Funding Societies, the leading peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platform in Southeast Asia, welcomed the start of the year by crossing the SGD 100 million mark in total crowdfunded SME loans across Singapore, Indonesia and Malaysia. In line with the platform's goal of responsible growth, Funding Societies expanded its crowdfunding book by 400% in 2017 while maintaining a default rate of 1.5%.
Founded in 2015, Funding Societies provides business financing to underserved SMEs for their working capital and expansion needs. This is done through its digital marketplace platform where retail and institutional investors come together to lend to the SMEs. Businesses can avail loans ranging from just SGD 5,000 going up to SGD 1 million and at reasonable rates of interest. Funding Societies platform has facilitated funding across industries including Manufacturing, Engineering, Construction. Professional Services, Wholesale and Retail Trade amongst others. Most of the SMEs which Funding Societies has funded do not receive adequate financing through traditional options. Others have existing bank loans but approach Funding Societies for fast and short-term bridging loans.
As per a Visa and Deloitte study, four in 10 SMEs in Singapore are unserved by existing financial institutions when addressing their financing needs. This problem is compounded, with 72% of Singapore SMEs requiring funds to better manage their working capital and cash flow. The lack of access to financing faced by SMEs is an issue that needs to be addressed. Alternative financing providers like Funding Societies are addressing this gap by providing funding solutions for the growth of local businesses.
Kelvin Teo, Co-Founder and CEO of Funding Societies, commented, “We started Funding Societies while at Harvard to positively impact SMEs in Southeast Asia. 2017 has been a strong year, as we gained global recognition for our efforts including our loan mobile app FS Bolt and our chatbot Miyu. We’d work even closer with the SME community in 2018, in line with our motto ‘Stronger SMEs, Stronger Societies’.”
Funding Societies received many local and global awards in 2017. At the end of 2017, its Indonesian entity, Modalku, won the Global SME Excellence Award from United Nations’ ITU Telecom. It is the first and only Asian startup to win the award. The company was also included in CB Insights’ Fintech 250, a select list of the top FinTech companies around the world working on groundbreaking financial technology. It also won the Best in Customer Experience Asia award from Retail Banker International and was conferred as the Hottest Startup in Singapore by Singapore Business Review. The local and international awards highlight the impact of financial technology on society.