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SME Featured Southeast Asia

PH’s NextPay bags US$125K funding for scaling operations among local MSMEs

Manila, Philippines – NextPay, a Philippine-based fintech startup, has secured a US$125K investment funding from startup accelerator Y Combinator, which will be used to expand NextPay’s services further and address the growing problem of financially-underserved businesses in the Philippines. 

Through the investment, NextPay founders aim to leverage their previous experience working in ‘unicorn’ companies to expand their line of digital banking services. Their plans include new digital solutions for payments, credit, and personal cash management.

“Our goal is to empower smaller businesses with a spectrum of banking services that were previously unavailable to them because of the steep requirements and high fees that are typically aimed at larger, more developed companies that can afford them. This funding round from Y Combinator allows us to scale even faster to bring digital financial services closer to MSMEs,” said Don Pansacola, CEO and co-founder at NextPay.

The platform allows small businesses to have the same financial capabilities as large banks, which gives growing companies access to affordable financial services such as digital invoicing, cash management, and batch payments to any bank or e-wallet in the Philippines.

Furthermore, the startup has positioned itself to enable more businesses, entrepreneurs, and freelancers to centralize all their financial requirements through one easy-to-use, affordable, and inclusive platform. 

“We plan to introduce more payment acceptance methods, virtual credit cards, and other digital solutions that enable businesses to manage their cash flow and alleviate the bottlenecks of the Philippine financial landscape. We will also partner with human resource and accounting software companies to further streamline the financial operations of a growing company,” Pansacola added.

According to Aldrich Tan, co-founder and chief experience officer at NextPay, the platform aims to give a wider opportunity among small businesses through accessible digital financial services.

“Through our platform, MSMEs can conduct their transactions seamlessly and allow business owners to free up resources and focus on their operations. This optimization and focus are vital in supporting and strengthening the country’s efforts towards economic recovery,” Tan stated.

Since its launch in 2020, NextPay has processed over US$2.5M (₱120M) in digital transactions for more than 100 businesses. Customers of NextPay can enjoy reduced processing times from as much as 3 days to just 30 minutes. 

“NextPay wants to help the Philippines bounce back. We want to enable growing enterprises to maximize their capital, reach more customers, and generate more jobs and opportunities. This then stimulates economic transactions and creates demand for stronger partnerships. It’s a domino effect, but it starts from having a digital platform like NextPay who empowers MSMEs to thrive and do more,” Pansacola concluded.

NextPay is the fifth Filipino startup to have received funding from Y Combinator, with companies including job searching platform Kalibrr, payment platform PayMongo, edtech Avion School, and laboratory software company Dashlabs.ai.

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Technology Featured Southeast Asia

Klook bags US$200m funding for SaaS-powered merchant solutions

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – Travel and leisure booking platform Klook has successfully concluded its Series E round investment, led by investment fund Aspex Management. The recently concluded investment round has raised US$200M in additional funding, which will be used to develop Klook-powered merchant Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solutions.

Klook’s merchant SaaS solutions power millions of bookings for more than 2,500 merchants worldwide. Doubling down on its SaaS solutions will enable even more merchants who have had a challenging year to transform and accelerate their business by easily creating an online storefront powered by Klook. This is supported by a backend engine that manages ticketing, distribution, inventory management, marketing, and more. 

“Despite a challenging 2020, we have shown our mettle, turning challenges into growth opportunities with agility and constant innovation. We’ve observed over the past year that consumers have a pent-up desire to explore and enjoy themselves, despite international travel being paused. Instead, they are turning inwards – exploring new and unique experiences right in their backyard,” said Ethan Lin, CEO, and co-founder at Klook (center).

He added, “This new capital further strengthens our leading position to take us from defense to offense, as domestic tourism becomes ubiquitous and international travel gradually returns.”

At the height of the pandemic, Klook onboarded 150% more activities compared to the same period in 2019. With this new capital, the company will accelerate the development and roll-out of its merchant SaaS solutions. Designed to bridge the gaps faced by merchants today, these tools will empower any merchant to build, manage, and scale their business with Klook.

“The travel industry has undoubtedly been hit hard by the pandemic, but Klook has shown resilience and adaptability despite the market headwinds. We believe the transition toward digital bookings will only accelerate post-COVID-19, and that Klook’s ability to reinvent itself as a one-stop-shop for experiences and services across the region puts it in prime position to capitalize on this trend,” said Hermes Li, CIO, and founder of Aspex Management.

Meanwhile, Eric Gnock Fah, COO, and co-founder at Klook (left) commented, “We are setting out to reimagine the next digital leap for the experiences sector which has traditionally been fragmented with offline practices or legacy systems that do not truly address the realities of a post-COVID world. Since day one, Klook has been working closely with our merchants, both big and small, to identify common pain points that we can solve together.”

He added, “With this new funding, we have additional ammunition to accelerate our technology innovation, and truly transform and empower this space for future growth.”

Klook has piloted several of its SaaS tools during the second of 2020 namely ‘Contact Tracing System’ which will be used to trace back clients should the need for tracing ensue, ‘Attractions Plus’ which creates an online itinerary for travel in one app, and ‘Klook! Live’ which is an interactive livestream mobile feature for merchants and users alike.