Singapore-based Toast secures US$1.5mil Pre-Series A funding
By Digital News Asia November 10, 2016
- Secures remittance licenses in Singapore, Hong Kong and United Kingdom
- People can make cross-border money transfers directly from a smartphone
TOAST, a Singapore-based fintech start-up that allows people to make cross-border money transfers directly from a smartphone, has secured an additional US$1.5 million (RM6.38 million) in funding.
This is one of the largest reported Pre-Series A rounds raised in Singapore. The round was led by Aetius Capital. Other investors who participated include 1776, a US-based venture capital fund; and Pepper Group, an Australia-based global financial services firm.
Toast has also secured remittance licenses from financial regulators in Singapore, Hong Kong and United Kingdom.
It has started operations in Hong Kong. Remittances via the Toast money transfer app from Hong Kong to the Philippines have grown to over HKD$7,000,000 (US$1,000,000) a month since launching in March.
“We are delighted that stringent financial regulators have granted us licenses. This is a testament to our rigorous compliance processes and our potential to become a world-leading fintech company,” said Toast founder and CEO Aaron Siwoku (pic, above).
“We are very excited to have the support of the MAS (Monetary Authority of Singapore) in granting us the license as we address a real issue faced by many migrant workers in Singapore - particularly Filipinos - who are a critical yet largely underserved demographic in the local economy.”
The additional capital will accelerate Toast towards serving a larger number of remittance corridors in 2017.
Anyone working in Singapore and Hong Kong will be able to use Toast to send money between the two countries for less than it costs to use a traditional bank, as well as to the Philippines and soon Indonesia.
Unlike other money transfer or payment solutions, Toast has developed strong and convenient cash in/cash out distribution networks, as most beneficiaries of funds don’t have bank accounts or live in locations with no banks or ATMs.
Toast’s future lies in working towards providing a broader suite of financial services to people who are limited in their personal banking options.
The company will also be setting up physical stores for quick and easy remittance in Lucky Plaza, Singapore, and Worldwide House, Hong Kong. Both are Filipino hotspots that will allow underbanked migrant workers to avoid long queues at traditional money transfer shops.
Toast users without a bank account can remit money back home simply using their smartphones and direct pay options like NETS Flashpay, a contactless payment card that can be loaded at any MRT station or 7/11 across Singapore.
“The traditional structure for remittance was considered tried and true; two to three hour-long queues and days of waiting for funds to arrive. With a strong global push towards mobile and web banking, there’s no reason money transfer for the underbanked shouldn’t happen in real-time while simultaneously reducing queues to the point that they are a thing of the past,” said Siwoku.
“We plan to do this by first addressing basic issues facing people who are trying to send money back to their families. From there, we will continue to provide innovative solutions to meet their needs and develop Toast into an ever more sophisticated financial services platform for the underbanked.”
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