By Sharon Lewis and Reethu Ravi This article is the first of a four-part Tech’s Year in Review series reviewing developments across industries in 2020. This first installation discusses some industries spotlighted by the COVID-19 pandemic, namely edtech, logistics and supply chains, fintech, [...]
The funds will help expand GoBear’s financial services
Singapore-headquartered financial services platform GoBear has raised $17 million from existing backers Dutch venture capital firm Walvis Participaties and Dutch multinational corporation Aegon N.V., the startup announced in a statement yesterday.
The funding will be used to drive GoBear’s development as a full-fledged financial services platform built on alternative data, the statement said. The startup is currently expanding its financial services platform across an online financial supermarket, digital insurance brokerage, and digital lending.
CEO of GoBear Adrian Chng tells Jumpstart, “There are approximately 300 million people across GoBear’s markets who remain underserved by existing banking and insurance services and are unable to build up traditional credit scores that would allow them to seek such products.”
“The expansion of GoBear’s financial services platform across the three growth pillars – online financial supermarket, digital insurance brokerage, and digital lending – is built on a strong foundation of alternative data, which allows us to assess and price risk, and create financial products that are accessible for this underbanked group,” he continued.
The startup had earlier announced that it had raised $80 million in total fresh capital from Walvis Participaties and Aegon N.V. This is GoBear’s fifth fundraise, bringing the startup’s total capital pool to $97 million.
Launched in 2015 as a metasearch engine, GoBear has evolved to become a fintech platform that lets users search and buy financial products. The statement noted that GoBear has served over 55 million users with more than 2,000 personal finance products.
Along with Singapore, the startup also has offices across Southeast Asia in Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.
The statement noted that GoBear’s gross margin has been positive since the end of 2019, with growth across its insurance and lending verticals. It also said that the average order value of its digital insurance brokerage segment saw a 52% increase in the last three months.
In addition to launching travel insurance product Go Travel under a partnership with Chubb, GoBear also acquired end-to-end digital consumer lender AsiaKredit for an undisclosed sum in May this year. The acquisition is intended to power its business and regional reach.
Additionally, it has shuffled its senior management ranks by onboarding Chief Information Technology Officer Valeriy Gasratov, Chief Strategy Officer Jinnee Lim, Chief Lending Officer Mike Singh (former Co-Founder and CEO of AsiaKredit) earlier this year.
Gasratov said in the statement, “It’s exciting to be part of a bold mission to improve the financial health of people in Asia. With our data and technology, GoBear is positioned to have a huge impact on the future of financial services in the region.”
The appointments came just a few months after two of GoBear’s founders resigned last year. Following the resignation of Co-Founder Andre Hesselink in 2018, Co-Founders Ivonne Bojoh and Marnix Zwart also stepped down in November 2019.
This article has been updated with responses from GoBear
Header image courtesy of GoBear