Dan Adrian Pop, the honcho principal of SM Global Finance, has very unique curriculum vitae.
After finishing studying medicine at University of Georgia he realized that working as a doctor won’t help him achieve his personal dreams and he decided to move onto HR. He attended and graduated HR Management from Duke University and started working for Coca Cola Inc. That’s when the entrepreneurial bug bit him and realizing that the job won’t give him the personal satisfaction he’s looking to achieve he decided to call it quits and start working on his own.
He flew to Singapore and started United Consult thru which he started using his skills by doing manpower recruiting for several US & Canadian employers. By 2010 he was recruiting and staffing throughout the USA, Canada and Australia.
In 2016, he sold his company to Adecco US and moved to Europe to look for other opportunities. By 2017 he founded United Technologies Holding Ltd and began gathering software developers from various countries in order to develop his own suited ERP software, seeing that there is a large untouched demand in the market. The project was an instant success and “UTH Suite” started selling fast, especially to clients in ASIA.
Seeing the increased free capital, Dan decided to start his own financial business by using the newly gained funds to do bank guarantees for clients in China. For this endeavor he purchased United Finance Ltd UK, which was a well established company .This business developed and grew faster than anticipated and helped Dan to purchase a majority stake in United Wealth Finance Bank.
Going into a flashback mode, Dan says, ‘’We purchased United Finance Limited in 2018 because we wanted to use the funds earned by selling ERP Software to do collateral funding business. To do this we needed a financial institution in which we could block funds and issue bank guarantees. Afterwards, with the help of HSBC UK and Bank of America, which were reconfirming our bank guarantees, we were sending them to our clients in China. In financial parlance we were “renting money’’.
This was just the beginning. Soon, United Finance started with the issue, advice and confirmation of letters of credit, tender guarantees, and bid bonds
To facilitate this, United Finance operates in China through its subsidiary Seventy One Ltd. This company serves 457 clients within China ranging from pharmaceutical to construction and trade. Dan Adrian Pop found this business to be lucrative. So he expanded to include Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Indonesia, Pakistan, India, Dubai, Sri Lanka and Malaysia. Today they serve 644 clients.
The clientele is spread across multiple geographies. In China, Gezhouba ,3 GORGES and RAINBOW Corp;Karot Hydropower Project, Jhelum River and Kohala Power Project , both in Kashmir, India; Sarawak Energy, the Murum Dam project, Malaysia; Underground Power Complex, Tunnels and Hydraulic Steel Structures for DASU, Pakistan ;J POWER , Sumitomo Corporation Group, ITOCHU , Japan … and many, many more big tickets across various parts of the world.
To add further muscle to his operations, Dan Adrian Pop purchased United Wealth Finance Bank in New Zealand. He adds, ’’ We needed this because by owning our own SWIFT we were able to lower our issuing costs by 53%.’’
The next logical step was to get into trade. Dan realized that the majority of his customers were into trade and so,’’we became experts in trade finance’’. He established UNICOR Trading S. Korea for this.
Interestingly, in August 2018 Dan signed an agreement with Archer Daniels Midland for soybeans, sugar and corn, IOI Group for palm oil and with Mercuria Energy Group for petroleum products.
Says Dan, ‘’By September 2018 we started selling soybeans to clients in Pakistan and China by using United Finance and giving bank guarantees to our clients, which were used to get letters of credit from their banks’’.
By January 2019 UNICOR Trading was selling 120,000 metric tonnes of soybean, up to 20,000 metric tonnes of petroleum products and 30,000 metric tonnes of palm oil; these numbers being really good for a newly opened company.
By the end of 2019 a change happened. In Asia many large traders started filing for bankruptcy. This made the banks wary and they stopped renewing the trade facilities to many small, medium and large traders. This left the traders in a lurch as the trading business worked mainly on banking facilities.
That’s where Dan Adrian’s company stepped in. ‘’I offered my clients the chance to buy my products in lower volumes without using the banks. Basically we rented out storage facilities in Dubai, Singapore and Hong Kong and started bringing the products at our own cost and selling them from the storage in lower volumes. By doing it this way we increased sales by 35% in one month and even the total lockdown caused by the COVID-19 virus did not affect our business!’’
Dan is optimistic about the future. He says, ‘’We are now looking to grow United Wealth Finance Bank by acquiring IIG Bank, Malta and MBaer Bank, Switzerland . We are aiming to create our own commercial facilities and to start creating our own Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT). We plan to acquire properties in Europe and Asia and transform them into hotels. This is going to be the future of our financial part of the business. We will try to raise private funds to funnel into our private equity arm through which we wish to grow our customer base.”
His New Achievements is 88 Hotels Group is focused on hospitality and more exactly in acquisition, renovation, operation and resale. Mr. Dan Adrian Pop placed 88 Hotels Group at the heart of its ecosystem by being at the heart of its secret and by developing unique and long term relations with the largest business hotel groups as well as with family-run businesses.
Dan Adrian Pop believed that the company’s long-term development is inseparable from an approach that places it at the heart of its DNA and its strategy. By acting as an engaged and responsible investor, and by choosing to invest in Hospitality he’s convinced that his company approach creates value.
88 Hotels Group is an active investor that targets existing hotels with great potential for improvement as well as new hotel businesses ( new-builds and conversions of residential or office buildings into hotels).
To create value, 88 Hotels Group concentrates on the following: strategic repositioning of assets (moving under a brand, changing categories, reorganizing spaces, renovating, etc.), optimizing income and rationalizing costs, being actively and continually involved in the asset management of each transaction and implementing new operating methods, which are often more up-to-date and based on excellent knowledge of the local situation.
As a result, 88 Hotels Group has built a unique positioning for itself and now has excellent relations, built over time and based on trust and mutual respect, with 45 of the 70 largest independent European hotel operators, which have been in the industry for decades or even generations.
Dan Adrian Pop strategy focused on diversification, hotel asset management and operational expertise shared with the best operators has enabled his 88 Hotels Group to expand rapidly in the main euro zone regions suitable for the hospitality industry and to access rare and unique opportunities.
About the author:
Mr. Dan Adrian Pop is the driving force behind SM Global Finance, a Switzerland-based boutique venture capital funding company. It nurtures early stage ventures for success through seed capital, mentorship, network, experience and entrepreneurial wisdom.