Lendahand, a Dutch-based crowdfunding platform for SMEs in emerging markets, has agreed to provide Singapore-based Funding Societies with up to 5 million euros to invest in underserved SMEs, predominantly in Indonesia, but also including Singapore and Malaysia. Southeast Asia’s leading SME digital financing platform, Funding Societies (known as Modalku in Indonesia) specializes in short-term financing for SMEs, crowdfunded by individual and institutional investors. It is backed by Sequoia India, Samsung (who invested in its tech arm) and Softbank Ventures Asia Corp amongst many other global and regional equity investors.
The UN estimates the annual funding gap faced by SMEs in emerging markets at $1.7 trillion. By providing fast and easy access to operating capital for these SMEs across the world, Lendahand aims to speed up the travel of much needed investment capital from Europe into emerging markets. By activating retail capital from impact minded investors in Europe, Lendahand believes they are showing there is a strong appetite for more investment opportunities in financial technology (FinTech) platforms such as Funding Societies.
“Funding Societies is a great example of the power technology can have on helping bridge this funding gap. With their mission of uplifting societies in Southeast Asia by providing access to capital for SMEs, we feel their business model aligns with our own goals. We hope to work with more innovative fintechs to advance our mission of fighting poverty in these underserved emerging markets.” says Lendahand CEO Koen The.
By working together with Lendahand, Funding Societies sees a potential long-term partner with like minded goals and values, one that understands how beneficial fast access to capital is for SMEs.
Kelvin Teo, Co-founder and Group CEO of Funding Societies | Modalku said, “We’re honoured for the conviction that Lendahand has in us. As the largest SME financing platform in Southeast Asia, we share the same goal of financially empowering small businesses. With a shared vision, we’re excited to work with Lendahand to uplift Southeast Asian societies.”
The COVID-19 global pandemic has wreaked havoc on the global economy and caused challenges for businesses small and large, leaving SMEs in emerging markets particularly vulnerable. In a time when many crowdfunding platforms have struggled even operating in mature economies, this partnership is a positive sign for Lendahand’s continued service of SMEs in emerging markets.
Koen The explains further: “Since the beginning of the pandemic we keep seeing governments in the West taking measures beneficial only for their own citizens. This directive of the Dutch government makes it clear that we have to look at other solutions. Emerging markets aren’t lacking in willing and innovative entrepreneurs eager to roll up their sleeves, take steps forward on their own, and thus, once again, get the economy going. What is lacking, however, are financial injections to support these SMEs.”