July, 22, 2017
Deal makers go digital
19 Jan
2017
Posted by Divya M. Chandramouli

With its mid-market deal origination platform, BankerBay aims to challenge the traditional means by which capital is sought world over. Currently, it brokers over 600 deals a month and has recently entered the Chinese market.

Imagine a Tinder for deals in the banking world. Well, that's just what BankerBay is; an investment banking deal origination platform that uses a complex algorithmic engine to match those in need of capital with global institutional investors of capital for private equity, M&A and real estate transactions. The company, with a base in Singapore and Bengaluru, was founded in 2014 by lawyer Ash Narain and Romesh Jayawickrama with the latter holding investment banking experience of over 18 years.  At present, BankerBay has a global presence including North America, Western Europe and Asia-Pacific and its focus area is the mid-market segment which sees transaction values up to US$ 250 million. "The information flow in the middle market was and still is the most fragmented, so we felt this is where we can offer the greatest value," reasons Jayawickrama.


The information flow in the middle market was and still is the most fragmented, so we felt this is where we can offer the greatest value.


Challenging tradition

Speaking on the genesis of the idea, CEO Jayawickrama says, "This whole process has traditionally run on a who-you-know basis, resulting in very narrow and often sub-optimal choices for corporates and funds alike." He elaborates on the systemic problems the industry faces where processes are predicated on human capital and since the global financial crisis of 2008, a large chunk of this human capital has been removed, leaving behind a void in the system. A lack of transparency in how deals are made only exacerbates the problem often leaving meritorious investors in the lurch. This realisation prompted the founders to apply a combination of technology and the study of contemporary consumer behaviour to arrive at the company's current model which offers a wide range of subscriptions for capital seekers to choose from. Today, BankerBay receives over 600 new deals a month, with a deal value of over US $18 billion per month. "We have over 12,000 users with 500-600 new users joining the platform every month and we also receive consistent deal flow from 145 countries," adds Jayawickrama. As the company facilitates cross-border transactions, it was faced with the difficulty of gaining critical mass in multiple geographies and sectors simultaneously and it has recently gained momentum to tide over this challenge.


While the regulations and policies remain challenges for all the players in the financial market, they don’t impact the ambitions of budding companies like us and given the size of the market, the opportunity to make a significant impact is huge


China in the mix

In this fiscal, Bankerbay aims to open an office in Shangai and make its presence felt in China. Currently, China is one of the top three sources of foreign investment and Jayawickrama feels that providing an enterprise solution to investors in China will streamline deal-making between it and the rest of the world. "While the regulations and policies remain challenges for all the players in the financial market, they don’t impact the ambitions of budding companies like us  and given the size of the market, the opportunity to make a significant impact is huge," he says. Beyond China, in the first half of the next fiscal, BankerBay intends to open an office in London and cater more to the U.K. and European markets. Having made a dynamic start, the key to its future success lies in constantly evolving and moving up the value curve with its offering.


Snapshot

BankerBay

Founders: Ash Narain and Romesh Jayawickrama

Year: 2014

Concept: BankerBay is an investment banking deal origination platform that matches those in need of capital with investors

Investment: Raised US$ 5 million from unnamed investors, over three rounds

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