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|Co-founder & group CEO Kelvin Teo with fellow co-founder Reynold Wijaya|
VNG Corporation, Vietnam's largest internet and technology business, made a $22.5 million investment in Funding Societies. The company also received $150 million in debt lines from institutional lenders across Europe, the United States, and Asia. This comes on the back of its $45 million Series C funding raised between 2020 and 2021.
The fintech firm is licensed and registered to operate in four of the ASEAN nations and territories and will soon make a debut in Vietnam. To date, it has lent over $2.1 billion to micro-, small-, and medium-sized enterprises in Southeast Asia, with loan transactions exceeding $5 million.
Funding Societies will utilise the fresh investment to strengthen its position as a market leader in digital financing for such enterprises in the region. The company's stock option plan, which gives share buybacks to current and past workers, has received an additional $16 million from the latest round of fundraising.
Co-founder and group CEO Kelvin Teo said, “We are honoured by the faith of our new and existing shareholders. We started Funding Societies to empower small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) by providing access to financing, especially unsecured financing, which is their biggest problem. A common misconception is that we compete with banks. The reality is we are an alternative to savings, friends and families, and personal credit cards. There is a huge unsecured financing gap because it takes patience and focus, or you risk losing a lot of money. Having proven our AI-led credit capabilities in an unprecedented financial crisis, we look to serve SMEs with neo banking and a deeper regional presence in Southeast Asia.”
Greg Moon, managing partner at SoftBank Investment Advisers said, “SMEs across Southeast Asia have historically struggled to access institutional finance and have instead been forced to mainly rely on personal funding to support growth. Funding Societies is establishing a bridge for these companies to access more sustainable and cheaper financing by building unique data sets on their performance and using AI-led technology, which can assess creditworthiness more effectively than traditional models.”