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Singapore Based SME Financing Platform Validus Raises US $20 Million in Series B+ Funding

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Validus, Singapore’s based SME financing platform that is also present in Vietnam and Indonesia, has successfully raised over US$14 million, with US$20 million in committed capital in its ongoing Series B+ funding round co-led by Vertex Growth Fund (Vertex Growth) and Kuok Group’s Orion Fund managed by K3 Venture Partners.

They join Validus’ stable of highly reputed investors, including FMO (Netherlands’ public-private development bank), Vertex Ventures Southeast Asia and India, Openspace Ventures, Thailand’s AddVentures (Siam Cement Group) and Vietnam’s VinaCapital Ventures who return to fund and support the company in this latest round.

Founded in 2015 and headquartered in Singapore, Validus brings together accredited and institutional investors and SMEs. It obtained its CMS license from MAS in December 2017. Since then, Validus has expanded into Vietnam and Indonesia, and has successfully topped US$315 million in business funding – a record for online SME financing platforms in Singapore.

With fresh funding, Validus will continue to invest heavily in technology and innovation, and solidify its position in the three ASEAN countries it’s present in. It will also fund the upcoming new venture in Thailand slated for Q4 2020.

“Fintechs with a robust platform and resilient leadership, who are able to survive and thrive in these unprecedented times will be leaders of tomorrow. We are grateful and honoured by the vote of confidence from our Investors,” said Nikhilesh Goel, Co-founder of Validus. “We’d also like to commend the Government for the extensive SME relief measures designed to help businesses tide over these trying times, as well as our corporate partners whom we’re working closely with to further support SMEs and help to bolster their frontline responses to the pandemic.”

“The industry is crossing an inflection point where demand for SME growth financing and cash flow management is increasing exponentially, and we are confident that the Validus is well-positioned to meaningfully address the SME financing gap as they continue their prudent approach to growth during this period,” added James Lee, Managing Director, Vertex Growth.

“We are highly impressed by the leadership and depth of credit management experience at Validus. The team has demonstrated the unique ability to capture critical data points, combined with comprehensive machine learning capabilities, to identify high-potential SMEs that may have fallen through the gaps of the traditional banking model,” shared MX Kuok of K3 Ventures.

Based on a study from Validus’ Economic Impact Report conducted in November last year, over 300,000 Singaporeans had directly or indirectly benefited from Validus’ SME financing platform. SMEs that obtained financing from the platform experienced a 17 per cent increase in their annual revenue in 2018. GDP contribution from Validus-supported SMEs grew by 18 per cent, while the overall GDP contribution by Singapore’s businesses of 5 per cent in the same year. SMEs that obtained financing from Validus also experienced robust employment growth of 12 per cent as compared to 1 per cent the overall employment growth of Singapore’s businesses.

To address the SME financing gap regionally, Validus launched its Indonesian entity, Batumbu, and Vietnam entity, Validus Vietnam, last May and November respectively to help drive business financing for this sector in the region.

This News has been Published in Partnership with PR Newswire

Fintech

Singapore based Fintech Startup GoBear raises $17M in Funding

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  • The fresh injection of capital marks GoBear’s fifth fundraise to date.
  • The round came from GoBear’s long-term investors: Walvis Participaties, a Dutch venture capital firm and Aegon N.V., one of the world’s leading providers of life insurance, pensions and asset management.
  • This strategic fundraise will be used to accelerate GoBear’s transformation into a full-fledged financial services platform built on alternative data.

Asia’s leading financial services platform for insurance, banking and lending products – has raised US$17M from Walvis Participaties and Aegon N.V to accelerate its transformation into a full-fledged financial services platform.

“To truly improve financial health in Asia we must address the approximately 300 million people in our markets that remain underserved by existing banking and insurance services. GoBear’s transformation is a response to this by tackling important local barriers to financial literacy and inclusion,” said Adrian Chng, CEO of GoBear.

A significant portion of the business’ transformation was completed in 2019 and with this funding, GoBear will be well-positioned to continue its expansion of the financial services platform across three growth pillars: an online financial supermarket, digital insurance brokerage, and digital lending, all built on a strong foundation of alternative data.

“Our latest fundraise is validation that our investors continue to see our potential for growth and that we’re on track to build a robust financial services platform that Asia really needs. Built on our strong foundation of alternative data, we can better assess and price risk, co-create better products, and ultimately improve financial inclusion,” added Adrian. 

In the last three months, its digital insurance brokerage segment saw a 52% increase in average order value and launched GoBear exclusives to better meet consumer needs – “Go Travel”, a white-label travel insurance product with Chubb and “Travel Buddy” in partnership with Allianz. GoBear reinforced its digital lending business with the acquisition of AsiaKredit, a leading end-to-end digital consumer lender and has registered a 50% year-on-year revenue growth from loan products.

