Singapore fintech startup GoBear to shut shop, cites difficulties in raising funds

Photo: GoBear

Singapore-based fintech firm GoBear announced on Tuesday that it will cease operations and close its business, citing a challenging operating environment and difficulties to raise more funding.

“It’s with a heavy heart that today we’re sharing that GoBear will be ceasing operations and begin the process of closing the business,” GoBear said in a statement on the professional networking site Linkedin. “The global pandemic has created a challenging operating environment, and despite our best efforts, we have so far been unable to raise more funding.”

This came after GoBear reportedly laid off 22 staff members from its offices in Singapore, Vietnam, the Philippines, and Ukraine in September last year, as part of its cost-cutting measures amid the pandemic. The development came despite GoBear securing funding from its existing investors last year.

GoBear was yet to respond to DealStreetAsia’s queries at the time of publishing.

The company, in May last year, had bagged $17 million funding from existing Dutch investors — venture capital firm Walvis Participaties and insurance group Aegon — to accelerate its transformation into a full-fledged financial services platform.

GoBear, which started out as a site to compare insurance plans of different companies, planned to use the fund to rev up its online financial marketplace, digital insurance brokerage and digital lending, the firm had said then. With the investment, the total funding raised by GoBear rose to $97 million, according to a report dated May 27.

It was also reported on May 4 that GoBear has acquired end-to-end digital consumer lender AsiaKredit, as it continues to expand its business and regional reach. Headquartered in Singapore, AsiaKredit provides consumer finance products to underserved consumers in the Philippines.

According to reports in November, two of GoBear’s co-founders — chief technology officer Ivonne Bojoh and chief commercial officer Marnix Zwart — had resigned from the startup. GoBear was also understood then to be shutting down its Indonesian arm after only a year of operations.

GoBear said on Tuesday that it began its journey in 2015 as a metasearch engine and has grown to “take on the mission of improving people’s financial health across Asia”.

“It’s been quite a ride with the opening of new markets, launching new products, and building our financial services and data platform one step at a time,” it added in the Linkedin post.

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.