VentureCrowd raises $3.5m for Southeast Asia JV

VentureCrowd raises $3.5m for Southeast Asia JV

VentureCrowd's team that will cover South East Asia (L-R): Aaron Rumer (VC), Bruce Musick (VC and LightWorks), Steve Maarbani (VC), Jason Kennewell (VC), Darien Tan (LightWorks), Rebekah Blake (VC), Candice Taylor (VC), Darren Tasker (VC), and Diego Mogollon (VC).

After facilitating the investment of $290 million worth of capital into alternative assets over the past decade, digital platform VentureCrowd is now officially on track to replicate the business model in South East Asia where it has entered a joint venture partnership with Singapore-headquartered LightWorks Ventures.

VentureCrowd has secured a $3.5 million investment from a syndicate of LightWorks Ventures-affiliated investors to support the roll-out of its platform into new markets including Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia and the Philippines.

Founded in 2013 by former PwC partner Steve Maarbani, the company has helped democratise access to crowdfunding opportunities in Australia while redefining the landscape of alternative asset investment, digitising the entire venture capital process and connecting retail, wholesale and institutional investors to startup and real-estate opportunities completely online.

With offices in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, in addition to various accelerator, early-stage investment and growth services partnerships, the company now has 72,000 members.

Maarbani, who is also VentureCrowd's CEO, says the expansion into Southeast Asia is a critical next step towards achieving the organisation’s vision of democratising the private capital markets on a global scale.

"We believe the digitisation of the private capital markets has only just begun. Last year when the private capital markets were in retreat, our registered members grew to over 72,000 and invested over $65 million in a range of ventures. That number has increased by over 100 per cent year on year for the last three years in a row," he says.

"Our expansion into Southeast Asia is a major milestone not just for VentureCrowd, but for the evolving digitisation of the private capital markets and the way in which investors access alternative investments as an asset class.

"Having delivered the technical investment infrastructure and proven its traction in the Australian market, we are thrilled to bring our unique business model to Southeast Asian investors and ventures."

Maarbani describes Lightworks Ventures as the perfect partner to join forces with.

"We're delighted to have Bruce and his team bring their expertise and extensive networks to drive our expansion across the region. We expect this joint venture to supercharge our access to international quality deal flow, expand our investor base, and elevate our worldwide brand recognition," he adds.

Lightworks Ventures has established itself through a hybrid venture studio model. This means that the venture studio will source new ideas from both internal and external networks, combining the best ideas of both worlds. To date, Lightworks has executed both strategies for its initial business ventures, including initiatives in Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia and New Zealand.

Under the joint venture, LightWorks Ventures founder Bruce Musick will become CEO VentureCrowd’s Southeast Asian business, leading an exceptional leadership team of seasoned executives based in Singapore and Thailand. Together they will establish VentureCrowd operations across the region.

"VentureCrowd has established itself as a leading player in the alternative assets and private equity space and has more than doubled its capital raising capability every year for the last three years," Maarbani says.

"For startups, this means an opportunity to access capital and investor groups through a uniquely different model. For investors, it means exciting new deal flow, and the ability to gain exposure to fast-growth vehicles across new asset classes.

"We know there is a large number of high net worth investors in Asia who are looking for quality deal flow and we cannot wait to introduce this uniquely innovative digital investment platform to markets across Southeast Asia."

Speaking to Business News Australia about plans to enter Southeast Asia in March, Maarbani said private markets were still not very efficient, and weren't working as effectively as needed in order to "turbocharge innovation and entrepreneurial ecosystems".

"There needs to be different kinds of capital in the private capital markets and it absolutely needs to be access to capital in a digital format so we can increase the number of people - not just in Australia but in South East Asia and beyond - that are participating in providing capital for these kinds of founders and diversifying the way in which those decisions are made," he said at the time.

In that interview he also highlighted plans for a web3 version of the platform, which VentureCrowd confirms is on track to being rolled out by the end of 2023.

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