SME lender Validus Capital raises $15M for expansion in Southeast Asia

SME lending was a hot topic in Southeast Asia last year, and companies continue to attract investor dollars in 2019. The latest to pull in capital of its own is Singapore-based Validus Capital, which today announced a SG$20.5 million (US$15.2 million) Series B that’ll go towards regional expansion.
Founded in 2015, Validus is focused on growth capital among SMEs with an average loan of SG$70,000 (US$52,000) in Singapore. Its P2P lending platform pairs SMEs with individual and institutional lenders and it has paid out SG$180 million (US$134 million) in loans since acquiring its license in December 2017. Validus works with an insurance firm to underwrite its loans.
The company goes after “brick and mortar SMEs, such as guard supply or service companies that do not have collateral… or companies in the construction sector where cashflow becomes a problem as they grow,” Validus co-founder and executive chairman Vikas Nahata told TechCrunch.
That approach is in contrast to others, which go over micro-loan type enterprises, such as small businesses or sole merchants using e-commerce platforms.
Nahata said Validus uses a cluster model, which includes partnerships with procurement platforms, to tap SMEs at the point that they need capital, for example, when they have landed a big contract or major order.
This new round of funding is led by Dutch development bank FMO — which is making its first direct investment in Asia through this deal — with participation from Taiwan’s Cathay Financial Holdings, Vietnam’s VinaCapital Ventures, AddVentures from Siam Cement Group in Thailand and Singapore-based VCs Openspace Ventures and (returning backer) Vertex, which is backed by sovereign fund Temasek. The company previously raised a $3 million Series A in 2017.
SME lender Validus Capital raises $15M for expansion in Southeast Asia
Left to right: FMO senior investment officer Arno de Vette, Validus co-founder and executive chairman Vikas Nahata, Validus co-founder and CEO Ajit Raikar, and Liu Genping, partner at Vertex Ventures
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