Philippine payment firm gains $1.5 M fund to serve migrants, unbanked customers

Philippine digital commerce and payment services firm Veritas Mobile Holdings – whose business is marketed under the Ayannah brand – has secured funding to the tune of $1.5 million led by venture capital firm Gree Ventures.

Ayannah’s marketing and communications head Melissa Lucas said the Series C round of funding had seen Gree Ventures join other institutional investors such as Wavemaker Labs, Golden Gate Ventures Incubator Annex, IMJ Investment Partners and Beenos Asia.

Gree Ventures is the venture capital arm of GREE Incorporated, a Japanese global technology company with headquarters in Tokyo, Japan and focused on Internet media.

Lucas said the $1.5 million funding would be used for Ayannah’s customer acquisition and product development.

Ayannah has two services catering to migrants and the unbanked called the Sendah and Sendah Direct. The former is its flagship B2C service initially targeting the 12 million overseas Filipino diaspora, while the latter is a B2B platform addressing the large portion of Filipinos who remain unbanked.

According to Lucas, out of the 100 million population in the Philippines, around 70 million were still unbanked. She said Sendah Direct has a growing network of over 7,000 distributors and agents and has served over nine million unique customers since launching in October 2010.

“We already started with our international expansion. We have partners in Latin America already,”

Lucas said : “We are negotiating partnerships in Africa. We plan to enter South Asia in 2015.

Lucas also pointed out hat although Ayannah’s payment service was quite new, as it was launched only last April, the company was targeting to be “the largest digital payment network by end-of-year 2014.”

According to Ayannah CEO Mikki Perez, Gree Ventures will help hasten Ayannah’s expansion to other emerging markets.

Gree Ventures Principal Kuan Hsu said they would like to help Ayannah expand to other emerging markets in South East Asia. “Ayannah has made great strides and we hope that our investment will allow Ayannah to continue and accelerate its progress to become the leading digital commerce and payment service for the vast majority of Filipinos who remain unbanked and who rely on remittances for support,” Hsu added.

 photo credit: freedigitalphotos.net

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.