UAE Based, Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), the global financial center in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA) region recently announced that one its clients, GRIP Investment banking and Wealth Management firm was undertaking the first Digital securities multi-million dollar capital raise for Japanese entity Lead Real Estate.
According to Both DIFC and GRIP, the issuance is the first major globally compliant digital securities offering in MEASA, marking a key milestone for DIFC and Dubai. GRIP is also on course to establish a private securities marketplace within the Centre - a first for the region.
Commenting on the announcement, Arif Amiri, Chief Executive Officer of DIFC Authority, said, “Congratulations to GRIP for launching this innovative digital security capital raise. We are pleased that DIFC’s robust yet forward looking legal and regulatory framework is providing GRIP with a platform to deliver a first for the Centre and MEASA region. Innovation like this will propel economic development in the region and illustrates how DIFC is driving the future of finance.”
UNLOCK interviewed Founder and CEO of GRIP, V Gowribalan, with 7 minutes to UNLOCK. Gowri explained, “At GRIP we are keen to be involved with cutting edge investment opportunities, and our pipeline is made up of Green Bonds and Impact investments from clients that range from Japan, Mexico, Georgia and the GCC region”, added V.Gowribalan, CEO of GRIP.
GRIP Investments was launched in 2017 after Gowri became interested in cryptocurrencies, ICO (Initial Coin Offerings, digital securities utilizing Distributed Ledger Technology. He explains, “It was both fascinating and unnerving but I wanted to use the technology to facilitate global access of capital for digital securities issuers. We launched our operations and are regulated from DIFC and DFSA (Dubai Financial Services Authority) as an investment bank, wealth management fund and private securities marketplace.”
GRIP is leading the capital raise for Lead Real Estate, a Tokyo headquartered residential and commercial developer focused upon the planning, acquisition, renovation and repurposing of real estate assets, with some of their projects being developed to leverage on the opportunities arising out of the 2021 Tokyo Olympics. Lead Real Estates had announced at the end of 2019 that it would be using tokenized securities to raise funds for upcoming projects.
According to Gowri, the 17 year old Japanese company with over 80 million in turnover will raise capital through tokenized preferred shares. He explains, “They will utilize the capital towards identified projects across premium areas of Tokyo.”
Answering the question as to why would Lead Real-estate work with GRIP, Gowri replies, “GRIP DIFC in Dubai UAE is a hub and home to over 200 nationalities, DIFC is considered the 8th in the world and has provided the regulatory frameworks to facilitate firms like GRIP.”
The offering involves a collaborative effort by reputed lawyers, service providers, technology providers and regulated firms from across the world, including UAE, the US, Japan, Hong Kong and the Cayman Islands.
As for the future GRIP will soon be launching its Private Digital Security Marketplace in the region. As Gowri explains, “We are launching a marketplace to trade equities or securities in a private marketplace, utilizing digital securities which will reduce friction and make it quicker to transfer ownership and reduce the cost of price discovery and we believe in the years to come this will have a significant impact on blurring the lines between what it means to be listed and what it means to be in a private digital securities marketplace, or secondary market.”
In conclusion GRIP hopes to redefine the investment management space.