Validus, Singapore’s largest small and medium-size enterprise (SME) financing platform, last week announced it has expanded into Vietnam - its third market after Singapore and Indonesia, where it established an office earlier this year.

Validus Vietnam will work with corporates to provide SME growth financing to vendors and subcontractors, with the firm planning pilot programs with partners including pharmacy group Medicare Vietnam and Unicons, part of leading private construction enterprise the Coteccons Group, according to

The new office will be led by Validus Co-founder Mr. Nikhilesh Goel, who has over 14 years of experience in debt and equity financing, portfolio management, and value creation for SMEs in Vietnam and Southeast Asia.

He will be joined by COO Mr. Amrit Kapoor and Chief Business Officer Ms. Tran Thi Thuy Ha, who brings two decades of business and financing experience to the firm.

Validus is backed by the likes of Dutch development bank FMO, Temasek Holdings’ Vertex Ventures, and VinaCapital.

Founded in 2015, Validus uses data analytics and AI to drive growth financing for SMEs. The Vertex Ventures-backed company has facilitated over S$300 million ($220.5 million) in business financing to Singaporean SMEs to date.

With Validus Vietnam, the company plans to tackle the country’s $21 billion SME financing gap. According to a March 2019 report from the International Finance Corporation (IFC), SMEs in Vietnam comprise about 98 per cent of the country’s total enterprises but roughly 60 per cent of them have unmet financing needs.

The peer-to-peer lender’s Vietnamese arm also plans to work with corporates to provide SME growth financing to vendors and subcontractors.