Singapore-based CoAssets is making crowdfunding more mainstream. It’s not just doing this in its own market, but also across the region. A fresh listing in Australia helped put a spotlight on this alternative way of investment. Now the firm is focusing on crowdfunding in ASEAN.
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”. This represents the first public listing for a platform for real estate crowdfunding in ASEAN.
The company’s financial accounts were audited twice by Singaporean and Australian third-parties before it was listed.
CoAssets was launched back in 2013 and has raised more than SG$36 million ($26 million) since then. It’s had over 15 residential and commercial projects in Asia with returns on investment between 6% and 17% on average. The minimum investment required is as little as SG$1000.
Crowdfunding in ASEAN Still Not Widespread
Crowdfunding has gained popularity in the US and UK with companies such as RealCrowd and FundRise. However, crowdfuding in ASEAN is a less common method of investment. 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. 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. They planning on growing in Australia throughout 2015.
Goh believes that Singapore is transparent as a market but too small for the platform to really take off. The expansion in Australia will face stiffer competition, but 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.
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