PLDT's Tech Arm Secures P8.11 Billion in Funding, Eyes Paymaya Digital Bank
Voyager Innovations Inc., the digital unit of PLDT, has raised $167 million (about P8.11 billion) in fresh capital for its financial inclusion agenda through its fintech arm, Paymaya.
Existing investors that participated in the capital raise are pareant company PLDT Inc., global investment firm KKR, and Chinese tech giant Tencent. Also participating is new investor IFC Financial Institutions Growth Fund, a fund managed by the IFC Asset Management Company (IFC AMC). IFC AMC is a division of the International Finance Corp. which is an existing investor in Voyager.
Of the $167 million, about $121 million is fresh funding, and $46 million is from previously committed funds.
According to a PLDT disclosure with the Philippine Stock Exchange, Voyager will use the new funds to expand its PayMaya services and launch new products, including credit, insurance, savings, and investments, through a soon-to-be-established digital bank. The company said it has already applied for a neobank or digital banking license from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas.
“Once granted a digital bank license by the BSP, the new entity will provide mobile-first, low-cost, round-the-clock, frictionless, branchless, ubiquitous, paperless, secure, and smart neo-banking services on the back of PayMaya’s proven technology platforms,” the company said.
“We have seen a quantum leap for digital payments adoption in the Philippines over the past year, and PayMaya has served as the nexus connecting consumers and enterprises with enriching digital finance experiences,” said Voyage Innovations founder Orlando B. Vea. “This investment supports the unique value we bring and gives us a natural head start with the target market for the digital banking service.”
“As we did with payments and remittances, we will enable the large masses of Filipinos to leapfrog into a new stage of financial inclusion through integrated digital financial services,” said Shailesh Baidwan, Voyager and PayMaya President, said. “Our goal is to continue making lives better for millions of underserved people and small businesses, with cutting edge solutions that are affordable and relevant.”
PayMaya, together with remittance platform Smart Padala, has a total user base of 38 million, representing more than half of the adult population in the Philippines. It offers financial services such as mobile wallet, bills payment, insurance, and lending, among others.
In April 2020, Voyager Innovations secured $120 million (around P6 billion) in investment commitments from five backers: PLDT, KKR, Tencent, International Finance Corp (IFC), and the IFC Emerging Asia Fund.
Rival e-wallet GCash, which is operated by Globe unit Globe Fintech Innovations (Mynt), also reported 38 million users as of April 2021 and is targeting P2 trillion in transactions for the year. Mynt raised over P175 million in capital from investment firm Bow Wave Capital Management early this year.