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Platforms Featured Southeast Asia

BillEase raises US$20m to bolster financial inclusion for Filipinos

Manila, Philippines – BillEase, a consumer finance app in the Philippines, has closed an up to US$ 20m debt facility arranged by Helicap Securities, a Singapore-based financial technology company providing private debt investment opportunities for accredited and institutional investors, bringing the total raised by the lending platform to US$55m in debt and equity.

BillEase said that it is well positioned to further expand the reach of its financial services in a market where low-cost credit is not accessible enough for many consumers. The Philippines is amongst the emerging markets with low credit card penetration but has a tech-savvy and digitally-forward population, creating more growth opportunities and capturing a largely underserved market for the company.

Earlier this year, BillEase raised US$11m in a Series B round led by BurdaPrincipal Investments, the growth capital arm of German media and tech company Hubert Burda Media. Centauri – a joint investment vehicle of MDI Ventures and KB Investment, 33 Capital, and Raisin DS CEO Tamaz Georgadze also joined the round. While in March, BillEase also raised US$20m in secured debt from the UK-based Lendable, an emerging market credit provider, to further accelerate the growth of its lending products.

Georg Steiger, CEO and co-founder of BillEase, commented that they are delighted to have secured a new facility which will further grow and expand their loan portfolio, demonstrating the confidence private investors have in their sustained growth trajectory and profitability.

“Being able to collateralise our loan book allows us to access funding to continue serving our fast-growing, underserved customer base. Our new funding comes at the right time as we develop and launch new products and continue to see strong growth. At the same time maintaining profitability means we can be a sustainable and long-term partner for consumers and merchants,” Steiger said.

Meanwhile, Zhiwei Tan, executive director of Helicap Securities, said that they are excited to support BillEase’s growth with this debt facility, and they are impressed by the company’s growth over the past 3 years and its mission to further financial inclusion in the Philippines. 

“The rising acceptance of digital payments is changing the landscape of consumer lending and we are seeing BillEase as one of the few companies that can leverage and scale with the use of their AI-driven credit engine which allows them to offer consumer-centric, responsible financial products and highly personalized digital experience,” added Tan.

This year, BillEase has also launched its in-store QR payment to tap into payment transactions that usually happen offline as well as payment links which are now highly used in social commerce, allowing the company to offer an omnichannel shopping and payment experience for both customers and its merchants.

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Platforms Featured Southeast Asia

Fintech FOMO Pay’s US$13m funding to boost business, talent development

Singapore – Singapore-headquartered fintech company FOMO Pay has secured a US$13m investment, which will be used to accelerate its growth and to invest in talent acquisition and infrastructure. 

The Series A round was led by Jump Trading Group’s digital assets arm Jump Crypto. Other participating investors also include HashKey Capital, Antalpha Ventures, Ab Initio Capital, and Republic Capital.

FOMO Pay will also use the funding to strengthen its research and development capabilities, as well as to bolster its geographical expansion. Moreover, the firm will extend its client base, expand geographically, and diversify its product offerings.

Louis Liu, founder and CEO of FOMO Pay, noted that they are seeing significant growth across all business lines, as their volumes for the first half of 2022 have already surpassed the full-year 2021 levels, and their client pipeline is extremely strong.

He further shared that they will continue to strive hard towards building Asia’s first licensed payment ecosystem with interoperability between fiat and cryptocurrencies, and they are grateful for the unwavering support and belief from their investors, stakeholders, and partners. 

“We are extremely proud and grateful to be one of the front-runners in this industry in Singapore. Singapore has been at the forefront of innovation with a world-leading licensing and regulatory framework. Our goal is to work in harmony with all stakeholders, on both developmental and regulatory approaches to achieve the vision of Singapore as an innovative and responsible global digital asset hub,” said Liu.

Meanwhile, Tak Fujishima, head of Asia of Jump Crypto, said, “FOMO Pay has established its firm footing as a leading local digital payment and banking solution provider which we believe is the future gateway for financial services. The financial technology space is rapidly evolving and we believe FOMO Pay will continue to be a leading innovative player in this space in creating a seamless and secure payments ecosystem.”

