FUNDING Societies, a digital financing platform for small and medium enterprises (SME) in South-east Asia, has launched in Thailand – its fourth market in its six years of operations.
The platform will operate under a debt-crowdfunding licence given by Thailand’s Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the SME lender said on Tuesday in a press statement.
The expansion comes after more than a year of working with Thai regulators and planning for market entry, it added.
Funding Societies said it is prepared to provide Thai SMEs with full access to its short-term customisable financing solutions, funded by retail and institutional investors.
Its crowdfunding solutions will offer a new avenue for Thailand’s retail investors to diversify their portfolio from other asset classes. Investors can expect investment opportunities with interest rates of 8-13 per cent per annum.
Funding Societies’ expansion to Thailand will also allow the fintech to address the US$250 billion SME credit gap that exists in Asean’s biggest economies. Other markets it operates in are Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia.
The platform said it has disbursed over US$1.4 billion in financing across more than 65,000 SMEs in the region.
Kelvin Teo, Funding Societies co-founder and group chief executive, said the expansion will allow the platform to better support Singapore companies expanding into Thailand and vice versa.
Varun Bhandari, Funding Societies Thailand country head, said: “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.”
Funding Societies is the latest fintech firm to set foot in Thailand. Just on Friday, Siam Validus – a joint venture between Validus and SCG Distribution – became the first foreign fintech firm granted a debenture crowdfunding licence by Thailand’s SEC.
The licence allows Siam Validus to support SMEs via debt crowdfunding, a form of peer-to-peer lending through an approved online funding portal.