fastacash raises US$15mil Series B to fuel global expansion
By Gabey Goh July 14, 2015
- Round led by Rising Dragon Singapore, total of US$23.5mil raised to date
- New capital to fund expansion, Philippines and Thailand next on SEA list
SINGAPORE-headquartered fastacash has raised US$15 million in Series B funding from international investors, to be used to fuel its expansion ambitions.
Touted as one of the largest Series Bs raised to date for a fintech (financial services technology) company in the region, this takes total funding for fastacash to US$23.5 million.
Rising Dragon Singapore led the round, which also included fintech venture capital firm Life.Sreda, UVM 2 Venture Investments LP, and existing investors.
Incorporated in Singapore in 2012, fastacash provides a platform which allows users to transfer money, airtime and other tokens of value, along with digital content, through social networks and messaging platforms.
This enables secure and cost-effective transactions domestically and internationally, the company claims.
As a technology enabler, it partners with companies and brands in the payments, remittance, consumer products, and social industries to bring its technology to end-users.
The idea for fastacash stemmed from cofounder Shankar Narayanan, whose daughter would ask for his card details to conduct transactions.
“At the same time, Shankar noticed she spent a lot of time on WhatsApp, and other social and messaging platforms,” said chairman and chief executive officer (CEO) Vince Tallent.
“This inspired the idea … to combine social and payments, making it easy for people to send value, be it domestically or internationally.
“We were created out of this desire to eliminate consumer pain points associated with payments and value transfers, while tapping into the global prevalence and proliferation of social networks.
“In short, we want to change the way people make payments and will continue to do so by making the process simpler, more convenient and social,” Tallent told Digital New Asia (DNA) via email.
Meanwhile Rising Dragon Singapore CEO Eric Schaer said the global proliferation of social networks and the rise in mobile penetration present tremendous opportunities, particularly across emerging markets.
“fastacash is leading the way with innovation that is making social payments a reality. We see tremendous potential in fastacash to transform the way consumers transfer money, airtime and other forms of value,” he said in a statement issued by fastacash.
The World Bank estimates that the international money transfer market would be US$685 billion in 2015. Domestic money transfers are estimated to be of similar scale while global remittance flows are expected to accelerate 4.1% in 2016, compared to the 0.9% CAGR (compound annual growth rate) from 2013 to 2014.
Life.Sreda managing partner Vladislav Solodkiy highlighted the emergence of social and messaging channels in enabling money transfers, in tandem with banks and financial institutions also looking to evolve their payment services to meet changing needs of consumers.
“By bringing payments together with social through partnerships, fastacash is uniquely positioned in the market.
“With its integrated innovation and open API (application programming interface), fastacash's technology can be rapidly deployed by banks, payment systems, telecom operators, remittance systems, social channels and retailers into their solutions.
“Consumers can conveniently share value with their contacts across different social networks and messaging apps.
“Through its agnostic partnership approach, fastacash is able to expand rapidly across geographies,” Solodkiy said in a statement.
In 2012 fastacash raised US$1.5million seed funding, led by Hong Kong’s Funding the Future (FTF Ltd).
In 2013, it raised US$3 million in Series A funding from Singapore-based Jungle Ventures, Spring SEEDS Capital (the investment arm of Spring Singapore), and from FTF Ltd.
And in 2014, the company went on to raise an additional US$4 million in an extended Series A round, led by Jagdish Chanrai, a principal of the Kewalram Chanrai Group, and Golden Oriole Investments.
Expanding the global footprint
Tallent said that the company already has “north of a million end-users via our partners,” and will continue to scale quickly.
The immediate priority with this new injection of funding is to expand the company’s global footprint with new partnerships, and to drive growth with existing partners and product innovation. It currently has 40 staff.
“Our biggest opportunity to grow lies in closing more partnerships, breaking into new markets, and in product innovation,” he said.
Of the company’s six live services, three of them are in South-East Asia. However, the company does not provide a regional breakdown of users.
“We plan on continuing to expand within these markets, as well as to new geographies such as Philippines and Thailand,” said Tallent.
“Outside of South-East Asia, we currently have live services for domestic transfers in India and Russia, and are looking to expand our presence in Europe, the Middle East, the United Kingdom and the United States,” he added.
In May 2015, Axis Bank, India’s third largest private bank, launched Ping Pay (pic), socially linked by fastacash.
Ping Pay is India's first bank-led multi-social payment app, allowing users to send or ask for money and mobile recharge across Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter, SMS or e-mail.
Earlier this year, fastacash partnered with Visa Europe to bring social transfer capabilities to Visa Europe’s partner banks.
In November 2014, it partnered with DBS Bank, the largest bank in Singapore and in greater South-East Asia, to integrate its capabilities within the DBS PayLah! mobile application.
Other collaborations include P2P (peer-to-peer) money and recharge transfer services with Doku in Indonesia, Mobi.Dengi in Russia, Oxigen Wallet in India, and Techcombank in Vietnam.
Unique position and proprietary tech
Asked about competition in the market, Tallent (pic) said that while there are a lot of competitors in the B2C (business-to-consumer) space, launching either wallet services or online remittance services, fastacash enjoys unique positioning courtesy of its B2B2C (business-to-business-to-consumer) partnership approach.
The company partners with players ranging from banks, remittance companies, social channels and payment service providers, to wallet services and telecom operators, to bring its technology to the end consumer.
“We do not have a direct competitive set as we are not playing within the B2C space like other P2P players. Rather, we bring our core technology and social integration to our partners for them to enable social payments for their end consumers.
“No one does what we do from a business model and package perspective,” he proclaimed.
The company operates on a transaction model where revenue is shared with partners. However, Tallent declined to disclose information on the company’s revenue or profitability.
He said that fastacash’s platform and core technology is also another differentiator, developed entirely inhouse, with the company owning all related intellectual property, and a patent pending on its core technology.
“Through this technology, we are able to provide a robust social payments experience to the end consumer, and act as a one-stop integration point for all social networks and messaging channels.
“Our technology has made what was a cumbersome and often laborious process, as easy as the swipe of a finger, and we have an unwavering focus on simplifying the consumer payments experience,” he added.
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