An investor trading online on his smartphone. Photo by Shutterstock/Witthaya lOvE.
VinaCapital did not disclose the terms of the transaction, but said that the acquisition will help Smartly expand into new markets. Smartly, founded in 2015, seeks to provide non-expert users with basic financial literacy and the opportunity to invest easily.
After users complete a questionnaire that assesses their risk tolerance, financial situation and goals, the robo-advisor comes up with portfolio of investment options, updated regularly to market conditions.
In 2016, Smartly began discussions with VCG Partners, the Singapore subsidiary of VinaCapital, about joining together to launch the platform. The Smartly robo-advisory investment platform was launched in September 2017 after the two sides formed a partnership.
"By partnering with VinaCapital, we took a different approach to launching a robo-advisory platform than the rest of the pack. We were able to allocate valuable capital to places where it was most needed, stay focused on execution, and maintain strong financials and unit metrics," said Smartly co-founder Keir Veskivali.
This acquisition of Smartly’s operations and the additional capital injections will enable Smartly to scale-up, expand to new markets, and realize its full potential to become the leading digital wealth management platform in the region," he added.
Markets like Singapore and other countries in Southeast Asia, with large digitally native populations, high smartphone penetration, and increasing wealth are ripe for robo-advisory investment platforms, a VinaCapital statement said.
"Smartly has been a trailblazer in robo-advisory services in Singapore, and we look forward to building on the momentum and expanding to other Southeast Asian markets as their regulatory environments allow," said Jason Ng, CEO of VCG Partners.
Founded in 2003, VinaCapital is a leading investment management and real estate development firm with a diversified portfolio of $1.8 billion in assets under management.
Currently, robo-advisory services manage more than $980 billion in assets around the world, and a compounded annual growth of around 27 percent between 2019 and 2023 has been forecast by global market research firm Statista.