During the coronavirus outbreak, the number of fintech startups in Southeast Asia grew astronomically, with the sector as a whole expected to grow to an estimated value of $100 billion USD by the end of 2020. This boom in fintech in Southeast Asia saw many companies experience high levels of growth and investment.
We take a look at 5 fintech startups in Southeast Asia that have a promising future.
Founded in 2019, Bizzi received funding from venture capitalists, 500 startups, and in 2021, a group led by Money Forward brought the investment total to around $3 million USD. Its software is mainly aimed at accountants and accounting firms and automates bill payment, receipt scanning, and expense approvals.
It utilises machine learning and robotic process automation to do this, helping them cut approximately 80% of the processing time and increasing operational transparency making it much easier for clients to see and understand how their money is handled. Co-founders Vu Trong Nghia and Nguyen Bao Nguyen expect the funding boost will assist in their plans to add to the product’s functionality and increase their customer base.
We take a look at Singapore’s growing fintech scene and some upcoming events
Thailand based startup Ascend Money raised $150 million USD in a Series C round of investment earlier this year. The company, founded in 2013, has steadily grown overseas in Indonesia, Vietnam, Myanmar, Cambodia and the Philippines. They now have over 50 million users in these six countries and 21 million users of their True Money Wallet.
However, Ascend Money offers more than just an eWallet; they own several subsidiaries providing extra services to their customers. Ascend Nano is their digital lending service, offering personal loans, Ascend Wealth is a wealth management service and Ascend Assurance offers customers comprehensive insurance packages.
Spenmo is a cloud-based software startup from Singapore aiming to streamline business payments in one platform. They offer a range of financial services like automated local payments and the cheapest overseas transfers in Singapore. Launched in 2020, it already has many investors and thousands of customers, and recently, it raised $34 million USD.
This funding success gives it the honour of being one of the highest Series A funded Y-combinator backed companies in Southeast Asia. As they continue to grow, they have added a new member to their board of directors, with Rebecca Liu-Doyle, principal at Insight Partners, coming on board to help them scale up.
Another Vietnamese fintech company, Fundiin, founded in 2019 and officially launched in mid-2020, offers a Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) model. It has successfully partnered with over 100 merchants in the county like Lug, Vua Nem, and Giant International. The startup offers instalment payment plans at the point of sale, interest-free. Consumers only require an official photo ID to access the BNPL services, making it more accessible for many than using a debit or credit card. By making the process simple so retail merchants can increase the conversion rates from viewing to purchasing, the average order value, and find new customers for their products and services.
As part of its expansion plans, in July 2021, it also partnered with an eCommerce company, Sapo. This partnership gives them access to over 100,000 merchant clients on the Sapo platform and opens up many more opportunities for the company to grow. In September 2021, Fundiin raised $1.8 million USD from multiple sources, predominantly led by Genesia Ventures and JAFCO Asia.
In September 2021, Australian based fintech unicorn Airwallex secured a money services business licence from Malaysia’s central bank, Bank Negara Malaysia. Airwallex aims to reduce the cost for companies sending money internationally and allows customers to hold multiple currencies within the same account. They also offer Xero integration for ease of bookkeeping and the facility to set up dedicated cards for different employees or employee teams in various currencies.
In its most recent round of funding, it raised $200 million USD bringing its value to $4 Billion AUD. Airwallex plans to use the new funds to continue its products and technology investments and expand into Europe and the USA.
With the recent surge in activity in the sector, the growth of fintech in Southeast Asia is sure to continue. The current global pandemic has bolstered the potential for growth in the financial technology industry as more businesses seek out methods of making payments, managing their money and enticing consumers to spend.
The 5 fintech startups in Southeast Asia outlined above and other successes demonstrate that the region is ripe for a banking and finance revolution with the evolution of the right products, governmental approval, and investment. The recent high-level funding and changes in many governments’ attitudes to online banking and financing are indicators that the many fintech startups Southeast Asia is producing have a bright future.