FinSpark, a subscription-based financial education platform, closed their Equity Crowdfunding Campaign just one week after its launch on Ata Plus, a licensed ECF platform in Malaysia. FinSpark achieved 337% beyond their funding goal, securing RM1.5 million from 318 investors, and 75% of the investors are millennials.
Founded by three young Malaysians, Tan Shing Yeou, Stanley Ng and Spark Liang, FinSpark’s vision is to make financial education accessible to everyone through thoughtfully curated contents. They aims to do what financial advisory firms do at a fraction of the cost, empowering people to make better financial decisions.
How FinSpark works?
Why FinSpark received such strong support from millennial investors?
According to studies, millennials make up the largest population of consumers in Malaysia and have high spending power. However, studies also show that millennials have poor financial health as they often spend beyond their means due to their impulse-buying behaviour and lower financial literacy level.
The lack of financial literacy of younger generation has been increasingly alarming and it will result in more serious financial concern. Although 64% of working millennials save a portion of their income every month, they do not have the financial knowledge to manage it effectively or the saving is only focused on short-term goal. In order to have instant gratification, 40% of millennials agreed that they spend more than they can afford and 47% of them are engaged in expensive credit card borrowing.
“This gap is what pushed us to create FinSpark,” said co-founder and CEO Tan Shing Yeou, “traditional financial advisors, planners and investment consultants in the market have failed to acquire the attention and trust of millennials. Most of them are sceptical of the professionalism of financial advisors and planners. Meanwhile, the demand for good personal finance management is huge – the Finance Ministry has said that over 50% of millennials are not confident in their financial literacy. With our dedicated service,‘Now Everyone Can Invest’.”
A business idea well validated
FinSpark is originated from one of the co-founders Spark Liang’s Facebook page, where he makes videos offering explanations on a myriad of issues related to everyday finance, including loans, interests and taxes. Liang also speaks about the more sophisticated subjects, such as IPO and shares.
In just six months, it has achieved a user base of more than 100,000 people — all organically. It has captured 3% of the potential total market in Malaysia and has its sight fixed on expanding its market reach to 70%. The company will accomplish this through marketing, launching of web portal, and later on mobile app, and expanding into other languages among other measures.
FinSpark is rolling out its subscription models with products and services estimated to be 95% the cheaper than what currently available in the market. The subscriptions will consist of a Basic and a Premium plan (at RM9 and RM399 annually respectively). The plans will give subscribers access to a constantly-updated and carefully-curated financial education library, which includes interactive videos and articles. FinSpark will also contract a team of board-certified advisors to provide unbiased and personalised guidance to users at a fraction of the cost it would be through traditional channels.
FinSpark records over 400 investments in less than a week. The campaign’s remarkable success was attributed to FinSpark’s strong online presence, and Ata Plus’ integrated digital marketing infrastructure which helps push offers rapidly and cost-effectively to the right audiences. Notably, there was phenomenal traction on the 5th day immediately after the FinSpark founders spent just over an hour on Facebook Live explaining and answering questions about their company and the crowdfunding effort.
“Witnessing FinSpark’s campaign launch, succeed and close has been completely mind-blowing,” says Kyri Andreou, Co-Founder and Director of Ata Plus. “This is what crowdfunding is all about – offering an irresistible and unique opportunity to the crowd and having them respond in record time. This proves again that savvy entrepreneurs with not just brilliant business ideas but also a solid following, stand to gain tremendously from crowdfunding,” Kyri added. At the point of closing, there were still continuous attempts to invest. Both Ata Plus and FinSpark were inundated with calls and emails from investors who were eager to participate in the crowdfunding.