- The inaugural Demo Day by Alibaba Cloud x KrASIA Global Startup Accelerator concluded last week, with 500-backed fintech startup Curlec finishing as a finalist.
- The program presents startups with the opportunity to join Alibaba’s global ecosystem and develop connections with top venture capital firms in Southeast Asia and China.
- According to co-founder and CEO Zac Liew, the startup currently works with 500 clients and processes around 1 million transactions each year. He added that the overall business has grown 400% since the pandemic, and it broke even in September.
- Curlec is currently fundraising and expects to close its Series A funding round by the end of this year. The fresh capital will be used to fund its regional expansion and build new software and financial service offerings.
- Read more on KrAsia here.
A productive year
- This year alone, Grab Financial Group (GFG), the fintech arm of 500-backed super app Grab, won a digibank license in Singapore and raised its first $300 million Series A round. More recently, it partnered with cryptocurrency CoinHako.
- In an interview, Reuben Lai, senior managing director of Grab Financial Group, shared that the startup’s aim is to reach the underbanked and financially underserved in Southeast Asia.
- Currently, around 40% of GFG’s transactions come from external partners like Zalora, Lazada, and Bukalapak. Reuben added that the startup’s goal is also to be a platform for micro-merchants, where Grab offers tools to grow their businesses.
- “We grew our merchant network by almost 3x. Last year alone, loans grew 4x year-on-year. Insurance was up more than 4x in terms of Gross Written Premium (GWP), and in terms of transactions, it was more than US$130 million since we launched two years ago,” Reuben said of the startup’s performance.
- Read the full interview on DealStreetAsia here. A subscription may be required.
A shift in consumer behavior
- “The number of users who started using PayLater as a payment platform has exploded. When you survey a large sort of base of e-commerce buyers, 25% plus of those users now say that they’ve actually used a Paylater product at least once,” said Akshay Garg, CEO & co-founder of FinAccel on CNN Indonesia.
- The pandemic has accelerated digitization globally. Akshay shared that today, its Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) platform Kredivo is one of the fastest-growing and one of the top 5 payment methods for e-commerce in Indonesia.
- He observed that the 35-50 age group, which typically recorded 13-14% of all purchase value, has gone up to 25% over the pandemic. “This means a number of users who were not using e-commerce as primary purchase method have migrated to e-commerce.”
- Watch the full interview on CNN here.