[Updated] S&P Global, Nikkei invest in SG data tech firm Handshakes

Photo: Colin Watts / Unsplash

Editor’s note: This story was updated on August 16 to include a primary investment of $1.46 million made by S&P Global in Handshakes. It was subsequently updated on August 29 after the companies announced the deal. 

Singapore-based data tech company Handshakes has raised an undisclosed sum in a new funding round led by financial information and analytics provider S&P Global and Japanese media company Nikkei Inc, it said in an announcement.

The investment gives S&P Global a 15.87% stake in the Singapore company, while Nikkei has increased its stake to 25.87%. The financing values Handshakes at $63 million, according to a company statement. Singapore’s SPH Media Holdings holds a 17.55% stake in the startup.

DealStreetAsia had earlier in August reported the acquisition of a minority stake in Handshakes by S&P Global through a mix of primary and secondary transactions, citing regulatory filings.

According to filings with Singapore’s Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA), S&P invested $1.46 million in the company and acquired shares from investors including SPH Media Holdings, CP Holdings, and Alvin Tanudjaja.

Handshakes was founded in 2011 by former Singapore Exchange regulators Daryl Neo and Charles Poon and offers a Software-as-a-Service platform for due diligence, regulatory enforcement, investigation, and lead generation.

It generates interactive maps of complex, multi-layered company ownership, governance, and management relationship networks within the corporate ecosystem, shortening and increasing the accuracy of a process that usually could often take weeks.

Nikkei Inc — the owner of the Financial Times (FT) and DealStreetAsia, and the publisher of Nikkei Asia — first invested in Handshakes in October 2019 by acquiring a 14.6% stake for $5 million to enhance its data and news service, scoutAsia.

“Today, challenges are rising across the global business and investment landscape, such as the growing risk of supply chain disruptions and increasing investor demand related to ESG. With the ultimate aim of providing crossover analysis and observational insights on businesses, Nikkei will expand utilisation of its content with the latest AI technology,” the Japanese firm said in a separate statement.

List of top shareholders in Handshakes

Source: DATA VANTAGE

“The new funding, together with support from our strategic investors S&P Global, Nikkei Inc, and SPH Media, will be used to build new product features and launch Handshakes onto the global stage. This includes onboarding worldwide data sources, developing new data reconciliation and monitoring techniques, and building a world-class team across the globe,” said Handshakes CEO and founding director Daryl Neo in a statement.

S&P Global provides debt ratings of sovereigns, and companies, as well as data to capital and commodity markets around the world. In February, S&P Global completed its approximately $140-billion merger with IHS Markit.

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