Jungle Ventures boosts fintech expertise across Asia
By Digital News Asia March 13, 2018
- Brings more than two decades of experience in retail banking and wealth management
- Will focus on sourcing, evaluating and managing portfolio companies in financial services
JUNGLE Ventures, a Singapore-based venture capital firm, is making an even bigger push into the expanding Asia-Pacific fintech market, which is estimated to grow at a CAGR of 72.5% from 2015 to 2020, to reach US$72 billion (RM281 billion).
The firm expects to increase investments over the next few years to add to a robust existing portfolio of fintech investments that include companies such as Kredivo, a digital payments and consumer lending leader in Indonesia, where Jungle Ventures is one of the earliest and largest backers.
To support this push, the firm is announcing the appointment of global financial services expert, Arvind Sankaran as venture partner.
Sankaran brings more than two decades of experience in retail banking and wealth management across the region.
At Citi, he started up India’s credit card business, built Singapore’s retail investments platform, led the transformation of the Asia-Pacific mass affluent business, and ran Citi’s customer franchise in Hong Kong.
At Barclays, he led the de novo build-out of retail banking in Indonesia following the acquisition of a local lender. At his most recent appointment at HSBC, he ran the Asia-focused international wealth business.
“Following the growth and expansion of Jungle Ventures over the last six years and witnessing the success stories of its portfolio companies has been inspiring,” said Sankaran. “The number of high-quality disruptive startups in the financial services space is growing fast. The Southeast Asian market has a large young and digital population, as well as a rapidly digitalising SME ecosystem.
“There are many parallels in consumption and behaviour patterns across the region, and it presents a unique opportunity for fintech companies to change the way financial services are delivered and consumed at scale. This is at the core of Jungle’s investment thesis and forms the basis for the firm to seek strong investment opportunities.”
Even with the acceleration of internet penetration across Southeast Asia, more than half the population still do not have access to internet banking services. In rural areas, the percentage grows to three-quarters.
Although this leaves a huge gap to be filled, it also presents a set of unique challenges. Building a startup in fintech is vastly different than other industries, from ensuring adherence to regulatory standards to the increased need to build and instil trust in customers.
“The fintech industry in emerging Asia continues to face several inflection points and with the addition of Arvind to our growing team, we will be further equipped to provide the best support and resources for our founders to emerge market leaders of the new world,” said Amit Anand, co-founder and managing partner at Jungle Ventures.
Sankaran will focus on sourcing, evaluating and managing portfolio companies in financial services. In addition, he will also serve as advisor to Jungle Venture’s current portfolio of more than 10 companies in the sector, including Tookitaki, Kredivo, PaySense, SmartKarma, GoAbra and Vayana.
“Arvind's expertise is important for us as we build deeper banking partnerships in the region. We are excited to work with him as we continue to expand the business in this region,” said Akshay Garg, co-founder and CEO of Kredivo.
“We have worked with Arvind since early 2017 and he has been instrumental in helping us achieve a strong product-market fit. As a result, we are seeing solid traction for our platform with top financial institutions where we have helped them achieve high standards in regulatory compliance at scale and significantly reduced expenses using artificial intelligence,” said Abhishek Chatterjee, founder at Tookitaki, a Singapore-based AI-driven regulatory tech startup, winning the 2016 MAS Fintech Award in the SME category.