Republic, a global fintech startup that operates multiple online investment platforms and provides asset management and blockchain advisory services, has announced that it will expand overall business operations to Asia with the launch of Republic Asia and its Seoul office. The company has further expansion planned in Singapore and other Asian jurisdictions in 2022.
As part of its Korean operations, Republic Asia participated as an anchor investor in connection with a majority stake investment in TogetherApps, the leading licensed P2P (Peer-to-Peer) investment platform in Korea with over $1.2billion in completed real estate loan transactions since its 2015 launch, made by a private equity fund operated by Quintessa Investment. Republic also entered into a strategic partnership with TogetherApps to collaborate on new product offerings and expand capital markets access through Republic’s global network.
In August 2020, the “Act on Online Investment-linked Financial Business and the Protection of Users” (the “Act”) came into effect in Korea. The Act was introduced to regulate marketplace lending and enable licensed P2P lending platforms in Korea to operate as authorised financial institutions to lend to consumers and raise capital from institutions, further legitimising the P2P industry and improving the regulatory framework in Korea. TogetherApps received its official P2P license from the Korean Financial Services Commission in August 2021 and is expected to continue its industry-leading growth with Republic’s support.
In addition to its entry into the Korean P2P industry, Republic Asia completed a minority investment in Korbit, one of only five approved cryptocurrency exchanges in Korea allowed to provide cash-to-crypto exchange services. Republic’s leading global blockchain practice will collaborate with Korbit across various initiatives including on international projects and increasing engagement between Korean and global blockchain communities.
These transactions come on the heels of Republic’s 4Q 2021 $150million Series B equity financing led by Valor Equity Partners and its subsequently announced agreement to acquire Seedrs, Europe’s leading online investment platform, pending UK regulatory approval. Building upon Republic’s industry-leading expertise in the US across various fintech verticals, Republic’s new European and Asian investments will serve as the foundations of Republic’s global expansion in 2022 and beyond.
Republic is already backed by various leading investment and fintech firms based in Korea. Viva Republica, a Korean fintech behind the finance super app Toss with over 20 million users, and Alpha Asset Management, a Korea-based multi-asset investment advisory firm, participated in Republic’s recent Series B equity financing, joining Hashed as new Korea-based investors, all of whom support Republic’s mission to democratise finance and expect to collaborate on Republic’s Asia expansion.
“Since the beginning, Republic’s ultimate vision has always been to build a new type of investment firm that can democratise finance for everyone in this rapidly changing world. Asia is home to nearly 60 per cent of the global population, and Republic is incredibly excited and eager to bring our experiences and learnings to Asia, starting with our Korean operations,” said Youngro Lee, COO of Republic and Head of Republic Asia. “We are so excited and humbled to partner with innovative firms such as TogetherApps, Korbit and Cube Entertainment and look forward to actively contributing to the Asian fintech and entrepreneurship ecosystem.”
Following Republic’s strategic partnership and investments in Korea, Republic expects to enter into additional partnerships with various other Asia-based enterprises to enhance the Republic Asia ecosystem to serve entrepreneurs and investors globally.