SG Digest: ADDX 'fractionalises' Innoven's venture debt fund; Layoffs at Amber Group

SG Digest: ADDX 'fractionalises' Innoven's venture debt fund; Layoffs at Amber Group

Singapore city district. Photo: Michelle Teo

Private market exchange ADDX has fractionalised a venture debt fund of Innoven Capital, while blockchain startup Amber Group is downsizing its employee headcount.

ADDX ‘fractionalises’ Innoven’s venture debt fund

Private market exchange ADDX has fractionalised a venture debt fund of Innoven Capital. Fractionalisation refers to bringing down the minimum subscription size for individual accredited investors, in this case, from $5 million to $20,000.

Innoven is a joint venture between Seviora Holdings — a wholly-owned subsidiary of Singapore state investor Temasek Holdings — and United Overseas Bank (UOB). The Innoven SEA Fund 1 provides venture debt funding to high-growth startups and technology companies across Southeast Asia.

The venture debt company has deployed over $218 million to more than 50 companies across Southeast Asia since it commenced operations in 2016. Its portfolio companies include hospitality startup RedDoorz, Indonesian agritech platform Tanihub and Malaysian used car marketplace Carsome.

Singapore-headquartered ADDX uses blockchain and smart contract technology to automate manual processes throughout the investment lifecycle to avail fractional units and secondary trading on its platform.

ADDX CEO Choo Oi-Yee said venture debt is poised to grow in the region. Such deals are less than 5% of the overall deals sealed in Southeast Asia, compared with around 25% in the US. “This strongly suggests there is room for expansion,” she added.

Temasek-backed Amber Group responds to news of layoffs

Blockchain platform Amber Group has tweeted saying “it’s business as usual” following reports that it has let go of 5-10% of its staff.

Chinese crypto reporter Colin Wu, who goes by the Twitter handle @WuBlockchain, tweeted on Tuesday that the Singapore-based company has “begun to layoff hundreds of people again in December and asked Chinese employees to work from home and clear their offices,” citing comments from former employees of the firm.

Amber Group, which has more than 1,000 institutional clients and $5 billion in assets on its platform, said in a series of tweets: “Weathering through market cycles, we have to constantly adjust and pivot our business strategies, product offerings, and, as a result, internal teams and functions.” However, it did not explicitly confirm the layoffs.

The news comes after Amber Group’s co-founder Tiantian Kullander passed away unexpectedly on Nov 23.

Layoffs in the crypto scene have been rampant since FTX filed for bankruptcy last month.

Amber Group said in a Nov 9 tweet thread — as the extent of FTX’s insolvency emerged — that the company had no exposure to Alameda Research, a firm also founded by former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried, or FTX’s native token, FTT.

However, it noted that it was an active trading participant on FTX and had withdrawals yet to be processed. These trades made up less than 10% of Amber Group’s total trading capital. “It does not pose a threat to our business operations or liquidity,” the company tweeted at that time.

Amber Group’s most recent fundraise was $200 million in February as part of an extended Series B round led by Singaporean state holding company Temasek. The fresh capital gave the company a valuation of about $3 billion.

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