Funding Societies, a peer-to-peer lending platform, announced that Samsung Venture Investment, the VC arm of South Korean conglomerate Samsung Group, has invested an undisclosed amount in its latest financing round.
The funding comes on the back of earlier investments from Sequoia India, Softbank Ventures Asia Corp, SG Innovate, BRI Ventures, Qualgro Partners, and Endeavor, among others.
Established in 2015, Funding Societies is a digital financing platform that connects small and medium-sized enterprises in Singapore, Indonesia, and Malaysia with retail and institutional lenders. As of November, the Singapore-based firm claims to have given out more than SGD 1.8 billion (USD 1.4 billion) across 3.3 million loans. Its individual lender base has increased to 200,000 in five years of operation, the company says.
The P2P lender will use the fresh funds to expand its technology team across Southeast Asia by roping in tech and data talent.
It will also team up with Samsung Ventures and Samsung Life Insurance to introduce potential partnerships and collaborations. Kelvin Teo, co-founder and group CEO of Funding Societies, said that the company views Samsung as a strategic and collaborative partner in enabling growth for SMEs and creating wealth for lenders.
Samsung Venture’s portfolio includes businesses focused on information technology, semiconductors, software, internet services, biotechnology, and others. They have invested in companies like fintech firm M-Daq in Singapore, food delivery platform Swiggy in India, and AI firm Cogent Labs in Japan.
Globally, the SME financing gap is estimated at USD 320 billion, according to research firm CARI. The study also said that less than 60% of SMEs from Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand obtained financing from banks.
Additionally, Funding Societies received a tax exemption in Singapore earlier this year. As such, interest returns for its platform investors will not be taxable from 2020 onwards.
The company competes against CapitalMatch, SmartFunding, MoolahSense, and other players in this space.
This article was originally published by Tech in Asia.