The dynamic landscape for fintech startups in Southeast Asia is undergoing a remarkable transformation as innovative companies challenge traditional financial models and pave the way for a more inclusive and customer-centric ecosystem. New online banking and finance platforms have proliferated, partly due to the recent pandemic’s impact on in-person transactions and continued digitalisation in the region.
In the heart of this bustling sector, Singapore and Malaysia have emerged as leading hubs for groundbreaking fintech solutions. From digital banks to insurtech platforms, fintech startups in Singapore and Malaysia exemplify the ingenuity and ambition driving change in the world of finance.
Here are the top 5 fintech startups in Southeast Asia emerging right now
Here are the top 5 fintech startups from these countries to watch.
Established in 2014, Nium is a Singapore-based B2B payments company initially known as Instarem. The company offers a comprehensive range of B2B payment services, including payouts, pay-ins, card issuance, and banking-as-a-service. It caters to banks, payment providers, and businesses of all sizes, providing them access to global payment and card issuance solutions.
With regulatory licences and authorisations in over 40 countries, Nium ensures smooth global payments and swift integration, irrespective of location.
In a Series D funding round held on March 21, 2022, Nium raised over USD 200 million. US-based Riverwood Capital led the round, which also saw participation from investors such as Temasek, GIC, Vertex Ventures Southeast Asia & India, Visa, and others.
Singapore-based fintech startup BetterTradeOff aims to democratise financial planning by making it accessible for all individuals, irrespective of their net worth or financial knowledge. The company utilises technology to simplify financial planning, enabling users to quickly visualise and comprehend the implications of various decisions while simulating diverse monetary scenarios.
The platform serves customers in Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, the Philippines, the UAE, Switzerland, the Netherlands, and the US.
In April 2023, BetterTradeOff secured an undisclosed investment from SC Ventures, Standard Chartered Bank’s venture capital arm. This funding will boost the company’s technological growth and facilitate its expansion into key markets across Asia and beyond.
du-it is a Malaysian fintech company that offers innovative payment solutions for businesses and customers through the ‘Buy Now, Pay Later’ (BNPL) business model. Targeting Malaysian SMEs and MSMEs, du-it positions itself as a solution-oriented BNPL platform, focusing on businesses seeking flexible payment options for capital expenditures (CAPEX) or operational expenditures (OPEX).
The platform grants a credit limit of up to USD 11,300 based on client risk profiling, with approval available within minutes. Du-it employs a revenue model wherein approved invoices submitted via the platform are paid to suppliers upfront, minus a Merchant Discount Rate (MDR). Du-it then recovers the original invoice amount from SMEs through equal, interest-free instalments at predetermined intervals and durations.
Another Malaysian fintech-as-a-service company, Soft Space, established in 2012, streamlines financial infrastructure complexity, offering value-added features that facilitate business growth. The startup boasts more than 70 financial institutions and partners using its payment solutions across 23 global markets, including Japan, Europe, Oceania, and the Americas.
On 6 April 2023, Soft Space completed a Series B extension round, raising USD 31.5 million led by Southern Capital Group. The round included returning investor Transcosmos, strategic investor JCB, and Hibiscus Fund (co-managed by RHL Ventures and South Korea’s KB Investment) also participated. The newly acquired funds will support the expansion of Soft Space’s global presence and customer base by accelerating the innovation of its full-stack payments platform and the plan to branch into next-generation technological solutions.
Headquartered in Singapore, fintech company Little Wallet aims to introduce the novel “family banking” concept to Southeast Asia. The company’s primary objective is to encourage smart money habits and enhance the financial well-being of entire families.
The platform offers various services focusing on areas such as earning, saving, budgeting, spending, and giving. Additionally, it features a debit card, a companion app, a tap-and-pay wearable device, and educational resources for teaching essential financial skills to young users.
Little Wallet raised USD 1.6 million in a pre-seed funding round in March 2023 led by Tikaani Partners. The company plans to utilise this initial funding to scale its operations and engineering teams and invest in marketing and strategic partnerships.
Many fintech startups in Southeast Asia, particularly those in Singapore and Malaysia, are making significant strides in revolutionising the financial landscape. They exemplify the spirit of innovation and ambition that defines the region’s thriving fintech scene.
As these fintech startups in Singapore and Malaysia continue to disrupt traditional banking and financial services, they pave the way for a more inclusive, customer-centric, and accessible financial ecosystem. With their groundbreaking solutions and growth plans, these top 5 fintech startups are undoubtedly shaping the future of finance in the region and beyond.