The Fintech Times
Though the year has only just started, there have already been some major funding announcements in the fintech sector including in Asia – with Indonesia and other parts of South Asia seeing a particular boom. Though the world is still in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, this has provided many fintechs with an opportunity to take advantage of the increased digitalisation, particularly in the payments space, with new fintechs even being founded last year in response.
Here are some of the top Asian funding rounds that have happened so far in 2021:
GajiGesa, a financial wellness company that offers Earned Wage Access and other services for Indonesian workers, has raised $2.5 million in seed funding. The round was co-led by Defy.vc and Quest Ventures, with other participants including GK Plug and Play, Next Billion Ventures, Alto Partners Multi-Family Office, Kanmo Group and strategic angel investors.
The company launched in October 2020 as a response to the large numbers of unbanked people in Indonesia, around 66% of the 260 million population. It was founded by husband and wife team Vidit Agrawal, Uber’s first employee in Asia, and Martyna Malinowska, who in the past led product development at Standard Chartered SC Ventures and alternative credit-scoring platform Lenddo EFL.
“These hardworking Indonesians had no fair or formal sources for easy access to capital. Further, the most common reason for borrowing was short-term liquidity issues,” Agrawal told TechCrunch. “But workers were forced to borrow either long-term, high ticket size loans or short-term loans with exorbitantly high-interest rates.”
During COVID-19, Agrawal said the start-up has “seen insatiable demand and support for GajiGesa’s EWA solution from employers. This is partly attributed to the various challenges employers are facing due to the effects of COVID-19, but our platform is designed to support employers and employees in the long-term. The value of EWA and the other services we offer is not limited to the pandemic.”