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Technology Featured Southeast Asia

Datatech platform Bounty Media closes US$1.8m in new funding to power expansion in SEA

Singapore – Bounty Media, a pioneer of zero-party data technology with a platform that empowers consumers and brands, has closed an oversubscribed Pre-A round of US$1.8m. This round was led by SOSV along with Vectr Fintech Partners, ASTOR Management, Black Kite Capital, Plug and Play Ventures, and Quonota Investment, as well as High Cosmos, and Revium.

Through the new funding, Bounty will continue its rollout across SEA and the rest of APAC through 2022 and 2023, expanding its content partners with a plan to reach one billion-person audience by the end of 2023. 

Founded by Claes Loberg and Jake Denney in Singapore, Bounty launched in Indonesia in 2021 and has now expanded operations into three additional markets, which include Thailand, Malaysia, and the Philippines. Its unique service empowers consumers to control their personal data and be rewarded for sharing it with the advertisers they trust.

Claes Loberg, co-founder of Bounty Media, commented, “We’re excited to close out this oversubscribed round with this great group of investors and advisors. We’re now busy expanding our team in Singapore as we continue our vision of developing the foundation of a marketplace for 1 billion consumers to sell their data for $1 a day.”

Meanwhile, William Bao Bean, managing director of SOSV’s Orbit Startups, noted, “We’re in the middle of a revolution in data privacy that most brands and consumers are trying to understand how to navigate. Bounty has already gained traction with its easy and transparent solution that empowers both consumers and the brands that they trust. We can’t think of a better team to take on this mission.”

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Platforms Featured Southeast Asia

Vietnam-based fintech Finhay bags fresh funding to bolster business growth

Vietnam – Vietnam’s digital investment platform, Finhay, has secured a US$25m Series B round co-led by Openspace Ventures and VIG. The round also counts Insignia, TVS, Headline,TNBAura, and IVC, amongst those who participated. 

Alongside this fundraising, Finhay has bolstered its market-leading position with the acquisition of a securities brokerage, making it the only licensed digital investment platform in Vietnam. The new capital will be used to invest in strategic business expansion, talent acquisition, and technology development.

Finhay aims to provide Vietnamese consumers with easy and convenient digital access to financial services. With a youthful and ambitious population now looking to invest, the market holds significant promise and Finhay has been able to capture users seeking to capitalise on this opportunity – amassing more than 2.7 million registered users. In 2021 alone, it gained 150% more users, buoyed by the release of four new products, namely cash-wrapped accounts with CIMB, gold trading, a 12-month saving product, and stock trading.

Huy Nghiem, CEO and founder of Finhay, commented that they are thrilled to welcome Openspace, VIG and other investors, and look forward to how their funding and understanding of Southeast Asian fintechs help accelerate Finhay’s growth.

“A large number of people are now looking for ways to start investing – often for the first time, and we are exploring different ways to enable them. It’s such an important inflection point,” said Nghiem.

Meanwhile, Jessica Huang Pouleur, partner at Openspace, said, “Finhay is already emerging as the clear frontrunner in Vietnam’s booming investment space. We believe a massive opportunity exists in Vietnam, which has an enterprising population hungry for the chance to invest smartly. Finhay’s recent developments have paved the way for continued growth as a broader wealth creation platform. We are thrilled to partner with Huy and the relentless Finhay team in their mission.”

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Marketing Featured Southeast Asia

Malaysian e-commerce company RPG Commerce secures funding to develop, expand its brand-portfolio

Malaysia – RPG Commerce, a Malaysia-based direct-to-consumer (DTC) e-commerce company, has secured US$ 29 million in a Series B funding round led by East Ventures, UOB Venture Management, Vertex Ventures SE Asia & India (VVSEAI), and RHL Ventures. VVSEAI previously led RPG Commerce’s Series A funding and has continued to invest in this current round.

The funds raised will be channeled into future-proofing the company’s technology and development processes, as well as developing and expanding RPG’s brand-portfolio to create revolutionary consumer products. RPG currently hosts a suite of 10+ in-house international brands, including apparel & homeware brands Thousand Miles, Bottoms Lab, Montigo, Cosmic Cookware & more. 

