SG’s Tonik Financial closes Series A at $21m, to launch digital bank in PH

Tonik founder and CEO Greg Kasnov.

Tonik Financial, the first pure-play digital bank in Southeast Asia based in Singapore, has closed its Series A equity funding round, with $21 million in total commitments, that will finance the launch of its digital bank in the Philippines.

In a statement Monday, Tonik said the funding round was co-led by Sequoia India and Point72 Ventures and was also participated by Insignia Ventures Partners and Credence Partners, both of which chipped in a combined $6 million in the firm’s equity funding round in February.

Early this year, Tonik Financial announced that its subsidiary – Tonik Digital Bank Inc – received approval from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), the central bank of the Philippines, to provide digital banking services, such as retail banking, deposits, and consumers loans, in the country.

The financial technology company, founded by Greg Krasnov, said it will be launching the digital bank in the Philippines on the basis of its own bank license.

The close of the Series A funding comes as the COVID-19 pandemic, which the Philippine government struggles to contain, has prompted consumers to opt for online banking transactions as opposed to visiting banks.

“COVID-19 is causing consumers all over the globe to save more for emergencies, to care more about the safety of their money as well as about earning a fair interest rate on their deposits while having access to their funds for easy withdrawal and transfer,” Krasnov said.

The launch of the digital bank comes as a positive development for the Philippines, which has largely been bypassed by a surge in digital banking in Asia in recent years. The country represents a $140-billion retail deposit market and a $100-billion unsecured consumer lending opportunity, Tonik said.

The firm has also observed a rapid jump in consumer demand for digital banking and digital transfers in the country since the start of the year

“We are preparing to bring a highly differentiated experience to the Filipino consumer to address these needs and are honored to be supported in this by the regulators who have encouraged innovation and welcomed technology solutions to bolster financial inclusion,” Krasnov added.

Krasnov, who is also the company’s CEO, said that over 70 per cent of the adult population in the Philippines remains unbanked and market research indicates that over 50 per cent of existing bank clients would be keen to switch their deposits to a pure-play digital contender.

“We believe deeply in Tonik’s vision for a digital bank that is underpinned by the customer protections inherent in being a government-approved bank, and also the flexibility of being a completely digital start-up,” said Pete Casella, head of fintech investments at Point72 Ventures, the co-lead investor in the Series A funding round.

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.