Hong Kong-based startup Oriente has announced a $105 million initial funding round, which included investment from the founders, as well as a group of family offices including members of the Berjaya Group, JG Summit Holdings, Inc., and Sinar Mas.
Launched in 2017, Oriente provides digital credit and financial products in Southeast Asia. The company was founded by Geoff Prentice, a Skype co-founder and ex-chief strategy officer, Hubert Tai, a founder of Ping An’s Lufax and Chinese unicorn dangdang.com, and investor Lawrence Chu.
The financing, which is one of the largest initial funding rounds in FinTech globally, will enable the company to boost its technology and product development, scale multi-market operations, and expand its digital solutions into new markets throughout the region.
Data shows that more than 70 percent of Southeast Asia’s more than 600 million residents still remain unbanked, and a growing number of local governments are encouraging the development of digital platforms and new emerging technologies in an attempt to create financial inclusion. With that in mind, Oriente has invested in and launched mobile ventures in the Philippines (Cashalo) and Indonesia (Finmas) so that anyone with a smartphone can download the apps, apply for a loan, and receive a decision and financing within minutes.
So far, Cashalo has reported faster customer growth than both Skype and Lufax did in their first six months of operations, and Finmas is on track to surpass that success.
“Oriente was founded on the principles of inclusion and innovation to open financial access, freedom and opportunity for underserved people and microentrepreneurs, helping them build financial identities and participate in the global economy,” said Prentice in a press release. “Unlocking potential is our mantra, and we are thrilled to have such phenomenal investors and partners who share our commitment to building a future where people everywhere have access to the credit infrastructure and services they deserve.”