Myanmar’s fintech firm NearMe raises 7-digit funding from Sumitomo Corporation

Photo: Juliet Shwe Gaung. Myanmar Currency.

Myanmar fintech startup NearMe has raised a 7-digit US dollar funding from Japanese conglomerate Sumitomo Corporation to enhance digital payments access for its SMEs clients.

Founded in 2015, NearMe (formerly known as 1-Stop) provides a retail digital services platform for its retailers and agents, mostly SMEs, to do transactions such as goods purchases, loan repayment, public utilities and flight and bus tickets, among others. The company claims to have over 50,000 retail partners nationwide.

The funding will enable NearMe to expand its digital solutions to help its retail partners adopt and accelerate their digitisation process and growth post-COVID-19, the startup said in a statement.

“We are seeing an accelerated digitisation of the Myanmar economy during this time. The pandemic is spurring many small and medium-sized companies to adopt digitisation much quicker in order to grow their business and service their customers better,” said Lynn Htaik Aung, CEO at NearMe.

The startup also said it will leverage Sumitomo’s network of affiliates to support NearMe’s retail partners, especially for digital payment acceptance and B2B distribution.

NearMe was rebranded from 1-Stop, initially an e-commerce platform for rural Myanmar launched by B2B fintech firm 2C2P.

2C2P raised $52 million in equity funding from a consortium of investors including the International Finance Corporation, Cento Ventures and Arbor Ventures last year. The company has set aside $15 million from the proceeds to make its own venture capital investments.

Financial services in Myanmar are increasingly evincing investor attention. This year, Wave Money snapped up investments worth $150 million from Yoma Strategic Holdings and Alibaba‘s financial arm Ant Group.  Meanwhile, DAWN Microfinance has secured a $7.5 million commitment from Dutch development bank FMO and Yoma Bank is raising almost $89 million from GIC and Norfund.

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.