PH tech firm Voyager bags $120m investment commitment from KKR, Tencent, others

Photo: PayMaya

Philippine technology firm Voyager Innovations has secured up to $120 million in investment commitments from its existing backers PLDT, private equity firm KKR, China’s Tencent, International Finance Corp (IFC), and the IFC Emerging Asia Fund, according to a statement.

Voyager Innovations operates PayMaya Philippines, one of the country’s leading payments platform.

The latest commitment follows a $215-million investment made by the five investors in 2018 and extends the operational runway for the tech firm, which was staring at an impending cash crunch.

In March, billionaire Manuel V. Pangilinan, who chairs Voyager’s parent company PLDT Inc, told local reporters that the firm was set to run out of cash by the middle of the year. He did not state how much cash Voyager needed for the year but said its current investors should be ready to provide “whatever they need.”

“So we’ve decided, before they run out of cash which is probably by the middle of the year, by June, before they hit the wall, we will provide the interim financing among ourselves,” Pangilinan had then said.

In a joint statement on Monday announcing their commitment, the five investors sought to steer focus towards Voyager’s “success in providing Filipinos with access to convenient, relevant, and inclusive digital financial services” through PayMaya.

“This is also a recognition of the significant role that the Philippine financial technology industry can play in providing meaningful digital solutions to many of the crucial and very-human challenges the community faces today,” the investors said.

The $120-million commitment is part of a larger fundraise by the firm, which said it is in talks with other strategic and financial investors.

Founded in 2013, Voyager Innovations offers mobile money and payments (under the PayMaya brand), mobile-based remittances (Smart Padala) and solutions for businesses to receive online and card payments anytime, anywhere (PayMaya Business).

Voyager competes with players such as Mynt, which in 2017 received an undisclosed investment from Ant Financial, the financial services arm of Tencent rival Alibaba. Interestingly, Mynt is backed by Globe Telecom, a rival to Voyager parent PLDT.

The funding boosts PayMaya’s ability to reach more Filipinos, especially as access to digital financial service becomes more important, said Voyager Innovations CEO and founder Orlando B. Vea.

“This investment will enable us to better support our financial inclusion thrust, while allowing us to expand to adjacent services,” added Voyager Innovations and PayMaya Philippines president Shailesh Baidwan.

Data from the country’s central bank BSP showed that only 34.5 per cent of Filipinos 15 years old and above have a formal bank account. The central bank earlier said they are relying heavily on financial technology to further reduce the number of unbanked Filipinos.

“The future of the financial system lies in going digital and using it to achieve financial inclusion. We are too fragmented geographically to reach out using traditional means. Digital technology provides such a chance,” BSP Governor Nestor Espenilla Jr. said in a report.

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.