Crowdfunding platforms for startups have been lacking in this part of the world - there's no version of StartupValley
or Startup Stock Exchange
in Asia, for example.
Until this month. Shanghai, China-based SeedAsia
was officially launched in mid May as Asia's first online equity funding platform for Asia-based technology startups. Designed to be as much informational as it is a financial one, like many of the U.S.-based startup crowdfunding platforms SeedAsia
aims to help matchmake quality startups in China and Southeast Asia seeking funding with qualified, accredited investors.
The platform pre-screens all startups before putting them on the site, while investors are also picked - generally, a qualified investor is a high net-worth individual who net assets exceed a threshold amount set by the securities laws in the countries they're based in i.e. meets the financial and legal requirements in Singapore's Securities and Futures Act.
differs from the likes of AngelList
as it does not charge startups to organize the investment vehicle - in fact it does not charge startups to be listed at all. Instead SeedAsia
takes from a participating investor a 5 percent "administration fee" and another 5 percent "distribution fee" to participate in an investment round. Minimum investment sum per participation is $2,000.
"We envision SeedAsia
as a thoroughly mainstream investment platform for high technology startup companies based in Asia", says SeedAsia
co-founder Tom Russell. "We believe Asia is the place to be, the focus of energy and activity is here in Asia. We want to provide support and be an integral part of building this new era of innovation in Asia."
While Asia is home to many burgeoning and fast-developing entrepreneurial ecosystems, much of the space is still disorganized and lacking transparency, adds fellow co-founder Yelena Sedykh. "There is no easy way for investors to find and screen interesting companies," Sedykh explains. "SeedAsia
offers this unique value to investors: first, access to information about great startups through its online platform, and second, the ability to invest efficiently using standardized transactional forms."
"The work done by our team gives investors from most countries easy access to Asian startups that only a very few here even in Asia would have."
Daniel Goh is the founder and chief editor of Young | Upstarts, as well as an F&B entrepreneur. Daniel has a background in public relations, and is interested in issues in entrepreneurship, small business, marketing, public relations and the online space. He can be reached at daniel [at] youngupstarts [dot] com.