SG’s Honest Bank in talks with Insignia Ventures Partners to raise funding

Photo by Josh Appel on Unsplash

Singapore-headquartered Honest Bank is in talks with Insignia Ventures Partners, among others, to raise about $20 million in funding, as it looks to acquire a credit card licence from Indonesian lender Bank Permata.

According to sources privy to the development, talks between the fintech firm and the venture capitalist are at an advanced stage.

Founded in 2019 by Will Ongkowidjaja, founding partner at Alfa JWC Ventures, and Peter Panas, an ex-Goldman Sachs executive, Honest Bank is a new fintech player in the region that’s looking to focus on the Indonesian market.

According to DealStreetAsia DATA VANTAGE, Honest Bank is currently riding on a valuation of $27.3 million and has so far secured funding worth $4 million.

According to information available on its website, Honest Bank, which is backed by investors such as XYZ and Village Global, is currently looking to fill several positions in Southeast Asia – in cities such as Bangkok and Jakarta – as it looks to start its operations in full swing.

Listed on Indonesia Stock Exchange (IDX), Bank Permata owns more than one credit card licence, “and is looking to part with one,” said one of the persons mentioned above. We had first written about the development late last month.

“For Honest Bank, this is an opportunity to get a licence at once and start its operations. But for Bank Permata which already has one licence, the sale of the other will give it time to focus on its other core business areas,” the person added.

Bank Permata is engaged in wholesale banking, and offers services in retail and Shariah-compliant banking. Considered a pioneer in mobile banking and mobile cash technology in the country, it launched PermataMobile X super application in 2018 to ramp up its digital banking segment.

“As a public listed company, all disclosures will be made in line with the prevailing regulations at the appropriate time,” said a spokesperson of Bank Permata when we contacted to seek confirmation on the development. However, separate emails sent to Honest Bank and Insignia Ventures Partners did not elicit any response.

Bank Permata was originally established in 2002 out of the merger of five banks – Bank Bali, Bank Universal, Bank Prima Express, Bank Artamedia and Bank Patriot. It officially became BUKUIV Bank in January 2021 due to the capital increase after the integration with the branch office of Bangkok Bank in Indonesia.

Insignia Ventures Partners is an early-stage venture capitalist that invests in the technology sector in Southeast Asia. Its portfolio companies in Indonesia include stock brokerage platform Ajaib, logistics startup Shipper, and the social commerce firm Super.

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.