How we Built CapitalView for Verifiable Private Equity Data

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Whitepaper: How we Built CapitalView for Verifiable Private Equity Data

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  • Earlier this year, Accredify partnered up with UBS to pioneer the use of verifiable data in the private equity industry– resulting in the creation of CapitalView

  • Our research showed three key challenges in Private Equity that we wanted to address with our solution: 
    1. Manual process in ascertaining shareholdings of sellers
    2. Inaccurate market data, and
    3. Difficulty in identifying suitable buyers


  • The result, CapitalView, is a centralised system that enables its users to
    Find shareholders’ information to stay updated on changes
    Source potential buyers based on portfolio holdings
    Find similar investors and companies

1. Executive Summary

At the time of writing, the estimated private equity (PE) market cap is $1.7tn in AUM. While this is sizeable, when it comes to brokering of PE deals, there are only a number of specialized brokers in the market due to the lack of a level playing field. This is due, in part to a lack of harmonized solutions to provide foundations for new entrants, and the lack of accessible, accurate data and insights to support the pre-trade process. Furthermore, self-access into private markets without a broker, while technically possible, is often impractical. 

Project CapitalView aims to address these problems, targeting three key problem statements:

  1. How can buyers ascertain that potential sellers have the company shares to avoid exposing themselves to counterparty risk?
  2. How can buyers identify potential sellers / inventory holders of privately held companies?
  3. How can buyers identify additional potential investment opportunities based on the profile of a market leader or related investors?

Project CapitalView is a solution that builds on top of Singapore ACRA’s new blockchain-based TrustBar initiative which is also provided by Accredify (Project Applicant). The solution is novel in that it provides access to cap table information (records of existing company share inventory holders) from the golden source national corporate registry data, is time stamped with accuracy verified, and adds a layer of data analytics to provide further contextual historical and sectorial data. This takes the solution a step ahead of other market data services which only relies on publicly reported information, while adding a layer of rich granularity data insights to currently rigid national registry corporate data.

2. Overview

Private equity is a sector of the financial industry that invests in privately held companies or acquires ownership stakes in public companies to delist them. Private equity firms raise funds from institutional and high net worth investors and aim to create value through active management and strategic initiatives. They may use leverage and have a higher risk profile than other investors. Private equity plays a crucial role in the economy by providing capital, driving growth, creating jobs, and generating returns for investors.

The private equity industry in Singapore has experienced significant growth and development over the years:

  • 1980s:
    Venture capital firms started emerging in Singapore, primarily focusing on early-stage investments in technology startups.

  • 1990s:
    The Singapore government recognized the importance of venture capital and established initiatives like the Technopreneurship Investment Fund to support entrepreneurship and innovation. Several venture capital firms and government-backed funds were formed, providing funding and support to local startups.

  • 2000s:
    Private equity activities expanded beyond venture capital, with firms diversifying into growth capital, buyouts, and other private equity investment strategies. The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) introduced regulations and guidelines to promote the growth of the private equity industry. Singapore emerged as a regional hub for private equity, attracting both local and international firms to set up operations.

  • 2010s:

    The private equity industry in Singapore experienced continued growth, driven by increased investor interest and government support. More global private equity firms established offices in Singapore, further solidifying its position as a leading regional hub. The industry witnessed a shift towards larger and more complex transactions, including leveraged buyouts and growth capital investments.

  • 2020s:

    The COVID-19 pandemic posed challenges to the private equity industry, impacting deal activity, and fundraising initially. However, the industry demonstrated resilience, with a rebound in deal activity as the global economy recovered. Singapore continued to enhance its regulatory framework, promoting transparency, investor protection, and responsible investing.

    Overall, Singapore’s private equity industry has grown with government support, a favourable regulatory environment, and its position as a regional financial hub. The industry now plays a vital role in financing business growth and attracting investments to the country.

3. Problem statement

3.1 How can buyers ascertain that potential sellers have the company shares to avoid exposing buyers to counterparty risk?

Often times individuals misrepresent themselves as inventory holders when they do not have the shares, or when the structure of the shares are different. This is the #1 most common reason for trades falling apart when the buyer/seller fails to follow through on a  misrepresented bid/offer[1]. As such, considerable time is spent to verify if a seller actually has the purported shares/structure required for transaction, i.e. if the seller is genuine.

[1] Oliver Wyman: The Private Shares Secondary Trading Market

3.2 How can buyers identify potential sellers or inventory holders of privately held companies?

In the PE market, potential buyers face significant information asymmetry related to many aspects of a potential transaction. For example, while a buyer might want to purchase a block of shares in a private company, in the absence of a market where trading activities take place, the buyer might not know where to find a seller (inventory holder). This is the #2 most common reason why a private equity trade falls through1.

