QAPITA, a Singapore-based startup that provides software to manage a company's equity, has raised US$1.8 million in seed funding. The round was led by Vulcan Capital, the investment arm of Vulcan Inc, which was founded by late Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen.
Other investors include Alto Partners Multi Family Office; Atin Kukreja, chief executive officer of advisory firm Rippledot Capital; Koh Boon Hwee; Kuok family office K3 Ventures; investment firms KDV Holdings and Mission Holdings; and several Northstar Group partners including Patrick Walujo.
Qapita was founded in 2019 by chief executive Ravi Ravulaparthi, chief operating officer Lakshman Gupta and chief technology officer Vamsee Mohan, who saw the inefficiencies in private market ownership and transactions.
The founders hold decades of experience in investment banking, corporate finance and software engineering respectively, working across markets such as India, Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia and Hong Kong.
Through the Qapita platform, fast-growth private companies and startups can record and manage equity ownership and employee stock ownership plans (ESOPs). The platform can be accessed by different stakeholders such as investors, founders and employees, based on appropriate access levels. Companies will also be able to issue digital equity awards and grants on the platform.
Mr Ravulaparthi said: "Having worked alongside multiple founders and startups during their fundraising journeys, we recognised the huge gaps that exist in digitising ownership records. If records are systematically digitised today, then transactions can be digitised in the future."
The founders also believe the platform will encourage more employee equity ownership in startups. "The ESOP value proposition should be as simple as a pay slip," said Mr Ravulaparthi.
The fresh funding will be used to strengthen and build the team, accelerate product development and build the company's client base.
Qapita is also building digital share issuance capabilities on the platform, which will enable firms to issue shares digitally. It has offices in India and Singapore, and will initially serve customers based in Singapore, India and Indonesia before expanding into other markets.
Tommy Teo, managing director and head of South-east Asia at Vulcan Capital, said: "With high-growth companies remaining private for longer, we believe digital equity management and liquidity solutions to be a multibillion-dollar opportunity, and are excited to embark on this journey as a partner."