By Sharon Lewis and Reethu Ravi This article is the first of a four-part Tech’s Year in Review series reviewing developments across industries in 2020. This first installation discusses some industries spotlighted by the COVID-19 pandemic, namely edtech, logistics and supply chains, fintech, [...]
SGInnovate and Cyberport seal the deal for CapBridge’s Hong Kong expansion
Two Southeast Asian government agencies, SGInnovate and Cyberport Macro Fund, have joined Singapore-based integrated private market investment platform CapBridge Financial’s investor base.
The fintech platform has raised an undisclosed amount of equity from Singapore government-owned deep tech investor SGInnovate and Hong Kong Government-owned Cyberport Macro Fund, CapBridge announced in a statement.
CapBridge’s primary syndication platform and secondary private equity trading exchange solution caters to growth companies, family-owned businesses, and private investors trading in private markets.
Founder and CEO of CapBridge Johnson Chen said in the statement, “The global economy has been severely impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, creating unprecedented challenges for many companies seeking growth capital.”
He added that CapBridge is “committed to supporting the needs of these companies in an increasingly interconnected and digitalized global capital markets environment” with the support of its newest government investors.
The fintech platform last raised $4 million in a 2019 venture round from South Korean asset management services provider Hanwha Investment & Securities.
The fresh equity funding will be directed towards further development of CapBridge’s fintech solutions, while also expanding its presence in the Hong Kong region to tap into private market opportunities, the statement said.
“The disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic have underscored the urgency for alternative fundraising pathways, enabled by Deep Tech and enhanced connectivity,” SGInnovate CEO Dr Lim Jui said in the statement. “The CapBridge platform has the potential to optimize the capital raising experience for growth companies in Singapore and the region.”
The statement said that CapBridge aims to leverage blockchain technology in order to optimize share tracking, private equity investments, and securities trading settlements for private companies, with support from SGInnovate.
The funding from the 2016-launched Cyberport Macro Fund, on the other hand, will be focused mostly toward CapBridge’s Hong Kong expansion efforts, the statement added.
Chairman of Cyberport Dr George Lam said in the statement, “We are delighted to have this opportunity to work with CapBridge and this co-investment will help to unlock value for private companies and family businesses, as well as the investors keen on pursuing private market diversification.
Lam added that he expected the deal, and other international opportunities, to benefit Hong Kong’s capital market. “I believe Hong Kong’s development in innovation and technology will continue to march forwards while seizing new opportunities arising from other international cities,” he said in the statement.
Both Hong Kong and Singapore have long been business-friendly locations, with a sizable startup ecosystem and the number of local startups running into the thousands. Hong Kong and Singapore also rank the highest amongst Southeast Asian countries on the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Index.
However, in recent years, Singapore has taken the lead in the competition due to a drive from its government to further develop Singapore’s tech capacity by supporting its startups. This has helped to fortify its image as a tech and business leader in the Southeast Asian region.
On the other hand, Hong Kong’s image of Southeast Asia’s financial hub and a gateway to China has taken a beating in recent times. Hong Kong’s 2019 pro-democracy protests upset investor spirits, dampening future prospects for the region.
The optimistic outlook for Hong Kong, however, is that it has sufficient resources, infrastructure and policy support to bounce back after the geopolitical volatility calms down. The territory was also recently named the most resilient place in Asia by property insurer FM Global.
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