Platforms Featured Southeast Asia

Fintech MatchMove acquires SG e-commerce startup Shopmatic

Singapore – Fintech firm MatchMove has acquired Singapore-based e-commerce startup Shopmatic for US$200m. The combined company will enable MatchMove to provide its banking-as-a-service capabilities to Shopmatic’s ecosystem of over a million e-commerce SME customers.

This deal is the first in a series of planned acquisitions for MatchMove to create an end-to-end service for companies in Southeast Asia aiming to digitalise their offerings. MatchMove has grown its presence rapidly across Southeast Asia in recent times and has customers across Singapore, India, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Philippines and Vietnam.

MatchMove’s platform provides customisable, fast, secure and regulated embedded financial services, such as banking-in-an-app, powered by APIs, to help enterprise firms offer richer services to their SME customers. Meanwhile, Shopmatic offers small businesses an e-commerce presence, complete with chat, social media, a webstore and automated access to the world’s largest e-marketplaces.

The combined entity will operate under the MatchMove Group name, while retaining their individual customer-facing brands for the immediate period. Shopmatic CEO Anurag Avula, will continue to lead the Shopmatic business while Shailesh Naik, CEO at MatchMove, will helm the Singapore-headquartered group as it seeks to add further complementary acquisitions to its stable of SaaS infrastructure solutions.

Naik said, “Shopmatic has built an amazing business and team with proven ecommerce tools which support SMEs to trade online. The acquisition provides a large user base to deploy our financial services, reaching a huge sector of the economy at scale. Enterprise customers can now completely digitalise their supply chains – providing services like supply chain lending and vendor payments through a single platform to Shopmatic’s ecosystem of SME customers.”

Meanwhile, Avula commented, “We are building a scalable, business-friendly platform-as-a-service with intelligent tools and data, so every business has the ability to create amazing products to address their markets and while addressing the challenges of moving digital money securely.”

He added, “MatchMove plans to provide modular services, so customers can select and tailor the digital services they need to deliver their commercial objectives. In addition to their existing e-commerce services, Shopmatic merchants will now be able to access embedded banking-as-a-service through MatchMove, enabling their buyers to make and collect payments seamlessly and at a lower cost.”

Marketing Featured South Asia

Mastercard, OPay to bring virtual payment solutions to Pakistan

Cairo, Egypt — Payment industry giant Mastercard and fintech OPay have announced a strategic partnership, which marks a significant boost for wider financial inclusion and economic prosperity by opening up digital commerce to customers in Pakistan.

The collaboration enables OPay Pakistani consumers and merchants to engage with brands and businesses anywhere across the globe, thanks to a Mastercard virtual payment solution linked to the OPay eWallet. The partnership’s effect also reaches other regions namely in the Middle East and South Africa.

This partnership is the latest milestone in Mastercard’s emerging market strategy where the technology company is collaborating with growing fintech such as OPay to expand access to digital payments, enable multiple lifestyle services, and create new pathways to financial inclusion and support the next generation of super-apps.

Consumers are increasingly looking for seamless user experiences on a single platform offering easier interactions to complete various day-to-day needs, including sending and receiving money, ordering food and groceries, organizing transport, lending, investing and listing items they wish to sell.

In the initial phase of this partnership, OPay customers will benefit from the Mastercard virtual payment solution linked to their OPay wallets, to shop at well-known global brands for leisure, travel, accommodation, entertainment, streaming services and more. The service is available regardless of whether or not the customer has a bank account. It also allows small business owners to purchase from suppliers abroad and pay with the secure virtual payment solution.

Amnah Ajmal, executive vice president for market development at Mastercard EEMEA, said, “At Mastercard, our innovation strategy is rooted in partnerships to support inclusion at scale. Our partnership with OPay demonstrates our commitment to supporting payments providers across the world to create an interconnected global payments ecosystem that benefits an array of consumers with unique needs.”

