KUALA LUMPUR: Goldman Sachs-backed CompareAsiaGroup, an online personal finance platform, and its Malaysian outfit, CompareHero.my, received a total of US$50mil (RM215mil) in new funding from investors.
The new funding was led by International Finance Corp (IBF), a unit of World Bank while the other investors were investors were Alibaba Entrepreneurs Fund, SBI Group and H&Q Utrust, as well as existing investors Goldman Sachs Investment Partners VC and Growth Equity, Nova Founders Capital, ACE & Company and Route 66 Ventures.
Accordingto Bloomberg, a growing Asian middle class and improving internet access is fueling demand for online financial products.
CompareAsiaGroup provides price comparisons as well as management tools to people hunting for insurance policies, credit cards, loans or other financial products.
It operates local websites across several countries including SingSaver.com.sg in Singapore, where it has more than 500,000 monthly users and works with a bevy of financial services providers. The company lists partners such as Citibank, Allianz, DBS and HSBC on its website.
“Singapore is one of our fastest-growing markets and remains a top priority,” Sam Allen, the company’s chief executive officer, said in an interview with Bloomberg.
“We invest substantially into Singapore for research and development because our customers and partners are at the cutting edge of digital adoption around personal finance.”
The company plans to deploy the new funds toward technology, marketing and hiring. The number of employees will increase from 150 to “well over 200 over the next couple of months,” CompareAsiaGroup chairman Mads Faurholt-Jorgensen was qupted saying by Bloomberg.
Meanwhile, the group said the latest round of fund will also enable CompareHero.my to strengthen its position as one of Malaysia’s leading personal finance management platforms and prepare for the next stage of growth.
The funding will be used to continue to improve the user experience by making the process of finding, comparing, getting and managing banking and insurance products significantly easier.
As part of this, CompareHero.my will further develop its proprietary technology and continue to expand its team with exceptional talent to support its ambitious growth plans.
Through its blog and comparison tables, CompareHero.my aims to raise the level of financial literacy and financial inclusion in Malaysia.
“This is badly needed in a market where e-commerce is rapidly growing but many consumers still prefer cash payments and financial literacy is low.
“Only eight million credit cards are in circulation and only one in three Malaysians is considered financially literate, according to a World Bank and Standard & Poor’s study,” said CompareHero.my in a statement.
CompareHero.my, one of the leading personal finance websites in Malaysia, provides free financial advice to the growing internet population and helping consumers choose the right financial products.
Consumers can easily save thousands of Ringgit on their personal loan by comparing interest rates for free on the website or by talking to a CompareHero.my adviser on the phone.
CompareHero.my can assist in finding the credit card that best fits a consumer’s needs, balancing between annual fee, interest rate, cashback and exclusive welcome offers.
The funding solidifies CompareHero.my’s position as one of Malaysia’s leading platforms for personal finance products and services including credit cards and personal loans. The service is 100% independent and free for consumers.
Co-founder and managing director of CompareHero.my, Mark Reijman, said: “We are excited to continue our journey of empowering consumers and supporting them in their desire to live healthier financial lives.
“We will use the funding to further improve the customer journey from search to application and add more financial products such as insurance to our site,” he said.
Meanwhile, CompareHero.my managing director Benny Chee said the company was excited to continue this path with the strong strategic support from both new and existing investors.
Chee said they were looking forward to bringing on board more banks, financial institutions and partners.
IFC’s regional director for East Asia and the Pacific, Vivek Pathak said IFC's priority was to reach the unbanked and under-banked.
“We believe the best way to do this is through technology,” he said, pointing out CompareHero.my leverages on technology to increase pricing transparency for financial products and improve financial literacy.
“Our support for innovative fintech companies like CompareHero.my encourages disruptive technologies and new business models that create markets for other private sector players to engage,” he said.