YouTrip, a Singapore-based multi-currency travel wallet, has raised $25.5 million in a pre-Series A funding round from Insignia Ventures Partners and other Asian family offices.
Founded in 2017, YouTrip is a multi-currency e-wallet designed for frequent Asian travellers who are looking for a cost-efficient way to spend while overseas. Bank-issued credit and debit cards typically charge an overseas transaction fee as high as 3.5 per cent. Overseas purchases with credit cards also usually include a currency conversion markup which can go as high as 5 per cent or more.
Youtrip promises to scrap all of those – offering users 0 per cent on transaction fees and competitive exchange rates. It stores and allows the exchange of 10 selected currencies in its wallet and works with a linked pre-paid Mastercard issued by EZ-Link. Youtrip’s card has a merchant network base of over 30 million globally.
According to Youtrip, the response in Singapore has been strong, with over 200,000 app downloads in the market alone. The company competes with traditional banks which offer multi-currency accounts, like OCBC and DBS in Singapore as well.
In a media interaction with DEALSTREETASIA, Caecilia Chu, co-founder and CEO of YouTrip shared that the round was oversubscribed. The company mainly targeted family offices because it wanted the patient capital necessary to fund its regional growth plans.
“Fintech is a high barrier-to-entry business… Fintech in Southeast Asia is also very fragmented. Every market has its own regulatory system, its own set of partners, so it truly is quite a bit of work required for expansion. We wanted to have the freedom from a financial standpoint to be able to grow,” explained Chu.
She did not share when it plans to close the round or what YouTrip’s fundraising target was, but said that the company is in a “financially healthy position”.
YouTrip generates revenue by taking a cut from its merchant partners for every transaction made by its users. It says it began generating revenue from its first day of operations.
Moving forward, Youtrip aims to expand to 1-2 new Southeast Asian markets within the next 12 months. The new funds will also be invested heavily in technology innovation to further develop its technical payment infrastructure and roll out new product features. The company also plans to more than double its headcount to 150 from the current 70 employees in Singapore and Hong Kong.
Caecilia Chu, co-founder and CEO of YouTrip said: “As the regional travel industry continues to post robust growth, YouTrip recognises the pain points of travellers and equally, the immense opportunity to better serve their financial needs. We are dedicated to creating the best mobile financial services for travellers by simplifying overseas spending and creating a fuss-free travel experience.”
Southeast Asia represents one of the largest and fastest growing outbound traveller markets in the world. The region is expected to generate $80 billion in outbound travel expenditure by 2020, up from $67 billion in 2018. Singapore is the biggest contributor to the region, as one of the most frequent travellers and biggest travel spenders globally.