Asia's FinTech investment is hitting new high notes. According to reports published this month in e27, CB Insights found more than $2 billion invested in Asian FinTechs during the first quarter of 2018 alone.
Analysts noted, however, that these funding rounds are highly concentrated within a relatively small number of deals compared to FinTech investments in North America. Reports also emphasized the strength of the Indian and Chinese markets, the only two Asian countries to land unicorns.
This week, Asia's B2B FinTech investment game was certainly strong, with funding concentrated in – you guessed it – India and China. Alternative small business lending in India took the lead thanks to Amazon's high-profile investment in Capital Float, though expense management and corporate travel startups in both nations also secured new funding deals. PYMNTS breaks down the latest B2B FinTech investment rounds of the week.
Though technically a consumer lender, India's PayMe partners with companies that want to link their employees to funding access. The company offers advanced salary to workers with short-term financing needs, according to reports in The Times of India. To support the company, angel investors in Singapore provided $2 million to the company, which will be used for market expansion. Reports said PayMe currently has 43,700 customers, and uses alternative data from social media and mobile sources to underwrite loans to employees.
Arman Financial Services
Another India-based firm, Arman Financial Services, said it secured $7.6 million from SAIF Partners to focus on bridging underbanked micro and small businesses to financing. The firm also operates in the two-wheeler and consumer financing space, reports noted. Arman said it will use the investment for its loan book, with a particular focus on microfinancing of MSMEs.
Amazon made a high-profile investment in India's Capital Float, a marketplace small business lender, to the tune of $22 million. Reports in TechCrunch said the Series C equity funding will be used to finance loans issued through its platform. Amazon India's investment in the company comes as Amazon as a whole is focusing more heavily on small business financing, lending to companies that sell on its site. SAIF Partners, Ribbit Capital and Sequoia Capital India are all previous investors of Capital Float, which announced $45 million in funding last year.
Point72 Ventures led a $3 million seed funding round for Extend, a mobile solution for employers to link freelancers and employees to virtual cards for use of company funds. Plug and Play, Reciprocal Ventures, WorldQuant Ventures and other individual backers also participated, reports said. With the new funds, Extend said it will focus on adding more bank partners to its platform and securing more corporate customers in need of enhanced employee spend control, particularly firms that "rely heavily on freelancers and contractors" who are typically forced to use their own funds and expense out purchases made while on the job.
India's Fyle announced $1.1 million in funding this week from Pravega Ventures, Beenext and Freshworks, according to reports in Inc42. The company offers a corporate expense management solution that automates processes for finance and administrative teams. Most recently, Fyle launched a data extraction technology to identify key data on receipts and automatically input that information into corporate systems; the firm has also integrated with Microsoft Outlook and G Suite for more seamless employee expense report filing. With the investment, Fyle said it will focus on sales, marketing and R&D efforts.
China-based PKFARE announced $1.6 million in Series A funding this week for its B2B travel marketplace. The Civil Aviation Investment Fund, CAISSA Tourism Group and Chuang Capital led the investment round, which will be used for global expansion, growing its management team and enhancing its underlying technology. The company deploys big data to enable the tourism industry to gain access to travel suppliers, the announcement explained. PKFARE said it has also struck a partnership with Beijing Zhongguancun Bank to launch PKPAY, a solution for travel-industry small businesses to access financing.
A $15 million Series C round will help corporate travel company Rocketrip to continue focusing on expansion by growing its sales team and adding more corporate clients to its roster. The company offers rewards and incentives for employees to book affordable, on-contract travel. GV led the investment round, the firm said, which also saw participation from Bessemer Venture Partners and Canaan Partners. In total, Rocketrip has raised $32 million in funding so far.