SINGAPORE (May 28): The crowdfunding industry appears to be maturing. On May 18, peer-to-peer lending platform Validus Capital announced that it had partnered with asset manager Lighthouse Canton, which operates in Singapore and Dubai, to set up a fund that will invest in invoices.

Lighthouse, which has assets under management of close to $1 billion, is setting up a $20 million small and medium-sized enterprise financing fund. Called the LCV Trade Finance Fund, it will invest in loans on Validus’ platform. The fund aims to raise $200 million by 2021, and has targeted annual returns of between 6% and 8%, on an unleveraged basis. According to Lighthouse, 65% of the fund will be allocated to loans for SMEs working with government-linked companies. The remainder will go towards invoice and purchase order financing for those working with other “established corporates”. The LCV Trade Finance Fund is only open to accredited and institutional investors.

Validus, which raised US$3 million ($4.02 million) in a Series A round from Temasek-backed Vertex Ventures last year, is among a dozen or so local crowdfunding firms that were established in recent years. It is not the only one embracing the asset management industry. Moolah Sense, one of the oldest debt crowdfunders in town, is currently in discussions with external parties to allow funds to finance loans on its platform.

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