Yahui Zhou, CEO of OPay, commented, “As the leading fintech in the Middle East and Africa, we are delighted to be partnering with Mastercard as we continue on our journey to promote financial inclusion, helping to open up the global economy to more consumers and businesses across the Middle East and Africa.”

Since its operations started in 2018, OPay’s active users have grown to 15 million in dozens of markets in which it operates. The company processes millions of transactions per day on average.

Plans are in place to launch OPay services in other markets in the next three to five years, significantly driving the growth of digital inclusion and digital commerce, while at the same time widening OPay customer inclusion into the global economy.

Platforms Featured Southeast Asia

Indonesia fintech Xendit to empower SEA startups, SMEs in latest funding

Jakarta, Indonesia – Xendit, an Indonesian fintech, has raised US$300m in their series D funding, aiming to empower startups and SMEs in the Southeast Asian region. In total, Xendit has raised a total of US$538m in funding.

Coatue and Insight Partners co-led the round with additional investment from Accel, Tiger Global, Kleiner Perkins, EV Growth, Amasia, Intudo, and Justin Kan’s Goat Capital.

Xendit has been making strategic investments that serve startups and SMEs in Southeast Asian countries. The company recently invested in Bank Sahabat Sampoerna, a private bank in Indonesia that focuses on micro and SME businesses, as well as banking-as-a-service for technology-enabled businesses. 

Meanwhile, to complement its expansion into the Philippines, Xendit made a strategic investment into the leading local payment gateway, Dragonpay, doubling down on its commitment to modernising hyper-localised payments infrastructure in each market it enters.

Tessa Wijaya, co-founder and COO at Xendit, said, “We will continue to deliver access to Xendit’s payments products and services to enable more businesses and people in the region to participate in the digital economy. Xendit will continue to expand into new markets – like Thailand, Malaysia and Vietnam – where we can identify a need that doesn’t exist, similar to what we did in the Philippines. We plan to diversify our products with value-added services, like lending programs we’ve already started in Indonesia.”

Over the last year, Xendit tripled annualised transactions from 65 million to 200 million and increased total payments value from US$6.5b to US$15b.

Platforms Featured Southeast Asia

Vietnam’s fintech market expected to reach US$18b by 2024

Vietnam – The Southeast Asian nation of Vietnam is one of the fastest growing markets in the region to adopt fintech. It is expected that the fintech market in the country will reach a value of US$18b by 2024, according to a report from financial group Robocash Group.

According to the insights, since 2016, the total number of fintech companies has grown to 97, making an 84.5% increase. However, the number of newly launched start-ups per each year decreased from 11 to 2. The market features a high competitiveness and a high entry bar.

Furthermore, transaction volume demonstrated a 152.8% growth since 2016, with 29.5 million of new FinTech users. As a result, every second Vietnamese uses at least one FinTech service. The demand for digital services such as transactions, payments and wallets among the Vietnamese population has seen an upward trend as well.

“In the near future, the government is going to become more involved in FinTech, evidenced by the increasing number of favourable legislation for financial technologies. The fintech regulatory sandbox and the legal framework for digital assets and cryptocurrencies also assume further development of the industry,” the company said in a statement.

SME Featured Southeast Asia

Airwallex launches virtual B2B Visa debit card in Singapore

Singapore – After officially entering the Singapore market in January, global fintech Airwallex continues to progressively roll out key offerings in its global payments suite with the launch of its new Airwallex Borderless Card and integrated expense management solution.

Available to all Airwallex customers in Singapore, the Airwallex Borderless Card is a virtual multi-currency Visa business debit card that enables businesses to easily make online card payments anywhere that Visa is accepted, from Singapore and to the rest of the world.

Singapore-based companies can now instantly generate and issue virtual multi-currency business debit cards to promptly pay third parties, such as vendors and other online merchants with Airwallex’s market-leading foreign exchange rates wherever Visa cards are accepted. 

