WeLab, a financial tech startup which operates online lending systems in Hong Kong and China, has increased $220 million in combined equity and debt financing. Attracts its total funding so far to $425 million. Investors include the Alibaba Hong Kong Entrepreneurs Fund, the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation (IFC) and Credit Suisse, which also acted as the round’s placement broker.
The company failed to disclose its own viability. Founder and chief executive officer Simon Loong informed TechCrunch that it is still too early to share specifics about any plans for a first offering, but stated “there are lots of similarities between the current fintech firms who’ve gone public and us–one of that is that these companies and ourselves began around 2012-2013. We maintain a close watch on the IPOs. ”
The majority of rsquo & WeLab;s borrowers are individuals and companies who don’t have credit to take loans from traditional banks out at a very low rate of interest and typically rely on microloan or family programs and friends rather than WeLab&rsquo platform, which permits users to submit loan programs positions itself. WeLab can respond to software by checking creditworthiness with information accumulated such as media profiles and bill payment documents, using its proprietary technologies, and it also licenses to banks and telecoms immediately.
WeLab was founded in 2013 and now claims 25 million users and says it’s processed a total of $28 billion in loans. Loong said that investors from this round enables WeLab to partner with greater banks to develop financial services and products. It will expand into Southeast Asia and works with over 40 banks.
“We see Southeast Asia as an area with enormous growth potential for WeLab due to its high proportion of unbanked population (73% from 600 million) making it impossible to borrow and its high mobile penetration rate (133%),” stated Loong.
The organization’s new financing will also be utilized to build up its intelligence and automation capabilities, which WeLab uses enhance customer experience, lower its costs and to discover fraud. By way of instance, artificial intelligence forces its WeBot, which Loong says handles 70% of rsquo & WeLab;s customer support enquiries.
Alibaba Group launched the Alibaba Hong Kong Entrepreneurs Fund to find investments which could also function as strategic partners. Alibaba&rsquo interest in WeLab isn’t surprising because of its focus on using technology to disrupt the banking industry in China via its financial services arm, Ant Financial, and internet payment method Alipay.
In a declaration, the fund’s executive director, Cindy Chow, stated “with groundbreaking technologies and business models in creating innovation and entrepreneurship from Hong Kong With a focus, we invest in promising Hong Kong companies. We were drawn to WeLab because of its business design. As one of the fastest growing fintech firms in Hong Kong and the Mainland, we encourage their growth and anticipate working with the team. ”
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