Indonesian online consumer finance platform Akulaku has been suspended by global marketplace Mintos over late payments on about €4.7 million ($5.1 million) of loans, according to Mintos.
Mintos allows loan originators like Southeast Asia-focused Akulaku to raise funds from investors on its platform to fund loans in their home markets.
Mintos said that the suspension of Akulaku’s loan offerings on both primary and secondary markets took effect from April 17 until further notice. Akulaku has sold a total outstanding amount of €16 million on Mintos, according to the latter.
Both Akulaku and Mintos are understood to have reached an agreement on a restructured repayments schedule for Akulaku’s pending loans, which involve some 63,964 active investors in Akulaku with an average investment at €259 per investor.
Ant Financial-backed Akulaku raises money from investors to lend to merchants and customers across Southeast Asia. Akulaku has a wide partner base in Indonesia, where it distributes consumer loans to e-commerce platforms such as Blibli.com, Bukalapak, Shopee and JD.id.
Asetku, a peer-to-peer lending platform in Indonesia that provides loans to Akulaku’s merchants and customers, has said that Akulaku’s eCommerce arm, PT Akulaku Silvrr Indonesia, is a shareholder. Asetku has clarified that it is not involved in or related to transactions between Mintos and Akulaku.
In announcements on its website, Mintos explained that loan originators like Akulaku typically notify Mintos when the end-borrowers have paid up, and then transfer the repaid money to the investors who provided the funds via Mintos. Between the notification of repayment and the actual receipt of the funds by the investors, the status of that money is considered “pending payment”.
The average pending payment period is about eight days, Mintos said. As of April 16, Akulaku’s pending payment period was about 18 days.
In a statement to Mintos, Akulaku’s CEO William Li described facing a “short term liquidity challenge” and explained that his company has been experiencing delays in debt collection and international money transfers.
“Considering the macroeconomic impact and regulation in place, we are facing a short-term liquidity challenge and we are working on it,” Li wrote.
When contacted by DealStreetAsia, an executive from Akulaku said: “With the best interests of investors on Mintos marketplace at heart, we are glad to have reached a loan restructuring agreement with Mintos, which we believe will help Akulaku achieve a better position in running our business. Akulaku and Mintos maintain a good partnership and we are committed to fulfilling our responsibilities.”
Further, the executive added: “We would like to assure our investors that Akulaku’s business remains strong and stable. We firmly believe in our vision as a provider of affordable financial services, and remains confident with the prospect of our business.
There are other Indonesian P2P lenders with pending payments as well, including Cashwagon, DanaRupiah, and Kredit Pintar. However, none of those names have been suspended by Mintos. Of those three, only DanaRupiah’s 10-day pending payment period as of April 16 was longer than eight days.
The liquidity problems are emerging shortly after an active fundraising year for Akulaku.
In March, Akulaku raised $10 million in venture debt from Japanese investment bank Risa Partners and Singapore-headquartered private credit firm Whitetail Asia. According to a statement, the loan will be used to grow Akulaku’s Southeast Asia loan book in its existing e-commerce and personal consumer loan segment while venturing into the adjacent lending segments.
In response to Akulaku’s pending loan repayment, Risa Partners and Whitetail Asia said in a joint statement that the firms are still supportive of Akulaku’s business without changing any prior loan conditions granted to it.
“Akulaku’s top management did update us fairly comprehensively last week on the signing of the extended loan maturity with Mintos, and we understand their rationale and desire to prepare and position for the long-term amidst the current global COVID-19 economic uncertainty,” Risa and Whitetail spokesperson said.
DealStreetAsia reported last year that Akulaku raised $100 in Series D funding, of which Alibaba-backed Ant Financial invested $40 million. In 2018, the startup raised $70 million in Series C funding from FINUP, a Chinese fintech firm. Sequoia Capital India, Qiming Venture Partners, and January Capital also participated in the round.
DealStreetAsia’s Andi Haswidi contributed to this story.
Editor’s note: The story was updated to add Akulaku’s statement. An earlier version of the story also wrongly said that Akulaku raised funds for Asetku through the Mintos platform. Asetku has clarified that is not involved or related to transactions between Mintos and Akulaku. We are sorry for the error.