Singapore FinTech firm Validus and global bank Citibank N.A. (Citi) announced Wednesday the establishment of a $100 million securitisation facility, collateralised by small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) loans originated by Validus in Singapore.

Validus said in a statement this collaboration between a large global bank and a fintech is the first-of-its-kind in Southeast Asia in terms of deal and structure and was launched in early second quarter this year.

The facility is also supported by First Plus Asset Management Pte. Ltd. (First Plus), a Singapore-based multi-asset investment manager focused on Asia structured credit and equities, it said.

Since the facility was established in the second quarter, Validus doubled its borrower base in Singapore and grew its loan book by 60 percent across the group over the same time period. This tracks similarly stellar growth across Validus Group, which has grown its monthly volumes by over 8x and tripled its loan book over the last 24 months.

“This collaboration with Citi underscores the quality of our origination, credit portfolio management, strength and resilience of our business, in today’s market environment,

“With this evolution in our financing strategy, as well as the support of Citi as an established player in the asset-backed securities space, we are now even better positioned to support the growth of SMEs with accessible and effortless business finance,” said Milena Naitoh, Head of Corporate Development at Validus.

As Validus continues to extend its position as a leading all-in-one SME finance platform in Southeast Asia, she said that this securitised lending structure, together with a diversified financing and product strategy, will enable the group to grow at a much greater scale.

“We are honoured that Citi has chosen to collaborate with us on this landmark securitised lending transaction with a fintech start-up in Southeast Asia, and we are looking at replicating this transaction playbook across other markets,” she added.

Founded in 2015 to address the unmet financing needs of SMEs, Validus is Southeast Asia’s leading SME growth financing platform. In 2022, the firm has expanded beyond lending solutions to become ASEAN’s first SME-focused, full-suite financial services provider, with an offering that includes business account, corporate cards, payments and expense management.

The firm which is growing rapidly across its four markets – Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam, uses alternative data and AI-driven data analytics to drive growth financing to the underserved SME sector via funds from individual and institutional investors.

It holds a capital markets services license by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and is also licensed by Otoritas Jasa Keuangan (OJK) in Indonesia and Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in Thailand.

“We are thrilled to be part of the transaction, which has established a gold standard for non-recourse asset based financing for Southeast Asia, and to be able to support Validus on their next phase of growth,” said Lei Tie, Co-Founder and Head of Structured Credit at First Plus.

Validus is currently raising its Series C equity round for an undisclosed amount. The combination of the securitisation facility and Series C equity funding will further drive its expansion plans as it starts to introduce its digital business account product and related services in other Southeast Asia markets.

Its proprietary algorithmic credit models and uniquely aggregated alternative underwriting data has driven reliable historical performance in origination, underwriting and collections.

Since its launch in 2015, it has disbursed over $1.6 billion across more than 65,000 loans to small businesses in Singapore, Vietnam, Indonesia and Thailand.

The company is backed by highly reputed VCs including FMO, Vertex Growth, Vertex Ventures Southeast Asia and India, AddVentures by SCG, K3 Ventures, Openspace Ventures and VinaCapital Ventures.

Singapore FinTech firm Validus acquires CitiBusiness loan portfolio in Singapore