Singapore fintech UNOAsia raises US$11mil pre=series A, led by Creador
By Digital News Asia August 7, 2022
- Has raised US$44.5mil in its pre-seed, seed, and pre-Series A rounds
- Funding to support commercial launch of UNO Digital Bank in Philippines
Singapore-headquartered financial technology company UNOAsia Pte Ltd, the primary incorporator of UNO Digital Bank in the Philippines, has secured US$11 million (RM48.9 million) in a pre-Series A round led by Creador Private Equity. UNOAsia one of six licensed digital banks in the Philippines.
Other investors include Manish Bhai and Kalidas Ghose (pic, left), the founders of UNOAsia, Akash Bhanshali of Payash Securities and Samir Arora of Helios Capital and other senior investors from the banking and financial sectors.
[Ed note: It is unusual for founders to invest into their own startups at this stage.]
Creador, which, on its website described its investment into UNOAsia as “a rare early-stage investment”, is a 2011 founded private equity firm launched by Malaysian Brahmal Vasudevan in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. It has already invested a total of US$21 million (RM93.5 million) and has plans to increase this further, making it UNOAsia’s largest investor.
To date, UNOAsia has secured US$44.5 million in investment in its pre-seed, seed, and pre-Series A rounds, which includes drawn-down capital of US$34 million.
[RM1 = US$0.225]
Manish (pic, left), the Chief Executive Officer of UNO Digital Bank (UNObank Inc), a digital bank licensed under the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas’ Digital Banking License framework, said, “The additional capital will help us to further invest to support our growth, as well as see us through the commercial launch of UNO Digital Bank, which is now a live operating bank under closed-loop ‘beta’.”
Omar Mahmoud (pic, below), Managing Director of Creador Private Equity said, “It is estimated that out of the Philippines’ 70 million adult population, about 45 million are underbanked, which limits their access to financial services and the assistance they need to purchase homes, further their education, reduce their debt, invest in businesses, and ultimately improve their lives.” Its investment in UNOAsia will allow Creador to promote financial inclusion in a country where only 10% are borrowing from the organised sector.
“Equally, we are excited to back Manish Bhai and Kalidas Ghose, the highly experienced founders of UNOAsia, along with their team, who have very rapidly created an intelligent and responsive banking platform that will serve those seeking a digital banking experience in the Philippines,” added Omar.
Manish previously spent close to 25 years with Citi, while Ghose is an entrepreneur with a successful exit to his name when Vietnam-based consumer finance business FE Credit which he founded in 2015, saw Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group acquiring a 49% stake in it last year at a valuation of US$2.8 billion. Vietnam Prosperity Joint Stock Commercial Bank (VP Bank) continues to own 50%.
UNOAsia has plans to ultimately create a regional business, expanding beyond the Philippines over the next few years.