Crowdo co-founders Nicola Castelnuovo and Leo Shimada (R)

Crowdo, a Singapore-headquartered neobank for SMEs, has attracted S$8 million (~US$5.9 million) in pre-Series B investment in convertible notes.

The financing was co-led by existing shareholders Gobi Partners and iVest Capital (a Southeast Asia-focused family office), alongside SEEDS Capital (the investment arm of Enterprise Singapore).

Along with this, Crowdo has also bagged debt financing from Singapore-based Impact Investment Exchange (IIX) through its WLB4Climate, the fourth issuance in its innovative Women’s Livelihood Bond Series.

The fresh capital injection will enable Crowdo to expand its ESG (environmental, social and governance)-driven financing products for underserved SMEs. It will launch a new ESG financing product this month targeting women-led enterprises with a plan to disburse up to S$16 million (US$11.8 million) during 2022 alone.

“One of our flagship products will deliver up to US$50 million in financing to women-led businesses and companies over the next few years to promote gender equality and increase women’s access to financing,” said Crowdo CEO and Co-Founder Leo Shimada.

Also read: How debt financing, crypto, SPACs keep the climate-tech funding momentum in SEA

Founded in 2017 by Shimada and Nicola Castelnuovo, Crowdo offers two online platforms to digitise SMEs’ operations to boost productivity and understand and access financing and banking products.

“Crowdo is already catering to under-served SMEs in emerging markets and wants to boost our social impact with specially-tailored financing products with ESG impact in mind,” added Shimada.

So far, Crowdo claims to have disbursed over S$100 million (~US$73.8 million) in financing since its S$1.4 million Series A round. The startup said it recorded a 5x monthly revenue growth rate during 2021.

Crowdo is licensed by the Otoritas Jasa Keuangan (OJK) for digital lending in Indonesia and registered with the Securities Commission Malaysia.

In Malaysia, where Crowdo offers equity financing to high-growth startups, it closed in 2021 after having facilitated close to S$10 million (US$7.4 million) in equity investments.

In Indonesia, it has formed multiple alliances with digital banks, multi-finance institutions and conventional banks, offering its tech-driven acquisition and onboarding infrastructure and artificial intelligence-driven credit assessment technology for SME funding.

Also read: The journey ahead: Singapore startup ecosystem becoming Asia’s Silicon Valley

Crowdo boasts of achieving group profitability since mid-2020.

According to a McKinsey report, the share of consumers in Asia–Pacific emerging markets actively using digital banking increased sharply from 54 per cent in 2017 to 88 per cent in 2021. Meanwhile, the digital adoption rates among consumers in developed Asia–Pacific markets have remained stable at approximately 90 per cent.


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Image Credit: Crowdo

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