Monday, May 27, 2024

PH consumer finance app secures $5-M fund from Japanese investment firm

Consumer finance and buy-now-pay-later app BillEase has announced an investment of $5 million from Saison Investment Management Private Limited (SIMPL), the offshore lending arm of Saison International.

Saison International is the international headquarters of Japan’s Credit Saison, one of Japan’s largest lending conglomerates.

The latest funding round expands BillEase’s existing Helicap-led credit facility from $20 million to $40 million, which had already included participation from various investors such as the Helicap Income Opportunities Fund, several institutional credit investors, and high-net-worth individuals.

“Our investment in BillEase represents our only exposure to the growth in the Philippines’ credit sector at this moment, and aligns with our commitment of providing financial solutions for the underserved segments of markets globally,” said Kosuke Mori, CEO of Saison International.

“The Philippines is emerging as one of the fastest growing countries in Asia post-Covid, with a huge population that is rapidly digitizing. With this as a backdrop, we hope to build our presence in the market, and play a catalytic role in enlarging Philippine’s digital financing ecosystem, to unlock greater economic opportunities for individuals and households.”

Claudia Rojas, head of SIMPL, stated: “We are impressed by the growth trajectory that BillEase is experiencing, and its innovative approach to going beyond a pure BNPL platform into a comprehensive mobile lifestyle app.

“With 65% of the population unbanked and more than 80% of the country’s transactions still paid with cash, our partnership with BillEase through Helicap is driving financial inclusion by building a credit history for a large share of their customers, and creating meaningful impact for a broader segment of the population in the Philippines,”

BillEase, which offers personal loans, e-wallet top-ups, prepaid load, gaming credits, bills payment, and buy-now-pay-later (BNPL) solutions, achieved profitability in 2023.

The company’s revenue doubled year-over-year, and it served over 800,000 customers, delivering an impressive 47% return on equity that outperformed traditional banks in the Philippines.

“We are thrilled to have SIMPL as an investor in BillEase,” said David Z Wang, co-founder of Helicap, a Singapore-based fintech company.

“Their investment underscores the immense potential of BillEase to drive financial inclusion and uplift underserved communities in the Philippines. With this additional capital, BillEase can accelerate its growth and bring affordable financial services to even more customers across the country. This partnership exemplifies our shared vision of leveraging technology to create economic opportunities.”

Garret Go, CFO of BillEase said: “This investment from SIMPL is a tremendous vote of confidence in BillEase’s mission and future growth potential. Coming off a year where we achieved profitability and doubled our revenues, we are extremely well-positioned to scale our consumer loan offerings and expand access to affordable financial services across the Philippines.”

The additional $20 million in funding from the expanded facility will allow BillEase to rapidly grow its loan portfolio and launch credit products tailored to the needs of its over 1 million users.

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