Peer-to-peer mobile payment app Xendit lauches ops in Indonesia

Visual from the company website. August 2015

Singapore based Xendit, a  money-transfer service, has launched its peer-to-peer (P2P) mobile payment application in Indonesia.

Xendit, a mobile wallet that allows consumers to pay each-other without fees, plans to leverage on the growing usage of smartphones and internet penetration in the country. The company is pitching itself as a private money-transfer service that is competing with companies like Venmo in the Southeast Asian market.

Xendit’s co-founder Moses Lo said in a statement the users can transfer money within private groups, as well as chat. Since starting the beta a few months ago, the company claims that 13,000 people are using the service.

“In Southeast Asia, it’s the perfect storm,” Lo said. “One is a huge population with technology, two is nascent financial services, and third is it’s one of the most viral regions. In Indonesia, there’s [greater than 100 percent] penetration for phones. These people don’t have a bank account, penetration credit card is 3 percent, but there’s a huge population with technology.”

Users load money onto Xendit and they can send and request money from friends in the service or through phone numbers. The company not only has to work with Indonesian banks, but also ATM networks, Lo said.

The company is part of this year’s summer Y Combinator batch. The incubator is the only institutional investor in the company.

Xendit admits it may face tough competition from telecom operators, banks and existing players that offer similar service. Services like WeChat that could throw their resources behind a competing product. And although PayPal and Venmo do not offer peer-to-peer payments in Indonesia yet, they apart from the existing “cash culture” are competing products.

“We have to convince people in a cash culture that we’re more seamless,” he said. “Through the market share, cash is still the biggest, and we need to change that.”

Xendit holds money on behalf of the user, and then works with banks to wire money. “It’s a normal banking relationship,” Lo said, but in the future the company wants to have deeper integrations and core banking services. “For now we’re doing payments pretty normally; we’re just doing it in an automated, fast, seamless fashion.”

Many sales in Southeast Asia happen through services like WhatsApp. For example, a merchant may sell something by posting an image to Instagram, which will then turn into a WhatsApp conversation, which then turns into a transfer of money for the purchase, Lo said. Xendit, he said, is geared toward making that more seamless.

“Indonesia is so big, that’s where [we figured] we’d start and want to win.” Lo said. “The vision is Southeast Asia, the Philippines, Thailand, those with similar profiles among other Asiatic countries.”

For now, the service is free. And in terms of building a business, “it depends on what consumers want it to be,” Lo said. The hypothesis, he said, is starting off with payments and then moving into financing

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.