BondEvalue, a Singapore-based fintech startup that operates a digital exchange for trading fractionalised bonds, on Wednesday announced raising $6 million in a Series A funding round led by MassMutual Ventures Southeast Asia and Citigroup.
The funding round, which brings the total capital raised by the company to $10 million since its launch in 2016, also saw the participation of existing shareholders Potato Productions and Singapore-based family office Octava.
Founded by Rahul Banerjee, Rajaram Kannan, and Rajesh Johar, BondEvalue owns and operates BondbloX Bond Exchange (BBX), the world’s first blockchain-based bond exchange that enables investors to buy and sell bonds in denominations of $1,000 instead of the usual $200,000.
Investors around the world can trade on BBX via web and mobile devices by opening an account with their banks, wealth managers, family offices, or robo-advisors, subject to individual country restrictions on bond trading. In Singapore, BBX is open to accredited and institutional investors.
“We are excited about the future and are focused on executing our mission of bringing bond investing to the so-called HENRYs (High earners, not rich yet), who hitherto were unable to buy bonds,” said the company’s co-founder and CEO Rahul Banerjee.
The startup said it will use the proceeds to increase its international members. Both MassMutual Ventures Southeast Asia and Citigroup are expected to be represented on the board following their investments.
BondEvalue officially graduated from the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS)’s regulatory sandbox in October 2020 and subsequently received approval to operate the bond exchange platform.
The startup also announced the launch of a joint venture (JV) in Mexico, which is headed by Jaime Zenizo, a former head trader at HSBC Mexico. The JV, BondEvalue said, will form a Peso bond exchange, marking its first local currency expansion.
Investing in corporate bonds has typically been out of reach for most retail investors in Asia, according to Anvesh Ramineni, managing director at MassMutual Ventures.
“BondEvalue is changing that by bringing greater transparency and democratising access to the fixed income asset class,” Ramineni added.
According to Refinitiv data, companies and governments in the 10 ASEAN countries sold $42.1 billion of bonds in G3 currencies in the first half of 2020, more than double the same period in 2019. G3 currencies are made up of the US dollar, the euro, and the Japanese yen.