Finatext Holdings Ltd., a Japanese fintech startup that provides stock trading apps and brokerage infrastructure, slumped on its first day of trading in Tokyo, with shares falling 35% below the issue price.
Having raised nearly ¥20 billion ($175 million) in an offering that was priced at the top of its advertised range, the firm got off to a bad start — the biggest first-day decline in more than two decades for a company that raised at least $150 million. Daiwa Securities Co. and Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities Co. were the lead managers for the listing.
Finatext is one of six companies listing Wednesday on the Mothers board for startups, in what is a record month of debuts on the Tokyo Stock Exchange. Its offering highlights the growing demand for investing opportunities among a younger generation of Japanese, even as stock ownership still trails far behind markets such as the United States.
Going public will pave the way for Finatext to win bigger clients and achieve faster growth, according to the company’s chief executive officer and co-founder Ryota Hayashi, who said he’s aiming to quadruple its revenue to ¥10 billion in three years.
The target "is not something that’s impossible to achieve,” Hayashi said in an interview, though he cautioned it was a goal rather than official guidance. The company expects about ¥2.65 billion in sales for the year ending March.
The bottom line remains in the red, with the firm expecting a net loss of ¥1 billion this fiscal year. Hayashi says he’s in no rush to generate profit, though added it could do so quickly if required.
The Tokyo-based company, founded in 2013, generates revenue through commission fees in what it calls "brokerage as a service,” providing low-cost infrastructure and solutions for clients to implement trading solutions. Among its clients is Credit Saison Co., which uses Finatext’s software in a stock-trading platform for customers.
However, the company is better known to retail investors for services such as Asukabu, a stock-centered game in which users guess which direction a certain equity will move the following day. The firm’s apps aimed at new investors have accumulated more than 2 million downloads. It also offers Stream, a bona fide stock-trading app.
Finatext also provides software that helps clients manage insurance contracts, and is looking to expand its services to cover those linked to credit cards and loans.
"It’s one of the stocks getting the most attention among those going public in December,” said Matsui Securities Co. analyst Tomoichiro Kubota. He sees the revenue target as feasible, but added it’ll be "tough” for Finatext to immediately win over any major financial firms to its systems.
Continued system failures at the likes of Mizuho Financial Group Inc. highlight how Japan’s financial system is falling behind in adapting to digital services, even as it accelerates its digital push. Hayashi is confident that there’s a place in the market for Finatext’s alternatives.
"Right now we’re about providing software that form the infrastructure for brokerage and insurance services, but next it’ll be loans, consumer finance and credit card systems,” Hayashi said. "Things still are done with paper, faxes — for real — and phone calls. I think we stand a chance.”
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