When you’re looking to tell the story of a public company in a way that will resonate with an audience, with a succinct, tagline-sized parable, finding the words ‘multidimensional’ and ‘multidivisional’ in the first few lines of their website will give a writer reason to reach for the coffee.
CUV Ventures (CUV.V) isn’t an easy story to tell.
Not because it’s a tragic tale of woe – it isn’t. And not because it’s rife with terminology you won’t understand – it isn’t. It’s just one of those big hairy audacious ideas that see you spend half the story saying, “No really, they’re attempting this,” and “They think this is possible because…”
Here’s how the company describes itself:
CUV Ventures Corp. (TSX-V: CUV) is a multi-asset, multidivisional publicly traded Canadian company deploying advanced technologies in the; Money Remittance, Crypto Mining, Mobile Payment Apps, Online Travel, Vacation Resort, Blockchain Systems, Invoice factoring, and Cryptotoken sectors.
Translated: They’re trying to start a bank.. No they’re not, they’re trying to start more than a bank.
Think Western Union and Paypal and Expedia and Money Tree, with crypto and blockchain. And a bank.
You can see how this gets complicated.
Perhaps the best way to tell the story is by telling you about the guy who’s putting the story together. Steve Marshall is the most interesting man in the world.
Steve Marshall discovered the Nile while saving a village of miners from giant sand worms. He’s the real life basis of Ian Fleming’s spy character James Bond, which had to be dumbed down to remain believable. He invented tennis. Heidi Klum calls him ‘the best lover I ever had, even though he only lightly touched my cheek and walked away.’ He has five exotic species of bird named after him and approximately 3200 Senegalese children. He has been known to slap together wi-fi routers in third world countries using only coconuts, twine, and a mix of finely ground mosquitoes and elderberries. He has never ordered a drink, preferring instead to let the bartender read his chi and deliver accordingly. He escaped Russia before Putin got his number, and became shadow tourism minister in Cuba until the heat died down.
And he’s trying to start a bank.
But no ordinary bank. Marshall’s bank is the things banks usually are not.
A factoring loan is a sort of payday loan for companies. Let’s say I have a restaurant and need a new hot water heater, but the bank account is empty. A factoring loan gets me the money I need in return for a set amount of my business being processed through the lender, so they get to keep all or part until their loan is repaid.
I used a factoring loan when I had a restaurant a few years back, with the loan repaid through our payment systems for several months. Whenever a customer paid a bill, a piece went to the lender.
Marshall’s CUV Ventures has set up a Panamanian licensed lender RevoluFin, and acquired an initial C$63 million in financing capital, that will allow him to get started immediately.
CUV is, for all intents and purposes, now in the factoring loan business.
A remittance is money sent to another country by a person to their family or friends. Bob immigrated to Florida to work construction and wants to send half his cheque home to Bolivia for his mother and siblings to use for food. Right now, he uses Western Union, which takes about $20 per $100 sent in fees.
RevoluPay slashes that cost, and uses a blockchain enabled app to turn cash into crypto so it can be moved, then turned back into local currency at ATM machines across Central and South America.
Marshall’s CUV Ventures is, as of now, in the remittance business.
Yo, I wasn’t aware this is a thing, but apparently folks in North America and Europe paying for their family’s cellphone credit top-ups in developing countries is a big part of the remittance world. And since Marshall has done the work of getting set up in the remittance space, it’s a small sideways step to use that same functionality to allow folks in western countries to pay for the cellphone credits of their developing world families.
Therefore, RevoluCHARGE is a natural addition to RevoluPAY, allowing this very service to be carried out from a single app and digital wallet. RevoluCHARGE allows anyone, anywhere, to send pay-as-you-go credits to anyone in 248 Countries & 117 currencies, with commission’s averaging 10% for CUV Ventures.
CUV Ventures is, as of now, in the cellphone credit business.
To move money around an ecosystem like the one CUV is constructing, the traditional way to do so would be to move dollars. Or dinero. Or yen. Or… the Bhutanese ngultrum. Or the Ethiopian Birr. Or the Vietnamese dong.
You can see where I’m going with this.
To make CUV’s internal money shiftery work, the company is looking to create the ₡CU cryptotoken, which is not a cryptocurrency but a token for use in their closed loop ecosystem, and will be exchange rate pegged against major currencies.
Because using tokens allows free movement, in a blockchain secured platform, and because the maze of currencies in the Caribbean currently makes money movement difficult.
Due to the impressive worldwide visitor count to the Caribbean and extreme complexity of 11 different Caribbean currencies, the ₡CU will provide a transparent platform permitting visitors to centralize payments, while, at the same time, creating an international ecosystem of users in developed nations.
