Start Singapore: Lippo makes first fintech investment

Pealo co-founders (from left): Mr Tan, Mr Somosundram, Mr Ong and Mr Karoonyavanich. The start-up's customers get a dashboard which allows them to feel the pulse of their business, like the number of marketing campaigns and source of capital.
Pealo co-founders (from left): Mr Tan, Mr Somosundram, Mr Ong and Mr Karoonyavanich. The start-up's customers get a dashboard which allows them to feel the pulse of their business, like the number of marketing campaigns and source of capital.PHOTO: PEOLO

Lippo makes first fintech investment

Indonesian conglomerate Lippo Group has invested an undisclosed sum in Call Levels, a financial technology start-up which provides free price alerts for financial products.

The funds will be used to expand its global customer base, said a media statement from Call Levels last week.

This is the first time that the Lippo Group, headed by the powerful Riady family, has invested in the growing fintech industry.

To date, the start-up has raised US$500,000 (S$703,000) from American VC 500 Start-ups and other investors such as seasoned corporate executives Timothy Teo, formerly a senior executive with JP Morgan.

Cell Levels' app provides retail investors and financial professionals with the convenience of getting real-time financial asset information and price alerts on more than 10,000 products globally on their mobile phones.

Call Levels, which opened an office in London last month, sources its information directly from global stock exchanges.


Mobile currency exchange

A new fintech start-up called Cash2Cash allows people to exchange foreign currency with others using mobile phones.

For example, a user who wants to change Singapore dollars for US dollars simply enters the amount he wants to exchange into the app. The app identifies someone near him who wants to swap his greenbacks for Singdollars. The two parties meet offline to do the swap.

For Cash2Cash to work, both parties must have the app, which is available for Apple and Android users. The start-up's technology pumps the prevailing foreign currency exchange rate into the app to facilitate the exchange.

Co-founder Hiroo Hori said the exchange is free for now but that the start-up is looking at introducing a fee sometime this year.


Pealo helps start-ups access capital

Three former bankers and a seasoned entrepreneur have teamed up to start Pealo (pealo.com) to help start-ups and small and medium-sized enterprises get capital for business development.

Pealo went live last month.

Customers get a dashboard which allows them to feel the pulse of their business like the number of marketing campaigns and source of capital.

The dashboard also contains tools that enable them value their companies, find out the government grants available, and other services.

It also provides information that lets companies track industry developments.

This way they will know whether the business deals they are offered are good, said co-founder Prakash Somosundram.

Business owners can also raise funds on pealo.com either through peer to peer lending or equity and invoice financing, he added.

Looking ahead, Peolo will provide other services like risk and market assessments, business intelligence as well as professional services such as legal and accounting. The other co-founders are Mr Freddy Ong, Mr Ukrit Karoonyavanich and Mr A. K. Tan.

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 February 18, 2016, with the headline 'StartSingapore'. Print Edition | Subscribe