HSBC Singapore has launched a US$200 million (S$270 million) fund to support high-growth tech companies in the Republic to expand in Southeast Asia and globally on November 11.
Car marketplace Carro known as a home-grown unicorn, or a start-up valued at US$1 billion or more which is among the bank’s first clients to tap the fund.
The fund will mainly back up enterprises tapping opportunities within the ASEAN region’s growing digital economy – in areas such as e-commerce, artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics, fintech and payment platforms, disruptive telecommunications, as well as ride-hailing, and transport.
Also, it will provide loans to companies because strategic investors have given funding, including venture capital or private equity firms, and passed the proof-of-concept phase.
HSBC Singapore’s head of commercial banking, named Ms. Regina Lee, said the Republic has a vibrant tech culture with firms seeking to fill digital gaps among consumers and businesses.
“To succeed, these businesses need to scale up quickly, often including for customer reach, employees, and data capabilities. The fund aims to provide this specialized finance to support the next generation of growth companies in Southeast Asia,” she added.
Carro’s chief financial officer Ernest Chew said: “Covid-19 has accelerated e-commerce, and so we must keep investing to ensure the online experience is more enriching than the in-person buying experience.”
The company was founded in 2015 and has since raised more than US$400 million in equity.
“HSBC’s fund has provided us with capital in addition to our existing equity, enabling us to better serve the underserved used car segment with AI and tech,” he added.
Moreover, HSBC will allow nominated clients to access its full range of banking services in areas such as cross-border cash management, foreign exchange, and private and public capital markets.
These solutions are usually available to “higher revenue-generating firms,” said the bank, adding that it will also help connect companies with peers and industry leaders through events.