Indonesian peer-to-peer lending platform JULO is closing its Series A2 funding round with $15 million raised, after extending its initial $5 million Series A funding by an additional $10 million, according to a report.
The Series A round was led by Quona Capital, and companies including East Ventures, Skystar, Convergence and Gobi Partners also participated.
JULO works by offering loans of around $300 at a rate of about 3 to 5 percent per month. The company is able to offer low rates because it uses its own credit scoring system that utilizes alternative data.
“There are lots of players in this market. Not just [in] Indonesia, but globally," noted Adrianus Hitijahubessy, co-founder and CEO of JULO. "But it comes down to who actually knows what they are doing. The bar is becoming higher and it is increasingly becoming difficult for digital lending companies to just launch an app and charge [a] high interest rate.”
JULO said it has doled out $50 million in loans so far. The new capital infusion is earmarked for hiring new employees, improving the company’s credit scoring system and growing the business within the country.
“[A] significant majority of JULO’s loans are used for productive purposes that can enhance the economic well-being of families and small businesses — driving financial inclusion in Indonesia, which is a cornerstone of Quona’s focus,” said Ganesh Rengaswamy, co-founder and partner of Quona Capital.
In South Asia, digital lending is becoming more and more common. Companies like Paytm and MobiKwik in India recently started offering loans to customers.
In fact, Facebook is in talks with several FinTech companies in Indonesia about bringing mobile transaction services to the country through the WhatsApp chat app. The company, which recently made a similar foray into India but was delayed due to regulatory red tape, aims to tap into Indonesia’s fast-growing eCommerce economy.
In India, Facebook would offer direct peer-to-peer (PSP) payments and services, but in Indonesia it would operate differently due to licensing regulations. If successful, the initiative in Indonesia could serve as a blueprint for how WhatsApp would operate in other countries.