This week’s Finovate Global List Series feature takes a look at the roster of Southeastern Asia-based technology unicorns compiled by Credit Suisse’s ASEAN research team in a recent report to see how many of these 35 billion-plus valuation companies are fintech firms.
“The number of unicorns in ASEAN has continued to increase over the last two to three years, now adding up to 35 unicorns,” the report authors noted. Scaling New Heights: ASEAN’s 35 Unicorns reveals that Singapore and Indonesia are home to the lion’s share of the region’s unicorns and that fintech represents the most common sector, followed by e-commerce.
In terms of factors fueling the growth of these firms, the report highlights the role of private equity/venture capital funding, strong demographics – particularly populations with a high number of citizens under the age of 34 – and supportive regulations. The report also underscored the role of COVID-19 in stimulating innovation: “Fintech is still relatively nascent given that 25% to 50% of the region’s adult population remains underbanked or unbanked, but the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the adoption of digital financial services.”
Read the full report here. In the meanwhile, here is our look at the fintech unicorns from Credit Suisse’s ASEAN unicorn roundup.
- Akulaku: a banking and digital finance platform providing digital banking, consumer credit, digital investment, and insurance brokerage services to underserved consumers in Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam, and Malaysia.
- OVO: a digital payment service, headquartered in Jakarta, that offers one of the biggest e-wallets in Indonesia.
- Xendit: an end-to-end digital payments solution provider for small businesses and large enterprises alike.
- Mynt: a fintech partnership between Globe Telecom, the Ayala Corporation, and Ant Financial focused on payments, remittances, loans, business solutions, and platforms.
- Advance Intelligence Group: an AI-driven technology parent company offering buy now pay later services, digital lending, and e-commerce products and services.
- Matrixport: a digital assets and financial services platform that supports investing and trading in cryptocurrencies.
- NIUM: an international payments platform for cross-border payments, local accounts, and card issuance.
- Ascend Money: a digital payments and financial services company providing wealth management, lending, and insurance products to 50 million users in six countries in Southeast Asia.
- Vietnam Payment Solution (VNPAY): a Hanoi-based electronic payments solution provider offering mobile banking, phone recharge, and billpay for banks, e-commerce businesses, and telecoms.
Not included in our round-up are a handful of companies characterized by Credit Suisse ASEAN Research as “e-commerce” or “real estate tech.” These firms include Blibli and JD.ID of Indonesia, Carsome of Malaysia, and Carousell, Carro, Lazada, and Moglix of Singapore among the e-commerce unicorns. The region’s real estate technology unicorns featured include Singapore’s JustCo and PropertyGuru.
Here is our look at fintech innovation around the world.
- Hong Kong-based payments infrastructure company XanPool secured $27 million in Series A funding in a round led by Valar Ventures.
- LOTTE Finance Vietnam, a subsidiary of South Korean credit card company LOTTE Card, introduced a Buy Now Pay Later service for online Vietnames consumers.
- CNBC profiled Tessa Wijaya, co-founder of Indonesian digital payments company Xendit.
- Nigerian digital bank, Brass, locked in $1.7 million in funding to help fuel expansion to South Africa and Kenya.
- Kenya-based digital lending platform Asante picked up $7.5 million in Series A funding.
- Forbes looked at the rise of the super app in African markets like South Africa.
Central and Eastern Europe
- German digital bank N26 raised more than $900 million in Series E funding, earning a valuation of more than $9 billion.
- Lithuanian account-to-account payments company Kevin announced receiving a seed investment of $10 million.
- Bling Card teamed up with Treezor to build a prepaid pocket money card and financial education app for German youth.
Middle East and Northern Africa
- UAE-based open finance platform Fintech Galaxy secured $2 million in funding.
- Bahrain’s Infinios Financial Services inked a strategic partnership with the Commercial Bank of Dubai (CBD).
- Jerusalem Post looked at the prospect of fintech cooperation between Israel and the UAE in the wake of a conference sponsored by Bank Hapoalim and the Israel Export Institute.
Central and Southern Asia
- India-based fintech CRED achieved a valuation of $4 billion after receiving a Series E investment of $251 million from Tiger Global and Falcon Edge.
- Business Recorder examined recent comments from State Bank of Pakistan governor Dr. Reza Baqir about granting additional fintech licenses in the country.
- Paytm won regulatory approval for a $2.2 billion stock market listing that would represent India’s largest IPO to date.
Latin America and the Caribbean
- Brazilian core banking and payments platform Pismo secured $108 million in Series B funding.
- Latin American fintech-as-a-service platform Pomelo raised $35 million in Series A funding in a round led by Tiger Global Management.
- IBS Intelligence highlighted “four promising fintech companies in Mexico” this week: Bitso, Clip, Klar, and Konfío.