DigiFT, a Singapore-based decentralized digital asset exchange (DEX) for asset-backed tokens (STO), has on Tuesday announced that it has completed a Pre-Series A funding round, securing $10.5 million.

The investment round was led by Shanda Group, a global privately-owned investment group founded by Chinese online entertainment pioneer Tianqiao Chen and family in 1999, DigiFT said in a statement.

Other investors including HashKey Capital, a multi-stage global venture capital firm investing in visionary blockchain founders, Hash Global, a Web3 venture capital firm with offices in Singapore and Shanghai, Xin Enterprise Pte. Ltd., a Singapore investment firm wholly owned by Liang Xinjun, co-founder of Fosun Group, and North Beta Capital, an eco-building capital in the digital technology industry took part in the funding as well.

According to the statement, the new funds will be used to support license applications in Asia, the Middle East and Europe, go-to-market plans, technology development as well as to expand the company’s innovation capabilities.

Plans for new hires are also in the pipeline with the injection of the fresh funds to support the growth of the exchange.

On that aspect, DigiFT will look to bring onboard experienced hires that understand traditional finance as well as Web3.

These talents can be based either in Singapore or in regions that DigiFT is looking to expand into.

“We are encouraged by investors’ confidence in our vision to be a regulated DeFi exchange. The industry has been through a tough time in the past year,” said Henry Zhang, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of DigiFT.

According to him, this fundraise is a testament that this industry has huge potential if the gap between traditional finance and Web3 can be bridged.

“It gives us the arsenal to transform the industry and we are excited to see where the journey takes us. As a key international financial hub, Singapore boasts a robust legal framework and government support for tokenization with blockchain technology,

“We look forward to further working with regulatory bodies to steer our industry in the right direction,” he added.

DigiFT was founded in 2020 by Henry Zhang, formerly Greater China Chief Executive Officer of East West Bank, deputy China Chief Executive Officer of Citibank and Standard Chartered Bank, and is helmed by a leadership team who has extensive experience in financial institutions and fintechs.

With a vision to bridge the gap between centralized and decentralized finance, DigiFT is the first and only DEX enrolled in the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) FinTech Regulatory Sandbox.

It aims to provide regulated decentralized finance solutions on the Ethereum public blockchain offering, an Automatic Market Making (AMM) mechanism that facilitates secondary trading liquidity for security tokens backed by financial assets such as bonds and equities.

Asset owners can issue blockchain-based security tokens efficiently and cost-effectively.

Investors are also able to trade with continuous liquidity via the AMM mechanism and retain control over digital assets in their own wallets.

“DigiFT’s appeal is their leadership team’s ability to understand the gaps within the DeFi industry, and how they effectively combined their extensive backgrounds in traditional financial institutions with a deep knowledge of Web3 financial services,

“They convinced us that they will not only be market leaders, but the market standard for the DeFi industry,” said Tianqiao Chen, Founder, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Shanda Group.

Shanda Group’s business is segmented into four business units – private equity (venture capital) investments, public market investments, real estate, and natural resources.

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