Financial technology (fintech) startup and creator of Singapore’s first multi-currency mobile wallet YouTrip has just raked in a record S$34.9 million ($25.5 million) in pre-Series A funding, less than a year since its founding.
The Singapore and Hong Kong-based company announced in a statement on Thursday (May 16) that the multi-million dollar funding round raised marked the largest of its kind for a fintech startup in Southeast Asia (SEA).
The company listed “major Asian family offices” and venture capital firm Insignia Ventures Partners as its participating investors.
With the latest round of funding, YouTrip said it intends to invest substantially in technology innovation to enhance its technical payment infrastructure while pushing out new product features.
The company also said that it is poised to expand further into SEA and develop “localised solutions” for the region’s growing traveller market.
YouTrip’s mobile wallet app, which was launched in August 2018, was touted by the company as one that allows users to pay in more than 150 currencies with no hidden fees and at wholesale exchange rates.
The app would enable the exchange and storage of 10 selected currencies in advance through an exchange feature, and is compatible with a linked pre-paid Mastercard issued by EZ-Link.
It was also said to be usable for payments at over 30 million Mastercard-accepting merchants globally.
YouTrip said SEA’s more than 650 million people represented “one of the largest and fastest” growing outbound travellers market in the world, with S$109 billion ($80 billion) in total outbound travel expenditure to be expected by 2020.
The company identified Singapore as the most significant contributor to the region given that Singaporeans are among the world’s most frequent travellers and biggest travel spenders.
Co-founder and CEO of YouTrip, Caecilia Chu, said that as a frequent traveller herself, she was taken aback by how much banks would mark up on overseas transactions. This, among other reasons, spurred her to build the startup with Arthur Mak, YouTrip’s chairman.
“As the regional travel industry continues to post robust growth, YouTrip recognises the pain points of travellers and equally, the immense opportunity to better serve their financial needs,” Chu added.
Pachara Lawjindakul, principal at Insignia Ventures Partners, said: “The fintech space in Southeast Asia is developing at a relentless pace to meet evolving consumer expectations and the travel industry represents an immense untapped market at the intersection of this growth.”
Lawjindakul also said that the success of YouTrip’s initial launch in Singapore provided the firm foundation to develop a strong roadmap for growing SEA’s multi-currency and cross-border payments ecosystem.
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