I’ll be honest, i’m not sure if this is necessary or profitable, but if Marshall says it helps keep costs down and speed up, have at ‘er, CUV.
TRAVEL AND ACCOMMODATION:
We’re gonna get in the weeds a little bit here, but the world’s travel, car rental, cruise ship, and accommodation booking systems run on the networks of three Global Distribution Systems (GDSs) – Amadeus, Sabre, and Travelport.
When you see an ad for a travel booking website that says it’s cheaper than everyone else, all you’re really seeing is one of hundreds of thousands of licensees that plug into the same system deciding that, instead of taking a 15% markup, they’ll take 14%. The listings, the pictures, the base prices, they’re all the same from one to the next.
If you take part in these systems and run too close to the base price, the big guys who run them get stompy, because you’re starting a race to the bottom that hurts every participant.
So if Marshall wants to plug CUV into these networks and offer folks the biggest discounts he can, he’s got to get creative.
So he’s going to charge a membership fee, which allows him to do what he wants.
Diamond – $249 USD – brings rates at the lowest possible price
Gold – $199 USD – brings 15%-50% discounts compared to usual travel site rates
Silver – $99 USD – brings 5%-14% discounts on same
Personally, I’m not sold that people will pay that money to get those discounts. I mean, they should, if they do a lot of travel, but that doesn’t mean they will. $99 is a decent upfront cost when you’ve never tried it before.
Also, am not sure they won’t get shut down by the GDS folks for getting tricky with the terms of service.
Either way, if you have the capability to roll the dice on this, sure, why not give it a shot? There’s almost no cost involved, and if it takes off, it’s all margin.
WHAT DOES ALL THIS MEAN?
It means if you’re traveling to Central America, South America, or the Caribbean on a sales trip, and you need to change money before you go, maybe book a B&B, rent a car, take a cruise, and maybe pay a local business for some of their wares, you’ll be able to do all of that through CUV’s apps, making use of their banking license and cryptotokens attached to an extensive local network of ATMs.
On the other side, local tour operators, B&B’s, manufacturers, restaurants looking to do business with our traveling man can do so using this network while also borrowing funds for expansion or bridge loans, and using CUV’s network to advertise themselves.
Let’s be very clear here: CUV isn’t doing this in a bubble. They came into this business plan with over 400 tourist websites for spots all over the Caribbean that get 35m page views annually, consisting mostly of soon-to-be tourists doing research before their trip.
A business like this needs critical mass to really be useful. If you only have 500 business listed, and only 35 travelers using it, nobody makes any money and it all falls down.
But they do have a network, and have been acquiring small business outfits in a variety of sectors that, together, bring market share. If each of those sites prominently advertise the app and the financial services, and sell airfares and car rentals and B&B nights through the system, and each of the apps seamlessly roll into each other to encourage cross promotion and adoption, that’s a really nice path to consumer pickup.
But it’s hard to put in five words, and that’s been a drag on the stock.
I’ve owned it for six months and, in that time, the stock price has slid, mostly in accordance with the general slide in blockchain fortunes. But I have not sold, because while the business concept is complex, and the upside extreme – they GOT THEMSELVES A BANKING LICENSE.
Hey brother – YOU get a banking license. Go ahead, make it happen. Go find yourself $63m in loan capital. Go build a network of ATMs that’ll plug into your cryptotokens.
CUV has done this. They’ve done all of this. They fucking did it, yo.
The share price is low, which hurts me because I got in early but makes it a nice little play for those coming in after all the hard work has been done.
I’m not expecting you to buy it – what you do with your money is on you. But I still like blockchain, especially real blockchain attached to industries that need a rework. Blockchain should put Western Union out of business, and CUV is right there hoping to be the catalyst.
I wrote a piece last week about how blockchain attached to real business is not just a great investment today, it’s one of the better investments today.
I didn’t include CUV in that piece because, frankly, I couldn’t put all this info in a multi company round-up, and it deserved its own plot of land to grow in your heart.
Steve Marshall pulled a ’63 Oldsmobile up the side of the Matterhorn while composing a sonnet on a theremin. He challenged a bear to mortal combat, giving the bear a ten second head start on its escape. He was DB Cooper.
But his greatest victory of all, will be when he drops financials that show uptake on this most audacious of plans, because from that point forward, it’s cash money time.
— Chris Parry
FULL DISCLOSURE: CUV Ventures is an Equity.Guru marketing client – and the author holds stocks and warrants in the company. Also, Steve Marshall has only done one of the things attributed to him above. Buy him a beer sometime and maybe he’ll tell you which.