18/5/2018 – Validus Capital, an online financing platform based in Singapore has set up an S$20 million (about US$14.92 million) SME financing fund in partnership with asset management and family office advisory services firm Lighthouse Canton Group.
The fund, known as the LCV Trade Finance Fund, will eventually be scaled up to $200 million ($149.19 million), said Validus Capital in a statement.
Commenting on the partnership, Ajit Raikar, the Co-founder and CEO of Validus Capital said, “our collaboration with Lighthouse Canton ensures that we bring forth strong, stable, and reliable investors on our platform to support the ever-growing financing need of Singapore SMEs.”
Founded in 2015, Validus Capital curates an online financing platform which helps responsible corporates in Singapore to help their SME vendor base and to ensure SME vendors are able to gain access to growth capital at bank-like rates.
In Singapore, one of the leading SME financing marketplaces is the financing platform licensed by the Monetary Authority of Singapore, said to have disbursed over S$85 million (about US$63.4 million) in the past 24 months.
Against the backdrop of an S$20 million SME financing gap in Singapore, Validus Capital aims to finance at least S$1 billion ($750 million) of the gap in the coming three years.
“We’re already doing about S$10 million (about US$7.46 million) of financing in Singapore each month. Going by the current growth, we expect to reach disbursements of S$200 million per annum in 12 to 14 months’ time, across the geographies that Validus Capital are in,” added Ajit.
Moving forward, Validus Capital aims to expand regionally through starting Validus Indonesia in July 2018, an untapped market for SME financing that is five times the size of Singapore. The firm also plans to expand into another country in January 2019.
“To achieve that, we are looking to raise Series B with a few strategic investors, possibly by the end of this year,” Ajit said. Validus Capital last raised its Series A worth US$3 million from Vertex Ventures last July.
The fund will also be used to invest in machine learning and AI technology that will help to unleash new insights on local businesses.
“The team of Validus data scientists analyses and utilises new, complex datasets that will help make better-informed lending decisions and predicting needs for local businesses as they win new contracts and projects,” explained Ajit.
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Validus Capital also aims to raise its Series B in the near future to expand regionally and build a machine and AI technology to identify and underwrite small businesses.
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