Startups and small & medium enterprises (SMEs) are the backbones of economies around the world. Today, there are 150 million startups worldwide with 50 million newly launched ones every year. They account for the majority of businesses and are the main source of job creation globally. Statistics from The World Bank indicate that SMEs represent about 90% of businesses and more than 50% of employment all over the world. However, difficulty to access finance is what constrains their growth. Startups and SMEs are less likely to obtain bank loans than large firms but instead rely on internal funds or cash from friends and family.
These difficulties are the driving force behind DIPO (Digital Initial Private Offerings) – a new fundraising model dedicated to startups and SMEs to earn funds for business expansion. This innovative solution is developed by LiveTrade LTD, a FinTech company established in Delaware, U.S in 2019, with the goal of becoming a hub connecting the worldwide financial markets.
Capitalizing on the blockchain, DIPO allows startups and SMEs to obtain funding in four steps. Firstly, the auditing and consulting partners of LiveTrade appraise the data and documents from businesses, as well as give advice on how to improve the projects’ potential. The documents then will be sent to verifying partners to decide whether the projects are qualified for offering to investors, which is the second step. After that, shares or bonds of the approved projects will be digitalized by trusted technology platforms, with tokenized stocks’ value depending on real assets. Finally, the tokenized assets will be listed on LiveTrade’s affiliate exchange network for investors to select and invest in. SMEs can easily call for capital without the complicated process of IPO. Moreover, the DIPO model is digitally and automatically operated, taking almost no time for SMEs to receive the needed capital.
Despite being recently launched, DIPO has achieved initial accomplishments with over $1 million capital raised, 5 successful projects, 50 investors connected, and 10 partners. To build on those successes, LiveTrade decided to expand the market of DIPO to Southeast Asia, specifically focusing on Vietnam, where the startup and SME ecosystems are extremely vibrant. SMEs account for 97% of the total 760 thousand enterprises in Vietnam, reported by the General Statistics Office (GSO). The country also ranks third in Southeast Asia in terms of the number of startups. Furthermore, there are about 3,000 innovative startups in Vietnam, nearly double the estimated figure at the end of 2015, indicated by Echelon Magazine (Singapore). Nevertheless, data from the GSO show that in the first five months of 2021, an average of nearly 12,000 Vietnamese businesses, mainly startups, withdrew from the market every month. One of the reasons for this problem is limited access to finance, lack of business knowledge and skills, intellectual property problems, ability to meet necessary administrative procedures, etc. Hence, the country proves to be a potential market for DIPO.
By joining DIPO, startups and SMEs in Vietnam can approach new capital based on their current equity. Lower upfront fees, higher chances to be qualified, and a guarantee of free cash flow are the attractions of this new financing method. LiveTrade also cooperates with prestigious organizations, investors, and funds such as FundGo Startup & Innovation Fund, Onus, Investpush Legal, Digital Asset Management Center (TSS), etc. to provide Vietnamese startups and SMEs with valuable advice and active support to overcome their financial, legal, and other related barriers.
Owning outstanding features, DIPO is expected to prolong the survival of startups and foster the development of SMEs in Vietnam in particular and all over the world in general.