forces under the banner of Project Agorá, in partnership with an extensive assembly of private financial entities convened by the Institute of International Finance (IIF).

At the heart of Project Agorá is the pursuit of integrating tokenised commercial bank deposits with tokenised wholesale central bank money within a unified, public-private programmable financial platform. By harnessing the advanced capabilities of smart contracts and programmability, the project aspires to unlock new transactional possibilities that were previously infeasible or impractical, thereby fostering novel opportunities that could benefit businesses and consumers alike.

The collaborative effort seeks to address and surmount a variety of structural inefficiencies that currently plague cross-border payments. These challenges include disparate legal, regulatory, and technical standards; varying operating hours and time zones; and the heightened complexity associated with conducting financial integrity checks (such as anti-money laundering and customer verification procedures), which are often redundantly executed across multiple stages of a single transaction due to the involvement of several intermediaries.

As a beacon of experimental and exploratory projects, the BIS Innovation Hub is committed to delivering public goods to the global central banking community through initiatives like Project Agorá. In line with this mission, the BIS will soon issue a call for expressions of interest from private financial institutions eager to contribute to this ground-breaking project. The IIF will facilitate the involvement of private sector participants, extending an invitation to regulated financial institutions representing each of the seven aforementioned currencies to partake in this transformative endeavour.

Source: fintech.globa

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TD Bank inks multi-year strategic partnership with Google Cloud

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TD Bank has inked a multi-year deal with Google Cloud as it looks to streamline the development and deployment of new products and services.

The deal will see the Canadian banking group integrate the vendor’s cloud services into a wider portion of its technology solutions portfolio, a move which TD expects will enable it “to respond quickly to changing customer expectations by rolling out new features, updates, or entirely new financial products at an accelerated pace”.

This marks an expansion of the already established relationship between TD Bank and Google Cloud after the group previously adopted the vendor’s Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE) for TD Securities Automated Trading (TDSAT), the Chicago-based subsidiary of its investment banking unit, TD Securities.

TDSAT uses GKE for process automation and quantitative modelling across fixed income markets, resulting in the development of a “data-driven research platform” capable of processing large research workloads in trading.

Dan Bosman, SVP and CIO of TD Securities, claims the infrastructure has so far supported TDSAT with “compute-intensive quantitative analysis” while expanding the subsidiary’s “trading volumes and portfolio size”.

TD’s new partnership with Google Cloud will see the group attempt to replicate the same level of success across its entire portfolio.

Source: fintechfutures.com

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