3.3 How can buyers identify additional potential investment opportunities based on the profile of a market leader or related investors?

Information asymmetry and lack of awareness of investment opportunities in private markets poses a significant challenge towards the deployment of excess dry powder. This is particularly the case for overseas investors who have set up dedicated APAC focused funds but have limited local presence to identify investment opportunities.

3.4 Summary of current challenges

3.4.1 Manual process in ascertaining shareholdings of sellers

The ultimate books and records for privately held company ownership in Singapore resides in the national corporate registry, also known as Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA). While ACRA access is possible, the solutions are either manual (singular purchase of BizFile PDFs) or inflexible. In cases where third party providers are able to work with ACRA, the solutions tend to be focused on credit or KYC solutions, instead of PE ownership verification.

3.4.2 Inaccurate market data

Market data on potential buyers may not be readily available or easily accessible. PE firms may encounter difficulties in obtaining comprehensive and detailed information about potential buyers’ financial performance, acquisition history, or strategic objectives. Lack of transparency can make it harder to assess their compatibility as suitable buyers.

Additionally, market data can quickly become outdated due to changing market conditions, industry dynamics, or economic shifts. The delay in obtaining or updating relevant market data can hinder the PE firm’s ability to identify suitable buyers in a timely manner.

3.4.3 Difficulty in identifying suitable buyers

The size and scale of the target company can limit the number of potential buyers. Large PE firms may struggle to find suitable buyers for smaller-sized targets, while smaller firms may face difficulties attracting interest from larger strategic buyers or institutional investors seeking substantial investments.

Maintaining confidentiality throughout the transaction process is essential, but it can also limit the visibility of potential buyers. PE firms need to balance sharing enough information to gauge interest and suitability without compromising sensitive details, which can make the buyer identification process more challenging.

4. Objectives and methodology

4.1 Objectives of the application

The objective of Project CapitalView is to create an enterprise platform that enables the automated tracking of equity ownership capitalization for private companies in Singapore. This would facilitate greater transparency in the PE markets and ultimately result in greater market liquidity.

As such, Project CapitalView is focused on delivering the following core capabilities:

1.     Providing the ability to create Watchlists to keep track of equity ownership changes in companies
2.     Having an up-to-date and verified list of shareholdings for each company

4.2 Methodology

4.2.1 Data collection: User interviews

Virtual 1-on-1 interviews were conducted with participants from UBS. Participants were asked a series of open-ended questions in an exploratory semi-structured manner. The following research questions were used to guide the interview:

  1. What is the current practice of identifying potential sellers and buyers of PE shares?
  2. How do they verify the potential sellers or buyers?
  3. Any issues with the current practice?
  4. Any features they’d like to see?
  5. What do they expect from the new feature?
  6. Any concerns on the new feature?

4.2.2 Design workshop – Applying design thinking methodology

Project CapitalView was guided by the double diamond design process. The process has 4 phases – Discover, Define, Develop, Deliver. Design workshops were conducted internally with the stakeholders to facilitate the application of the design thinking methodologies.

The objective in this phase was to identify and contextualise the actual problem or opportunity.

The design brief was unpacked to discover characteristics, areas of interest, places, people, and experiences relevant to the problem or opportunity that can be explored. Subsequently, the initial problem statements, personas, journey maps were studied, to uncover cluster findings if any. The last step in the “Discover” phase was research. Primary and secondary research methods were used in the form of desk research and user interviews.

After gathering the data from the “Discover” phase, the data gathered was filtered further to guide problem solving. Research findings were organised with affinity mapping. Problem statements, user journey maps, personas, and “How Might We” questions were crafted to help with ideation in the next phase.

This is when designers and internal stakeholders from other departments gather to facilitate problem solving.

Once the problems to solve were prioritised, the ideation phase initiated. Ideation was done through brainstorming sessions that focused on generating a large quantity of ideas. The ideas were then evaluated and selected with dot-voting and feasibility matrices.

In the “Deliver” phase, the final solution was evaluated and implemented.

Low and high-fidelity prototypes were built with the help of site maps, user flows and wire flows. Using the prototypes developed, user testing was performed. User testing helped uncover problems, discover design improvement opportunities, and learn more about users’ behaviours and preferences. The agile methodology project management approach was applied throughout the “Deliver” phase, with the prototypes being built and tested iteratively.

4.2.3 Prioritise and develop

The agile methodology was selected to manage Project CapitalView. Agile methodology is an approach to project management and software development that emphasizes flexibility, collaboration, and iterative progress.

  • Iterative Approach: Projects managed by the agile methodology are divided into smaller iterations called sprints. Each sprint typically lasts for a few weeks, during which a working product increment is developed. This iterative approach allows for regular feedback and continuous improvement.

