March 31, Crowdo announced the launch of its securities crowdfunding platform today at the Singapore Exchange (SGX) hosted ‘Plugged In’ event where Crowdo’s Co-Founder and CEO, Leo Shimada, gave the keynote address. The event was also the forum for the official announcement of Crowdo’s strategic partnership with the SGX.
Crowdo’s platform will make available immediately to registered members its P2P lending platform (p2p.crowdo.com). Crowdo’s P2P lending platform is an online marketplace connecting pre-qualified small medium size enterprises (SMEs) issuing debt securities with Crowdo investor members who are seeking competitive interest rate return. Crowdo will leverage its success in Indonesia, where it is already fully operational and to date has financed close to 2,500 projects.
Nicola Castelnuovo, Co-Founder and Chief Commercial Officer of Crowdo, said: “Having financed more than 2,500 projects in other markets, we are bringing a wealth of experience and expertise back to the Singapore market. Crowdo’s P2P lending products will target cash flow solid SMEs which are underserved by existing financial institutions.”
Crowdo also announced its plans to launch its ECF (investment.crowdo.com) platform during April with registrations already open via the website. ECF is an online marketplace connecting pre-qualified Start-ups and SMEs issuing equities to Crowdo investor members who are looking to participate in the returns of innovative companies. In 2016, Crowdo helped to raise close to 0.9mn SGD for The Parenthood Ventures in Malaysia; and participated in The Nuren Group’s 2.8 million SGD series A round led by Gobi Ventures.
Said Mr. Shimada: “Crowdo is already one of the most established equity crowdfunding (ECF) players in South East Asia. We have set a record for the highest amount raised for ECF as well as being the first to successfully execute a syndicated ECF investment round with a venture capital fund. Now we want to up the game by establishing Singapore as an global financial centre for alternative financing across ECF and P2P.”
Crowdo also announced the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signing with SGX at the ‘Plugged In’ today. The partnership areas of collaboration outlined by the MOU include:
raising awareness amongst the SMEs and the investing community about the various opportunities and channels available to raise capital in Singapore;
information sharing to create efficient access to capital for SMEs; and
mutually develop guidelines for the cross-referral of potential clients
Mohamed Nasser Ismail, Head of Equity Capital Market (SME) and Head of Capital Market Development, SGX said, “As a market operator, we believe our established infrastructure and network, coupled with collaboration with like-minded private fund raising platforms and stakeholders, can support and improve access to capital for early-stage companies.”
P2P Lending and ECF are aimed at addressing a significant financing gap of close to US$300 billion per annum experienced by over 200 million Micro Small Medium Enterprises (MSME) across South East Asia.
Fintech is already a massive industry in China and other part of Asia, emerging Asia is steadily laying out a solid foundation for future growth. According to a study conducted by the Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance, For South East Asia, transaction volume through online alternative financing in 2015 was estimated to be approximately $47 million with over 30 operators surveyed. The 2015 report pre-dates various regulations which were later introduced across the region to facilitate the growth of the industry and further expected to boost market growth.
Singapore is making strides to capture global leadership in the Fintech sector having announced its ambitions to become a Smart Financial Center, and more recently highlighted the need to create more financing solutions for SMEs with one of the Community of Future Economy report recommendations to “Catalyze the private sector to provide more growth capital”.
Said Mr. Shimada: “This partnership with SGX creates a powerful combination of a regional early stage / pre-IPO financing platform via Crowdo, and a competitive public market solution via SGX. This is great for Start-ups and SMEs who will benefit from broader financing options and a seamless financing journey.”
 IFC report ‘Enterprise Finance Gap Database
 Harnessing Potential THE ASIA-PACIFIC ALTERNATIVE FINANCE BENCHMARK REPORT