“It’s exciting to be part of a bold mission to improve the financial health of people in Asia. With our data and technology, GoBear is positioned to have a huge impact on the future of financial services in the region,” said Valeriy Gasratov, Chief Information Technology Officer of GoBear, who brings more than two decades of technical fintech and eCommerce expertise to the team.

GoBear first launched in 2015 as a metasearch engine. It has since grown to be a financial services platform that offers consumers a one-stop platform to search and buy the product they need. To date, GoBear has served over 55 million users searching for more than 2,000 personal finance products.

This News has been Published in Partnership with PR Newswire

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Fintech Startup PruPay Launches Touchless Payments for True Touch-Free Buying

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PruPay, a Denver-based payments technology company, is working with PayPal to develop and launch a simpler way for merchants to request one-time payments from consumers via text messaging. While paying via text is already widely available from several providers, PruPay’s technology lab was able to add a few simple tools that help both merchants and consumers with their real-world problems. Currently, PruPay is waiving its normal fees to help small/medium businesses during the global pandemic.

“COVID-19 has instilled a legitimate fear of sharing or touching anything, both person to person and latently on devices such as keypads, so text payments make even more sense today than just weeks ago,” said Bill Sedgwick, PruPay CEO. “We added security for merchants and optional add-on services like delivery fees, tipping, and a “Pay it Forward” option that are not provided on native text-to-pay platforms,” Sedgwick continued.

PruPay’s Touchless Payments (Built with PayPal) offers merchants:

  • A control panel that allows employees to enter payment requests and see orders easily, but without access to merchant banking information.
  • The ability to customize charges like convenience fees, delivery fees or other markups.
  • A simple order management dashboard to see which orders have been paid for and which are pending.
  • The ability to add delivery or pickup notes to the order.

PruPay’s Touchless (Built with PayPal) gives consumers:

  • The ability to easily pay for purchases via text all major credit cards, PayPal, Venmo (U.S. only), and PayPal Credit1 (with six months special financing on purchases of $99 or more. )
  • A secure way to pay and complete orders without having to provide credit card numbers or addresses over the phone.
  • The ability to easily add an optional tip or a “Pay It Forward” amount to any order to help their favorite merchants during the crisis.
  • An order payment confirmation to show to a delivery driver or curbside delivery person.

Normally, there will be a nominal fee of 10 cents per transaction, which merchants can either absorb or pass along, but for the first 90 days after a new merchant signs up through July 31, PruPay is waiving all charges to provide a respite during the global pandemic. PruPay will donate the net proceeds from Touchless Payments at least through the end of summer 2020. Standard PayPal processing fees still apply.

“We wanted to offer consumers a turnkey way to support their favorite local merchants and provide merchants with a way to allow contributions without marking up their menu prices or adding additional fees if they don’t want to. When payments are processed, there will be a prompt for the customer to add an amount of their choice to support the business voluntarily. Not everyone can contribute, but we have learned that those who can are often very generous to the merchants that they want to help.  It’s a goodwill gesture, versus a requirement, and people appreciate that,” Bill Sedgwick said.

This News has been Published in Partnership with PR Newswire

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MoneyGram Announces Partnership with Korean Fintech, E9Pay

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MoneyGram International, Inc. (NASDAQ: MGI), one of the key players in P2P payments and money transfers, today announced a partnership with E9Pay, one of the largest money transfer and payment fintech companies in Korea. The partnership enables E9Pay customers to connect to the MoneyGram platform and distribution network in over 200 countries and territories. The integration will especially benefit consumers who send money between Southeast Asia, Russia, and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), which are the main corridors for E9Pay.

“As we continue to closely manage the ongoing COVID-19 situation, we’re also continuing to push forward on our strategy,” said Alex Holmes MoneyGram Chairman and CEO. “E9Pay has a strong culture of innovation with a loyal customer base of avid users, and this partnership enables E9Pay customers access to our global platform, including our account deposit capabilities.”

The new E9Pay relationship follows other successful MoneyGram partnerships in the region, such as Woori Bank, Shinhan Bank, Korea Post, Kyongnam Bank, and Sentbe, that are helping MoneyGram capture a more significant portion of the approximate $13.4 billion in annual remittance outflows, per the World Bank.

“We are very excited to partner with MoneyGram in a rapidly-changing, cross-border money transfer and payment market in South Korea,” said Jeon Hyuk Goo, CEO of E9Pay Co., Ltd. “We believe the best way to reach and help our customers is through collaboration with the prestigious MoneyGram brand. E9Pay firmly expects to continue to develop mutually beneficial business through strategic partnerships with MoneyGram.”

“We’re excited about how E9Pay is leveraging the strong consumer demand for our account deposit services, which is especially important given the ongoing global pandemic so that consumers can receive money from the comfort and safety of their own homes,” said Kamila Chytil, MoneyGram Chief Operating Officer and leader of the company’s digital efforts. “E9Pay utilized our API-driven infrastructure to enable a quick and seamless integration.”

This News has been Published in Partnership with PR Newswire

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