by LYDIA NATHAN / Pic By AFIF ABD HALIM
Malaysian-founded regional peer-to-peer (P2P) financing platform Funding Societies has partnered local-based private-equity (PE) firm Senturia Capital, marking the country’s first of its kind venture to expand alternatives to financing access and capital solutions in the country.
The Securities Commission of Malaysia (SC) noted the Malaysian small and medium-enterprise (SME) sector has a financing gap of more than RM80 billion to date, where the banking sector is still the main source of financing.
In a statement released, the joint venture (JV) said market based financing, including equity crowdfunding (ECF) and P2P financing, may provide alternative solutions to address the financing needs of Malaysian SMEs.
Senturia managing partner Datuk Marco Yap said the partnership can be a strategic solution in identifying the need for alternative forms of funding to businesses that need them.
“Alternative channels for business financing, from PE, venture capital, ECF, debt crowdfunding, and especially P2P financing, can be better choices for various businesses. Given the rise of alternative channels for business financing driven by the SC, and considering recent challenges in our macroeconomic environment where businesses are finding it increasingly difficult to get access to financing from traditional avenues, this partnership is more relevant than ever,” he said.
Senturia recently announced a RM300 million strategic capital fund to provide flexible and medium-term alternative capital to various businesses tar- geting Malaysia, Singapore, China and Australia.
Funding Societies Malaysia CEO Wong Kah Meng said the group is primarily focused on providing smaller financing amounts with shorter tenures to SMEs and the partnership will be able to serve a greater variety of businesses, especially those that require larger and more complex financing structure.
“On a larger scale, the partnership will also drive greater awareness among businesses and the retail public on legitimate alternative financing and investment options in the Malaysian market,” he said.
He added that the retail public will be able to invest and diversify across a greater variety of SMEs and through the platform, investors can invest in creditworthy SMEs from as
low as RM100.