1. Startups

Investree Thailand Obtains License, Optimizing SME's Market Growth in Southeast Asia

The license is granted as of February 23, 2021, intensive collaboration with local companies

The p2p lending startup Investree announced its expansion to Thailand after successfully obtaining a license from the Securities and Exchange Commission of Thailand (SEC) as of February 23, 2021. Investree Thailand will focus on providing more SMEs (underserved) with institutional financing access by connecting them with investors through the marketplace platforms.

Investree Thailand's Co-Founder Worakorn Sirijinda said, “We are very grateful for the approval and support from the SEC. This is the first step for Investree to provide innovative financing and service solutions for Thai SMEs that we hope will be able to contribute to the country's economic recovery in a challenging situation like today."

In Thailand and the Philippines, regulation is a bigger challenge due to distance constraints and limited knowledge and relations with the current regulators. In addition to the presence of a pandemic that has slowed down movement around the world, the crowdfunding permit process has been delayed for a while.

In addition, different situations and cultures in each country are quite a challenge in introducing new ideas of crowdfunding to the public. Therefore, to accelerate knowledge about the market and ecosystem, Investree focuses on collaborating with local partners.

Several well-known companies have collaborated, including Pantavanij, Thailand's leading e-procurement platform, and B2B marketplace, 2C2P payment gateway provider, and FlowAccount, a provider of online billing and accounting solution software for small businesses, entrepreneurs, and freelancers.

Through this collaboration, Investree Thailand created several innovations. Together with Pantavanij, Investree provides supply chain financing to sellers and suppliers registered in the e-procurement system. Together with 2C2P, Investree utilizes technology and data to provide working capital financing facilities for 2C2P merchants. Still in line, Investree is also collaborating with FlowAccount to provide financing solutions for MSMEs on its platform.

Investree Thailand presents 2 (two) products, Bullet Payment Security and Installment Payment Security which have similarities with Invoice Financing and Working Capital Term Loan (WCTL) offered in Indonesia and the Philippines. For these two financing products, Investree offers various benefits for SMEs: interest rates based on a modern credit scoring model, fast funding, and transparent terms and fees.

"In our opinion, this partnership really helps Investree in channeling loans that focus more with measurable risks, therefore, they can maintain the stability of the Investree lending and borrowing business while exploring more collaboration opportunities with actors in other ecosystems," Adrian said.

SME Market in Southeast Asia

Based on a study by the Asian Development Bank entitled "Asia Small and Medium-Sized Enterprise Monitor 2020", MSMEs account for an average of 97% of all types/scales of enterprises, 69% of the total workforce, and 41% of the country's gross domestic product (GDP) during 2010-2019. The Covid-19 pandemic in 2020 exacerbated the increasing global trade tension and economic uncertainty in the region. In many ways, MSMEs are the key to economic recovery in developing Asian countries.

Indonesia is a country in Southeast Asia with the largest number of MSMEs in the region with 64 million, followed by Thailand with 3.5 million and the Philippines with 1.2 million MSME units.

MSMEs are a major and important force to drive the Southeast Asian economy. This is 97 percent of the business world and absorbed 97 percent of the national workforce in the 2010 to 2019 period. MSMEs also contributed an average of 41 percent of the GDP of each country in the same period.

However, there are many business players still having difficulty with financial access. Many of them are deemed ineligible to borrow from a bank and do not have a credit history.

Fintech can make it easier for MSMEs to optimize the effectiveness and efficiency of business operations, also for MSMEs without sufficient requirements to access bank financing for working capital financing. Some of the players that offer similar solutions include KoinWorks, my capital, and Amartha.

Previously, in 2019, Investree was available in Vietnam under the name eLoan, after which it continued to expand to the Philippines by partnering with the conglomerate company Filinvest Development Corporation (FDC) earlier this year. To date, Investree has successfully obtained a license to operate in 4 countries including Indonesia.

-Original article is in Indonesian, translated by Kristin Siagian

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