ApplePie Capital Expands Fifth Third Bank Relationship

On Wednesday, ApplePie Capital and Fifth Third Bank revealed new details about their strategic partnership. The companies shared that this agreement enables Fifth Third to purchase loans that are originated through ApplePie’s franchise loan marketplace and will also join ApplePie’s SBA lender network, along with receive referrals to SBA loan opportunities.

Spotify Prepares to go Public with 60 Million Users

Spotify’s singular focus on music sees it adding subscribers faster than the iPhone company with a streaming app on the side. Spotify has added 20 million paid subscribers in less than a year, while it’s taken Apple Music more than a year and a half to make that progress. Spotify now has 60 million subscribers, compared to Apple Music’s 27 million (as of June).

Spotify’s ability to accelerate its growth rate despite competition from arguably the world’s most powerful company is a testament to the product and community it’s built.

Magic Cube Raises $8.5m

SANTA CLARA, CA-- MagicCube, the creator of the world's only Software Trusted Execution Environment platform (sTEE™), today announced completion of an $8.5 million Series A funding round. Bold Capital Partners led the round, with participation from Epic Ventures, Social Starts and Silicon Valley Bank. MagicCube original investors include Visa.

MagicCube technology enables the large-scale deployment and management of Internet of Things (IoT) and mobile-secure solutions to consumers. The MagicCube sTEE platform provides a secure in-app container that protects sensitive data, logic and cryptographic operations on the device, while offering unprecedented ease of massive deployment and remote management capabilities.

Blockchain is Second only to AI: Brock Pierce

Brock Pierce, founder and managing partner of Blockchain Capital and chairman of the Bitcoin Foundation, is a venture capitalist and entrepreneur. Pierce pioneered the market for digital currency in games and has raised more than $200 million for companies he founded. A faculty at the Singularity University, Pierce is also the founder of IMI Exchange (the world’s leading digital currency marketplace for games), ZAM (one of the world’s largest media properties for gamers) and IGE (the pioneer of digital currency in online games). In an email interview, Pierce—who was a speaker at the two-day SingularityU India Summit ((held on 7-8 April in association with INK, which hosts events like INKtalks, a platform for the exchange of cutting-edge ideas and inspiring stories)—spoke, among other things, on why companies would want to invest in blockchains. Edited excerpts:

MagicCube and Sequent Strike Partnership

Sequent, the leader in digitizing payment, transit, access control and hospitality cards, and MagicCube, the creator of the breakthrough Software Trusted Execution Environment (sTEE™) platform, today announced a partnership to bring to market the first full software solution that rivals hardware secure elements to protect mobile and other connected devices. Sequent and MagicCube are integrating their industry-leading technologies in a new offering that protects token-based payment service deployments from advanced threats.

MagicCube's technology provides a secure in-app container that protects sensitive data, sensitive logic, and cryptographic operations on the device while offering unprecedented ease of deployment and remote management capabilities.

Spotify Acquires Mediachain to Advance Services with Blockchain

Spotify, the European streaming music service that took the United States and other parts of the world by storm several years ago, has long been a favorite among listeners for its selection of music and ease of use. Like many other streaming services, though, Spotify has its share of detractors among artists and rights holders, some of whom suggest that the shifting world of royalties is not entirely fair or accurate. Now, in a maneuver aimed at improving and honing relations with rightsholders for the music streaming on its platform, Spotify has acquired the New York-based startup Mediachain, which it hopes will assist in tracking and processing royalty payments. The key to this development will be the use of blockchain technology.

Blockchain Capital Partners Raises $10m ICO

Blockchain Capital partners recently raised $10 million for a venture capital fund, Blockchain Capital III Digital Liquid Venture Fund, LP, which it calls the first venture capital fund raised by a digital fund offering.

The venture capital firm’s new digital liquid venture fund recently raised funds through a digital token offering called BCAP token.

The Ethereum-based tokens will represent a partial ownership in the fund. The tokens will be issued on May 10.

“The $10 million will be used to invest in blockchain startup companies,” Brock Pierce, managing partner at Blockchain Capital, told CCN. “We will be investing in the equity of these startups and will also consider token-based offerings.”


