Indonesia’s early stage venture fund East Ventures has invested an undisclosed amount of seed funding into Cicil, a new financing platform for university students. The new investment will see Cicil accelerating its mission of bringing financial inclusion to students.
Targeting credit consumption of university students, Cicil addresses the underserved student segment of bank financing. Indonesian students have the lowest access to finance in Southeast Asia, with only 1 per cent of credit card penetration and banking penetration of 20 per cent.
Leslie Lim, co-founder of Cicil, said that students often encounter difficulties in getting financing assistance to make expensive purchases for school, such as an expensive laptop. Cicil aims to solve this problem for the six million university students in the country over the four years of their education.
“…it’s hard to obtain financial assistance to pay the large upfront cost. Hence, we wanted to come up with a means of solving this problem,” Lim said.
Students join Cicil by completing an application form on the platform. Cicil will then assess the student’s credit worthiness based on their profile. If an applicant is approved, Cicil will purchase the product from the student’s selected e-commerce platform.
The student can then pay via installments without the need of a credit card. This way, Cicil is the first platform to address the credit needs of university students in Indonesia.
“We hope this will reduce the burden of having to save for money months to purchase these items. In the future, we are also exploring the idea of helping students with their tuition fee needs,” said co-founder Edward Widjonarko.
Based in Jakarta, Cicil was founded by Edward Widjonarko and Leslie Lim, who met when they were classmates pursuing their MBAs at INSEAD. Edward previously worked for PT Bilna and AJCapital Advisory, while Leslie brings experience from Barclays Capital and HSBC.
Commenting on the investment, managing partner of East Ventures Wilson Cuaca said that the deal is aligned with his company’s thesis to engage with the post-millenial market.
“We want to engage with this future consumer group and Cicil is poised to address that. We believe Leslie and Edward are well positioned to capture this opportunity,” Cuaca said in a statement.
East Ventures is one of the most active early-stage venture funds in Indonesia, investing in more than 150 companies in Indonesia, Singapore, Japan, Thailand, and the Philippines. Most of East Ventures’ active portfolios have raised follow-on financing rounds and/or exits through mergers and acquisitions to both local and international companies.