Oriente, a startup that develops tech infrastructure for online financial services, has raised US$50 million in its Series B round. The startup is based in Hong Kong, and it was launched in 2017. This funding round was led by Peter Lee, the co-chairman of one of the largest property developers in Hong Kong, Henderson Land.
There was participation from other investors,including Wix.com, a website development platform. Oriente was founded by Hubert Tai, Geoff Prentice (one of the co-founders of Skype), and Lawrence Chu back in 2017 and it focuses on markets underserved by traditional financial institutions.
The startup will use the new funding to grow its existing markets in Indonesia and the Philippines as well as expand its market to new countries such as Vietnam. Additionally, the fund will be used to continue building the technology of the platform to help merchants lower the risks and increase sales conversions.
The platform has now raised over US$160 million in debt and equity, including the US$105 million it raised in November 2018.
While most large tech companies such as Facebook, Apple, Grab, Amazon, Samsung, and Google are looking at digital payments as well as other online financial services, they definitely need the tech infrastructure to accomplish that and partners that can assist them in handling regulations in different markets.
Oriente is not competing with other payment providers, and it is instead innovating credit as service, Prentice told TechCrunch. They will accomplish innovating credit as a service by building technology that will allow offline and online merchants to launch digital credit solutions easily.
“Oriente is the only company that is focusing on building an end-to-end digital financial services infrastructure,” Prentice said.
Oriente currently has two apps for consumers Finmas in Indonesia and Cashalo in the Philippines, which both have around five million users and over 1,000 merchants. Services include online credit, cash loans, and working capital for small to medium-sized enterprises.
In 2019, Oriente saw a 700% year-over-year growth in transactions, and it served over four million new users. On the other hand, merchants had more than a 20% increase in sales volume.
Oriente is trying hard to expand its enterprise solutions for larger corporations, and it is currently beta testing a consumer platform similar to Finmas and Cashalo in Vietnam. It has also started focusing on how to serve customers during the COVID-19 pandemic since most merchants are coping with cash flow issues and loss of users.
“Over the past few weeks, we’ve reprioritized our corporate strategy to focus on the top opportunities within each market. We have also taken various steps to rebuild our organizations for optimized operational and financial efficiency in line with current and forecasted market conditions and our more focused strategy,” said Prentice.
“Our aim is not only to mitigate anticipated headwinds on liquidity but to demonstrate that our business has the potential to overcome and outperform the market in a recession- unlocking value for all stakeholders for years to come,” he added.