Investor Interest in SEA FinTech Sparked by Mobile Shopping, Payments

South-east Asian, fintech, fundraising, mobile, shopping, payments

Investor interest in FinTechs in Southeast Asia (SEA) has brought in a record amount of funding, prompted by the pivot to digital-first shopping, payments and money transfers, Financial Times reported on Wednesday (Nov. 24).

Some $3 billion from investors backed 80 FinTech deals inked this year, more than 2019 and 2020 combined, according to Refinitiv data.

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Rohit Sipahimalani, chief investment strategist at Temasek, told FT that it’s not just fundraising that’s showing the strength of the FinTech space in SEA; companies are “maturing and gaining momentum.”

Akshay Garg, chief executive of FinAccel, told FT that the surge in funding was in part due to China’s crackdown on the tech sector and investors looking elsewhere to put their money. SEA was one of the “beneficiaries of the slowdown in China while there is still a lot of capital available.”

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Philippine digital wallet Mynt closed a $300 million funding round at a $2 billion valuation. Its user base more than doubled during the pandemic, in a country where about one-third of the population is banked. Most people, however, have smartphones, said Martha Sazon, Mynt’s CEO.

“What we are trying to do is really penetrate rural areas in different provinces,” Sazon told FT.

Its GCash platform offers a cross-section of financial services — loans, payments, digital insurance, investment funds.

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New offerings by FinTech firms have also served to spark new retail investments in capital markets from local investors, Temasek’s Sipahimalani said.