SG’s Nium closes new round joined by Visa, BRI Ventures, others

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

Singapore-based cross border payments firm Nium (formerly InstaReM) has closed a fundraising round joined by Visa, BRI Ventures, and other existing investors, according to a statement. The size of the round was not disclosed.

DealStreetAsia first reported in December that Nium was raising $75-100 million and was in talks with “US-based strategic investor” to lead the round. The company was on the fundraising trail for a good part of 2019 with plans to close the round in end-January 2020.

Nium declined to verify the final corpus raised to date.

Founded in 2015, Nium was previously known as InstaReM, short for instant remittances. Since then, the company has scaled significantly beyond remittances, allowing businesses to send, spend and receive money in over 38 markets around the world. Its clients range widely across sectors such as small and medium enterprises (SMEs), financial institutions, fintechs, e-commerce platforms and travel companies.

Visa was first introduced to Nium in 2019 when it joined the US payment giant’s Fintech Fast Track programme for the Asia Pacific. The globally-run programme allows Visa to leverage on new commerce, technological and payment solutions developed by fintech startups while giving them the opportunity to tap on Visa’s global network.

“Working with fintechs like Nium is a key part of Visa’s strategy to enable payments for anyone, anywhere, on any network,” shared Chris Clark, Regional President, Asia Pacific, Visa.

Nium is understood to be Visa’s third investment in Southeast Asia after Gojek and Grab, two major ride-hailing apps in the region. Last month, Visa also joined the $11-million Series A round of Neat, a Hong Kong-based fintech startup, indicating growing interest by the US payments giant in the region. In India, Visa is an investor in fintech startups Paymate and Billdesk.

Nium added that it will use the freshly raised funds to develop its payment infrastructure to broaden reach across consumers, SMEs, large enterprises, banks and financial institutions. It is eyeing at least 1-2 acquisitions this year to enhance its product capabilities and enter new markets across Europe, India, the UK and the US.

The COVID-19 outbreak hasn’t had a significant impact on Nium’s business so far, according to its CEO and co-founder, Prajit Nanu. However he did share that he expects transaction volumes to soften by 10-15 per cent in Q2 as the impact of COVID-19 begins to set on global spending and transactions.

The Singapore-based company last saw some $2 billion worth of transactions flow through its platform in Q1. No adjustments have been made to Nium’s revenue targets so far, but Nanu shared it is something he is watching closely.

“We are actually sitting quietly this quarter to see how things evolve, and how the market shapes up before we can see how far we should adjust our revenue projections and goals for 2020,” shared Nanu in an online call. “Internally, we’re in the midst of making cost rationalisations. For instance, we used to have three different platforms for enterprise payments. Moving forward, we’re going to consolidate and rely on just one.”

Nanu added that the company is solely focused on hitting its profitability targets, which is still on track to meet by Q3 next year. However, IPO plans may have to be delayed to at least 2023 given the weak economic climate.

Nium is one of Southeast Asia’s most funded fintech companies. It last closed its $41-million Series C round in March led by Temasek-backed Vertex Growth Fund and joined by South Korean venture capital firm Atinum Investment, Indonesia’s MDI Ventures and Thailand’s Beacon Venture Capital.

Its other early backers also include Global Founders Capital, Fullerton Financial Holdings, GSR Ventures, SBI-FMO Emerging Asia Financial Sector Fund, MDI Ventures and Beacon Venture Capital.

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.