Saturday, March 2, 2024

Voyager Innovations reaches unicorn status after raising $210M in new funding round

Voyager Innovations, the technology company behind e-wallet platform PayMaya and soon-to-be-launched digital bank Maya Bank, said it raised $210 million in new funds, propelling its valuation to unicorn status at nearly $1.4 billion.

Photo from Voyager innovations

Leading the round is new investor SIG Venture Capital, the Asian venture capital arm of financial services firm SIG. Other new investors include Singapore-based global investor EDBI and investment holding company First Pacific Company Ltd.

Akshay Bajaj, who led the investment for SIG, said: “Leveraging PayMaya’s distribution strength with enterprises and consumers, Maya Bank has the potential to be one of the most successful digital banks not just in the Philippines, but globally. We are thrilled to partner with Voyager and existing shareholders to drive the digital ecosystem to new heights.”

Also participating in the round are Voyager’s existing shareholders PLDT, global investment firm KKR,tech firm Tencent, International Finance Corporation, and IFC Emerging Asia Fund and IFC Financial Institutions Growth Fund, two funds managed by the IFC Asset Management Company, a division of IFC.

Voyager said it will use the new funds to launch Maya Bank services, such as savings and credit, which will be offered across PayMaya’s platforms for consumers and enterprises, including micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises or MSMEs.

It entered the digital banking space with Maya Bank, securing one of the six digital banking licenses from the BSP in September 2021 and commencing pilot testing in March 2022. 

Voyager said it will also continue to expand PayMaya’s offering with new products like cryptocurrency, micro-investments, insurance, and more, as an all-in-one money app of the Philippines.

“Our strong record of execution and innovation is a testament to our world-class team’s hard work and talent. With this milestone, we are excited to leap forward and bring the best of PayMaya and Maya Bank to help unlock the digital economy for the underserved and unbanked Filipinos,” said Orlando B. Vea, Voyager and PayMaya CEO and founder. 

The Philippines is the fastest-growing market in Southeast Asia, with digital adoption of services reaching tipping points during the pandemic, driven by the demands of a young, digital-savvy population.

According to the 2021 e-Conomy Southeast Asia Report by Google, Temasek, and Bain & Company, the country’s Internet economy grew 94% from 2020 to 2021 and is expected to grow to $40 billion by 2025, powered by growth in e-commerce and strong adoption of e-wallet payments. 

Despite this accelerated trajectory, the Philippines remain a vastly underserved market with solid growth opportunities. Half of the adult population remains unbanked.

About 47% of Filipino adults do not have savings, and of those with savings, one in two save via informal means. Only 1 in 3 adults have loans, of which a mere 18% are availing from banks.

The enormous digital financial services opportunity extends to MSMEs. These businesses account for 99.5% of the total establishments and employ 62.8% of the entire labor force in the country. However, access to credit and financial services for MSMEs remains a challenge, with only 24% availing loans or having lines of credit from formal financial institutions.  

PayMaya and Maya Bank seek to address the challenge of spurring deeper adoption in a country with limited merchant acceptance and banking presence by providing end-to-end services from an integrated ecosystem. 

As of end-March 2022, PayMaya had over 47 million registered users across its consumer platforms – more than two-thirds of the adult population in the Philippines.

PayMaya recently introduced cryptocurrency through its e-wallet app after securing a Virtual Asset Services Provider (VASP) license from the BSP. 

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