Singapore: Spiking closes oversubscribed seed round of S$1m

Visual of Spiking homepage. September 2016.

Social trading mobile application Spiking has exceeded its seed funding target of S$1 million ($732,828) in a round that was over-subscribed, topping out at S$1,030,000.

Developed by Aly Pte Ltd, Spiking claims it is the first fintech tracking app that helps the average trader to follow the big investors as they buy and sell shares on the stock market.

Aly Pte Ltd was supported by the National Research Foundation (NRF) through the Interactive & Digital Media Strategic Research Programme’s i.JAM Reload initiative, which has benefited a number of startup ventures in Singapore.

The startup was bootstrapped by the founders and has secured the interest of a number of entrepreneurs in the capital markets, with some angel investors originating from firms listed on the Singapore Exchange, Bursa Malaysia, Australian Securities Exchange, and NASDAQ.

Some of the investors involved in this round include- Andrew Chen, managing director of Raffles Asia Capital Pte Ltd; Douglas Foo, chairman of Sakae Holdings Ltd and President of Singapore Manufacturing Federation; Koh Boon Hwee, an angel investor; Lim Ah Hock, executive chairman of Pestech International Bhd; Loo Cheng Guan, Independent Director of Valuetronics Holdings Limited; Ong Chu Poh, group executive chairman & group CEO of Econ Healthcare Group; James Tan, managing partner of Quest Ventures and co-founder of 55tuan; Toh Soon Huat, Chairman of Novena Foundation Pte Ltd; Kazumasa Tomita, CEO & founder of ZUU Co Ltd.

Commenting on the investment, Clemen Chiang, founder and CEO of Aly Pte Ltd, said, “With the funding secured, we will ramp up product development to introduce new features and a higher level of functionality, with insights from big data analysis. We are also scaling up and have expanded our data coverage to include 10 stock exchanges in 8 countries in the region.”

The 10 stock exchanges that the app is covering are the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX); Hong Kong Exchange (HKEx); the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) and National Stock Exchange (NSE) of India; Bursa Malaysia; Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE); Singapore Exchange (SGX); Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET); and the Hanoi Stock Exchange (HNX) and HoChiMinh Stock Exchange (HOSE) of Vietnam.

Other new developments include the introduction of Spiking Finance and Spiking ForumSpiking Finance aggregates recent news headlines, announcements, tweets and buy/sell activity of their favourite companies and investors onto a single page while Spiking Forum organises discussion threads by company for member discussions.

Spiking users will soon be able to link to their brokerage accounts and be able to place orders once the alert (Spikes) they set get executed. By linking to their brokerages, users will have an aggregated view and analysis of multiple accounts of a personalized investment portfolio.

The app is free to download and is available on the iOS and Android platforms. According to a media release, some new features that will be incorporated in a new iteration of the product will see the integration of social trading, algorithmic trading, and automated management.

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Founder concerns 

Chiang was previously involved in a degree mill scandal in 2008, which was reported by The Straits Times.  Described in an article by senior correspondent Sandra Davie as an “astute entrepreneur who set up Freely Business School and is widely quoted in the local press on options trading,” Chiang seems to have been deceived or otherwise had the degree misrepresented to him.

However, in 2008, he had admitted to using the doctorate to aid in business development, opining to The Straits Times: “I did write a thesis for it. But I am thinking of dropping my doctorate title altogether until I complete the current PhD I am working on with the University of South Australia.”

Chiang, who was described to be making a ‘lucrative living’ through conducting weekend seminars on options trading, was also the subject of a lawsuit by his course participants that saw him sued for a refund of fees totalling S$176,583 in October 2008, according to a report by The Straits Times in December 2009.

An appeal by him was dismissed by the High Court, in spit of Chiang maintaining that his academic work on an option trading thesis qualified the continued use of his PhD qualification. To date, his credentials from the University of South Australia are a graduate certificate, while he seems to have commenced a doctoral course of study in management  at the University of Canberra in 2011.

In the course of the case, it was found that most of the information included in the software was freely available via links to online websites and translates to the value of the software he attempted to sell being negligible.

According to his LinkedIn profile, he is listed as the CEO of Freely Business School from 2003 to 2008, which is described as a “fully-integrated training and educational company focusing on wealth creation and preservation” that engaged in providing “tertiary level education in the areas of options trading, business development, asset protection and financial management.”

Chiang is also the co-founder of CozyCot, alongside co-founder and reported wife Nicole Yee, who also serve as his co-founder in Spiking. CozyCot was incepted in  November 2001 as a Singapore-based Internet portal targeting consumes interested in shopping and fashion that facilitated (i.e. commercial projects (workshops, product launches, online shopping etc.). This specific venture was eventually bought out by JDB Holdings in 2010 for an undisclosed sum.

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Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.