SEA Digest: Philippines' BillEase raises $20m; Forward DeFi secures $5m; SGX, MAS launch ESG-reporting portal

New and existing investors of Forward's seed round

BillEase has received a $20-million debt facility from Helicap while Forward DeFi has raised $5 million led by Primestreet Capital. Separately, Singapore Exchange and the Monetary Authority of Singapore have jointly set up an ESG-reporting platform for listed companies.

Philippines’ BillEase raises $20m debt facility from Helicap

BillEase, Philippine’s leading buy-now, pay-later (BNPL) app, has announced the closure of a $20-million debt facility from Helicap, a Singaporean fintech lender.

The startup has accumulated $55 million in debt and equity after receiving a precursor debt facility of $20 million from London-based automated lending platform Lendable in March. In January, it had closed an $11-million Series B financing led by Burda Principal Investments, the growth capital arm of German media, and tech company Huber Burda Media.

Apart from BNPL, BillEase also provides on-demand loan services, prepaid loads, e-wallet top-ups and gaming credits.

Thailand’s Forward DeFi secures $5m from major banks

Forward, a Thailand-based blockchain provider for digital assets, has raised $5 million in seed money led by RPVAF-1, a venture capital fund of boutique investment bank Prime Street Capital, at a time the country’s economy and crypto sector are going through a bumpy ride.

Cashing in on the fundraising, which lasted just about six months, were major corporate venture capitals including Kasikornbank’s Beacon Venture Capital and its DeFi-focused unit Kasikorn X, Bank of Ayudhya’s Krungsri Finovate and existing investors such as Ratanakorn Technology Group, GBV Capital and Varys Capital.

Forward CEO Chanon Charatsuttikul said the firm aims to develop a decentralised derivatives platform — a non-custodial with a system that filters out transactions from sanctioned countries and addresses.

SGX, MAS launch ESG reporting portal for listed firms

Singapore Exchange (SGX) and the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) have set up an online reporting platform for SGX-listed corporates to submit their sustainability disclosures, which will be accessible to some or all investors.

Dubbed as ESGnome, the software-based portal will help publicly-listed companies with their environmental, social and governance (ESG) disclosures under a single set of metrics in line with  global standards and frameworks. The frameworks as such offer a set of 27 core ESG metrics, which is a baseline report, according to the SGX and MAS.

In addition to the minimum reporting obligations, the issuers can submit their disclosures based on over 3,000 global-standard ESG metrics upon different business needs.

Funded by SGX and MAS, the pilot programme has received early endorsements from both issuers and their stakeholders with approximately 40 companies on the stock exchange participating in it.

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