Helicap raises US$5mil in pre-Series A funding
By Digital News Asia September 13, 2018
- Round was led by East Ventures and Soilbuild Group Holdings
- Helps facilitate lending capital to 400 million borrowers across SEA and Australia
SINGAPORE-based Helicap on Sept 13 announced that it raised US$5 million (RM20.73 million) during its pre-Series A funding round.
The alternative-lending platform’s latest round of funding – led by East Ventures and Singapore’s integrated property group Soilbuild Group Holdings – will be used by Helicap to grow its core team and expand its market reach to Indonesia.
Through these investments, Helicap will make key hires to tech and data teams to enhance the firm’s data collection capacities. The company will also build and enhance its alternative lending services; namely by bolstering its platforms risk management protocols via improved credit due diligence, analysis and scoring of its originators’ loans.
First established in Singapore, Helicap’s data-powered alternative lending platform aims to fill the credit gaps faced by consumers and corporates who have been conventionally underserved by traditional financial institutions.
Via a curated list of 300 licensed platform partners from traditional microfinance institutions to digital lenders, the company helps facilitate lending capital to 400 million borrowers across Southeast Asia and Australia.
A pioneer in the regional alternative lending space, Helicap has access to credit data accumulated by hundreds of originators – allowing it a helicopter view of the industry and to generate superior insights in light of its capital allocation.
In addition to financial returns, Helicap’s platform indirectly helps thousands of consumers and small businesses in Southeast Asia gain better access to funding. This, in turn can help accelerate socioeconomic growth, especially across the region’s emerging markets by providing quality debt funding in underserved segments.
“Southeast Asia is one of the world’s fastest-growing economic regions and has been primarily driven by SMEs,” said David Z Wang, co-founder and CEO of Helicap. “However, this growth has also generated a fragmented lending ecosystem which hasn’t been able to cater to the growing borrowers seeking capital to start a business.
“We decided to work with East Ventures for our Indonesian expansion, as they are one of the earliest and most established venture capital players there. Also, Soilbuild’s contribu(on is pivotal in diversifying our portfolio, particularly as they have deep expertise in the Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) listed company segment. We’re extremely thankful and are excited to be on this journey with our new stakeholders.”
The World Bank’s Global Financial Development Report showed that up to 73% of Southeast Asia’s 630 million popula(on do not possess a bank account. This lack of funding by financial incumbents in meeting underbanked communities has led to plenty of untapped and attractive impact investment opportunities.
According to Willson Cuaca, managing partner of East Ventures, “Our company has been highly active in championing the growth of innovative startups across Southeast Asia - particularly those moving within the fintech space. Helicap, one of the newest inventive fintech firms in our portfolio, will play a significant role in validating and consolidating the region’s emerging alternative lending space, as they’re able to provide investors with expert information and superior risk-adjusted returns.”
Meanwhile, the Soilbuild Group is pleased in partnering with Helicap to co-invest in alternative lending opportunities across the region. Lim Han Feng, director of Soilbuild Group Holdings said, “At Soilbuild, we’re excited to work with cutting-edge fintech solution providers with robust management teams to capably deploy balance sheet capital for higher yields. We’re hugely impressed with how Helicap has progressed to attract many established investors, partners and advisors in such a short time.”
Since its deployment in 2Q18, Helicap has grown its loan book by over 50% month-on-month.
Through top-ranked originators based in Singapore, Indonesia and Cambodia, the firm has also since deployed funding to over 100,000 end consumers and small businesses. With capital raised through its latest funding round and a bigger pipeline, Helicap will be expanding to Philippines and Vietnam next.
The company’s objective is to penetrate underserved yet lucrative markets across Southeast Asia by diversifying its loans portfolio across the region’s various geographies and market segments.
Given its double-digit returns, Helicap is also working with fund managers and family offices, and expects to raise more capital in the next 12 months, which will be directly deployed into more originators every month.
The company expects its curated pipeline to grow towards USD$200 million (RM829.37 million) by the end of 2018.