Thursday, June 20, 2024

Pinoy Silicon Valley fintech firm marks 3rd year, bares milestones

Filipino-led and Silicon Valley-based fintech startup Plentina officially marked its third anniversary.

With the launch of the Plentina app’s initial launch back in 2020, the ambitious fintech startup has now ventured from Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL) store credit for underserved Filipinos to offering a complete suite of financial wellness tools for multiple segments of the Filipino community.

Plentina was started by Stanford classmates Kevin Gabayan, an ex-Google and NASA team lead and machine learning engineer, and Earl Valencia, a former tech and finance executive both in the Philippines and Silicon Valley.

Since its inception, the fintech startup has secured a total of over $5 million in pre-seed and seed funding from top tier venture capitalists and investors including Techstars, 500 Startups, TMV.VC, and Global Founders Capital.

Plentina first started in 2020 with its mobile app, providing Filipinos accessible store credit from top merchants in the Philippines with its BNPL system. Through the years, Plentina’s BNPL-focused mobile app has now over 60 brands and partner merchants including household names such as SM and Robinsons, and major e-commerce brands like Shopee, Lazada, Grab, and FoodPanda.

As of 2023, Plentina continues to serve additional market demand with their Employer Program which offers salary advance loans and auto-debit arrangements with partner employers like Pickaroo, Atticus Solutions, MDI Novare, and many more.

Plentina’s Employer Program offers Filipino workers to get their essentials in advance and not having to worry about keeping track of dates for manual repayment.

Plentina also launched its financial wellness program for employers which includes lectures on the basics of investments– both to partner employers and partner organizations such as the UP Investment Club and community groups such as the Financial Independence, Retire Early (FIRE) group.

One of Plentina’s major milestones this year is the launch of Plentina Wealth in the United States, offering an automated global wealth management platform for its migrant worker target. Where migrants to the US have lacked access to investment advice or may be less familiar with global diversification, Plentina Wealth automates this for new arrivals.

Leveraging machine learning and automation, Plentina Wealth clients can set and forget their investments for the long term without having to worry about portfolio optimization or rebalancing.

“As our team reaches its third year in the fintech scene, we’re very proud of the growth our team has gone through, especially with the wide array of services we are now able to offer,” Valencia said.

Valencia, who was recently appointed executive member of the National Innovation Council in the Philippines, added: “We’ve always stayed true to our mission and vision to democratize access to financial services in emerging markets since our beginning in 2020, and I’m glad to say through our BNPL mobile app, employer program, and now with our financial wellness programs coupled with our robo-advisory investment platform, Plentina now has various facets to help different sectors of the Filipino community.”

While Plentina Wealth’s robo-advisory service is now officially available in the US, Plentina has also submitted its Letter of Intent last June 2023 to the SEC to register for a similar investment advisory service in the Philippines.

Once the requirements for the new investment adviser designation in the Philippines are finalized by the commission, Plentina aims to launch their Plentina Wealth services in the Philippines once approved.

“Massive wealth gaps are an injustice. It’s an injustice that building wealth is easier for the rich. Financial inclusion remains a massive global opportunity, and for the past 3 years now it’s still our privilege to be building tools that make prosperity more accessible. We’re grateful for everyone’s support,” Gabayan said.

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