RPG Commerce’s multi-brand business model launches, operates, and optimizes a globally successful suite of DTC brands by owning the development, production, and delivery processes end-to-end. Striving to create an exceptional standard of living for customers by creating innovative solutions to everyday problems, RPG is powered by cutting-edge back-end technology and a leading team of creative visionaries, which has resulted in a rapid brand portfolio expansion and customer base growth of 300% over the past year.

Melvin Chee, co-founder and CEO of RPG Commerce, shared, “RPG Commerce’s mission is to provide value that exceeds the expectations of our customers. We are proud to have delivered game-changing, customer-centric products and services by creating high-quality essential items through our DTC model that are accessible at their fingertips and delivered straight to their doorstep. With this round of funding, we aim to rapidly expand our talent pool across the entire organisation and enhance our technological capabilities in addition to expanding our suite of brands to further disrupt the consumer landscape.”

Evolving beyond its primary DTC business model, RPG’s ‘shared backend infrastructure’ enables other businesses and brands to leverage RPG’s technology framework through partnerships. Passionate about supporting independent businesses with in-demand products and solutions, RPG is also looking forward to empowering smaller businesses through incubation programs and acquisitions to expand its range of consumer-centric products across different verticals. 

Meanwhile, Willson Cuaca, co-founder and managing partner of East Ventures, commented, “RPG takes a multi-category, multi-brand approach, while retaining the roll-up model as an option, making them a unique and successful player in the e-commerce landscape. It is critical for DTC businesses to build traction internationally to ensure success, and RPG stands out as a company that has been able to grow a loyal customer base across the US, Canada, and Europe by building consumer trust through quality products and supply chain innovation. “

Cuaca added, “We are excited to support RPG on the next leg of their growth and are looking forward to watching the brand expand their portfolio and grow in new markets across Southeast Asia.”

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Marketing Featured Southeast Asia

ShopBack secures new funding to deepen its presence across APAC

Singapore – ShopBack, a Singapore-based shopping and rewards platform, has announced that it has raised US$80 million of new capital in a funding round led by Asia Partners. The funds will will be used to support the Group’s vision to build the shopping and rewards platform across the Asia-Pacific region. Existing investor January Capital also participated in the round.

In addition, the capital will be invested into developing new and innovative products for users and merchant partners, deepening its presence across the Asia Pacific, and building capabilities for public market readiness.

Henry Chan, co-founder and CEO of ShopBack Group, shared, “We want to help our users to shop and save smarter, particularly in this inflationary economy with recession looming on the horizon. Each day, we send more than one million shopping journeys to over 10,000 partner merchants, where consumers can discover deals, compare products, get rewarded and pay for their purchases.” 

“To merchants, we remain a trusted partner, delivering cost-effective marketing solutions to support their growth aspirations,” Chan added.

The announcement comes on the heels of the launch of ShopBack Pay, where over two million users in Singapore and Australia can now check out conveniently with ShopBack Pay at more than 3,000 merchant outlets. Last December, ShopBack acquired hoolah, a “buy now, pay later” (BNPL) player in Southeast Asia, as part of its foray into financial services.

Meanwhile, Nick Nash, managing partner at Asia Partners, commented, “We are thrilled to be partnering with Henry, Joel, and the ShopBack team to accelerate the growth of one of Asia’s leading internet companies. ShopBack personifies the ideal of a compelling and practical consumer value proposition, being one of the most effective ways for brands to delight their customers and at the same time quantify the value of their marketing budget.”

”This is the perfect time to back winners, to consolidate their position, and gain share,” Nash adds.

ShopBack also recently strengthened its management bench to spearhead its growth efforts, bringing on board Chief Technology Officer San Oo from communications giant Slack Technologies; and Managing Director for Financial Services Hamish Moline, formerly Chief Commercial Officer of ASX-listed Zip Co Limited.

Chan further said, “The journey ahead with Nick, Oliver and Brook to build an enduring and independent company is going to be a tremendously exciting one. I feel privileged to be able to leverage their experiences as astute operators and world-class investors to shape a stronger ShopBack,” said Chan.

This new funding brings the total capital raised by ShopBack to over US$230M. 

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Technology Featured Southeast Asia

SleekFlow secures new funding to accelerate expansion in SG, MY

Singapore – SaaS omnichannel social commerce platform SleekFlow has completed a US$8m Series A funding round, led by New York-based investment firm Tiger Global Partners, with notable investors like Transcend Capital and AEF Greater Bay Area Fund, managed by Gobi Partners GBA – the GP of Alibaba Hong Kong Entrepreneurs Fund (AHKEF). 

