Rizal Microbank president Bong Roxas, who announced the deal on Friday (June 23) together with Acudeen CEO Magellan Fetalino III, said the money will finance the invoices and receivables to the startup’s network of small and medium enterprises (SMEs), as well as micro-SMEs (MSMEs) in the Philippines.
Both companies share the same goal of financial inclusion among MSMEs, which they claim represent 99 per cent of all businesses in the Philippines.
Founded on March 31, 2016, Acudeen’s digital financing strategy is to finance the receivables of SMEs ahead of time. The company says its platform allows for fast transactions, from receivable uploaded to cash within five to seven days, giving MSMEs better control of their cashflow.
Roxas said the biggest problem of MSMEs in the country, who are mostly unbanked and underserved by banks, is how to access affordable credit.
“With this partnership, we’ll be able to reach out to more MSME business operators. It is really aligned with our enhanced business model,” Roxas said.
Now on its 8th year with 23 branches nationwide, Rizal Microbank is bent on maximizing its “huge resources” provided by its parent company RCBC.
“Rather than spending capital, resources on building structures (branches), I would rather use this money to finance the MSMEs,” he said. “This is the sector in the country that can multiply jobs, it has bigger social impact.”
Acudeen currently has about 200 SME clients and Fetalino expressed confidence of having more than 2,000 before 2017 ends.
“SMEs are the main fuel of our economy, contributing to about 40 per cent of our GDP. And yet the business environment in our country is not designed for them to grow,” Fetalino said, noting Acudeen has started reaching out to SMEs in emerging cities to educate them about financial inclusion.
Acudeen recently concluded its financial workshop with SMEs the “Xcelerate: Excel Accelerate – Iloilo” on June 20 through the partnership with the Philippine Chamber of Commerce & Industry – Iloilo Chapter, and the International Finance Corporation of the World Bank Group.
Acudeen raised $300,000 seed fund in the first quarter of 2017 from different investors including 500 Startups. It later on became the overall winner for an international startup competition for emerging markets last April in Switzerland where it received a grand prize of $500,000 investments.