Start Singapore: Fund to provide seed money, growth capital

Dymon Asia Ventures' partner Jinesh Patel and principal investment executive Christian Kaptein.
Dymon Asia Ventures' partner Jinesh Patel and principal investment executive Christian Kaptein.PHOTO: DYMON ASIA VENTURES

Fund to provide seed money, growth capital

A fintech fund called Dymon Asia Ventures has been set up to invest in areas such as asset management, remittances and foreign exchange.

The fund will provide seed finance and growth capital for business expansion. Dymon did not disclose its fund size or the potential investment in each start-up. The norm for investment community is to offer about $200,000 to $500,000 for seed funding and between $2 million and $5 million for growth capital.

The company is part of Dymon Asia Capital, a local investment firm.

Dymon Asia Ventures partner Jinesh Patel said Singapore's increasingly supportive and proactive regulator prompted the firm to set up the venture fund.

He added that there are experienced entrepreneurs with in-depth knowledge of the financial industry available in this region who might be interested in starting fintech businesses.

Dymon Asia Ventures has already begun funding a handful of fintech start-ups, including blockchain company Otonomos and foreign currency exchange 4xLabs.

Its principal investment executive, Mr Christian Kaptein, said the venture fund will also develop its own ideas in areas like spot factoring, where it can leverage on its expertise.


Invoice crowdfunding platform launched

Singapore-based Capital Springboard has started a crowdfunding platform for invoice financing.

Accredited investors will be able to buy yet-to-be-paid invoices and earn an attractive return when these invoices are paid, it said yesterday.

Investors will benefit from annualised returns of 11 per cent to 25 per cent, depending on the grade of risk of the invoice, during a 90-day investment window.

This benefits SMEs which are short on cash flow. A company may have an outstanding invoice of $100,000, for example. But because it needs cash urgently to pay wages, the firm puts up the $100,000 on the Capital Springboard platform.

Investors can "buy" the invoice. If a successful investor offers $90,000, this goes to the SME. When the invoice is finally paid, the investor gains $10,000. The higher the grade of risk, the higher the returns.

A pilot in Singapore that started last July has resulted in 1,300 invoices worth $80 million being traded.

Capital Springboard chief executive Roger Crook said in a statement yesterday: "Singapore is a global financial hub and a market with a sizeable SME sector that requires access to capital."

Accredited investors with a minimum investment of $50,000 can open a Capital Springboard trading account held by escrow agent Vistra Trust (Singapore). They can withdraw their unused funds at any time.

Vistra Trust is regulated by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS).

SMEs will pay a one-off fee of 2 per cent of the amount advanced to them. To qualify for this platform, SMEs must have a minimum $25,000 invoice to offer, be registered in Singapore, and be in business for at least a year. They will be vetted by Capital Springboard's experts for creditworthiness and financial strength.

Mr Crook said: "We will provide accredited investors the opportunity to invest in an exciting new asset class, and to earn an attractive return when the invoice is paid.

"We also look forward to providing accessible capital for SMEs in Singapore to fund their growth. Importantly, all investors and SMEs have to undergo a rigorous on-boarding and screening process before qualifying to participate with us."


Image-recognition firm raises $54 million

Singapore-based Trax Image Recognition (Trax) raised US$40 million (S$53.6 million) from existing shareholders to support business growth, new product development and technical innovations.

Its shareholders include co-founders Joel Bar-El and Dror Feldheim.

Trax, a leader in image recognition for retail, will use the investment - its largest to date - to expand its global operations, especially in North America, and establish a new product line for top-tier retailers.

Trax's algorithm uses computer vision technology to recognise images taken of products on shelves and the way they are displayed. The algorithm can determine the availability, assortment, shelf space, pricing, promotions, shelf location and special arrangements such as arranging a product display from left to right according to price.

The data can be turned into into intelligence, insights and recommendations to consumer goods companies and retailers in more than 40 countries.

Mr Bar-El, the chief executive, said innovations will "allow our clients to make better business decisions and drive incremental sales and market share".

Grace Chng

• Send news on start-up developments to chngkeg@sph.com.sg

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 23, 2016, with the headline 'Start Singapore'. Print Edition | Subscribe