Funding Societies’ SEA Expansion Passes a Milestone as it Competes in the Region’s Neobank Industry
Kelvin Teo, Co-Founder & Group CEO of Funding Societies | Modalku, and Ryan Galloway, Country Director of Funding Societies Vietnam
KUALA LUMPUR, 10 MAY 2022 — Funding Societies (also known as Modalku in Indonesia), the leading SME digital financing platform in Malaysia and Southeast Asia, has officially launched in Vietnam today, marking its fifth market expansion. Addressing the small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) financing gap in Vietnam, where the SME landscape is growing yet financially underserved, is a natural next step for the FinTech company as it pushes further into Southeast Asia.
According to Vietnam’s Ministry of Planning and Investment, 98% of operating businesses in the country in 2020 are SMEs, employing more than 5.6 million workers and accounting for more than US$241 billion (RM1.045 trillion) or 40% of Vietnam's gross domestic product (GDP). However, the gap between the number of registered SMEs and the number of businesses in operation has been widening over the years, with only 54% of registered SMEs appearing to be active in 2019. Access to funding remains one of the greatest obstacles to the growth of Vietnamese SMEs, and this has only been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
As the leading SME digital lender in Southeast Asia, Funding Societies serves as a trustworthy platform for SME financing with an Artificial Intelligence (AI)-led credit model, offering traditional term loans, customizable financing solutions, and a range of trade-based financing options, such as invoice financing. In its seven years of operation, the company has disbursed over US$2 billion (RM9 billion) in business financing through more than 5 million loans across the region.
Kelvin Teo, Co-Founder and Group CEO of Funding Societies | Modalku, said, “Since our inception in 2015, our vision is to uplift societies in Southeast Asia. Hence, Vietnam has always been part of our roadmap. This is an opportune time as we ride out of COVID-19, build a solid team with local FinTech veteran Ryan Galloway, and secure investment from tech giant VNG. We believe that Vietnam will be one of our largest markets given its enormous potential.”
Earlier this year, Vietnamese tech giant VNG Corporation invested US$22.5 million (RM97.65 million) in Funding Societies as part of the FinTech company’s US$294 million (RM1.23 billion) series C+ fundraise, of which US$144 million was raised in equity and US$150 million in debt lines. Funding Societies also got the support of other notable investors in the funding round, including SoftBank Vision Fund 2, Rapyd Ventures, EDBI, Indies Capital, Ascend Vietnam Ventures, and K3 Ventures, among others. VNG will help Funding Societies to quickly adapt to the local market so it can provide solutions tailored to the unique needs of Vietnamese businesses.
Ryan Galloway, Country Director of Funding Societies Vietnam, said, “Vietnam SMEs don’t have the same access to venture and early-stage capital markets as other Southeast Asian markets, but the Vietnam market is equally as competitive, so Vietnamese entrepreneurs are trained to do more with less. We see lots of opportunity in Vietnam and we’re excited to support the country’s burgeoning SME landscape as we continue to serve the needs of millions of SMEs across Southeast Asia.”
Kelly Wong, VNG’s Vice President of Game Entertainment and Lead Game Business said, “SMEs play a significant role in economic growth in SE Asia. There are significant challenges for them to access funding and capital to drive growth. Our investment in Funding Societies is aligned around creating opportunities for SMEs and supporting their growth and development. As a homegrown Vietnamese tech company, we are also well placed to support Funding Societies in expanding into the Vietnamese market.”
Operating in Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, and Thailand (where it is known as Modalku), Funding Societies is the only SME digital financing platform to be licensed and registered in four countries throughout Southeast Asia. In Vietnam, it is serving SMEs in various sectors like education, retail, tech, and fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG), offering products such as trade financing, inventory financing, accounts receivable (AR) and accounts payable (AP) financing in and around Ho Chi Minh and Hanoi. The company looks to roll out local currency digital financing capabilities nationwide in the second half of the year.
Commenting on this, Wong Kah Meng, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Funding Societies Malaysia, said, “We are excited by this expansion because it reflects our ongoing commitment towards enabling access to digital financial services to SMEs in Malaysia and across the broader Southeast Asia. Through our regional footprint, we would be better placed to support the growth of Malaysian and Southeast Asian SMEs as they expand their business across the region.”
“Building on the success Funding Societies has had in other markets, we will improve turnaround time by further automating origination and underwriting to support Vietnamese SMEs more efficiently,” Galloway added.
Since its soft launch in Vietnam in December 2021, Funding Societies has already achieved over US$20 million (RM86.8 million) in disbursements, and it is looking to increase this to US$90 million (RM390.29 million) this year. To realize this ambition, in Vietnam, the company is looking to work with technology platforms and banking partners to support its mid-to-long-term ambitions, consistent with how they partner with banks and recently invested in Bank Index in Indonesia. Meanwhile, regionally, Funding Societies will continue to deepen its presence in the five countries it operates in, with new financing and neobanking products.
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Funding Societies is a SME Digital Financing Platform registered with Securities Commission Malaysia. It does not fall under the jurisdiction of Bank Negara Malaysia. Therefore, financing products of Funding Societies should not be constructed as business loan, SME loan, micro loan, term loan or any other loans offered by banks in Malaysia and it is to be deemed as an investment note as defined in the Guidelines on Recognised Markets.
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