Last week global equity crowdfunding platform OurCrowd announced a significant partnership with United Overseas Bank (UOB). The OurCrowd arrangement is part of the platforms deeper push into Asia and the robust startup scene.
UOB is the third largest bank in Southeast Asia by total assets. Founded in 1935, the Singapore-based bank operates in 19 different countries including mainland China.
Janet Young, UOB’s head of Group Channels and Digitalization, spoke with CNBC on the newly inked partnership. Young explained that UOB wants to improve access to capital for SMEs. “For the longest time [SMEs] have had trouble raising capital, particularly equity – when they are young … this is a revolution that we could help”.
How does the relationship work with UOB? OurCrowd has a team that thoroughly vets companies and then, if they decide the company has merit, OurCrowd puts its own money into the business and also offers the choice to other investors to join in the funding round. The CNBC host was having trouble getting his arms around the term “curate”. He posed the question, “Why is this the right time to move their platform to ASEAN?”, Janet explained;
“In fact [OurCrowd] has teams of professionals that have years of experience … they have connected lots of smart money in the US, Europe, accross Israel and now they are coming into Australia, they have a chapter there, and ASEAN seems to be the best place because there are more than 40-50 million SMEs – startups all looking for opportunity to reach the world and be global… there is a huge amount of innovation going on [in Southeast Asia]”.
Watch the video below.