We were trying to find a (platform as a service) solution and Heroku made the most sense. Our considerations were cost, time to market and security. Heroku delivered on all three.”

Haiping Choo | CEO


licensed private securities exchange in Singapore


1exchange is set to transform private equity trading with Heroku

1exchange is Singapore’s first and fully regulated private securities exchange – and the innovative trading platform is built entirely on Heroku.

On 10th July 2019, Singapore-based boutique fund management company Aggregate Asset Management made history when it listed $5.6 million worth of tradeable private equities on 1exchange -- Singapore’s first and fully regulated licensed private securities exchange.

This was a moment to celebrate for 1exchange. It was the debut listing on the 1exchange trading platform, and marked the end of a long journey that started with getting a Recognised Market Operator License (RMO) from the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS).

“This represents a key milestone in realising our vision of enabling tradeable private equity and opening up this highly desired asset class for global investors” says Haiping Choo, CEO of 1exchange. “That’s one reason why July 10 was a very good day for us. It was a tough journey to get there.”

For the first time, 1exchange enables investors to buy and sell private securities on a regulated, centralised and transparent trading platform. It also offers private companies an easier and more flexible way to unlock shareholder value.

Private companies can list up to 30 per cent of their shares on 1exchange in the form of tradeable private equities. At the same time, 1exchange provides accredited investors additional portfolio diversification with higher-than-market return potential, while giving shareholders options for exits.

“One of the main drawbacks of private company investing is that you require a very large cheque size, and you typically need to hold the investment for five years or more,” explains Choo.

“With 1exchange, we really want to open up the private equity market to a greater investment community. So instead of requiring a large investment size, we fractionise it so more investors can buy in. On top of that, we wanted to create an exchange where investors can buy and sell, so they are not stuck with something that they may have to hold for five years or longer.”

Platform is the solution

The 1exchange platform is entirely built on Heroku. This, says Choo, was deemed the best way to meet the strict IT security and availability requirements.

“We took the view to use third party providers such as Heroku to leverage best practices in security, server scalability and availability,” says Choo. “Our focus was on the business, regulations, and operations, and building up a devops team was not our top priority at that point of time.”

Choo says that building the platform on Heroku addresses these teething issues: “We were trying to find a solution that was a PaaS (platform as a service) and Heroku made the most sense. Our considerations were cost, time to market and security. Heroku delivered on all three.”

Into the (private) cloud 

Scalability was another key concern for Choo, and he wanted a vendor that could utilise the private cloud.

“I wanted to be on a private cloud because I didn't want to have a mismatch in terms of demand and supply,” he says. “We didn't know how many users we'd have in the early days and we didn't want to over-capitalise on capacity. Heroku was the best option for us to enable scalability.”

In April 2019, 1exchange announced its intention to become the world’s first licensed and regulated private securities exchange built on a public blockchain. The company partnered with Consensys – one of the world’s largest blockchain companies and the co-founder of Ethereum – to help drive what Choo believes will “set the foundation for the next generation of stock exchanges.”

Choo has employed an internal team of five IT specialists who work with the Salesforce Success Services team to configure Heroku as required. This, explains Choo, is essential to achieve the company’s next phase of development.

“We intend to build in more functionality over time,” he says. “We want to take what we’ve done and build on a separate mobile app that allows our customers to do their trading. This is all part of our vision to make private securities trading more accessible to every-day investors.”


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