Veteran Singaporean serial entrepreneur Andy Lim (extreme right in the picture) launched 'Singapore's first true equity and lending crowd funding platform', FundedHere, in Singapore today.
The platform will facilitate equity-based funding and venture debt for start-ups in the region from as low as S$5,000 (US$3,700) each for a period of no more than 12 months. FundedHere will serve as a platform for start-ups - initially focusing on Singapore and Southeast Asia - seeking angel or seed equity funding or venture debt before they mature and seek more traditional venture capital or private equity leading either to a potential trade sale/buyout or even an IPO, Lim said.
In return, FundedHere will receive a success fee from the latter for funds or loans which have been raised.
Explaining the rationale behind the new venture, Lim said that while crowdfunding and crowdsourcing have emerged in recent years as a multi-billion dollar fund-raising phenomenon in the United States and Europe, many such sites in the region are reward or donation-based whereby a business or a non-profit gives some type of incentive to an "investor" or donor.
"The spirit of crowdfunding is to tap multi-levels of investment or lending in order to fund innovative start-ups which have unique technology or creative content but are unlikely to receive traditional bank loans because they do not have financial assets or a business track record," said Lim.
Ready but not live yet
The crowdfunding site (www.fundedhere.com) is ready for launch but it is not live yet and is awaiting clearance from Monetary Authority of Singapore ("MAS"), Lim told the media here.
Lim, a former civil servant, founded Singapore-based financial services group MoneyWorld in 1991 and co-founded local private equity group Tembusu Partners in 2006.
"The site will go live 12 weeks from the time MAS gives its approval," Lim said. The homegrown platform, like all crowdfunding sites, is subject to legal approval from MAS. The regulatory authority issued a public consultation paper on securities-based crowdfunding last month.
Depending on the MAS guidelines, the funding platform will investors other than those who are accredited (as of now, the funding platform can accept funding only from accredited investors). According to Lim, a local startup Smoovpay is facilitating the payments processing element of the platform.
"As a major wealth management centre with a well-recognised legal framework and a rising start-up scene, Singapore is an exceptional springboard for crowdfunding projects in the region," Lim said. "FundedHere will build up an eco-system for start-ups which will combine innovators, investors, mentors, talent and partners who can help bring the ideas or products to the global market."
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