Qupital, a one-year-old Hong Kong-based startup that addresses cash flow issues for SMEs, has closed a $2 million seed funding round.
The is certainly a notable size for an early stage investment in Hong Kong’s nascent but growing startup scene. The financing was led by Hong Kong-London firm MindWorks Ventures and the $130 million Alibaba Entrepreneurs Fund which launched in 2015. Other investors that took part include DRL Capital and Aria Group.
Founded by mid-20-year-olds Andy Chan (26) and Winston Wong (25) who met playing basketball, the startup wants to free small companies on tight budgets from the restraints of unpaid invoices. That’s to say that a large chunk of an SME’s working cash flow is locked up in invoices that may take up to 90 days to actually pay out. Qupital tackles that issue by companies to take a loan to cover 80-95 percent of the value of the invoice, its platform matches this need with investors/funders who cover the cash with the promise of a return.
With an estimated 300,000 SMEs located in Hong Kong, there’s an attractive initial market to be tackled. Chan told TechCrunch in an interview that he believes that as many as 25 percent of Hong Kong’s small businesses struggle to maintain adequate working capital levels. They are the target.
To date, Qupital has processed 80 trades — with a total value of over $2 million — since its platform went online in August 2016. It makes money by charging companies who take loans 0.25-0.75 percent of the total invoice value, while it also makes 20% of…