In addition to the Borderless Card, Airwallex is also launching its Expenses solution in Singapore. Singapore businesses will be able to streamline their expense processes with a single integrated platform to manage spending, seamlessly upload receipts for approval, reconcile expenses, and gain real-time visibility over card transactions.

Airwallex and Visa first announced their global strategic partnership in February 2020, and have since introduced the Airwallex Borderless Card to businesses in Australia, Hong Kong, United Kingdom, Europe, and the United States. 

“We’ve seen many of our global customers benefit from our cards offering, including significant cost savings on USD Software as a Service (SaaS) card spend and international transfer fees. We are so pleased that we can now offer Singapore businesses all the same benefits, providing them with greater flexibility and control over their cross-border card payments,” said Arnold Chan, Airwallex’s head of growth for Singapore.

“Today’s virtual cards and expenses launch is another significant step towards a full rollout of our global payments offerings in Singapore. We strive to become an integral one-stop-shop for any Singapore business requiring support with business finances across the entire transaction lifecycle, and by doing so, empower them to manage and grow both their local and global operations exponentially,” added Chan.

Kunal Chatterjee, Visa’s country manager for Singapore & Brunei, said that with Singapore being a global hub for commerce and SMEs looking to transact with counterparties globally, it is crucial to empower them with convenient and seamless cross-border payment solutions. 

“At Visa, we remain committed to working with our partners and being at the forefront in providing innovative payment solutions, helping businesses streamline their payment processes and improving the efficiency of international payments,” said Chatterjee. 

Over the coming months, Airwallex plans on expanding its card functionality, including enabling physical cards for business owners and for their employees’ work expenses, and digital wallet integration. 

Airwallex was founded in Melbourne in 2015, and in just six years, the company has secured more than US$800m in funding and a valuation of US$5.5b. Last April in Hong Kong, the fintech launched an SME support initiative worth HK$2.5m, where they provided a series of exclusive offers to help businesses recover and reopen from the pandemic while managing costs.

Platforms Featured Southeast Asia

Fintech Trusting Social nabs US$65m funding to further offer services in Vietnam

Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam – AI-powered fintech Trusting Social has raised US$65m funding from The Sherpa Company, a subsidiary of Masan Group Corporation, to offer customised retail and consumer financial products to serve 27 million families in Vietnam.

In addition, the strategic collaboration between the two entities will provide access to personalised fintech solutions for Masan’s consumers by combining Masan’s offline-to-online vision with Trusting Social’s ability to democratise financial services. 

It will also enable Masan to drive efficiencies in its core business by leveraging Trusting Social’s AI capabilities in areas as diverse as retail store selection, demand and supply planning, as well as product assortment and development.

Nguyen Nguyen, founder and CEO at Trusting Social, said, “I am proud that a Vietnamese team has created an innovative credit scoring artificial intelligence and machine learning platform that financial institutions across Asia are utilising to serve their consumers better. Our partnership with Masan is exciting since we broaden our platform from credit access to a total consumer life solution. Masan and Trusting Social have the same belief that Vietnam can create transformation and disruption on par with global peers.”

Meanwhile, Danny Le, CEO at Masan Group, commented, “Walmart has invested heavily to develop an AI and ML platform and has leveraged it to become the leading offline and online daily, consumer life platform. The Trusting Social partnership provides Masan a similar cutting edge AI and ML platform but tailored for 100 million Vietnamese consumers. Our job together now is to develop it from a pure credit scoring use case to a holistic consumer engine.”

Platforms Featured Southeast Asia

EZ-Link, Mastercard partner to launch new digital wallet ‘Pay by Wallet’

Singapore – Singapore-based contactless payment platform EZ-Link has partnered with global payment technology company Mastercard to launch its ‘Pay by Wallet’, a digital wallet product that leverages Mastercard’s ‘Pay by Account’ technology for making contactless and e-commerce payments including recurring payments at Mastercard accepting merchants globally.

