Ayondo leverages on TradeHero to expand in Southeast Asia

The European fintech firm heading for a Singapore Exchange listing via a reverse takeover has entered into a licensing deal with homegrown app maker TradeHero.

Ayondo, which allows investors to copy the share market trades of leading day traders, said the deal will help it expand its footprint in the region by riding on the popularity of the TradeHero mobile app.

The app lets users trade virtual money based on real-world stock market data.

The licensing deal gives Ayondo full brand and name rights as well as operational control of TradeHero outside of China and the US. It is envisaged that the app, which has been downloaded almost a million times outside of China and the US since 2012, will help Ayondo gain customers and get them onto its other platforms.

Ayondo chief executive Robert Lempka told The Straits Times yesterday: "For Ayondo, mobile technology is a big part of the group's strategy for expansion.

"The TradeHero brand is... well- established in Asia and was the missing piece in our product range.

"We have full brand rights, name rights and operational control outside of China and the United States."

The size of the deal with TradeHero was not disclosed, as it was structured as a revenue-sharing model, with TradeHero getting a slice of Ayondo's future earnings.

Ayondo is on track to complete its reverse takeover (RTO) of property developer Starland as early as next March. Initial public offerings may be more prestigious than RTOs, but RTOs are less risky and have a more defined process, Mr Lempka said.

Besides, he hopes to enjoy first- mover advantage: "Our assumption is that we are going to be the first fintech company listing in Singapore, so naturally there would be more demand for our stock than if we were one of 10."

Ayondo opened its first office outside of Europe in Singapore in 2014, after Singapore-based private equity fund Luminor Capital became a convertible bond holder in Ayondo.

Ayondo has fewer than a thousand revenue-generating active users in Asia, but Mr Lempka expects the region to be the firm's highest revenue contributor in three years.

In markets where it does not have a licence to solicit customers, Ayondo prefers to build partnerships with local firms. Last year, it tied up with KGI Fraser Securities in its first major partnership here. It is also in talks with a large brand in Thailand to promote TradeHero there.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 16, 2016, with the headline 'Ayondo leverages on TradeHero to expand in S-E Asia'. Print Edition | Subscribe