Financial technology continues to bring exciting times ahead in the Philippines with the ever-growing emergence of new fintech players that aim to cater to 69 per cent of its adult population that are still unbanked.
A report released earlier this year suggests that the Filipino fintech sector may soon be entering “a new phase of development” driven by the large, mobile-savvy and increasingly well-off generation of Filipinos who will increasingly be demanding digital financial services.
The following 15 companies are some of the most exciting new fintech ventures to keep a close eye on this year:
Cropital helps farmers access low-cost sustainable financing.
Through its online platform, investors are asked to choose a farm or farms (screened by Cropital) to invest in. Once the farm has been fully funded, the farmers will be provided with the resources they need to start farming. The funds and resources will then be utilized to improve production. Cropital manages the fund for the farmer making sure it goes to the right resources, assuring as well that investors will get a return on investment.
Oriente Express is the developer of Cashalo, a mobile app launched in 2018 that delivers quick and secure access to funds at affordable rates. Cashalo was launched to provide multiple purpose-based financing options like small cash loans, consumer goods financing, and more.
The mobile app offers three products: Cashloan, the standard offering for unbanked consumers and micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), CashQuick, the entry-level feature that allows consumer a quick access to loans with minimum requirements, and Cashacart, an offline-to-online consumer financing product.
First Digital Finance Corp. (FDFC)
Founded by Georg Steiger in 2015, FDFC has already produced three local fintech platform brands BillEase (installment plans for online shopping), Loan Ranger (online cash advance), and Balikbayad (digital financial facility for overseas Filipino workers). FDFC leverage AI or artificial intelligence and digital processes.
FundKo is local P2P lending business launched in 2016 that runs a crowdlending platform connecting verified lenders and borrowers. It is a subsidiary of Guevent Investments Development Corporation (GIDC), a multi-chain and multi-billion peso company headquartered in Mandaluyong City. FundKo is partner of Grameen Foundation, and JP Morgan.
FundKo connects a crowd of lender investors who are ready to fund qualified borrowers at lower rates and flexible terms, to offer monthly payments. Its loan products are personal, maternity, cashback, business, and working student loans.
Global Overseas Worker (GOW) is a new crypto and fiat exchange licensed by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), and the Banko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) in the second quarter and third quarter of 2018, respectively, operating under the license of its subsidiary ETranss Remittance International Corp (ETranss). GOW seeks to link traditional finance and cryptocurrency in one exchange by serving as a liquidity bridge. Its products right now are overseas remittance and assets exchange.
Jazzypay is a Techstars and Rakuten-backed company that helps businesses efficiently bill their customers from any part of the world via mobile app, email, SMS or messaging platforms. Jazzypay offers a unified payment platform that enables users to pay schools and medical centers through their mobile phones using an array of methods like online banking, e-wallets, e-checks and cryptocurrency payment options, and more.
The company has formed partnerships with over 120 facilities, including medical centers and schools.
Founded in 2015, Maria Health is an aggregator for health insurance that allows users to compare what the top healthcare brands have to offer and shop right after. The company aims to make health insurance simple to understand, easy to buy online, and accessible to Filipinos.
In May, Maria Health secured an undisclosed amount of seed funding from the tryb group, with participation from Gobi Ventures, Wavemaker, Hustle Fund and Grand Metro Holdings. The company said it will use the capital injection to accelerate its scaling efforts in the Philippines.
Togetech is the developer of Moneygment. Launched in 2018, Moneygment is a one-stop shop financial solution for self-employed individuals, small and medium enterprises (SMEs), homemakers, overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), and unbanked Filipinos. Current Features available are the payment of Pag-IBIG, Philhealth, SSS, and BIR contributions and taxes. Other features are currently in the works.
In January, Togetech inked a partnership with Pinnacle Real Estate Consulting Services to offer property owners assessment and payment of their real property taxes (RPT), or amilyar, as part of the Moneygment mobile application.
Launched in 2017 by one of the founders of BuyBitcoin.ph, MergeCommit develops customized enterprise-grade blockchain-based solutions for companies. MergeCommit currently provides Andromeda, a white-label platform that allows companies to launch their own initial coin offering (ICO), and Tadashi, a payment platform for ICOs. It also offers the Cerberus program for companies looking to explore new blockchain-based products and services.
Philippine Digital Asset Exchange (PDAX)
Philippine Digital Asset Exchange (PDAX) claims to be the first order-book based digital currency exchange in the Philippines that enables users to buy, sell, trade and digital assets such as bitcoin against the Philippine Peso. Its trade matching engine ensures liquidity and globally competitive prices in a market that has historically been too costly for the average Filipino to access.
PDAX is regulated by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, the central bank of the Philippines and raised an undisclosed investment from BitMEX Ventures earlier this month to accelerate its ambitions to offer a wider suite of digital asset trading, including commodities, real estate equities, and debt securities in token form.
Launched in 2017, Uploan targets the salary deducted lending market, offering institutional and retail investors an alternative way of investing. Pension funds, trusts, non-profit and for-profit corporations, and hedge funds — can participate on its platform, including individual investors. Through Uploan’s platform, investors are made to commit funds towards different risk criteria and loan maturities for loans secured against an individual’s salary. Returns are then repaid through the person’s payroll deduction as Uploan has partnered with the individual’s employer. Investors can review the different loan returns then select the loans they want to invest in.
Payo is a COD (cash-on-delivery) gateway for e-commerce platforms designed to simplify COD. Founded in 2016, the startup provides a suite of technological solutions enabling buyers to reduce cancellations and increase revenues and allowing the merchant to gain a clear understanding of the entire process. Among its four main services is early remittance in which Payo will deliver the payment to the merchant already even if the courier is not remitting yet. Payo believes this results to positive cash flow and the merchant would easily monitor all his remittances. Payo’s founders Ofri Kadosh and Liron Gross envision the company to be a household name for COD, providing reliable payment option for online sellers who want to scale up their business while gaining trust from their customers.
Several industry sources are betting on Perajet as a local fintech startup to watch in 2019. It specializes in lending offering micro-finance services in many places in the Philippines. Backed by funders from the European Union – WJA Investments, Payo started in early 2018 and is registered with Security Exchange Commission. Its focus is to offer fast, short-term on-line loans to private persons.
Launched in 2018, Pearl Pay is a mobile wallet startup and payment network with a vision of interconnecting the fragmented banking, remittance and payment industry. The company provides a white-label e-wallet platform which is linked to a prepaid Mastercard EMV Card. Other products and solutions part of the Pearl Pay ecosystem include Pearl Pay REMIT, Pearl Pay PESO, and Pearl Pay Exchange.
In May, PearlPay signed a pilot program agreement with BHF Rural Bank, Inc. (BHF) to deliver cloud-based financial services for the Philippines’ rural banking sector.
Bagging multiple wins in the 2018 Asean Rice Bowl Startup Awards, online tax filing startup Taxumo is a promising group to watch in 2019. The end-to-end online tax assistance platform was recognized as the Best Newcomer, Business Automation Tool, and Fintech Startup in the recent contest.
Taxumo believes in empowering freelancers and business owners to focus their time and energy for their passions and businesses instead of worrying about taxes. The startup’s web and mobile-responsive application enables its users to file and pay their taxes in minutes, anywhere and anytime. Taxumo was also recognized as one of the social enterprises of the first batch of the Social Impact Accelerator, which is one of the initiatives under the Innovation for Social Impact Partnership (ISIP) project co-implemented by PhilDev Foundation and UNDP Philippines, with support from the Australian Government Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
Featured image credit: Edited from Unsplash