Funding Societies announced that they have surpassed the SGD 200 million mark in total crowdfunded SME loans. This achievement came just 6 months after crossing SGD 100 million in January this year. In the same period, its investor base has also increased from about 40,000 to 75,000, indicating strong demand from investors to support local SMEs while diversifying their investment portfolio.
Kelvin Teo, co-founder and CEO of Funding Societies commented, “It took 30 months to achieve our first S$100M and 6 months for our second S$100M. But the industry is still nascent. We’d continue to focus on serving SMEs’ and investors’ needs.” Kelvin is also the c0-chair for the Singapore Fintech Association’s Marketplace Lending Committee.
As you probably know, Funding Societies provides business financing to underserved SMEs for their working capital and expansion needs across Singapore, Indonesia and Malaysia. This is done through its digital marketplace platform where retail and institutional investors come together to lend to the SMEs. Businesses can avail loans ranging from just SGD 5,000 going up to SGD 2 million and with a quick turnaround time, as fast as 2 hours for loan approval and 24 hours for SMEs to receive the funds. On the other spectrum, investors who lend to the SMEs through the platform receive up to 14% per annum in returns and can invest starting from just SGD 20 per loan. In linking SMEs and investors, Funding Societies has achieved a notable track record of less than 1.5% in default rate, one of the lowest in the region.
According to the SME Development Survey by DP Information Group, 35% of SMEs in Singapore surveyed in 2017 face finance-related issues, up from just 14% in 2015. This problem is further compounded, with 81% of these Singapore SMEs experiencing delayed payments from their customers, a jump from just 14% in the previous year. The problem of cash flow management faced by SMEs is an issue that needs to be addressed. Funding Societies is committed to support SMEs by providing more flexible business loans to suit the financing needs of these SMEs.
Funding Societies has been innovating to serve SMEs. In 2016, it launched FS Bolt, a first-in-Singapore mobile app based loans meant for micro and young businesses. Funding Societies was also the first FinTech firm to adopt MyInfo under GovTech’s initiative, to simplify SMEs’ loan application process. In the last few months, Funding Societies introduced Property-backed Secured Loans as well as an enhanced version of Invoice Financing where based on past aging, for well paying debtors, the tenor can be extended up to 120 days.
Most SMEs Funding Societies has funded come from diverse sectors and do not receive adequate financing through traditional options. Others have existing bank loans but approach Funding Societies for fast and short term bridging loans. The speed of crowdfunding is fast with loan campaigns getting funded within minutes for small loans to a few hours for larger loans. The efficient crowdfunding reflects a strong demand by local investors and provides SMEs access to funds in a shorter time frame.
In its recent Series B funding led by SoftBank Ventures Korea, Funding Societies raised US $25 million, the largest for a peer-to-peer lending platform in Southeast Asia. The funding round was supported by global and local investors like Sequoia India and Golden Gate Ventures.
Funding Societies has earned many local as well as global awards and recognition over the last one year. Its Indonesian entity Modalku won the Global SME Excellence Award from United Nations’ ITU Telecom late last year – the first and only Asian startup to win the award. It has earlier won the Fintech Award from Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and was recently recognised amongst the Best 50 Companies to Work for globally by Silicon Review. The local and international awards highlight the impact of financial technology on SMEs and society as a whole.