Singapore-based startup Aspire has raised $32.5 million in a Series A funding round, led by Mass-Mutual Ventures Southeast Asia, a $50 million Southeast Asia fund of the US-based MassMutual Ventures (MMV).
The startup, backed by Y Combinator, serves small businesses with inclusive financial services products. Y Combinator is a seed accelerator in the US that that invests in select startups twice a year.
The current round of funding also saw the participation of Silicon Valley investor Arc Labs and the startup’s existing investors Y Combinator, Hummingbird and Picus Capital.
The corpus raised will be used by Aspire to boost its financial product offering and strengthen its local presence, it said in the statement.
Founded in January 2018 by former Lazada executives, Aspire currently operates across markets such as Thailand, Indonesia, Singapore, Vietnam. It is building a scalable marketplace of banking infrastructure that leverages third party financial service providers to create a digital banking experience for its SME customers.
Its flagship product AspireAccount targets digital merchants and startups across the region. It is free and comes with an instant credit limit for daily business expenses and tools to help SMEs manage their cash flow effectively.
The company claims that it has seen a 30 per cent month-on-month growth since its inception and expects to open more than 100,000 business accounts by next year.
“We are very excited to be working with Andrea and his team to help solve multiple financial pain points for SMEs in the region,” said Ryan Collins, Managing Director at MassMutual Ventures SEA. “We are impressed with the quality of the product, the company’s technology infrastructure and its vast network of institutional partners,” he added.
MMV is a venture capital fund investing in seed to growth stage companies in North America, Europe, Israel and Southeast Asia. Its key areas of investment include fintech, insurtech, cybersecurity, data analytics, digital health and enterprise software.
The firm, which is the corporate venture arm of Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company, is currently managing $250 million across two funds – Boston-based MMV and MMV Southeast Asia (MMV SEA).
Last November, MMV announced its debut Southeast Asia fund with a target corpus of $50 million, along with the opening of its first regional office in Singapore.
The proposed Southeast Asia fund will focus on Series A and B investments in digital health, fintech, insurtech and enterprise software.