The funding round was joined by German investor Andromeda GmbH and private investors from Singapore, Indonesia, and Europe, according to a statement.
ShuttleOne CEO Lim Hong Zhuang said the fresh funding will be used to expand the company’s operations in Malaysia and Indonesia and to launch its services in Thailand and the Philippines.
The funding will also help improve ShuttleOne’s security modules on the blockchain and improve its corporate governance, he added.
The startup provides remittances services to individuals and provides loans to MSMEs, particularly e-commerce merchants, through its proprietary Smart Contracts blockchain protocols and digital tokens.
Working with intermediaries such as remittance agents, ShuttleOne claims it helps informal workers remit money more “transparently, instantaneously, and at a lower transfer fee” of 3 per cent, compared with 7 per cent via the traditional remittance route.
Since its launch in 2019, ShuttleOne said it has garnered more than 600,000 users in Southeast Asian countries.
The company recently became eligible for a grant from the Monetary Authority of Singapore to support firms in adopting, customising, or collaborating on digitalisation projects to streamline processes and deepen capabilities.
The investment comes as the World Bank estimates global remittances reached $689 billion in 2018, up 9 per cent from 2017 and roughly doubled from 2006. Remittances to South Asia grew 12 per cent in 2018, compared with 6 per cent in 2017. East Asia and the Pacific region saw 7 per cent growth in 2018, up 2 percentage points from 2017.
Commenting on the investment, Sirius founder and managing director Eugene Wong said demand for a newer level of efficiency and transparency will lead to the widespread adoption of blockchain technology.
“We are confident that with this growing expectation, blockchain technology will become the future trend as regulatory landscapes in Southeast Asian countries and even China become more encouraging,” Wong said.
Sirius Venture is a Singapore-based food tech and logistics-focused venture capital firm. Wong said Sirius’ portfolio of food tech startups will also explore using ShuttleOne’s financial solutions moving forward.
In April, Sirius co-anchored a $3-million funding round in Hargol FoodTech, an Israel-based startup that produces alternative protein from grasshoppers.