Philippine FinTech Startup BillEase Closes P566 Million in Series B Round

BillEase is a leading name in the nascent Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) space.
IMAGE BILLEASE

Filipino financial technology startup BillEase, a major player in the Buy Now Pay Later space, announced that it has closed a Series B financing round with $11 million (about P566 million) in fresh equity. 

In a news release, the company said the financing round was led by BurdaPrincipal Investments, the growth capital arm of German media and tech company Hubert Burda Media and a backer of Carsome, Ninja Van, and Zilingo, among others. Other investors in this round include Centauri, a joint investment vehicle of Telkom Indonesia's MDI Ventures and KB Investment and backer of Kredivo, 33 Capital from Singapore, and Tamaz Georgadze, CEO and co-founder of European fintech unicorn Raisin DS, Europe’s leading marketplace for online deposits and investments. 

BillEase officials said the investment will be used to further accelerate customer growth, enhance and develop new products, and attract top talent. The company said it saw growth accelerate ten-fold in the course of 2021. 

Launched in 2017, BillEase is a platform seen as an alternative to debit and credit cards and e-wallets when shopping online, allowing customers access to customized installment payment at checkout. This, in turn, increases merchants’ conversion rate and average order values.

Besides a suite of in-app services such as personal loans, e-Wallet top-ups to popular wallets like GCash, PayMaya, Coins.ph, GrabPay, and ShopeePay, mobile loads and gaming credits, customers using BillEase are given a credit limit that they can use at any of BillEase’s over 500+ merchant partners like gadgets retailer Kimstore, airline tickets (Philippine Airlines), flip flops (Havaianas), speakers (Harman
Kardon), and ice boxes (Coleman/Focus Global).

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“The Philippines is expected to be the fastest growing e-commerce market in the ASEAN region over the next 5 years,” said Ritche Weekun, co-founder and chief financial officer of First Digital Finance Corporation (FDFC), which operates BillEase. “The country is fast becoming a red hot destination for venture investments as large funds start looking beyond Indonesia and this, in turn, is driving the rapid development of the ecosystem. The events over the last two years have increased the pressure on the fintech space, in particular, to evolve and we’re seeing growing demand for financial products. Our latest round of funding will help us grow at an unprecedented pace, allowing us to further increase financial inclusion in the country.”

“BNPL services often rely on card payments, in the Philippines less than 5% of the adult population owns a credit card and cash on delivery remains the primary mode of payment,” added Georg Steiger, co-founder and CEO. “To address this problem and expand the target market, we developed our proprietary credit, fraud, and payment stack. While this requires more upfront investment, we are actually solving a more fundamental problem for customers and allows us to create long-term relationships.”

 

“At the heart, we are a technology and data-driven company,” said Huyen Nguyen, FDFC’s co-founder and chief operating officer. “We build and develop our own platform and that allows us to closely work with partners and rapidly deploy new features. We employ cutting-edge machine learning to make the best decisions based on the limited data available. Our credit system is not a static setup, we continue to improve our credit and fraud models and incorporate new data points as they stream in. This allows us to offer interest rates that are often 50 to 70 percent lower than what other lending apps charge and instant approvals for 95 percent of our customers.”

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“We have been closely monitoring opportunities in the Philippines, and we were particularly impressed with Georg, Ritche and Huyen’s ability to grow rapidly and execute effectively during a global pandemic. We are incredibly excited to lead BillEase’s Series B and support their long-term growth across Southeast Asia.” said Neil Fong, principal at BurdaPrincipal Investments.

 

"Centauri has always had high conviction in the space and supporting financial inclusion, having previously invested into Kredivo through MDI Ventures. The BillEase team impressed us with their quick growth and data driven approach, and we are glad to make our first investment into the Philippines,” said Shannon Chaluangco, partner at Centauri.

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