The financial technology (fintech) sector remains the second biggest segment for venture capital (VC) funding, according to a report by Dealroom.co. Fintech trends in Southeast Asia show that the region is becoming a hub for top fintech startups, and their solutions can make a big difference to the financial sector.
According to Statista Research, the largest fintech segment in the Association of Southeast Nations (ASEAN) is digital payments, with an expected total transaction value of USD 195.8 billion in 2022. The Neo banking segment—digital banks operating online—is expected to grow by 38.2% in 2023.
With fintech proliferating and receiving significant investments, several companies are emerging to make their mark in ASEAN.
Here’s how Singapore fintech startups are tapping into the unbanked in Indonesia
Here are the top 5 fintech startups in Southeast Asia to watch out for in 2023:
Fintech firm MoneySmart empowers everyone through financial information, tools, and advice to make better money decisions. It demystifies the world of personal finance by providing comparison prices to help users select the ideal financial product, from credit cards, health insurance, loans, travel insurance, and others. It has a market presence in Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and the Philippines.
MoneySmart is entering a reverse takeover merger with hotel operator Asia Pacific Strategic Investments (APS), where it will hold 75% of the combined entity, and APS will sell its real estate business. This deal will enable MoneySmart to trade on the Singapore Stock Exchange (SGX) at an expected valuation of USD 161.7 million.
The money raised will help MoneySmart grow its business. Shareholders, such as Golden Gate Ventures and Straits Capital Investments, will be able to exit the company.
Vietnam-based alternative payments platform Fundiin provides payment support to match Vietnamese consumption habits. It offers Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) solutions and works with reputable partners to sell authentic, undamaged goods. Customers pay in three interest-free instalments, which helps them balance their finances and enhance their customer experience by obtaining products immediately.
Fundiin recently closed an early-stage Series A deal worth USD 5 million from Trihill Capital and ThinkZone Ventures. Other investors include 1982 Ventures, Zone Startups Vietnam, JAFCO Asia, and others. The money will help the startup with talent recruitment, product development, and making its business robust before the expected expansion to Indonesia after a Series B funding round occurs.
Open finance API platform Ayoconnect develops full-stack API solutions to help companies power their financial services. Users can integrate 4000+ digital products through one API, sort out recurring payments with billing APIs, instantly disburse money to various banks, and more. Its mission is to improve connectivity and accessibility in the financial industry.
In October 2022, it raised USD 13 million in a Series B funding round led by Susquehanna International Group (SIG), PayU, and CreditEase Fintech Investment Fund. This round of capital fundraising follows a previous round led by Tiger Global in January. The recent funds will help deliver solutions to banking and API clients, grow the business, and invest in new solution rollouts.
Next-generation fuel fleet payments company BayaPay helps businesses with fuel and fleet management expenses, leading to savings, fraud prevention, and streamlined payment solutions. It uses an open-loop payment card, BayaFuel, to make secure, seamless payments for fleet-related expenses, such as maintenance, fuel, lodging, toll charges, and road insurance. An open-loop card allows different types of payments to occur at places where Visa and MasterCard are accepted.
BayaPay received a seed funding round from Winacore Capital for an undisclosed amount in October 2022. The money will support the company’s growth and assist with the launch of the BayaFuel cards. The cards should be available in the first quarter of 2023.
Business finance company Fazz provides easy access to credit, payment processing, and capital growth for startups in Southeast Asia. Its solutions help with business operations through point-of-sale (POS) systems and inventory management tools. It also has APIs (application programming interfaces) that enable users to accept and send payments or issue unlimited and branded VISA cards.
In mid-September 2022, Fazz announced a USD 100 million Series C funding round—USD 75 million in equity and USD 25 million as a debt facility. Investors included Tiger Global, Insignia Ventures Partners, ACE & Company, B Capital, and others. Fazz will use the investment to build up the company and boost its technological edge for its users.
As the top 5 fintech startups in Southeast Asia mentioned above show, there is still an appetite for investments in the financial technology sector. While global challenges have affected funding worldwide, the top fintech startups are showing profitability, good governance, and an opportunity for investors to receive a return on their investments.
The fintech trends in Southeast Asia are positive, and the reopening of ASEAN after the COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns will create more opportunities for companies to emerge and join the ever-growing startup ecosystem.