Singapore-based CoAssets is making crowdfunding as an investment more mainstream not only in its own market, but across the region and after a fresh listing in Australia, the company has put a spotlight on this alternative way of investment.
CoAssets is a crowdfunding platform that matches property deals with investors, whether it would be mezzanine loans to developers or equity in physical property.
The company started trading on the National Exchange of Australia (NSSX) under the symbol “CAX” last Wednesday, representing the first public listing for a platform for real estate crowdfunding in ASEAN.
The financial accounts of the company were audited twice by Singaporean and Australian third-party auditors before it was listed.
CoAssets was launched back in 2013 and has raised more than SG$36 million ($26 million) since then. It has conducted more than 15 residential and commercial projects in Asia with returns on investment between 6 to 17% on average. The minimum investment required is as little as SG$1000.
While crowdfunding has gained popularity in the US and UK with companies such as RealCrowd and FundRise, it still remains a less common as an investment tool in ASEAN. The co-founder and CEO, Getty Goh, told CNBC that he acknowledges that a lot of people still prefer traditional funding sources such as bank loans, and this new way of investing raises concerns about its risks.
“There were several considerations, but fundamentally, we were going for credibility” said Getty Goh. “In light of the property scams, we recognize that there is a lot of apprehension when it comes to crowdfunding so we want to get it right by getting ourselves listed and show that we are credible,” he added.
CoAssets expects the listing will enable them to gain more receptivity from developers, investors and governments in this part of the world and is planning on growing in Australia throughout 2015.
Goh believes that Singapore is transparent as a market but is too small for the platform to really take off. Although the expansion in Australia will face stiffer competition, Goh is confident about Cossets’ winning edge.
“We’ve been up and running for the past 2 years and have raised more than $36 million for our crowdfunding deals, but our competitors are still mostly in the start-up phase. We are at a different stage of growth now.”
Goh also expects his company to expand into Malaysia and Indonesia in the near future.
“We are optimistic on Australia and Asia [because] without a doubt, this model works in this region. Our next project is to harmonize these markets in light of the ASEAN integration, which is exciting,” said Goh, talking about the establishment of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) planned to happen by the end of 2015.