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BT EXCLUSIVE

Soilbuild joins US$5m early-stage funding round for fintech lender

Helicap's co-founder says the Singapore-based platform aims to push out US$20 million in the next six months

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Helicap co-founders David Wang (left) and Quentin Vanoekel. Mr Wang says that Soilbuild can work with Helicap in diversifying the lending platform's portfolio.

Singapore

HELICAP, a Singapore-based platform that offers funding to alternative lenders such as peer-to-peer platforms, has found new backers in form of Soilbuild Group, having raised US$5 million pre-series A funding from the property firm and early-stage venture fund East Ventures, BT understands.

The platform, which has been deploying funds since the second quarter of this year, claims no loan defaults at the moment.

David Wang, CEO and co-founder of Helicap, said that Helicap - short for Helicopter Capital - has diverted capital to platforms with the lowest default rates, without divulging the names of such platforms.

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It works with 300 partners that include peer-to-peer lenders and microfinanciers. These partners, in turn, offer financing to corporate and consumers. On average, the loan tenures have a short duration of between six and 18 months.

"Currently, our partners include the top platforms in Indonesia, Singapore and Cambodia. We are looking to expand to the Philippines and Vietnam next," noted Mr Wang.

In a media statement sent to BT, Lim Han Feng, director of Soilbuild Group, said the firm has been "hugely impressed" with Helicap attracting established investors, partners and advisers in such a short time.

Mr Wang added that Soilbuild can work with Helicap in diversifying the lending platform's portfolio, given Soilbuild's experience in the property space.

Asked about the startup's due diligence process, Mr Wang would only say that the firm has built proprietary tools and processes that assess both equity and credit risks of originators and their potential to scale with Helicap's capital.

"A thorough analysis of their loan book is necessary prior to any investment decision. We use a data-driven approach to assess the health and quality of a loan book at the early stages of our due diligence process."

Helicap did not disclose how much capital it has deployed thus far, but Mr Wang told BT that the platform aims to push out US$20 million in the next six months.

Helicap also plans to expand further into Indonesia, and hire staff to boost its technology and data teams.

Willson Cuaca, managing partner of East Ventures, said through a media statement that Helicap will play a "significant" role in its portfolio, in validating and consolidating the region's emerging alternative lending market.

The latest funding round by Helicap follows in quick succession from the US$1.5 million seed round in May led by Singapore's former Minister of State for Manpower, Teo Ser Luck.

Mr Teo is currently chairman of fintech firm Nufin Data. which is reportedly working with Helicap to look at reducing invoice fraud and credit risk through data analytics.

Helicap has also listed Lim How Teck, former group deputy CEO of NOL Group, as its chairman. Mr Lim is chairman of Temasek's Heliconia Capital Management.

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