Crowdo, an ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance)-driven neobank for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in emerging markets, announced the closing of its Pre-Series B bridge round of SGD8 million (USD5.9 million). The convertible round was co-led by existing shareholders Gobi Partners, a USD1.2 billion dollar AUM venture capital fund, and iVest Capital Pte Ltd, a Southeast Asia-focused family office. SEEDS Capital, the investment arm of Enterprise Singapore, also took part in the round. In addition, Impact Investment Exchange Pte Ltd (IIX), a pioneer in impact investments and global leader in sustainability, provided debt financing through the WLB4Climate, the fourth issuance in their innovative Women’s Livelihood BondTM Series. The funds will be used to expand Crowdo’s neobank platform in Singapore and Indonesia and scale its ESG financing portfolio.
Headquartered in Singapore, Crowdo is fully licensed by the Otoritas Jasa Keuangan (OJK) for digital lending in Indonesia since 2017, registered with the Securities Commission Malaysia, and aspires to be the region’s leading ESG-driven neobank for SMEs.
To date, Crowdo has disbursed over SGD100 million in financing, has seen its monthly revenue grow by more than 5x during 2021, achieved group profitability since mid-2020, and launched an innovative new supply chain digitization platform. In Indonesia, it has formed multiple alliances with digital banks, multi finance institutions and conventional banks, offering its tech-driven acquisition and onboarding infrastructure and artificial intelligence-driven credit assessment technology for SME funding.
In Malaysia, where Crowdo offers equity financing to high growth startups, it finished its 2021 having facilitated close to SGD10 million in equity investments. In this January, it will launch a new ESG financing product targeting women-led enterprises with a plan to disburse up to SGD16 million just during 2022 alone.
Leo Shimada, Co-Founder and Group CEO of Crowdo said, “I’m thrilled to announce this fundraising achievement. We welcome SEEDS Capital and IIX as our new partners and extend our greatest appreciation to our existing shareholders for their support. We have proven ourselves to be one of the most innovative and capital-efficient neobanks in the industry by transforming our SGD1.4 million Series A into over SGD100 million in disbursements to SMEs, x5 monthly revenue growth just during 2021, a profitable business, and the development of an end-to-end core neobanking system. I am confident that this new round of fundraising will accelerate Crowdo’s ascension to new heights as a neobank market leader.”
Leo continued, “In line with our mission to use innovative technology to improve people’s livelihoods, we are now reinforcing our ESG infrastructure and product line-up. Crowdo is already catering to under-served SMEs in emerging markets and wants to boost our social impact with specially- tailored financing products with ESG impact in mind. One of our flagship products will deliver up to US50 million in financing to women-led businesses and companies over the next few years to promote gender equality and increase women’s access to financing. We thank IIX for making this financing program possible.”
Jin Hui Wong, Partner of Ivest Capital, said, “We have observed the significant rise of fintech industry across the world and we think the next fintech wave would happen in Southeast Asia. As an existing investor of Crowdo, we have seen the company delivers consistent growth over the years and we are very excited to lead the investment to make Crowdo become the market leader in the region.”
“As a Singapore-headquartered company, Crowdo has leveraged the ecosystem here to build capabilities and also utilised a locally-developed solution to serve the financing needs of under-served SMEs in Southeast Asia. We applaud Crowdo’s continued innovation in its product development and digitalisation efforts, and are excited that we can be part of its plans to enhance its offerings and bring business impact via ESG financing,” said Tan Kaixin, General Manager of SEEDS Capital.
Robert Kraybill, Managing Director, Portfolio Management and Chief Investment Officer of IIX said, “Investing in women entrepreneurs is crucial to meeting the financing gap for SMEs and ensuring sustainable development in growing economies. We commend Crowdo for committing to increasing the amount of funding they provide in support of sustainable livelihoods for women. IIX is pleased to mobilize funding through the Women’s Livelihood BondTM Series to continue to move the needle on sustainable finance in Indonesia.”
Dan Chong, Managing Director of Gobi Partners, said, “Gobi Partners’ strong commitment to ESG investing is a perfect match with Crowdo, which leverages its unique neobank technology to improve access to financing to SMEs and women-led businesses, two key groups that have been traditionally under-served by legacy banks. We are excited to back Leo and Nicola and their team once again, as Crowdo progresses along its journey to improve lives and drive social impact with technology.”
Crowdo offers its SME clients two innovative and simple solutions to help grow their businesses. One platform assists SMEs to digitize their operations to boost productivity, and the second platform helps SMEs understand and access financing and banking products. It has partnered with notable SME communities and works with digital banks and other financial institutions and credit funds who are seeking to finance SMEs in emerging markets using Crowdo’s unique technology and infrastructure.