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CoAssets Completes First Crowdfunding Project for Australian SME

Southeast Asia's first publicly-listed crowdfunding platform CoAssets has announced the successful closing of its first Australian small-to-medium enterprise crowdfunding project, according to the Australian Financial Review. The company raised $105,000 from online investors for Stapleton International – an engineering and construction consultancy firm in Australia, requiring funding for an oil and gas project.

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Founded in 2013, CoAssets is a real-estate crowdfunding platform based in Singapore. The online company aims to connect real estate developers and fundraisers to local and international investors, and markets itself as “a business networking and educational platform for real estate and crowdfunding enthusiasts”. CoAssets was the first Southeast Asian crowdfunding platform to be listed on the National Stock Exchange of Australia, last July.

CoAssets Chief Executive Getty Goh said to the Australian Financial Review:

“Requiring alternative funding to service a major oil and gas project, Stapleton found it faster to raise it online than to go through traditional banks.”

"Stapleton struggled to get the money they needed ... traditional financiers got cumbersome. We add value to small-medium businesses because market conditions have become more challenging for them. Crowdfunding is key."

CoAssets focuses on providing small and medium enterprises with funding for their real estate projects not only in Singapore, but also in other parts of Asia and in Australia. The platform believes that crowdfunding is crucial for SMEs, as the amount of money that they need to raise is generally too much for friends and family, but too low for traditional financial institutions.

"$100,000 to $2 million is too big for friends and family and too small for institutional lenders. So crowdfunding allows them (SMEs) to use technology to get a better outcome," added Mr Goh. "Rather than going deep, we prefer going wide,"

Australia is surely an attractive market for Southeast Asian platforms to target. The region boasts the second largest alternative finance market share within the Asia-Pacific region (excluding China), according to a recent Cambridge report. The Australian real estate crowdfunding space – which is comprised of four main players (PropertyShare, CrowdfundUP, BrickRaise and EstateBaron) – is booming and is likely to offer interesting opportunities in the foreseeable future. Between 2014 and 2015, total transaction volumes rose almost 1,597% – passing from $0.45m to $7.64m, according to the Cambridge study. A gap in the market has clearly been spotted.

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