One of the greatest “How It Started” vs “How It Going” stories in international fintech these days continues to be the rise of Grab Financial, the spin-off from ride-hailing and food delivery company Grab. The Singapore-based company announced this week that it has secured more than $300 million in a round led by Hanwha Asset Management of South Korea. The investment, which also featured participation from K3 Ventures, GGV Capital, Arbor Ventures, and Flourish Ventures, gives the company an estimated valuation of $3 billion.
“We are at an inflection point in Southeast Asia,” Grab Financial Group senior managing director Reuben Lai said, “as the pandemic has accelerated the need for digital financial services that help us grow and protect our incomes.” The company reported that the new capital will help support the hiring of additional talent, as well as fuel expansion and the introduction of new products.
Among the recent accomplishments of Grab’s fintech division are a 40% gain in 2020 revenues, a 4x increase in users of its insurance distribution offering, and the launch of its first wealth management solution. Grab – as part of its consortium with Singtel – was also among the fortunate few to earn approval from the Monetary Authority of Singapore to launch a digital bank.
This week’s Finovate Global Reports features a fresh look at fintech in Latin America courtesy of EBANX annual Beyond Borders 2020/2021 study. The report looks at the impact of COVID-19 on cross-border e-commerce and payments trends in Latin America.
Among the key insights include the centrality of mobile in driving digital consumption of services as 4G becomes more widespread throughout the region. The report also suggests that Latin America has the potential to rival southeast Asia in terms of the growth of its e-commerce sector.
For our international Finovate Global Alumni Profile this week, here’s a look at ModularBank, a digital banking solution provider based in Estonia that raised €4 million in new funding this week. The company, which demoed its technology at FinovateEurope 2019 in London, offers a modern, API-based, banking-as-a-service solution to help businesses leverage new business models and gain competitive advantage.
“Increasingly, people are demanding more flexible and convenient services that fit around the way they work and live and in response, there is a wave of digitalization and embedded finance on the horizon, beginning to build,” explained Modularbank CEO Vilve Vene upon announcement of the company’s recent funding.
“To harness this momentum there is a real need for lean, yet sophisticated core banking technology … Modularbank was set up to enable banks and other customer-facing businesses to devise and roll out personalized banking services quickly and easily.”
Here is our look at fintech around the world.