Funding Societies co-founders, Kelvin Teoh (left) and Wong Kah Meng

Funding Societies, Southeast Asia’s largest SME digital financing platform, has raised US$144 million (RM605 million) in an oversubscribed Series C+ equity round led by Japanese venture capital fund SoftBank Vision Fund 2, with new investors Vietnamese tech giant VNG Corporation, Rapyd Ventures, Asia-based global investor EDBI, Indies Capital, K3 Ventures, and Ascend Vietnam Ventures, coming onboard.

The company also received US$150 million (RM630 million) in debt lines from institutional lenders across Europe, the United States, and Asia, some of which have been drawn down since 2021. This comes on the back of its US$45 million (RM189 million) Series C raised between 2020 and 2021.

The funds solidify Funding Societies’ position as a market leader in digital financing, and propel its expense management, and business-to-business (B2B) payments services for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) across Southeast Asia. Its latest fundraise also provides US$16 million (RM67 million) to former and existing employees via the company’s stock option plan, in the form of share buyback.

Funding Societies was founded in 2015 by Kelvin Teo and Reynold Wijaya to empower MSMEs in Southeast Asia. The FinTech platform addresses MSMEs’ key pain points for growth, starting with the region’s US$300 billion (RM1.26 trillion) financing gap.

Although small enterprises make up almost 99% of total enterprises in Southeast Asia, they also face many hurdles in obtaining business financing from traditional financial institutions due to a lack of a credit track record or collateral to pledge. Funding Societies offers financing up to RM2 million, which can be disbursed in as fast as 24 hours, answering in a timely manner to MSMEs who face the pertinent challenge of accessing business funds.

Co-founder and group CEO, Kelvin Teo, said, “We’re honoured by the faith of our new and existing shareholders. We started Funding Societies | Modalku to empower SMEs by solving their biggest problem, access to financing, especially unsecured financing. A common misconception is that we compete with banks. The reality is we ‘compete’ with savings, friends and families, and personal credit cards.

“There is a huge unsecured financing gap because it takes patience and focus, or you risk losing a lot of money. Having proven our AI-led credit capabilities in an unprecedented financial crisis, we look to serve SMEs even better with neobanking and deeper regional presence in Southeast Asia.”

Meanwhile, Wong Kah Meng, co-founder and CEO of Funding Societies Malaysia, said, “We’re grateful for the trust of our shareholders. Having emerged stronger through the pandemic, we are expanding our suite of digital financial services offerings to elevate the financial well-being of unserved and underserved MSMEs in Malaysia.”

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