SINGAPORE – HSBC Singapore on Thursday (Nov 11) launched a US$200 million (S$270 million) fund to lend support to high-growth tech companies in the Republic to expand in South-east Asia and globally.
Car marketplace Carro – a home-grown unicorn, or a start-up valued at US$1 billion or more – 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.
It will provide loans to companies that have already received funding from strategic investors, including venture capital or private equity firms, and passed the proof-of-concept phase.
Ms Regina Lee, HSBC Singapore’s head of commercial banking, 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 specialised finance to support the next generation of growth companies in South-east 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.
HSBC will allow nominated clients to access its full range of banking services, in areas such as cross-border cash management, foreign exchange as well as private and public capital markets.
These solutions are usually available to “higher revenue generating firms”, said the bank, adding that it will also help to connect companies with peers and industry leaders through events.