Singapore-based alternative lending platform Helicap has raised US$5 million in a Pre-Series A round led by East Ventures and real estate conglomerate Soilbuild Group Holdings.

The company will use the newly-raised funding to expand its data teams to enhance its data collection capabilities. and extend its reach to Indonesia. It is also eyeing market expansion to Philippines and Vietnam.

In addition, Helicap will improve its technology by bolstering its platforms risk management protocols via improved credit due diligence, analysis and scoring of loans.

Founded in 2017, Helicap facilitates loans to business owners and individuals who are unable to access loans provided by traditional financial institutions like banks.

The company partners with over 300 platforms — microfinanciers, p2p crowdfunding platforms and SMEs — allowing it to gather a trove of credit data. This data is then used by institutional investors, family offices, and high-net-worth individuals to make investment decisions.

Helicap claims it can provide over 10 per cent income returns on diversified prime private debt assets.

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The company is tackling a huge market in Southeast Asia: up to 73 per cent of the 630 million people in the region do not possess a bank account, according to a World Bank’s Global Financial Development Report. Many of these unbanked folks can be found in developing markets like Indonesia and the Philippines.

This has led to the blooming of an interest rate environment where double-digit rates (comprising net of defaults and provisioning losses) can be attained (which is great for investors).

“[Helicap] is able to provide investors with expert information and superior risk-adjusted returns,” said Willson Cuaca, Managing Partner of East Ventures, in an official press statement.

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Since its deployment last year Helicap has grown its loan book by over 50 per cent month-on-month. The firm has also since deployed funding to over 100,000 end consumers and small businesses through originators based in Singapore, Indonesia and Cambodia.

Helicap is also working with fund managers and family offices and expects to raise more capital in the next 12 months, which will be directly deployed into more originators every month.

The company expects its curated pipeline to grow to US$200 million by the end of 2018.

In May this year, Helicap raised US$1.5 million in a seed funding round led by the country’s former Minister of State for Manpower Teo Ser Luck.

Image Credit: Helicap