SG robo-advisor Syfe closes $30m Series B round led by Valar Ventures

Syfe founder and CEO Dhruv Arora

Singapore-based digital wealth management startup Syfe has raised S$40 million ($30 million) in a Series B funding round led by PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel’s Valar Ventures.

UK-based venture capital firm Unbound and Presight Capital – both existing investors – also participated in Syfe’s latest round, according to a company statement.

Valar Ventures is pumping nearly $22.5 million into this round, according to an ACRA filing seen by DealStreetAsia – DATA VANTAGE.

An early backer of global fintech firms such as TransferWise, Xero, and European digital bank N26, Valar had also led Syfe’s Series A round in September 2020.

Unbound invested $7.38 million in the latest round, while Presight Capital put in nearly $500,000, a regulatory filing shows.

Unbound also bought Syfe shares from former UBS equities head Paul Redbourn, who invested in the startup’s seed round, and Ampventures in secondary transactions. Redbourn has now exited his investment in the firm.

The Series B round brought Syfe’s external funding to S$70.7 million ($52.6 million) and tripled its valuation, the company said.

The latest funding comes after the startup recorded a strong performance in 2020, growing its users by 20x and assets under management (AUM) by 10x.

Other wealth management firms such as StashAway and Endowus have raised $25 million (Series D) and $30 million (combined funding of two Series A rounds) respectively between March and July this year, signalling growing investor interest in the space.

Setting sights on new markets 

Syfe will use the fresh funds to expand into new markets in Asia, hire top talent and develop more high-quality investment products and services.

“We will be announcing our expansion into the next market in the next 3-4 weeks,” said founder and CEO Dhruv Arora in an interview with DealStreetAsia.

Syfe is currently only actively marketing in Singapore but claims to serve customers across 41 other markets through its platform. It did not reveal the number of users on its platform.

Following its Series A funding, the firm has doubled its Singapore workforce to 50, taking its global headcount to over 100. “We expect the headcount to further double, largely on the technology side, in the next 12 months,” said Arora. Syfe has tech teams in Singapore and India.

Customers will also be able to see “a lot more customisation and personalisation” in Syfe’s products based on where they are located, their goals and preferences. Its users are typically aged 28-45 years and earn a monthly salary of between $5,000 and $100,000.

Syfe has seen more users over the age of 50 investing in some of its passive income products such as the Syfe REIT+ in the last six months or so. “It’s very interesting because this audience traditionally has much more disposable income than, for example, a 30-year-old who is in the early part of his or her career,” said Arora.

Before launching Syfe, Arora was an investment banker at UBS in Hong Kong and a vice president at India-based e-groceries startup Grofers, which is backed by SoftBank Vision Fund, Tiger Global Management and Sequoia Capital India.

“Managing wealth has become a necessity in this low interest rate environment, and we are seeing a significant increase in demand from customers looking for quality solutions,” said Arora.

Without revealing details, Arora said Syfe’s AUM has quadrupled since the start of the year, with June being its best month in terms of user and asset growth so far. He attributed the strong growth to new offerings such as the Core portfolio – a combination of stocks, bonds, and gold ETFs that aims to provide better risk-adjusted returns – and Cash+ offering, which is a low-risk combination of money market and short duration bond funds.

Syfe offers four investment portfolios — Core, REIT+, Equity100, and Global ARI — and Cash+, a cash management account. There is no minimum investment amount on the platform and annual fee starts at 0.35% of the total amount invested.

Founded in 2017, Syfe differentiates itself from other robo-advisors with its team of financial advisors, including former Goldman Sachs, Citibank and Morgan Stanley employees, who are on hand for user consultations.

All employees to be made shareholders

The company plans to make all its full-time employees a shareholder as “everyone in the company has played a part in securing this latest funding,” Arora said.

“We will be offering anyone who comes on board salary and equity because we want them to be a part of [that growth],” he added.

Rival wealth manager StashAway had in April announced that it will buy back up to S$4 million in employee stock options.

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.