  • Flexibility and Adaptability: The agile methodology prioritize responding to change rather than following a rigid plan. Requirements and priorities can evolve throughout the project, and the development team adapts accordingly. This enables quicker response to changing user needs and market demands.

  • Delivering Value Early: The agile methodology focuses on delivering a minimum viable product (MVP) early in the project. This allows the end user to start benefiting from the product sooner and provides an opportunity to gather feedback for further iterations.

4.2.4 Development – Modular approach

Project CapitalView adopted a modular approach to designing the application. With the insights gained from the design workshop, high priority modules were identified and included in the early phase of development. These modules include the Watchlist, company, and shareholder modules. Prioritising the development of these core modules allowed a shorter feedback loop to achieving a minimal viable product. Ancillary modules such as notification and analytics were subsequently developed. These modules were built to deliver quality of life improvements to the existing workflow of the end users.

4.2.5 UAT

In the latter sprint cycles of Project CapitalView, multiple product walkthroughs and demonstrations were performed with different stakeholders from UBS. User feedback was taken back to the development team to implement and improve the usability of the product. The agile methodology used in project management, and the modular approach used for development, enabled the development team to rapidly implement changes that improved CapitalView to better fit the end users’ workflow.

A UAT document of test cases covering every feature was provided to the stakeholders. This document acted as a checklist to ensure the features developed work as expected.

4.2.6 Measuring outcomes

To measure success, two key outcomes from the use of CapitalView were recorded:

  1. Time savings
  2. Usability feedback

5. Solution overview

5.1 User journey map

5.1.1 Finding shareholders’ information / staying updated on changes to shareholdings


  • Users had to manually purchase of BizFiles to confirm shareholdings, which was inefficient and relying on non-real time information. Users also had to keep track of the filing dates manually to know when to update the information for a company.
  • Users had to manually log shareholding changes in an Excel file, which may not be updated. This process is prone to human error and also requires additional effort to ensure updates are synced across users.


  • CapitalView is a centralized system that provides updated and verified information on companies operating in Singapore. Users are able to create Watchlists that are always continuously updated.
  • Shareholding changes are automatically tracked. Users are able to save time doing cross-checks since changes are verified based on ACRA’s BizFiles where source of truth utilises a decentralised network, the blockchain (elaboration in 5.3.1).

5.1.2 Sourcing for potential buyers based on portfolio holdings


  • Users had to draw data from public data sources. This is a repetitive task and is prone to human and reporting error.
  • Users had to manually maintain a list of contacts and contextual information (e.g. investment mandates).
  • Users had to spend a considerable amount of time to identify a suitable buyer, based on their understanding of each buyer’s mandate, and which needed to be constantly refreshed.


  • CapitalView provides a view of the portfolio for each investor. This allows users to quickly identify the latest holdings of an investor and the weightage of each holding.

5.1.3 Finding similar investors and companies


  • Users were constrained by information asymmetry in an opaque industry, and oftentimes limited to coverage of small number of investors / companies.


  • CapitalView serves as a recommendation engine that suggests additional similar investors and/or companies based on an existing portfolio or company.

5.2 Application features

5.2.1 Watchlist

  • Users can look up a particular company and assess current and historical shareholders to identify inventory holders using data directly obtained from ACRA.
  • Users can create multiple Watchlists of investors, companies and/or portfolios allowing users to easily monitor and track changes in shareholdings.

5.2.2 Notifications

  • Users can receive daily email notifications on shareholding changes of the companies in their Watchlists.

5.2.3 Recommendations

Content based recommendations
Identify and recommend entities similar to the entity of interest. This can be based on various indices, such as industry, employee size, age, growth, revenue, public/private, and so on.

Collaborative filtering recommendations
Identify investors similar to the investor of interest and recommend entities that are of interest to similar investors. Interest can be based on number of similar profiled investors, percentage of shareholding, growth in institutional investments, similarity of investors’ investment mandates / historical co-investments, and so on.

5.3 Solution architecture

5.3.1 How CapitalView captures information from the BizFile

Accredify’s existing partnership with ACRA enables the delivery of verifiable BizFile information products. This essentially forms the foundational data lake for multiple different corporate use cases, with the first being in private equity.

How CapitalView uses ACRA

The BizFiles are generated based on GovTech’s OpenAttestation framework. OpenAttestation (OA) is an open-sourced framework that endorses and verifies documents using the blockchain. Documents issued using this standard are cryptographically trustworthy and can be verified independently.

The process for issuing and verifyin a Bizfile on the blockchain is as follows:

  • On the Ethereum blockchain, ACRA creates a new ethr DID and get the private key and the public address.
  • DID address and controller is added into each document.
  • Bizfile is wrapped and a merkleRoot is retrieved.
  • The merkleRoot is signed using the private key and the signature is appended into the wrapped document.
  • When reading a Bizfile, the ethereum address associated with the DID identifier and DID controller is retrieved from the document.
  • Retrieves the eth DID used to sign the merkle root.
  • Makes sure both addresses match.
  • Data in the Bizfile can then be utilised for analysis

Documents issued using this standard are cryptographically trustworthy and can be verified independently.

