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Young fintech company BillEase from the Philippines has closed a major financing round with USD 11 million in fresh equity. BurdaPrincipal Investments (BPI), the growth capital arm of media and tech company Hubert Burda Media, led the Series B round. Other investors in the round include Centauri, a joint investment vehicle of Telkom Indonesia’s MDI Ventures and KB Investment and backer of Kredivo, KB Financial Group from Korea, 33 Capital from Singapore, and Tamaz Georgadze, CEO and Co-Founder of European fintech unicorn Raisin.com.
BillEase is the leading card-free "Buy Now Pay Later" platform in the Philippines. It gives customers a credit limit they can use at any of BillEase’s merchant partners. What makes the platform special is that users do not need to have a credit or debit card, and they do not have to top up to purchase – BillEase is the alternative e-wallet. Since less than five percent of the adult population in the Philippines owns a credit card, the BillEase service is proving very popular: consumers can easily register via app and apply for a loan. They can then make purchases from over 500 partners, including airlines, fashion brands, and flower delivery services. Payback options for personal loans vary from 30 days up to twelve months, and the amount can be paid through online transfer, for example. Online retailers benefit from being able to offer an installment payment option with BillEase, which helps them increase their conversion rates and average order values.
Other drivers for BillEase and the fintech sector, in general, include the ongoing pandemic and the lockdown, which has been particularly strict in the Philippines. The number of online purchases increased steadily over the past two years, driving demand for digital financial products and accelerating BillEase’s growth ten-fold in the course of 2021. However, regardless of the pandemic, residents live a very digital lifestyle, making the Philippines an emerging market in e-commerce.
“The Philippines is expected to be the fastest growing e-commerce market in the ASEAN region over the next 5 years. 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. Our latest round of funding will help us grow at an unprecedented pace, allowing us to further increase financial inclusion in the country.”
Ritche Weekun, Co-Founder and Chief Financial Officer of First Digital Finance Corporation (FDFC) operating BillEase
"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."
Neil Fong, Principal at BPI
First Digital Finance Corporation was founded in 2015 and two years later Georg Steiger, together with Ritche Weekun and Huyen Nguyen, launched its flagship brand BillEase. They started straight into business with Southeast Asia's leading e-commerce company Lazada as their first strategic partner. Since then, the number of merchants using BillEase has grown to over 500, and five leading payment gateways offer the BillEase payment platform to their customers. The "Buy Now Pay Later" platform has the widest reach in the country of 109 million people. The fresh funds will be used to further accelerate BillEase’s customer growth, enhance and develop new products, and attract top talent.