Monday, July 15, 2024

Fintech startup Skyro eyeing expansion, more offerings

Fintech startup Skyro is aiming to expand its business in the Philippines and abroad, through more partnerships and customer-centric services.

Nasim Aliev, Skyro co-founder and co-CEO, disclosed that the company is looking at countries where there are a significant population of overseas Filipino workers, such as the United Arab Emirates.

Plans for expansion, however, remain under wraps as the company is still finalizing its expansion plans.

In the Philippines, Skyro reported that has made significant strides since its arrival in the country nearly two years ago. The company said it has currently a network of more than 500 partner merchants and a presence in more than 3,000 stores across the country.

Aliev also disclosed that Skyro’s team has grown exponentially as well, exploding from a mere 42 employees in 2022 to over 1,200 today.

In terms of customers, the fintech firm currently has Skyro 300,000 customers. “By the end of the year, we aim to have 600,000 more customers,” Aliev said.

In terms of sales, Aliev said the company was able to get more than 100,000 sales in less than a year since our launch in late 2022.

“As a startup, we don’t give loans twice to the same person due to the risks. Next year, we’d like to get 125,000 more. We grew too high (and fast), and we were wary since there are many risks.”

Online lenders continue to become popular in the Philippines, considering that convenience of their services and relative ease of access.

When asked on Skyro’s prospects in the Philippines, Aliev said: “It’s all about looking at opportunities (in other countries). In the Philippines, the market was interesting, with a huge young population, and our competencies will be well-suited for the market.”

He added that the business and regulatory environment in the Philippines is also very welcoming. “The (Philippine) financial market is also welcoming for international companies. Not only fintech but banking regulators are also open and well-respected,” Aliev said.

The executive emphasized Skyro’s commitment to serving the unbanked and underbanked in the Philippines. According to him, the unbanked means people who have never used traditional banking services, while the underbanked means people who have a bank account but find the services inconvenient or inaccessible.

Aliev said one key trend in the Philippines is the underbanked’s preference for digital wallets. He said that for example, “while many of our customers (60-70%) are comfortable receiving loans through banks, they prefer using GCash for repayments due to its convenience.”

This observation suggests that even with bank accounts, underbanked individuals often turn to digital wallets for their ease of use, the executive said.

Aliev further added that Skyro is open to working with banks. “If we are showing good economics, banks are starting to trust our business. But, how do we gain partners with banks? They see that we have a profitable business. They see the profit, and they pledge for us to give them the incoming receipts, and then banks give us the loan. Banks will test us first.”

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