Validus, the Singapore-based financing platform, has on Friday announced that it has secured its first tranche of funds in a Series C-1 round with new, key strategic investors NongHyup Financial Group, NorinChukin Bank, Aizawa Asset Management and Lotte F&L Singapore.

Validus’ early investors – Vertex SEA and India, Vertex Growth Fund, FMO and VinaCapital Ventures – from previous fundraising rounds were also amongst the investors participating in this Series C-1 up-round, signaling continued confidence in the company’s results, growth trajectory and expansion plans, Validus said in a statement.

“Against the backdrop of a challenging macroeconomic and fundraising environment, Validus has continued to deliver quality growth, and we’re seeing positive upward trends across all key performance metrics – loan book size, revenue and profitability – even as we keep a tight lid on operating expenses,” Validus Co-Founder and Group Chief Executive Officer Nikhilesh Goel said.

“As a group, we have proven that we have a clear path to profitability, and we’re on track to breakeven by 2024, with individual markets progressively achieving this milestone,

“We’re heartened to have the support of our new and existing investors, and the new funds will be directed towards further product and services development, with a focus on enabling small businesses with faster and more convenient digital financing solutions,” he added.

Validus has recently launched its no-fee, all-in-one business account for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and startups in Singapore.

The firm has seen promising traction and expects to onboard more than 1,000 customers and process more than SGD$30 million ($22.14 million) in monthly transaction volume by the end of December 2022.

According to the statement, Validus Group has grown its monthly loan volumes by over 5 times and its loan book by 3.5 times in the last 24 months.

The firm has disbursed over $2 billion in loans across Singapore, Vietnam, Indonesia and Thailand, and is on track to achieve profitability by 2024.

Its largest market, Indonesia, where it operates under the Batumbu brand, is already profitable, becoming the first SME crowdfunding platform to achieve this milestone in the market to date.

“We’re building on our strong foothold in SME lending, and our leading position as a credit-led, one-stop financing solutions provider for SMEs is paying off,” said Validus Co-founder and Executive Chairman Vikas Nahata.

“We are seeing strong traction on our business account with existing and new customers. Customers have given us good feedback on the simplicity of use and speed, and this is evidenced by the fact that we’re seeing extremely healthy growth in gross transaction value (GTV) within only a few weeks of our soft launch in August 2022,

“A clear executable vision within chosen target segments, strong team morale, and a simple yet efficient working capital solution for the underserved SMEs has helped us emerge stronger than ever,” he added.

Kijung Kwon, Managing Director at NH Absolute Return Partners, said the firm likes Validus’ unique business model as an SME lending platform since they have been creating value to SMEs that are playing in the supply chains of the conglomerates and public companies in the region.

“Validus has been successfully showing sequential loan growth as well as soundness of loan portfolio which is not easy to achieve,

“Our group anticipates the potential opportunities for cooperation in the lending business in Southeast Asia,” he added.

Hiroki Kawabata, Senior Manager, Digital Innovation Division, NorinChukin Bank, said Validus has been in the forefront of providing full-fledged digital financing service to underserved SMEs in Southeast Asia, enabling better access to capital and financial solutions, and driving financial inclusion across the region.

“We are thrilled to announce our investment in Validus and excited to work with the strong team and embark on our collaboration going forward,” he added.

Genping Liu, Partner, Vertex Ventures SEA and India, said the SMEs in Southeast Asia form the backbone of the economy, yet business owners constantly face critical issues such as a lack of access to credit and liquidity issues.

“Validus has been leading the push for financial inclusion in the region by providing much-needed financing relief to SMEs, such as collateral-free financing options and liquidity through access to a pool of investors,” he said.

As one of Validus’ earliest backers, he said the firm has witnessed impressive growth and innovation from the team, including multiple strategic partnerships to expand their offerings.

“We are proud to be able to support Validus in their mission to be a key driver for SME growth in the region,” he added.

Validus also announced the appointment of Vishal Shah as Group Chief Operating Officer. Vishal joined Validus in January 2022 as President of Emerging Markets.

In his new capacity as Group Chief Operating Officer, his expanded responsibilities include the group’s business performance, as well as product and innovation, risk and data and analytics.

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