Funding is slowing down and businesses are looking to consolidate, rather than burn through investor money in search of growth. However, that doesn’t mean that there isn’t money being invested in the region.
One of the more recent fundings is Jenfi’s Pre-series B round, which was was led by Headline Asia, with participation from Monk’s Hill Ventures, ICU Ventures, Granite Oak, Korea Investment Partners & Golden Equator Capital, Atlas Ventures, including other existing early investors. The total amount raised was USD 6.6 million.
We spoke to Jenfi CEO, Jeffrey Liu about the funding and his plans for the business in Southeast Asia.
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The latest round of funding will be used to strengthen the fintech’s existing market presence in Singapore, Vietnam, and Indonesia by broadening its customer base and fostering closer relationships with them, as well as to expand into new markets across Southeast Asia, bringing innovative financing solutions to a wider range of digital businesses and assisting in the development of the region’s digital economy.
Congrats on the funding. How are you planning to use the investment?
Thank you. Our primary focus with this investment will be on growing Jenfi’s flagship product, Growth Capital as a Service, in the region. Additionally, we plan to accelerate our technological development efforts and enhance the speed and accuracy of our credit underwriting and risk assessment capabilities. This will enable us to serve our existing clients better and identify new opportunities for growth. We also aim to natively integrate our credit decisions and underwriting system with platform partners, which we believe will strengthen our position in the market and create new revenue streams. We’re excited about the opportunities that this investment will bring and look forward to continuing to build a successful and sustainable business.
With the current funding situation being quite dry, could you share how you were able to get Headline Asia and other investors to come into this round?
We’re thrilled to have Headline Asia and our existing investors join us in this latest round. Our relationship with Headline Asia began last year when we shared our business model, vision, and plans with them. After conducting extensive research on the revenue-based financing space, they recognised the potential in Jenfi and were excited to become a part of our journey.
In addition to Headline Asia, our existing investors, including Monk’s Hill Ventures, which led Jenfi’s Series A two years ago, ICU Ventures, Granite Oak, Korea Investment Partners & Golden Equator Capital, and Atlas Ventures, also participated in this round. We’re grateful for their continued support and confidence in our team and vision.
We believe that our track record of execution and the traction we’ve achieved to date have played a significant role in convincing our investors to participate in this round. Our team has worked tirelessly to build a strong foundation for our business, and we’re excited to use this funding to take Jenfi to the next level.
How much runway does this latest round of funding provide you as you look to expand throughout the region?
This latest round of funding provides us with a solid financial foundation as we look to expand throughout the region. While we can’t disclose specific numbers at this time, we’re confident that the funding will enable us to achieve our growth objectives and continue building a successful and sustainable business.
In addition to providing us with financial resources, this funding also gives us access to valuable expertise and resources from our investors. We’re excited to work with them to identify new opportunities and drive growth in the coming months and years.
Are there any particular markets or industries that are showing a lot of promise at this time?
We focus on backing digital native companies, including e-commerce, SaaS, consumer technology, and other sectors disrupting traditional industries. We believe that these companies have the potential to drive significant growth and innovation in the years to come.
Regarding specific markets or industries showing a lot of promise, we’re particularly excited about the Southeast Asian region. The internet economy in Southeast Asia is growing rapidly, driven by factors such as increasing smartphone penetration, rising consumer spending, and a growing middle class. This growth is creating new opportunities for companies in a variety of sectors, including e-commerce, fintech, logistics, and more.
With Headline Asia’s strong backing, we may explore opportunities in Japan in the future, as it is one of the largest e-commerce markets in the world. Japan is known for its highly developed digital economy, advanced technology, and strong consumer spending power, making it an attractive market for digital native companies.
We believe that there are many exciting opportunities for digital native companies in a variety of markets and industries. By focusing on these companies and supporting their growth, we’re confident that we can help drive innovation and create value for our investors and partners.
Can you explain the automation aspect of your underwriting process?
We use a proprietary risk assessment engine to make decisions about which businesses to lend to. This engine integrates with various data sources, including accounting software, payment gateways, e-commerce platforms, online marketplaces, and digital advertising. This allows us to continuously monitor our borrowers’ business activity, including revenue growth and marketing ROI.
As we continue to grow, we have added more local market data sources, including selling management platform Haravan and POS management software KiotViet in Vietnam, and almost all banks in Singapore, Vietnam, and Indonesia. This allows us to further refine our risk assessment engine and make even more accurate and tailored financing decisions.
Additionally, we’ve recently deployed our first machine learning-assisted underwriting system. This system enables us to make faster underwriting decisions with better accuracy and less human involvement. By automating certain aspects of our underwriting process, we can streamline our operations and make more efficient use of our resources while still maintaining a high level of accuracy and risk management.
Overall, our automation efforts are aimed at improving the speed, accuracy, and efficiency of our underwriting process while still providing tailored financing solutions to our clients. We believe that this approach allows us to differentiate ourselves from other companies offering revenue-based financing to digital-native businesses and provides a superior experience for our clients.
What’s next for Jenfi?
At Jenfi, we’re excited about the future and have several exciting initiatives in the works.
One of our main areas of focus is leveraging synthetic data to better understand client behaviour and possible future outcomes. By harnessing the power of synthetic data, we believe that we can improve our risk assessment and underwriting capabilities, enabling us to provide even more tailored financing solutions to our clients.
We’re also planning to develop a tech platform that will allow third parties to use our proprietary scoring models in their own native infrastructure. This platform will provide even more opportunities for growth and innovation, helping us expand our reach and impact.
In the near term, we’re focused on expanding our offerings to more clients through the use of dynamic limits, which can be adjusted based on client needs and creditworthiness. Additionally, we’re planning to launch an on-demand financing product that will cover recurring growth capital needs like variable monthly ad spend. These initiatives will help us to better serve our clients and meet their evolving needs.