The newly secured funds will be channelled to facilitating SleekFlow’s strategic market penetration into SEA, specifically Singapore and Malaysia, and as part of its expansion plans into the UK, Europe, and other emerging markets. 

Moreover, the funds will be used to scale the platform’s capabilities with fintech and data analytics functions, one-click checkouts via popular social media platforms, centralised product listings, and easy in-chat payment integrations to enhance seamless workflow for O2O and e-commerce brands.

Henson Tsai, founder and CEO of SleekFlow, shared that the social commerce market is expected to rise to US$3.37t by 2028, and SleekFlow aims to drive this e-commerce revolution by being the top social commerce unified hub – merging conversations, product catalogues, payment solutions, and order management into one for businesses.

“With investor trust from Tiger Global Partners, Transcend Capital, and AEF Greater Bay Area Fund, SleekFlow will enhance product developments to include detailed buyer journey tracking and analytics, which will provide invaluable actionable insights for enterprises to unlock their social commerce power as they embrace this unstoppable megatrend,” said Tsai. 

Meanwhile, Chibo Tang, managing partner of Gobi Partners GBA, said, “Eight in 10 US businesses anticipate increased sales via social media within the next three years. SleekFlow’s innovative solutions will help these global commerce businesses meet the evolving needs of customers who are turning to social channels to purchase more than ever before.”

Just recently, SleekFlow has also launched its new one-click checkout function and social-to-payment ecosystem, which provides a comprehensive solution for both e-commerce and brick-and-mortar businesses to receive payments directly via social chats. The newly advanced chat-and-pay feature effectively connects businesses and consumers with a faster, easier, and more well-secured path to purchase, unlocking a new avenue for business profits and revenue.

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Marketing Featured Southeast Asia

Vietnam-based fintech raises new funding to democritise investor access to stock trading

Vietnam – Anfin, a Vietnam-based fintech firm with its proprietary stock trading platform, has announced it has raised US$4.8 million in its pre-Series A funding round led by Clement Benoit, (Business Angel, Founder of Stuart & Not so Dark) and Y Combinator. The round also saw participation from other notable investors including Rebel VC, Kharis Capital, Newman Capital, First Chek Ventures, Micro Ventures, Springcamp, and AngelHub.

The funds will be deployed towards strengthening Anfin’s product development, especially its social investment product which lets users host and join live audio rooms. Through the use of tech-enabled profiling and risk assessment, Anfin will enable credible investors, a platform to share ideas, strategies, and trades.

Furthermore, Anfin will continue its partnership development to offer more financial asset classes from its current offering of over 300 stocks and nine ETFs, allowing users to trade and diversify their portfolios with a few simple clicks. The funds will also be used to bolster Anfin’s relationship with local investor communities. This includes improving the library of free educational content and working directly with universities on products that incentivize financial literacy.

Launched in October 2021, Anfin is a fintech startup that enables customers to engage in stock investment and provides a fast and convenient trading experience. The trading app serves as an engaging, user-friendly experience for new retail investors who are interested in researching and learning about established ways of investing.

Phuoc Tran, CEO and co-founder of Anfin said, “Within a year, Anfin’s stock investment application has had more than 1 million app downloads. In line with the company’s vision for the next phase of growth, it was very important to join hands with the right set of leaders and investors. Our mission is to democratise access for retail investors in Vietnam to a variety of financial assets ranging from stocks, bonds, and structured investment products among others while increasing access to financial ideas.”

The financial app Anfin has seen a jump in activity during the COVID-19 pandemic due to the growing preference for mobile banking and online investments. Currently, counting more than 100,000 in funded accounts, deposits have reached up to US$5 million and US$10 million in total transaction value.

Clement Benoit, Business Angel, Founder of Stuart & Not so Dark, shared, “Anfin has all the ingredients of the recipe to become a category leader in social investment. I have personally been impressed by the maturity and the execution level of the management team. In less than a year of time, Anfin has built a unique product that non only generates a never-ending growth but also a massive adoption.” 

