Crowdfunding Platform and Professional CFOs join hands to support SMEs

Partnership is first of its kind between leading fintech player and network of CFOs in the region.

SINGAPORE, March 6, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Channelling $300,000 to a SME in need of funds this year marked the first effort in Funding Societies and the CFO Centre's partnership to address two major problems that small and medium enterprises commonly face - cashflow constraints and financial management. The CFO Centre offers on-demand financial consultancy services to SMEs by seasoned Chief Financial Officers (CFO), while Funding Societies addresses their capital constraints through crowdfunding of business loans. The collaboration will work towards improving accounting, working capital management and thereby growth prospects for small businesses who lack such resources.

Funding Societies and the CFO Centre's partnership aims to address the cashflow constraint and financial management problems faced by SMEs.
Funding Societies and the CFO Centre's partnership aims to address the cashflow constraint and financial management problems faced by SMEs.

According to a joint study by SPRING and PwC Singapore, cash flow management has consistently surfaced as a notable challenge for SMEs. Yet effective working capital and cash flow management are crucial to the survival and growth of any business. Without running or sustainable cash flow, a company cannot maintain operations or invest in business development.

The demand for part-time CFO services amongst Singapore SMEs is also on the rise. The CFO Centre reported a revenue growth of close to 30 times from 2013 to 2016. The CFO Centre's part-time CFOs advise SMEs on best financial management practices, from fixing cash flow issues to establishing an efficient accounting process.

Steve Settle, Regional Director - Asia at the CFO Centre, said, "The CFO Centre is a global network of seasoned CFOs offering their extensive experience to help small and mid-size businesses grow profitably and scale up in a sustainable manner. Their work is undertaken as required, with no fixed term contracts (minimizing commitment and exposure), enabling clients access to a valuable resource at a fraction of the cost of a full time CFO. One of the common themes we found in SMEs is poor cashflow management. Clients have the knowledge and the desire to grow but lack funding. Through this partnership with Funding Societies, we have added more value for our clients by being able to direct those who need financing to a source of SME financing."

Funding Societies provides business financing to underserved SMEs for their working capital and expansion needs. Its digital financing platform facilitates SME lending from retail and institutional investors. SMEs can apply for loans ranging from SGD 5,000 to SGD 1.5 million through a simple online process with fast approval. Many of Funding Societies' funded SMEs do not receive sufficient support from traditional financing options.

In the inaugural ASEAN SME Transformation Survey prepared by Ernst & Young, United Overseas Bank and Dun & Bradstreet, 37% of SMEs surveyed want deeper engagement with their financial services providers, and 58% want to be referred for alternative financing.

Kelvin Teo, Co-Founder and CEO of Funding Societies, said, "We believe in serving SMEs. Our partnership with the CFO Centre creates a more holistic financial support system for underserved SMEs. The professional financial guidance that SMEs can get from the CFO Centre increases their ability to not only secure financing, but also repay and grow with Funding Societies."

Roland Lim is the Executive Director of a medium sized engineering company, and a client of both the CFO Centre and Funding Societies.

"Although we have been operating for more than 20 years, we started to take on larger projects last year. None of us understand the details of financial management and the CFO Centre not only helped us to manage our financials but also strategized our growth from new angles." Lim added, "When we required funding for an extraordinarily large project, our CFO helped to arrange for project financing through Funding Societies, and we achieved a 250% increase in revenue within 3 months. This would not have been possible without the help from the CFO Centre and financial support from Funding Societies."

In January 2018, Funding Societies surpassed the SGD 100 million mark in total crowdfunded SME loans across Singapore, Indonesia, and Malaysia. Funding Societies has been recognized locally and globally since its inception in 2015. It was the recipient of the inaugural FinTech Award by Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS). In September 2017, its Indonesian entity, Modalku, became the first and only Asian startup to win the Global SME Excellence Award from United Nations' ITU Telecom. Funding Societies was also included in CB Insights' Fintech 250, a select list of the top FinTech companies around the world working on groundbreaking financial technology. The recognition highlights Funding Societies' positive impact of financial technology on society.

About Funding Societies

Founded in early 2015 in Singapore, Funding Societies is a licensed digital financing platform that enables small and medium-sized enterprises ("SMEs") to secure business loans from retail and institutional investors. It has achieved numerous milestones in a short time, including a SGD 10 million Series A funding round led by Sequoia Capital and expansion into Indonesia and Malaysia. Funding Societies is one of the largest digital financing platforms in Southeast Asia, with the vision of funding underserved SMEs and improving societies.

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For further information, please contact:

Vikas Jain
Sr Director -- Marketing & CX
Funding Societies
(65) 62210958

About The CFO Centre

The CFO Centre Singapore is part of a global network with 70 offices and close to 400 CFOs. It provides part-time CFOs to entrepreneurial and owner managed businesses, typically with turnover between $5m and $100m, who don't want, don't need or can't afford a full-time CFO but recognize they need the skill set on an ongoing basis or for particular situations as they arise. The CFO Centre's aim is to make a real difference for these clients and their businesses by specifically helping them make more money and generate more time to do the things they love and are good at. This lowers the risk within the business providing clients with greater peace of mind.

For further information, please contact:
The CFO Centre Singapore
(65) 9776 0969

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