The introduction of ‘Pay by Wallet’ aims to empower more consumers across all walks of life to access digital payment capabilities in line with their needs and participate in the digital economy.

By activating ‘Pay by Wallet’, users can now use their EZ-Link Wallet to make online and in-store contactless payments at over 80 million Mastercard merchants worldwide. This means that they can use ‘Pay by Wallet’ to shop online, as well as manage subscriptions for services like Netflix, Disney+, Spotify, gym membership, and ride-hailing, amongst others. Users will also be able to add ‘Pay by Wallet’ to Google Pay1to make contactless mobile payments for both retail and transit transactions.

Moreover, users can earn EZ-Link Rewards points with every transaction and redeem them for benefits from over 200 merchants on the EZ-Link Rewards platform, which ranges from F&B, retail, and motoring, amongst others. They will also be entitled to exclusive offers across Mastercard’s Priceless Specials, a curated list of offers that cut across key passion pillars of eat, play, shop, and stay.

Nicholas Lee, EZ-Link’s CEO, shared that as consumers’ lifestyles continue to evolve with increasing digitalisation, they want to transform alongside them to serve their everyday needs, and with ‘Pay by Wallet’, they will be able to empower consumers with greater flexibility and convenience when making domestic and cross border payments digitally.

“At EZ-Link, we have built a strong anchor in transportation, and will continue to build on that success by steadily penetrating the digital marketplace to enable more inclusive digital payment services for Singaporeans,” said Lee.

Meanwhile, Deborah Heng, Mastercard’s country manager for Singapore, commented that they are delighted to partner EZ-Link to power the growth of the digital payments ecosystem in Singapore.

“With the value of digital wallet transactions expected to grow, this innovative Pay by Account technology is timely and will allow EZ-Link to expand its reach by offering five million users the ability to transact anywhere and anytime, leveraging Mastercard’s comprehensive global acceptance,” said Heng.

As part of the launch, EZ-Link is offering a sign-up bonus to the first 20,000 users who activate Pay by Wallet on their EZ-Link App. They will receive S$5 credit upon sign-up, and an additional S$5 cashback on their first spend5. This campaign runs until 31 July 2022. During the same period, users who pay with EZ-Link Pay by Wallet will automatically be enrolled in a lucky draw, and stand to win prizes including 2D1N staycation packages at Resorts World Sentosa and Universal Studios.

Platforms Featured Southeast Asia

Indonesian fintech JULO’s US$80m funding to facilitate lending access

Jakarta, Indonesia – JULO, a local fintech platform, has recently raised US$80m to facilitate access to its lending services for its growing Indonesian user base. The funding is composed of a combination of US$30m equity and US$50m credit facility.

The funding was facilitated by Credit Saison, a Japanese financial services company affiliated to Mizuho Financial Group.

The equity of US$30m will be used by JULO to develop data analysis systems, product development, marketing, and customer acquisition plans by adding human resources (HR) in the development team, data scientists and business intelligence personnel. Meanwhile, the US$50m credit facility will be allocated to facilitate loan funds on the JULO platform.

Adrianus Hitijahubessy, CEO and co-founder at JULO, said, “Until now, JULO Digital Credit has a commitment to empower the people of Indonesia, where 72% of credit applications are used for purposes of improving the quality of life such as business capital, home renovations and education. In collaboration with Credit Saison, we have the opportunity to develop JULO’s commitment further by carrying out a further revolution in the Indonesian fintech lending industry and reaching out to people who are underserved by financial services in every province of Indonesia.”

As an investor, Credit Saison will play an active role – especially in the hyper-growth phase of JULO – by making joint observations for any potential business development in the future. The following investment strategy was developed by Credit Saison through Saison Capital, a venture capital firm focused on startups with opportunities to develop financial capabilities.

