The P2P lending spaces have involved in the recent years in SouthEast Asia. Alternative lending refers to financial channels and instruments that have emerged outside of the traditional finance system such as regulated banks and capital markets. Alternative financing activities through online marketplaces are reward-based crowdfunding (e.g. Kickstarter, Indiegogo), equity crowdfunding, peer-to-peer (P2P) consumer and business lending, and invoice trading. In 2016, more than US$245 billion of funding was channeled through online alternative finance platforms across Asia Pacific (APAC), according to a report by the University of Cambridge, the Australian Centre for Financial Studies and the Tsinghua University.
According to the Singapore Fintech Association, a cross-industry non-profit initiative, there are 60 startups in the online lending and crowdfunding space.
The city state’s three major alternative finance players are peer-to-company (P2C) lenders which specialize in providing loans for SMEs. These are Funding Societies, MoolahSense and Capital Match. Funding Societies had raised S$95.4 million in loans through 1,606 campaigns, as of December 2017. The company, which also operates in Indonesia and Malaysia, has received US$7.5 million in funding so far. MoolahSense, which is backed by East Ventures and Pix Vine Capital, had raised S$41.3 million in loans through 359 campaigns as of December 2017. MoolahSense has over 11,920 registered investors. Capital Match, which was established in 2014, provides business and SME loans and invoice financing facilities of S$50,000 to S$200,000. The platform had funded S$62 million in loans, as of December 2017. Capital Match has raised S$1 million in funding so far from Innosight Ventures, Crystal Horse Investments and CE-Tech Invest.
“Crowdfunding is a participant economy driven by the crowd. And yet, we do little to nothing to educate the crowd on how they can participate and why they would want to. We cannot expect our industry to grow without making participant education a priority. Otherwise, we may face the same fate as individual campaign creators who launch without engaging the crowd first: they don’t reach their goals.”
It is true that crowdfunding is underheard of. Most people think they are rewards, donations, equity, marketing, financing, securities law or entrepreneurship. What is crowdfunding then? The key to the financial success of it is the number of backers, not money raised. It is not about just an exercise of raising money but to bring awareness to the community of the product. There are two main sources of values that crowdfunding investors bring to tech entrepreneurs, firstly are raising awareness of the forthcoming products through social media and traditional word of mouth. Investors also served as an evangelist. Secondly, the investors also benefited from crowdfunding by not being shy of their opinion.
To break down the message and quality of meaning in crowdfunding, let’s look at social media and how crowdfunding is perceived. Almost all of the educational materials around crowdfunding are focused on the person launching the campaign and not on increasing awareness and participation from new communities of potential backers or investors. There are more rooms for backers to make crowdfunding successful. That’s aside from the fact that one of the cheapest and best educational tools for how to run a successful campaign and how to nurture relationships with backers and investors after the close of a campaign is to back other campaigns. But beyond the educational merits of backing campaigns prior to launching your own, there’s an even bigger reason we must focus our efforts on encouraging participation: impact. The majority of society feels distanced from their ability to impact larger economic forces. We don’t think that what we do can have impact – that our individual financial resources are too small to be influential.