Why 2 sisters decided to take their Singaporean proptech company public in a down market

·2 min read

Good morning, Broadsheet readers! U.S. trade representative Katherine Tai made an important deal with Japan, Makiko Ono is the first female CEO of a public Japanese company worth more than ¥1 trillion ($7.55 billion), and two sisters take their company public. Happy Wednesday!

- A new home. Last week, an unusual IPO took place on the Nasdaq. Rhonda Wong and Race Wong, two sisters born in Malaysia and raised in Singapore, took their company public.

The pair are cofounders of Ohmyhome, a Singapore-based property tech platform that handles home purchases, sales, and rentals along with mortgages, renovations, and legal services. Since 2016, the company has supported 11,000 transactions.

The sisters moved back and forth between Singapore and Malaysia often during their childhood; they say their frequent moves inspired them to enter the property tech and real estate category. “We’ve always worked together. It never crossed our minds not to work together,” says Race Wong, the company’s COO.

Race and Rhonda Wong. Courtesy of Ohmyhome
Race and Rhonda Wong. Courtesy of Ohmyhome

Still, going public on a U.S. exchange was far from an obvious choice. The company’s IPO was small; it raised about $11 million priced at $4 a share. The listing was the first for a Singaporean company this year, a slow year for IPOs amid the market downturn. The market debut attracted some scrutiny in the Asian business press, with publications questioning why the startup would pursue an IPO and calling attention to a 2022 transaction that involved a family member and accounted for much of the year’s revenue (the company disclosed the transaction in its prospectus).

The two cofounders are honest about the main reason for their IPO: Their company is in need of capital. Rather than raise a private round, they elected to go public.

They say that listing on the Nasdaq is helping them build brand awareness for Ohmyhome, more so than private funding would. “It provides us with a reliable reputation, it expands our reach, it helps us work with developers and helps us reach out to customers better,” Rhonda Wong, who serves as CEO, says. With that brand awareness, they hope to become a partner for American businesses looking to expand in Singaporean real estate.

Emma Hinchliffe

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This story was originally featured on Fortune.com

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