Benoit added, “Democratizing access to stock trading with a social layer through a simple and friendly product is definitely the answer to a large untapped market in Asia. I have no doubt that this series A funding will allow Anfin to scale beyond Vietnam and become a reference in social trading.”

Through its value-added technology and financial services, Anfin’s fractional share trading feature allows users to start investing from only 10,000 VND (US$0.43) while providing a simple way to build a balanced portfolio and invest in shares regardless of the share price.

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Platforms Featured Southeast Asia

Indonesian startup Desty raises funding to develop full stack merchant solution

Singapore – Desty, an Indonesian e-commerce startup, has raised a new funding to develop its full stack e-commerce merchant solutions platform. The funding is led by Square Peg, in addition to funds raised from a Pan-Asia investor base last year, including East Ventures, Jungle Ventures, 5Y Capital and other prominent angel investors in the region.

Desty plans to leverage its new funding to further product optimisation, team expansion and user acquisition.

Desty provides a suite of digital tools that helps merchants, from online sellers to F&B establishments to operate their businesses through a unified platform. Over the past year, Desty has enhanced its multiple merchant enablement tools and proprietary tech infrastructure to offer a full stack e-commerce use case across link-in-bio (desty.page), an online store builder (desty.store), a digital ordering menu (desty.menu) and an omnichannel dashboard (desty.omni).

Mulyono Xu, co-founder and CEO at Desty, said, “We are very delighted to have Square Peg supporting us with their extensive experience investing in comparable business models across the globe. Indonesia has a very unique digital economy with notable fragmentation across merchant traffic, sales channels, payments and logistics. We strongly believe that our full stack approach to empowering merchants with our suite of enablement tools will solve their pain points most effectively.”

Meanwhile, Piruze Sabuncu, partner at Square Peg, commented, “We wanted to partner with Desty, not only because of the traction and customer love we’ve seen so far, but also because of the technical and go-to-market talent Mulyono and Bill were able to bring together. Mulyono and Bill are bringing in years of industry expertise and best practices that will help unlock economic opportunities for millions of small businesses in Indonesia and the rest of Southeast Asia.”

He added, “We are excited to partner with the Desty team on its mission to bring merchants online, and help them operate seamlessly across Indonesia’s increasingly crowded e-commerce space.”

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Platforms Featured Southeast Asia

Indonesian fintech Flip secures fresh funding to help fuel business growth

Jakarta, Indonesia – Indonesia’s consumer payments platform Flip has secured a Series B funding round led by Tencent, with participation from Block, Inc. (formerly Square, Inc.) and existing investor Insight Partners.

This new funding brings Flip’s total Series B to more than $100 million and follows on the heels of Flip’s first Series B round in December 2021, which was co-led by Sequoia Capital India, Insight Partners, and Insignia Ventures Partners. 

With the newly secured funding, Flip will be ramping up its workforce with a focus on engineering and product teams, investing in new product and technology development to provide a higher quality of service, and further accelerating its business expansion.

Flip aims to be the world’s most customer-centric financial technology company by enabling individuals and businesses to conduct fair, low-cost financial transactions from anywhere to anyone on a digital platform. Its products include online P2P (peer-to-peer) payments with interbank transfers to more than 100 domestic banks, international remittances, e-wallet top-ups, and business solution products.

Rafi Putra Arriyan, Flip’s co-founder and CEO, shared that they are laser-focused on helping millions of Indonesians, both individuals and businesses, execute various money transactions at a low cost through their platform. 

“We believe in the vast potential of P2P (peer-to-peer) payment because it is customary in Indonesia to send money via transfer for both personal, family, or household purposes. Despite many others trying and failing, we have succeeded in capturing the market because of our customer-focused understanding,” said Arriyan.

Meanwhile, Gita Prihanto, Flip’s chief operating officer, commented that they are thrilled to welcome Tencent and Block, who share the same purpose of making fintech accessible to everyone in Indonesia. 

“The knowledge and expertise from our strong partners, both renowned global firms and angel investors, will help us to grow our business amid the challenging times facing today’s global market and tech landscape. This investment phase invigorates our aspiration to have an even greater positive impact on society by continuing to expand our fintech solutions and by promoting the digital economy ecosystem in Indonesia,” said Prihanto.