Vietnamese payroll services startup GIMO raises $1.9m led by Integra Partners

GIMO's Founders Nguyen Anh Quan and Nguyen Van Ngoc (left to right)

Vietnamese fintech startup GIMO, which offers on-demand payroll services for blue-collar workers, has announced raising $1.9 million in a seed+ round led by Singapore’s Integra Partners.

Other investors including Resolution Ventures, Blauwpark Partners, and TNB Aura VN Scout participated in the round.

The fundraising comes amid a pandemic-induced demand for more convenient payroll services, and the interest that venture capital investors have shown in startups in the nascent earned wage access (EWA) segment.

GIMO’s co-founder and CEO Nguyen Anh Quan told DealStreetAsia that the round was oversubscribed as the company received multiple offers from both local and regional VCs. However, the startup chose to partner Integra Partners, Resolution Ventures, Blauwpark Partners, and TNB Aura VN Scout because of their common focus on fintech startups.

This marks the first investment of Integra Partners, Blauwpark Partners, and Resolution Ventures in Vietnam. Integra Partners had led a $5.6 million investment in Indonesia-based EWA startup wagely in June.

Officially rolled out in early 2021, GIMO allows employees to access their earned salary almost instantly via a mobile app integrated with the company’s payroll system. Users can also keep track of their workdays and daily earnings in real-time, as well as receive personal finance tips.

GIMO had raised funds from local VC firms ThinkZone Ventures, BK Fund, and a group of angel investors in March this year.

The latest funds will help the company improve its financial stability as well as fast-track financial inclusion in Southeast Asia, according to Nguyen. “Businesses in Vietnam are increasingly looking for innovative ways to empower their greatest asset — people. And EWA is already a proven model in developed countries, where it helps employees alleviate financial stress and take better control of their financial lives,” Nguyen told DealStreetAsia in an interaction.

GIMO claims that it has provided on-demand pay for more than 25,000 workers so far, mainly in the manufacturing and retail sectors, growing monthly at 130%.

Some businesses that currently partner with GIMO include Austdoor Group, a local manufacturer and supplier of door solutions and high-tech building materials, and Ba Sao, a pioneer in catering services in Vietnam.

“We are proud to partner with Quan, and [co-founder] Nguyen Van Ngoc and the entire team at GIMO. We have been impressed with GIMO’s vision to bring EWA, and broader financial services and benefits to Vietnam’s blue-collar workers,” said Chris Kaptein, Partner at Integra Partners.

Integra Partners is an early-stage fintech and healthtech fund focused on Southeast Asia. The Singapore-based venture firm is led by former Dymon Asia Ventures partners Jinesh Patel and Chris Kaptein, who had overseen Dymon’s $52-million first venture fund.

Several members of Integra’s team are also ex-Dymon Asia executives, including its principal Jennifer Ho and general counsel Elise Tan.

Upcoming plans

In the long run, GIMO plans to build a digital financial platform that empowers blue-collar workers to better organise their money, from paycheques to spending, savings, and investments.

“Beyond EWA, we have also included other services entailing employee benefits and financial wellbeing on our future agenda. Expanding into lending products is a possibility, but not at the moment,” Nguyen said, adding that for now, GIMO is focusing on encouraging employees to change their mindset on spending, saving, and investing.

With the fresh funding, the company plans to allocate more resources for hiring senior engineers, strengthening risk management competencies, and integrating advanced technologies such as data analytics and artificial intelligence to enhance customer experiences.

GIMO joins other startups in the region that are tapping into this trend, including Indonesia’s wagely and GajiGesa. In Vietnam, Nano Technologies raised $3 million in seed funding earlier this year.

Other startups that have mushroomed over the last few years include Malaysia’s HariGaji and Pay:Watch as well as Singapore’s Circopay and GetPaid.

About 290 million people in Southeast Asia have limited or no access to formal financial services, according to the World Bank. The EWA Impact Assessment H1 2021 report, which surveyed 2,200 workers, reported that stress decreased for 77% of the people using EWA platforms.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.