Sinwattana urges easier crowdfunding

Sinwattana urges easier crowdfunding

Sinwattana Crowdfunding, an equity portal operated by Phoenixict Co Ltd, has asked the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to ease certain regulations for crowdfunding projects to become successful.

These regulations comprise increasing the maximum investment limit for retail investors in crowdfunding projects and relaxing a rule stipulating that a crowdfunding project must be closed if the fundraising process is not 100% met, said investment product specialist Thuchchaya Hanwittayapan.

Along with Live Fin Corp, Sinwattana Crowdfunding is one of two crowdfunding portal operators approved by the SEC. The company was granted approval by the SEC late last year and is the only equity crowdfunding platform that lets retail investors get involved.

Under the SEC's investment regulations for crowdfunding, investors are classified as retail investors or non-retail investors, including institutional investors, venture capitalists and angel investors.

Securities issuers are to offer no more than 100,000 baht to each retail investor, and the total value of securities offered to these types of investors should not amount to more than 20 million baht within the first year of offering crowdfunding securities.

Sinwattana's crowdfunding portal lets retail and non-retail investors join its crowdfunding projects, but most investors are identified as retail investors.

There are two projects raising funds from the capital market via the Sinwattana portal: Siam Namnueng, a Vietnamese restaurant in Thailand, and steakhouse Harrison Butcher.

Harrison Butcher wants to raise 18.6 million baht, and the fundraising period ends Dec 29. The steakhouse operator has managed to raise just 3 million baht.

But the project is expected to meet success because there will be investment capital from institutional investors, Ms Thuchchaya said.

For Siam Namnueng, the restaurant needs funding of 18 million baht. The fundraising project recently started and will end Feb 10. The project has raised funds worth 90,000 baht.

"If they cannot raise funds to match the disclosed amount in the project prospectus, these projects will have to be closed and money will have to be transferred back to investors," Ms Thuchchaya said. "This means failure for crowdfunding projects."

She said Sinwattana Crowdfunding has three or four investment projects in the pipeline, with products ranging from property to health food.

If the SEC relaxes the rules on maximum investment by retail investors, this will help crowdfunding projects meet their fundraising targets, Ms Thuchchaya said.

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