Singapore based Funding Societies has announced the expansion of operations into Thailand. The online capital formation platform will operate under a crowdfunding license authorized by the Thai Securities and Exchange Commission.
According to a note from Funding Societies, the company worked for more than a year with regulators to set up operations in the country.
Funding Societies currently operates in Singapore, Indonesia, and Malaysia. Thailand will be the fourth country where the marketplace will operate in its six years of activity. Funding Societies notes that it is the only SME digital financing platform in Southeast Asia to be licensed in four countries.
Thailand is the second-largest economy in Southeast Asia and like many emerging economies in the region, much of Thailand’s GDP comes from small and medium enterprises (SMEs). According to research published by the Asian Development Bank Institute and cited by Funding Circles, SMEs account for 99.8% of companies and generate 14 million jobs in Thailand. These SMEs contribute a whopping USD $215 billion to the nation’s GDP.
Additionally, Funding Circle notes there is an SME funding gap in the country of around USD $40 billion.
Funding Societies was founded in 2015 by Kelvin Teo and Reynold Wijaya while they were pursuing their MBA at Harvard Business School. Teo says their vision has always been to enable SME growth:
“Having built a market-leading presence in Singapore, Indonesia, and Malaysia, we’re excited to bring our vision to Thailand and launch today. We’ll also be able to better support Singapore companies expanding into Thailand and vice versa,” said Teo.
Funding Societies reports that since its launch it has funded over US$1.4 billion for more than 65,000 SMEs throughout the region and is prepared to provide Thai SMEs with access to its financing solutions, which are funded by retail and institutional investors.
Varun Bhandari, Country Head of Funding Societies Thailand, said that by leveraging technology, Funding Societies offers SMEs a new avenue of accessing business financing that is fast, affordable, and convenient.
“The crowdfunding landscape in the country is growing steadily and we see a lot of potential here. We look forward to driving financial inclusion in Thailand and helping to uplift the country’s economy.”
Thai investors may currently expect investment returns of around 8% to 13% per annum.