Oriente, Skype's creator company, is one of Asia's largest fintechs
- Dec 04, 2018
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Skype founder Geoff Prentice has a new company in Southeast Asia. The East is a Fintech based in Hong Kong and has just received a contribution of $ 105 million (about $ 358 million).
In an interview with TechCrunch, Prentice says he created the company in 2017 along with Hubert Tai, creator of the unicorn company Dang Dang, and investor Lawrence Chu. The three met shortly after the sale of Skype to eBay on account of similar investments.
With this, they set up Oriente, a company focused on credit and products for the Asian financial market. By location alone, they have drawn attention: the financial market in the region is expected to triple in the next six years, with more than 650 million potential customers.
Potential size has one explanation: much of the population still does not have access to bank accounts. According to data from the Central Bank of the Philippines, the country where they intend to work, 77% of people have no contact with banks, nor current accounts or savings. Of these, 60% said they do not open an account for the simple lack of money.
Currently, the East operates, in addition to the Philippines, also in Indonesia. Still, there are plans for a second expansion to Vietnam, as yet undiscovered.
Prentice explains that the proposal came after he saw a Google survey that reported that the Southeast Asian population on the internet was larger than the US population. Still, other surveys showed a middle-class boom in that region, indicating there was room for local credit.
To reach these consumers, the company placed sellers in malls and offered free courses to teach users how to work with the financial system, shop digitally, and take advantage of cash back systems.
The company currently has 1,200 employees and seven offices throughout Asia. In Shanghai, for example, there is a building with more than 200 people, primarily engineers. The service is expected to reach millions of users in the three regions where it intends to operate, but the East does not open the current numbers.
In addition to the credit delivery and confidence building mechanisms in the region, fintech also has engineers focused on creating systems aimed at combating fraud in the region. The two themes, according to Prentice, are closely tied to the success of the business. In other words, the more you can fight fraud, the more they will gain market confidence.
Another problem in the region is the competitor Ant Financial. Fintech also offers credit to Southeast Asia and is affiliated with Alibaba, the continent's largest company and one of the world's leading e-commerce companies. In addition to Ant Financial, Grag, a company that has acquired Uber's operations in the region and has already offered a similar financial service, is also in the running. and Go-Jek, which is headed by investor companies. That is, it is a market still in high competition for fintechs.
Currently, the East operates with two apps. The first is a payment program called Cashalo, which offers coupons, returns and payment facilities with digital wallet. The second is Finmas, produced for negotiations and management of loans without bail and with promise of low interest. Together, the two apps have more than 600,000 downloads on Google Play.
Source: East, Google, BSP, TechCrunch