A few weeks ago, Singapore-based expert network provider, Sealed Network announced that it has raised an undisclosed sum in a pre-series A funding round, led by Quest Ventures and including a number of other well-known Asian investors.
Recent Capital Raise
Sealed Networks recently raised capital in a pre-series A round led by venture capital firm Quest Ventures. Quest Ventures, counts Temasek’s Pavilion Capital and Kazakhstan’s sovereign wealth fund subsidiary QazTech Ventures as investors. Joining its pre-series A funding round was founding partner of Credence and former DBS chairman Boon Hwee Koh; Far East Ventures; Google, Twitter and Alibaba angel group XA Network; and, South-east Asia McKinsey alumni group Alumni & Angels.
Established in 2019, Sealed Network is one of Southeast Asia’s first expert network, connecting investment managers, strategy consultants and market research firms with its pool of experts for due diligence and investment research. Sealed Network was founded by Benjamin Emmanuel Lee, who was previously part of Grab’s business development team, and Leo Wen Ge, who was a former senior associate of Wavemaker Partners.
The firm says it has worked with 50 clients, connecting them to 35,000 experts from 25 industries. Some notable experts on its platform include Arum Kang, founder of Coffee Meets Bagel; Charles Yong, former client partner at Korn Ferry; and Michael Tay, who previously served as Singapore’s ambassador to Russia.
“Expert networks provide valuable professional advisory for companies in their go-to-market strategies,” noted Jeffrey Seah, Partner at Quest Ventures. “Sealed brings unparalleled local expertise, enabling new Southeast Asia entrant businesses to better navigate a diverse but economically promising region.”
Sealed Network Co-founder and CEO Benjamin Emamual Lee explained, “When we started, we realised that many experts in Southeast Asia are either not on English language platforms or have a minimal online presence. This has quickly turned into a source of strength for us as we have been able to gain traction amongst local experts in almost every country in the region.”
The new funding will be used to fuel Sealed Network’s regional expansion by broadening its pool of experts. A portion of the capital will also be used to build out its internal search technology and platform development. Upon closing of the transaction, Jeffrey Seah, partner at Quest Ventures and ex-WPP and Publicis Groupe regional senior executive, will join Sealed’s board.
The recent capital raise by Sealed Network is just one of many deals seen in the rapidly growing expert network industry in recent months. According to a recent study on the expert network industry published by Integrity Research Associates and expert network aggregator Inex One, industry revenues in the expert network space surged 21% to $1.92 billion in 2021, the highest annual growth rate since 2013.
Globally, expert network providers have been snagging sizable deals in the past year, including Berlin-based Atheneum’s US$150 million funding; Chicago-headquartered Tegus’ US$90 million Series B round; NewtonX’s $32 mln Series B raise; and proSapient’s $10 mln Series A raise. In addition, a few of the larger expert networks have recently decided to list publicly, including Gerson Lehrman Group (GLG)’s IPO filing in the US, and China-focused Capvision’s decision to file preliminary documents for a possible US$300 million listing on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.
We suspect that as long as the expert network industry continues to exhibit robust growth, capital raises, and other M&A activity in the space will also remain white hot.