ApplePie Capital CEO & Co-Founder Denise Thomas Makes Marketplace Lending Success Look Easy

Having spent more than 20 years as a corporate executive in companies backed by prosperous VC firms including Kleiner Perkins, Mohr Davidow and Sequoia Capital, ApplePie Capital CEO and serial entrepreneur Denise Thomas continues to help companies create viable businesses from entrepreneurial ideas.

Keiretsu Forum Backs 168 Ventures in 2016

SAN FRANCISCO, March 16, 2017 -- Keiretsu Forum reported global investment of $71.5 million in 168 ventures in 2016 across industries: 29% in Technology, 22% in Life Sciences, 19% in Real Estate, 10% in Consumer/Retail Products, 3% in Clean Tech and 17% in other.   

"2016 was an incredible year for Keiretsu Forum.  We opened 5 new chapters, had a record number of new members join our global community, and our members backed more companies than ever," said Randy Williams, Founder & CEO of Keiretsu Forum.  “The quality of our deal flow and global syndications created opportunities to expand into South Korea, Dubai, Mumbai, the Midwest, and Pebble Beach.  Shenzhen China will start in 2017,” said Williams.  “The investments our members made continue to give companies from all over the world the capital they need to succeed.”

Keiretsu Forum membership provides members access to global deal flow. Keiretsu members collectively screen companies and provide expertise in a group setting, but invest individually. Companies that receive investment traction in one Keiretsu Forum region have the opportunity to travel both nationally and internationallyto other chapters and raise additionalcapital.   2016 funded companies that raised additional capital via the Keiretsu Forum global syndication process included AbomMotitoOtoNexus Medical TechnologiesBouxtieFairway America, and more.

About Keiretsu Forum

Keiretsu Forum was founded in 2000 by Randy Williams in the San Francisco Bay Area. With more than 2,500 investor members in 49 chapters on 3 continents, Keiretsu Forum is the world’s largest by invitation only angel investor network. Keiretsu Forum membership is comprised of angel investors, venture capitalists, corporate/institutional investors and serial entrepreneurs who provide early-stage capital in the range of $250,000 - $2 million to high-quality diverse investment opportunities. Keiretsu Forum members collaborate in the due diligence but make individual investment decisions. For more information,  visit

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Kate Murphy

ApplePie Capital gets $180 Million in Loan Capital

Some 71 percent of millennials would rather visit the dentist than just listen to a message from a bank. And anyone that has slogged through an SBA loan application might happily sign up for a root canal instead.

In that extreme distaste for banks, ApplePie Capital founder and CEO Denise Thomas saw an opportunity. “It’s the way the world is going. If I can do so much on the Internet, why can’t I do my financing?” pondered Thomas, who founded and self-funded the financing source in 2014 by packaging franchisee business loans for institutional investors. 

And today, ApplePie got a fresh infusion of $16.5 million from QED Investors and Fifth Third as well as a $180 million loan purchase agreement from TowerBrook Capital Partners, the company is surging further forward in the franchise space.  

Keiretsu Opens its 47th Chapter in Seoul, Korea

Keiretsu Forum announces Seoul, Korea as the newest chapter in its global network.

Situated on the Han River, Seoul's history stretches back more than two thousand years. The city was founded in 18 BCE by Baekje, as one of the Three Kingdoms of Korea.

Today, Seoul is considered a leading and rising global city, resulting from the economic boom called the Miracle on the Han River that transformed it to the world's 4th largest metropolitan economy after Tokyo, New York City, and Los Angeles. In 2015, Seoul was rated Asia's most livable city with the second highest quality globally.

"We look forward to welcoming both investors and entrepreneurs from the Republic of South Korea to our global network," said Williams.

Over the past 16 years, Keiretsu Forum members have invested over $800,000,000 in 810 companies using its chapter and funding syndication model. Funded in 2000 by Randy Williams, Keiretsu Forum today has 47 chapters in 30 cities and 2600 accredited investor members. Keiretsu Forum members provide early-stage capital in the range of $250k-$2million to high quality, diverse investment opportunities. The chapters collaborate on Due Diligence but each member makes his/her own investment decisions in the presenting companies.