6. Project outcomes and findings

  • As a result of the CapitalView Project, the team at UBS is now able to quickly examine and search for accurate, verifiable cap table data, for private companies in Singapore.

  • An analyst can now sort through and examine company data at a much faster pace – and with reduced risk of human error, as the previous process involved manually parsing PDF BizFiles into Excel files.

  • Email alerts feature allows UBS team to not waste time checking the registry for updates on a periodic basis – team will be notified whenever there is a new filing.

  • The platform demonstrated the value of such a tool, and for a financial institution like UBS, having an enterprise-grade solution with an element of control was important – especially given that sensitive data could be entered in the tool in the future.
    • While other tools exist in the market, none have enterprise features, or can guarantee the accuracy of their data.

  • There was a lot of value in this product being developed further from its current ‘pilot’ features, some ideas include: improved valuation data, charting, company comparisons, smart recommendations, team collaboration, expansion to additional geographies with API-based registry access.

  • A fully developed CapitalView solution with additional features could yield a positive net impact on the PE ecosystem in Singapore by making the industry more accessible and mitigating some elements of ambiguity and risk.

7. Challenges and limitations

7.1 Delay of ACRA project

Delay in the launch of ACRA project affected the timeline for Accredify to commence work.

The ACRA project serves as the backbone of Project CapitalView, providing the data lake of accurate, timely, and verifiable corporate registry data. The delay in the launch resulted in the reprioritization of the original timeline and key deliverables.

Timeline for the project was impacted and the team was required to expedite the completion of the project within 5 months.

8. Roadmap

8.1 Tag manager

Tag manager is a feature that allows the end user to assign and manage custom tags for a company or investor. Tags enable easier management of Watchlists and the ability to categorize companies with more flexibility.

8.2 In-app alert

In-app alert is a feature that notifies the end user of important updates to companies in their watchlists. Updates such as shareholding changes in companies are shown in real time to the user without needing to wait for a generated report.

8.3 Notifications on change in financial information

Users will be notified when a company has new or updated financial statements available.

8.4 Improved valuation and breakdown

Each company, where information is available, will have an implied valuation.

8.5 Portfolio valuation and breakdown

For fund and investment management companies, the valuation of all portfolio companies will be calculated and broken by industry, based on information available.

8.6 Transaction

Transaction is a feature that tracks the historical transactions for companies which includes the transaction price, date of transaction, and stakeholders.

8.7 Improved smart recommendations

By leveraging machine learning, AI, contextual data, and user-driven feedback, we seek to provide real-time recommendations of companies. The goal is to provide users of CapitalView insights to achieve competitive advantage in discovery of companies.

8.8 Expansion to additional geographies

Expanding coverage of CapitalView beyond Singapore companies will expand the number of trades that can be done in other regions

9. About the project participants

9.1 Accredify

Accredify is Asia Pacific’s award-winning leading verifiable technology solutions provider. By enabling automation and secure information exchange, Accredify has empowered over 600 users in nine markets and eight industries to simplify complex processes and discover new frontiers of digital trust. With a dedicated team that embraces the highest standards of customer service, security, and privacy, Accredify’s mission is to be the foremost verifiable technology solutions provider for moments when trust matters most.

9.1.1 Accredify contributors

Quah Zheng Wei

Account Lead

Prasheen Daniel Param

Project Manager

Abdul Hakim

Scrum Master

Derrick Lee Ming Yang

Lead Developer

Aurelia Lim Ying Yi


Justin Ng Jian Ting


Jason Neo Jia Cherng


Porter James Edward Ximin


Jessica Chong

UI/UX Designer

9.2 UBS in Singapore

For more than 50 years UBS has provided institutional, corporate and high net worth clients in Singapore an array of market leading financial products, expert advice, innovative solutions, unmatched execution, and access to global capital markets. Our Singapore operation stands as one of two major international booking centers for our Asia Pacific wealth management business. It is also the headquarters of our investment banking business in South Asia and the APAC hub for our FX, rates and credit divisions. In addition, UBS Singapore operates our first global Cyber Fusion Center, our largest UBS University in Asia Pacific and is the HQ for Tech Connect Southeast Asia.

9.2.1 UBS contributors

Nicole Javellana (Project Sponsor)

ASEAN Head of Client Trading and Execution
APAC Head of Private Equity Secondary Trading

Chuan Ji Lim (Project Manager)

APAC Principal Investments and Strategic Ventures

Abhishek Kothari (Project SME)

APAC Private Equity Specialist