Appointment of respected macroeconomics expert is intended to support company vision of providing financing access to all deserving SMEs and creating a strong digital finance ecosystem in Southeast Asia
SINGAPORE, Aug. 30, 2018 – Funding Societies, the leading peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platform in Southeast Asia, has announced that Dr. Muhamad Chatib Basri, a highly regarded economist and member of the World Bank Advisory Council on Gender and Development, has been officially appointed as company advisor. Dr. Basri’s expertise and experience in macroeconomics and the regulatory field will serve as valuable support towards Funding Societies’ vision: to provide working capital access to every deserving and creditworthy small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) in Southeast Asia.
Prior to becoming a member of the World Bank Advisory Council on Gender and Development, Dr. Basri served as Indonesia’s 28th Minister of Finance and was a member of the Asia Pacific Regional Advisory Group of the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Additionally, he was an Ash Centre Senior Fellow at Harvard University (2015 – 2016) and a National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) Professor of International Economic Relations at Nanyang Technological University (2016). As an economist, Dr. Basri is an expert on the fields of macroeconomics, international trade, and political economy. His economic focus is in line with Funding Societies’ company motto “Stronger SMEs, Stronger Societies”, where Dr. Basri’s insights on macroeconomics and its many variables will better equip the company to prepare for financial changes and empower small businesses to propel the economy.
Funding Societies connects local, creditworthy SMEs with investors (both individual and institutional) through a digital marketplace, thus increasing access to financing for the SME sector. SMEs can apply for up to SGD 1.5 million in unsecured business loans and SGD 3 million in secured business loans from Funding Societies’ loan products and cash flow solutions. Since its establishment, Funding Societies has crowdfunded more than SGD 220 million across more than 8,500 SME loans.
SMEs in the Southeast Asian region utilize working capital loans from Funding Societies for business growth and expansion. On a macro scale, empowering promising SMEs, a segment that often encounters challenges in accessing credit, strengthens local economies as they will contribute more towards Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Yet despite the segment’s potential, an SME Development Survey by DP Information Group shows that 35% of Singaporean SMEs surveyed in 2017 face finance-related issues, up from just 14% in 2015.
Dr. Muhamad Chatib Basri said, “The P2P lending industry opens working capital access to SMEs previously underserved by existing financial institutions. Alternative finance platforms like Funding Societies have great potential to drive economic growth and development in Southeast Asia. In the future, I believe synergy between the P2P lending sector and existing financial institutions will create a powerful digital finance ecosystem. By collaborating with Funding Societies, I want to help create positive contributions in the field of financial technology to support economic inclusion and grow a prosperous society in Southeast Asia.”
Kelvin Teo, Co-founder and CEO of Funding Societies, said, “Dr. Basri has been extremely supportive of our vision since day one. We’re honoured to have him officially on board as our advisor, together with other veterans in finance and risk management. His vote of confidence affirms our goal of creating a Southeast Asian society that embraces financial inclusion.”
Since its establishment, Funding Societies received the largest Series A and Series B funding for a Southeast Asian P2P lending platform, respectively amounting to USD 10 million and USD 25 million. Its Series B funding round was announced in April 2018 and was supported by SoftBank Ventures Korea, Sequoia India, Alpha JWC Ventures Indonesia, and Golden Gate Ventures. Funding Societies also operates in Malaysia and Indonesia (under the local name Modalku) and holds a Capital Markets Services License issued by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS).
About Funding Societies
Founded in early 2015, Funding Societies is a licensed digital lending platform that connects small and medium-sized enterprises (“SMEs”) with retail and institutional lenders. It has achieved numerous milestones in a short span of time, including USD 25 million Series B funding round led by SoftBank Ventures Korea and supported by Sequoia India, Alpha JWC Ventures and Golden Gate Ventures. Funding Societies has expanded into Indonesia (where it is known as Modalku) and Malaysia, becoming Southeast Asia’s #1 digital lending platform. Through its searing growth, Funding Societies | Modalku remains dedicated to the vision of funding underserved SMEs and improving societies in Southeast Asia.
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