Singapore-based fintech firm Helicap has listed Helicap Fund 1, its flagship fund, on private market exchange ADDX, in an effort to enhance financial inclusion for MSMEs and underserved individuals in Southeast Asia. The listing also aims to transform the manner in which consumers and SMEs access credit, by empowering its partner institutions.
ADDX’s innovative blockchain and smart contract technology result in efficiencies that have allowed it to offer the fund to approved investors on the ADDX platform at a minimum investment size of USD10,000. Investors are generally faced with a minimum investment size of USD250,000 or higher, when subscribing to private credit funds through non-tokenised, traditional channels.
Last month, Temasek-backed alternative asset management group Tikehau Capital joined Helicap as a shareholder after the company announced a strategic funding round.
In a Series A funding round led by Saison Capital in 2020, Helicap raised USD10 million. Saison Capital is the corporate venture division of Japanese consumer finance company Credit Saison. Earlier, Helicap had raised USD1.5 million from Nufin Data in seed funding. Nufin Data is a fintech trade financing company led by Teo Ser Luck, the former Minister of State for Trade and Industry in Singapore.
Using a proprietary risk management technology, Helicap is able to analyze millions of loan data points that allow it to evaluate the creditworthiness of over 500 businesses and digital lenders across Southeast Asia and Oceania. The company provides curated access into the private placements sector in Southeast Asia, and financially enables underbanked enterprises and individuals in the region.
The software developed and deployed by Helicap analyses data that is detailed to the level of how each end-borrower’s microloan is performing. The end-borrowers comprise underbanked enterprises and individuals, and can range from simple financing for a delivery vehicle in Jakarta, to funding a grocery store in Manila.
CEO of ADDX, Oi-Yee Choo, said that microlending companies are addressing a tangible problem that traditional lenders have been unable to solve due to the lack of infrastructure and know-how. She also said that microlenders are able to fund creditworthy individuals and businesses, thereby ensuring financial inclusion which creates more jobs, enables access to education and higher standards of living. She added that Helicap’s mission of enhancing financial access for underserved customers was in perfect alignment with ADDX’s goal of democratising private markets, and was therefore excited to list Helicap’s flagship fund.
The CEO of ADDX went on to say that the global private credit market was now worth more than USD1 trillion. She added that for investors to be exposed to this massive asset class, it was vital for fund managers to manage the risk associated with non-performing loans. The CEO also mentioned that Helicap’s sophisticated technology ensures that microlenders who borrow from Helicap are able to build a sustainable business. She summed up by saying that the fund’s zero-default record since its launch stands out in the sector.
ADDX was established in 2017, and is Asia’s biggest private market exchange. The platform utilises blockchain and smart contract technology to automate processes in the custody, issuance and distribution of private market products. The resulting efficiency from deploying this technology allows for fractionalisation down to a minimal investment size of USD10,000 compared to USD250,000 to USD5 million that is usually required when directly approaching private market issuers.
This fractionalisation of opportunities enables a hitherto untapped segment of affluent investors who are not served by private banks and other institutions to gain access to private markets. The ADDX platform offers asset classes that include venture capital, private credit, private equity, hedge funds, real estate, bonds, cryptocurrency funds, pre-IPO companies and a range of structured products.
Till date, ADDX has listed 32 delas, which include big-ticket names such as Partners Group, Hamilton Lane, Singtel, Investcorp, UOB, CGS-CIMB, in addition to entities backed by Temasek which include Azalea, Mapletree and SeaTown.
Individual accredited investors on the ADDX platform originate from 39 countries that span Asia Pacific, Europe and the Americas (excluding the US). The platform also caters to wealth managers, corporate and institutional investors with a recently launched product customised for businesses, named ADDX Advantage.
Helicap connects global investors to private investment opportunities across Southeast Asia. The company’s goal is to bridge a USD500 billion financing gap that traditional banks are unable to serve, and deploy capital to over 300 million underbanked entities via 1,000 originators across the region.
The company is backed by equity investors that include Japanese financial services company Saison Capital, Temasek-backed Tikehau Capital, and Asian financial house PhillipCapital, in addition to leading venture capital firms including Access Ventures, East Ventures, Voveo Capital, and Soilbuild Group Holdings – a leading property group based in Singapore.