Singapore-based fintech startup GoBear has raised $17 million from returning buyers Walvis Participaties, a Dutch enterprise capital agency, and Aegon N.V., a life insurance coverage and asset administration supplier. The funding brings GoBear’s whole funding thus far to $97 million, and might be used to increase its shopper monetary providers platform, which is out there in seven Asian markets: Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.
Founder and CEO Adrian Chng informed TechCrunch that GoBear will deal with what it calls its “three progress pillars”: a web based monetary grocery store that advanced from the corporate’s monetary merchandise aggregator/comparability service; a web based insurance coverage brokerage; and its digital lending enterprise, which it not too long ago expanded by buying shopper lending platform AsiaKredit.
The firm has additionally added three new executives over the previous few months: chief info know-how officer Valeriy Gasratov; chief technique officer Jinnee Lim as Chief Strategy Officer; and Mike Singh from AsiaKredit as its new chief lending officer.
GoBear initially launched in 2015 as a metasearch engine, earlier than transitioning into monetary providers. The firm now works with over 100 monetary companions, together with banks and insurance coverage suppliers, and says its platform has been utilized by over 55 million folks to seek for greater than 2,000 private monetary merchandise.
The startup serves shoppers who don’t have bank cards or different entry to conventional credit score constructing instruments. Similar to different fintech corporations that target underbanked populations, GoBear aggregates and analyzes different sources of information to guage lending threat, together with patterns in shopper conduct. For instance, Chng stated if a mortgage software is stuffed out in lower than a minute, it’s extra more likely to be fraudulent, and purposes made between 8:30PM and midnight are much less dangerous than ones made between 2AM to 5AM.
Data factors from smartphones can be used to evaluate creditworthiness in markets just like the Philippines, the place the bank card penetration charge is lower than 10%, however greater than 40% of the inhabitants makes use of a smartphone.
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, Chng stated GoBear has been gross margin constructive for the reason that finish of 2019. Interest in journey insurance coverage has declined, however the firm has continued to see demand for different insurance coverage merchandise and lending. Its on-line insurance coverage brokerage has grown its common order by 52% during the last three months, and the corporate has seen 50% year-over-year progress from its mortgage merchandise.
There are different fintech corporations in Asia that overlap with a few of the providers that GoBear gives, like comparability platform MoneySmart, ExamineAsiaGroup and Grab Financial Group. In phrases of competitors, Chng informed TechCrunch that not solely is the market alternative in Asia large (he stated there are 400 million underbanked folks throughout GoBear’s seven markets), however the firm additionally differentiates with its three core providers, that are all interconnected and draw on the identical knowledge sources to attain credit score.
Chng anticipates that the pandemic will spur extra monetary establishments to start digitizing their merchandise and on the lookout for companions like GoBear to assist them handle threat. In flip, that may make extra monetary establishments open to utilizing non-traditional knowledge to attain credit score, enabling underbanked markets to have elevated entry to monetary merchandise.
“The momentum is right here. I believe now could be the time for tech and knowledge to rework monetary providers,” he stated. “As a platform, we’re actually on the lookout for companions to come back with us for the following section of progress and funding. I really feel constructive even with COVID-19, as a result of I believe that we are going to have extra acceleration, and the chance to alter folks’s lives and profit them and buyers by fixing powerful issues will solely enhance.”