Fintech firm Marvelstone Group holds 'less than 1%' of media startup Tech in Asia

SINGAPORE - Fintech firm Marvelstone Group holds "less than 1 per cent" of media startup Tech in Asia, Willis Wee, CEO and founder of Tech in Asia told The Business Times on Monday (May 13).

According to regulatory filings by Marvelstone Group, the group held a $135,050 investment in Tech in Asia at end-2017. It is the single-largest investment reported by Marvelstone Group according to these unaudited accounts, which reflected the most recent financial documents available when BT obtained them on Feb 1 this year.

"Marvelstone holds less than 1 per cent of Tech in Asia. We haven't had a lot of interactions with them over the years - but that's not unusual as our many investors trust us to run the business well," said Mr Wee.

Tech in Asia is an online platform that reports on technology companies. According to Crunchbase, Marvelstone invested in Tech in Asia in 2015 as part of the startup's Series C funding round.

BT published on Monday two reports saying that the man behind Marvelstone Group is being sued in his home country of South Korea for allegedly failing to pay contractually promised returns to investors.

Joe Cho Seunghyun, a Singapore permanent resident, is also being sued by Hong Leong Holdings for breaching a licence agreement for the now-defunct Singapore fintech hub, Lattice80.

BT found as well that Marvelstone's fund company reported no assets under management from investors over its two years of being a Registered Fund Management Company, and has ceased being a regulated entity.

On Monday, the cryptocurrency trading platform delisted "with immediate effect" KAYA tokens issued via an initial coin offering (ICO) by Marvelstone's Lattice80.

"With immediate effect, will be delisting KAYA. Deposits and trading have been disabled," showed a 2.44pm message on its Telegram channel seen by The Business Times. It said that withdrawals from the exchange will still be available until 11.59pm (Singapore time), June 11, 2019.

Rune Evensen, CEO of, told BT that the delisting was due to multiple reasons, including "community feedback" and "negative press".

In January this year, Marvelstone's Lattice80 said it began trading of its KAYA token. But a BT-commissioned analysis by Singapore-based cryptosecurity platform Uppsala Security suggested that the ICO may not have taken off, a report by BT on Monday showed.

Narong Chong, chief operating officer of Uppsala, pointed to broken weblinks of the ICO project, and the thin trading of KAYA tokens as indications that the ICO may not have succeeded.

"In the post by Lattice80 on Nov 22, 2018, they claimed to have successfully raised US$52 million... For an (ICO) that successfully raised US$52 million ($71.1 million) in the crypto winter, there has not been a lot of marketing or promotions of their projects." said in a Medium post that it delisted the KAYA token on Feb 6, 2019 over due diligence concerns - a detail that was also verified independently by Uppsala.

Marvelstone had said in response that it "voluntarily decided not to list the KAYA token on the platform".