CoAssets - the real estate crowdfunder from Singapore - has announced that it is listing on the National Stock Exchange of Australia. The move will bring CoAssets into a small group - including American giants LendingClub and OnDeck - of publicly traded alternative finance platforms.
CoAssets markets itself as “a business networking and educational platform for real estate and crowdfunding enthusiasts”, “comparable to property listing portals”. The platform does, however, also offer crowdfunding and “business P2P” options, offering deals in a diverse property portfolio from Asia, Australia, the UK and the US. The company claims to have a membership of over 11,000 of developers, agents and property owners. Whilst it is focused on real estate, the company - founded by Seh Huan Kiat and Getty Goh - is looking to expand its non-real estate P2B offering, with short term loans in excess of $100,000.
The co-founders say that the listing will help CoAssets grow into other nations in the region. Seh - who is also CTO - remarked:
"We are looking to grow our presence in Malaysia. We also have several potential partnership deals with companies in China and Indonesia. These are exciting markets to enter due to their large populations."
It appears that Malaysia's move to introduce regulation to the crowdfunding market is already paying dividends.
It may seem peculiar that CoAssets is listed in Australia, when founded in Singapore. Co-founder Goh, however, explained:
"The NSX listing boosts our plans to internationalise CoAssets. Listing on the Australian board also further supports our outreach to crowdfunders by providing us with more exposure to the market. The Australia property market has performed very well over many years now and crowdfunding for real estate is new in Australia."
"While Singapore has a good start-up ecosystem, more support is needed for certain growth stage companies. With the limited market size here...in comparison, the Australia stock market and investors are more receptive of technology businesses."
Perhaps the decision was aided by NSX’s focus on SMEs. NSX markets itself as “the market of choice for SME and growth style Australian and International companies” with advantages of “Simple rules”, “appropriate listing criteria”, “low costs”, “multiple listing options”, extensive adviser community” and being “customer focused”. Furthermore, 80% of all new listings on NSX are foreign firms. CoAssets should feel right at home.
AltFi has, recently, provided much coverage on the emergence and potential of the Australian market. CoAssets’ move, and Goh's comments, provide further indication that the Australian market is to become a powerhouse of Asian crowdfunding. This emerging market has seen, however, greater calls for regulation – spurred on by a lack of transparency. Goh cites CoAssets overseas listing as the ideal counter to this:
"Our financial accounts are audited twice - in Singapore as well as in Australia, by two separate auditors. By subjecting ourselves to rigorous third party assessments, it demonstrates that we conduct our business with a high level of transparency"
"Stakeholders' confidence is important for our business. The NSX regulatory obligations - two year trading track record, minimum market capitalisation of A$500,000 and a Nominated Advisor - are measures of our accountability to our customers and investors."
With CoAssets also listing its first real estate crowdfund in Singapore in July - with a developer looking to raise $500,000 of a $30 million total through CoAssets - this is a fascinating time on all fronts for the crowdfunder. The Asian market is far less developed than that of Europe or the US. As the market develops, CoAssets seems well placed to carve out a sizeable market share.