Meanwhile, Kosuke Mori, senior managing executive officer and head of global business at Credit Saison, commented, “To improve financial well-being, credit innovation needs to be accompanied by an in-depth understanding of consumer behaviour and needs. As a result, JULO continues to grow in the midst of the COVID pandemic situation with credit disbursement of more than US$300m to date. We look forward to working with JULO to further accelerate access to financial products and to bring about significant changes for economic development in Southeast Asia.”

Platforms Featured South Asia

Bank Alfalah, Paymob team up to drive digital payment acceptance in Pakistan

Karachi, Pakistan – National private bank Bank Alfalah has partnered with fintech platform Paymob to drive payment acceptance in Pakistan, which will empower over 100,000 merchants across Pakistan and launch new innovative services in e-commerce acceptance for online merchants.

Through the partnership, both entities have collaborated to activate and support merchant acquisition and integration services across Pakistan. This is Paymob’s first collaboration outside its Egyptian home market and comes as part of its expansion strategy in the Middle East, North Africa, Afghanistan, and Pakistan (MENAP) region.

Bank Alfalah’s partnership with Paymob will drive financial inclusion and lead the way for swift payment acceptance, and will follow Bank Alfalah’s objective to support merchant acquisition and integration services across the country. This collaboration will enable an instant onboarding feature for the first time in Pakistan using Paymob’s advanced solutions such as payment gateway integration, POS terminals and SoftPOS.

Atif Bajwa, President and CEO of Bank Alfalah said, “Bank Alfalah is proud to partner with Paymob in one of Pakistan’s largest Fintech partnerships. Our collaboration will aim to serve thousands of merchants across Pakistan and the industry-first ‘Tap-on-Phone’ service will allow us to reach even the most remotely located merchants in Pakistan.”

Furthermore, the instant onboarding feature made by the partnership is empowered by the digital onboarding regulations recently published by the State Bank of Pakistan and comes as one of many positive steps the State Bank has led to enable MSME merchants in order to further digitise the ecosystem.

Meanwhile, Alain El-Hajj, COO of Paymob, commented, “This is a remarkable moment for Paymob. We are honoured to partner with Bank AlFalah under its progressive leadership to provide reliable and seamless digital payment services for SMEs across Pakistan. With this partnership we aim to contribute to the shared vision of economic growth and digitization of SMEs.”

Platforms Featured Southeast Asia

PH fintech Uploan PH evolves as employee wellness platform SAVii Asia

Manila, Philippines – Local fintech Uploan PH has recently evolved as employee wellness platform SAVii Asia, mirroring the startup’s provision of financial empowerment to over 400,000 employees in the Philippines.

The SAVii platform provides financial education and mental health awareness training, as well as their financial services. Their services aim to enhance employee wellbeing and reduce workplace stress.

According to Liam Grealish, CEO and founder of SAVii Asia, their platform helps in building a resilient workforce that can maintain focus and engagement that redounds to the benefit of business.

“Employee well-being is threatened by financial demands heightened by the pandemic. We are a platform that delivers financial services to employees that other formal financial institutions are unable to service,” Grealish said.

He also added that there has been a ‘quiet revolution’ in employee behaviour toward financial products is taking place beneath the surface; preferable to receive services through their employers as an employee benefit deducted from their pay rather than going directly to suppliers outside of their company. This results in a more convenient and affordable consumer experience. 

SAVii had doubled their customer base during the pandemic; bringing them closer to their goal to transform the lives of its partners’ employees by reliably providing access to the financial power of their salary when they need it. HR departments is expected to benefit from the boost to employee well being which betters loyalty and engagement.

The evolution of the SAVii Asia brand follows a recent survey they conducted across 10,000 employees. In it, they found that 90% of working Filipinos prefer to access financial products through salary deduction. A SAVii spokesperson further stated that when the fintech startup started, 40% of employees did not access financial products through salary deduction, and that number is now down to 18%.