Southeast Asia’s largest SME digital financing platform Funding Societies announced on Thursday it has raised $18 million in debt led by a trio syndicate of financial institutions including Helicap Investments, the newly launched Social Impact Debt Fund, and a Japanese financial services group.

Helicap Securities acted as the sole mandated lead arranger on the secured credit facility, Funding Societies said in a statement.

Together with funding received from European impact investors such as Triodos Investment Management for Indonesian business loans, Funding Societies said it is on track to raise $120 million in institutional debt for funding the growth needs of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in Southeast Asia.

This funding round also expands the platform’s institutional lender base, which it has secured after passing financial and risk due diligence conducted by the lenders. Funding Societies said it will place the funds for lending to deserving MSMEs, propelling its mission of enabling financial inclusion in the region.

Established in 2015, Funding Societies provides micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) with business financing, which is funded largely by institutional lenders and retail investors. It said it harnesses the power of technology to give underserved yet creditworthy MSMEs financial access through its digital platform.

In Southeast Asia, MSMEs contribute to more than 50 percent of each ASEAN Member State’s gross domestic product (GDP), but because many lack a strong credit track record or collateral, they are often rejected for business loans by traditional financial institutions. Funding Societies said it enables access to finance by using alternative data points including but not limited to the MSME’s cash flow–its ability to repay the loan–to underwrite these loans.

Helicap is a Singapore-based alternative lending firm that provides private debt investments to a wide network of accredited investors, including family offices, high net worth individuals, impact funds, and institutional investors. The FinTech firm joined the round through its investments arm, Helicap Investments, after the deal was arranged by its securities arm, Helicap Securities.

The Social Impact Debt Fund is an impact investment fund managed by Taurus Wealth Advisors and advised by GreenArc Capital.

The Japanese financial services group that also participated in the fundraising round has renewed its commitment to impact-focused FinTech lenders in Southeast Asia and has a track record of driving the adoption of financial services in emerging markets to facilitate the long-term growth of its portfolio companies.

This syndicated facility of $18 million is expected to increase further with interest from investors across Asia and Europe, Funding Societies added.

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