SG’s Nium eyes profitability by Q3 next year, NYSE listing by 2022

Prajit Nanu, Co-founder & CEO, Nium. Photo: Nium

Singapore’s cross-border payments startup Nium, formerly known as InstaReM, is setting its sights on a New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) listing by 2022 and profitability by Q3 next year.

In an interview with DealStreetAsia, Nium’s CEO and co-founder Prajit Nanu said the fintech company still has several “important indicators to fire” before hitting the IPO stage. By 2021-22, he hopes to earn the company a coveted spot on the NYSE.

The Vertex Ventures-backed company wants to grow its revenue by 5-6x to touch $75-100 million by 2021. By the end of this year, it wants to double its user base to 1.6 million people, and triple transaction flows to $15 billion.

“Payments are all about scale,” explains Nanu. “The more you scale, the more your cost of transaction can go down… Our focus in 2020 is to scale and grow the business like crazy across our Send, Spend and Receive products.”

The Singapore-based company has come a long way since its inception as a remittance operator. Last year, it re-branded itself from InstaReM (short for instant remittances) to Nium to reflect the expanded nature of the business.

While remittances still account for the bulk of Nium’s revenues, the company is also getting into the card business. In November, it became the first Asia Pacific player to partner with Visa to allow instant money transfers through Visa cards in more than 32 countries globally.

More capabilities will be added in the coming months, says Nanu. The cross-border payments startup is already preparing at least two acquisitions to beef up its card segment. Nium is also eyeing licensed fintech startups, which will allow it to enter new markets.

Nium currently holds e-money licences in Australia, Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia, US, Europe, Canada, Indonesia, Japan. It is applying for licences in Malaysia, Mexico and Brazil.

The growth of Nium’s operations also means that its likely to see competition across multiple fronts.

In digital remittances, Nium competes with European and US players such as TransferWise, Remitly and Worldremit, all of which have expressed interest to enter the Asia Pacific, a fast-growing region projected to grow at 24.2 per cent CAGR between 2018 and 2025, according to estimates by Allied Market Research.

In cards, Nium comes head-to-head with local players like Matchmove, Youtrip, and even Grab Financial, which launched its GrabPay Card in December.

Nium was last reported by DealStreetAsia to be raising up to $100 million for its Series D round in December last year. Nanu declined to comment on the fundraising.

The company last raised its $41 million in Series C led by Temasek-backed Vertex Growth Fund in March last year.

Nium’s other investors include Vertex Ventures SEA, Atinum Investment, Indonesia’s MDI Ventures, Thailand’s Beacon Venture Capital, Global Founders Capital, Fullerton Financial Holdings, GSR Ventures, SBI-FMO Emerging Asia Financial Sector Fund and Rocket Internet.

Edited excerpts of an interview:

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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).   

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  • 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. 
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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.