Alpha JWC, Insignia lead $2.3m funding in payments startup RateX


Alpha JWC Ventures and Insignia Ventures Partners have led a $2.3-million pre-Series A funding round in Singapore-based payments startup RateX. The startup said the financing is one of the largest pre-Series A rounds raised in Southeast Asia.

RateX is a website extension that automatically provides shoppers with the lowest exchange rate at no transaction fee for overseas purchases through e-commerce platforms. It also allows users to automatically apply coupon codes of their choice upon checkout.

In an official statement, RateX said that proceeds from the funding round will be used to drive the launch of its mobile app in Singapore and Taiwan in March 2018, as well as expansion to Taiwan and Indonesia in 2018.

According to RateX co-founder and CEO Jake Goh, the startup aims to cut the cost of overseas purchase for online shoppers by “solving e-commerce and financial inefficiencies inherent in cross-border commerce”, such as mark-ups around transaction fees, foreign exchange rates and lack of awareness about discounts.

According to research firm Frost & Sullivan, Southeast Asia is the world’s fastest-growing internet market. Gross merchandise value of e-commerce will rise to $65.5 billion by 2021, up from $14.3 billion in 2016.

Some of the globally recognized brands that RateX integrates with include Amazon, TaoBao, Lazada, Singapore Airlines, AirAsia and Expedia.

“They are solving a real FX issue, and online shoppers are able to save 5-ish% on FX every time they check out via the RateX extension. The market potential is huge, as the global cross border e-commerce is expected to reach US$900 billion of GMV by year 2020,” said Alpha JWC Co-Founder and Managing Partner Chandra Tjan.

RateX is currently available on Google Chrome and Firefox desktop browsers and is operational for users in Singapore. It recently launched its mobile app.

This portal reported last month that Singapore-based Insignia Ventures Partners, founded by former Sequoia Capital venture partner Yinglan Tan, has closed its maiden fund at $120 million. The milestone comes less than a year after Tan left Sequoia’s office in Singapore, and also marks the largest ever maiden vehicle by a venture capital firm in this region.

Indonesia’s Alpha JWC, meanwhile, is one of the most active investors in Indonesia. It is raising a nearly $100-million fund this year after closing its first $50-million fund last year.

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