Nov 22, 2018

Remittance start-up InstaRem raises over US$20m, aims for IPO in 2021

SINGAPORE - Singapore-based remittance start-up InstaRem has raised over US$20 million (S$27.5 million) for the first close of its Series C round.

The first close was led by new investors MDI Ventures, the venture capital arm of Indonesia's Telkom, and Beacon Venture Capital, the venture capital arm of Thailand's Kasikornbank.

It was supported by existing investors Vertex Ventures, GSR Ventures, Rocket Internet and SBI-FMO Fund.

The US$45 million Series C round, which takes the fintech's overall funding to over US$63 million, is expected to close by January 2019 ahead of its expected initial public offering in 2021.

The funds will accelerate growth in InstaRem's existing markets and enable it to enter new markets in Japan and Indonesia, where it is expected to receive licences by the end of this year.

The firm has regulatory licences and approvals in Singapore, Australia, India, Europe, United States, Hong Kong, Canada and Malaysia.

InstaRem said in a press statement that it leverages its extensive global banking partnerships to reach to over 3.21 billion consumer and business customers across more than 55 countries worldwide. InstaReM currently powers payments for three of the top 10 South-east Asian Banks.

The Series C round will also enable the firm to launch a "much-anticipated new product that will put the power of cost-free, borderless payments into the hands of (InstaRem) and consumer customers".

InstaRem's co-founder and chief executive officer Prajit Nanu told The Business Times: "For the Singapore market, we would be launching a card product which is extremely unique, expected to launch in Q2."

Mr Nanu declined to reveal further details due to confidentiality matters.

MDI Ventures will support InstaRem with its expansion in Indonesia and Asean through strategic partnerships with various Telkom business units around the region.

Nicko Widjaja, chief executive of MDI Ventures, said that Instarem has a strong capability to enable cross-border payment and remittance between Indonesia and its international partners by providing the lowest exchange rates among competing services.

"With Indonesia's fintech sector experiencing peak levels of growth, we believe that it is the ideal time for fintech companies, such as InstaRem, to focus on expansion throughout the country," said Mr Widjaja.

Thanapong Na Ranong, managing director of Beacon Venture Capital, added: "We have been following InstaReM for some time, and are impressed with the way the company has been expanding globally, and scaling up its operations.

"As Kasikornbank becomes the digital bank of choice for customers, we have a strong commitment to working closely with category leaders in each sector and constantly improving our customer experience."

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(The Straits Times)