GoBear raises US$17mil in latest funding
By Digital News Asia May 27, 2020
- Funding will be used towards three primary growth pillars in financial services
- Total funding of US$97 mil comes from 2 investors, Walvis Participates & Aegon N.V
Singapore-based financial services platform Woodpecker Asia Tech Pte Ltd which operates as GoBear, announced that it has raised US$17 million from its long time investors Walvis Participates, a VC firm, and life insurance, pensions and asset management provider Aegon N.V, which will be used towards accelerating the company’s transformation into what it deems a “full-fledged financial services platform.” The startup has raised US$97 million in total since its founding in 2015.
GoBear’s fifth fundraise to date sees its entire funding coming from these two investors. The last public news about its funding came in early 2019 with over US$30 million invested by Walvis Participates and Aegon N.V.
“To truly improve financial health in Asia we must address the approximately 300 million people in our markets that remain underserved by existing banking and insurance services. GoBear’s transformation is a response to this by tackling important local barriers to financial literacy and inclusion,” says GoBear CEO Adrian Chng in a press release. It currently serves customers in seven Asian markets: Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.
According to the release, a significant portion of the business’ transformation towards their goal was completed in 2019 – the fresh funding will allow GoBear to continue its expansion of the platform across three of their growth pillars: namely as an online financial supermarket, digital insurance brokerage, and digital lending.
“Our latest fundraise is validation that our investors continue to see our potential for growth and that we’re on track to build a robust financial services platform that Asia really needs. Built on our strong foundation of alternative data, we can better assess and price risk, co-create better products, and ultimately improve financial inclusion,” adds Chng.
GoBear notes that their business model has proven resilient despite Covid-19. The platform has been gross margin positive since the end of 2019, following growth across the insurance and lending verticals. It claims that its digital insurance brokerage segment in the last three months saw a 52% increase in average order value. Chng predicts that the pandemic will accelerate financial institutions plans to digitize their products and many will look for digital savvy partners like GoBear.
GoBear had also previously acquired AsiaKredit out of Singapore.
Adding to this, GoBear has also announced new inclusions to its senior management, which includes Valeriy Gastarov as Chief Information Technology Officer; Jinnee Lim as Chief Strategy Officer and Mike Singh from AsiaKredit as Chief Lending Officer.
“It’s exciting to be part of a bold mission to improve the financial health of people in Asia. With our data and technology, GoBear is positioned to have a huge impact on the future of financial services in the region,” says Gasratov, who brings more than two decades of technical fintech and e-commerce expertise to the team.
GoBear has grown from a metasearch engine to a financial services platform. To date, the company claims to have served over 55 million users searching for more than 2,000 personal finance products.