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SME lender Funding Societies doubles valuation in Samsung-backed round

WED, DEC 16, 2020

Business Times - CLAUDIA CHONG

(Left to right): Kelvin Teo, Co-founder and Group CEO; Reynold Wijaya, Co-founder

FUNDING Societies has bagged funding from Samsung Venture Investment Corporation in its ongoing fundraising round at about two times its Series B post-money valuation in 2018.

Earlier investors in the latest round included new backers SGInnovate, BRI Ventures and Endeavor, and existing backers Sequoia India, Softbank Ventures Asia Corp and Qualgro Partners.

The peer-to-peer lending platform, known as Modalku in Indonesia, has raised credit lines from Asian and European financial institutions to further fund small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

Funding Societies and Samsung Ventures, along with Samsung Life Insurance Co, will create a strategic alliance to introduce prospective partnerships and collaborations.

Samsung Ventures, an investment arm of South Korean conglomerate Samsung Group, invests in companies focused on IT, semiconductors, software, Internet services, biotechnology and more.

Its investments include fintech firm M-Daq in Singapore, food delivery platform Swiggy in India and artificial intelligence firm Cogent Labs in Japan.

The funds from Samsung will primarily be channelled towards Funding Societies' tech arm, FS Technologies. The company also intends to expand its technology team across the region. It is currently present in Singapore, Indonesia and Malaysia.

As at November 2020, it has disbursed more than S$1.8 billion across 3.3 million loans. The platform has also increased its individual lender base to 200,000 over five years of operation.

"Funding Societies' digital financing solutions effectively bridge the SME credit gap in South-east Asia and we are confident that they will continue to lead the region's digital lending industry and finance the future of these economies," said a Samsung representative.

Funding Societies has received an exemption from Singapore's Ministry of Law to provide loans to sole proprietors. Earlier this year, it received a tax exemption whereby interest returns for its platform investors will not be taxable from 2020 onwards.


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