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.
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.