Aspire Closes 2.2 Trillion Rupiah Series B Funding
Singapore-based neobank startup Aspire announced a series B funding round of $158 million (over 2.2 trillion Rupiah), in the form of $58 million in equity and $100 million in debt. The round was led by a fintech-focused global growth equity investor with an undisclosed identity.
Also participating were other investors, such as DST Global Partners, CE Innovation Fund, B Capital Partners and previous investors, namely Mass Mutual Ventures, AFG, Picus Capital, and Hummingbird Ventures. Meanwhile, for debt investors, it comes from Fasanara Capital.
This round also involved angel investors from several well-known fintech startups, such as co-founder Wise, Taavet Hinrikus and many others.
Aspire was founded in 2018 to provide working capital loans to small to medium-sized businesses, but soon after it was founded, the company started taking a multi-product strategy.
Its service portfolio includes cross-border business bank accounts, corporate cards, and automated invoice processing, all connected to financial management software. The company also operates a merger service for a Singaporean company called Aspire Kickstart.
“What we’re trying to do is connect traditional banking services with software because we recognize the biggest problem, that the two are completely disconnected,” Aspire Co-founder and CEO Andrea Baronchelli quoted TechCrunch as saying.
Aims to be an Integrated Solution for SMEs in Indonesia
Based on the company’s product research and interviews with business partners, Baronchelli said that the average SME uses seven providers for their bank accounts, credit solutions, foreign exchange, invoice management and payroll and accounting.
Aspire’s goal is to be an integrated and comprehensive solution for SMEs. Most Aspire customers sign up when they need their first business account or corporate card, and then start using other products as they grow.
For large SMBs that already have a business account, Aspire tries to attract their attention with value-added products, such as its expense management software or credit solutions.
Aspire credit cards and working capital loans typically start at around $50,000 and can go as high as $300,000, but can be adjusted as the business grows to improve lines of credit.
More than 10,000 business accounts have been opened on Aspire, and in total they transact about $2 billion per year, doubling in the five months since May 2021.
Aspire is currently developing a payroll system, considering that many of its clients have employees in various countries. This solution also adds more features to the invoice management tool to make reconciling payments with account balances easier.
In addition to Singapore, Aspire also operates in Vietnam and Indonesia (under the name Alumak). In Indonesia, the company currently offers credit limit products for MSMEs with a nominal starting from IDR 2 million with an interest of 1% per month.
The company will release the Business Account service which was previously present in Singapore. This product allows entrepreneurs to receive and send money through the Alumak application and the Aspire Visa Card. At OJK, Alumak has been registered under the IKD rules.
Productive Financing Trends
According to the survey results summarized in the report “Evolving Landscape of Fintech Lending in Indonesia” by DSInnovate and AFPI, 75% of survey respondents (146 fintech lending players) work in the productive lending sector.
While 53% play in the consumptive sector and 6.8% in sharia. However, one platform may have more than one business model.
Of the total players who play in the productive sector, the majority sell services through invoices and inventory financing — financing to suppliers is also included.
The productive sector is clearly more promising, especially now that there are around 59.2 million MSMEs spread across Indonesia, this is reflected in the profile of the majority of borrowers in these services (offline and online MSMEs).
The issue of capital is still one of the most significant because bank credit facilities have not fully accommodated these needs.