Vietnam’s fintech industry gained pace in 2019. Last year, Vietnam ranked second in ASEAN in terms of fintech funding (36%), second only to Singapore (56%). The sharp increase in funding was attributed to two large deals going to payments companies VNPay (US$300 million) and MoMo (US$500 million). The two deals were the top largest and third largest funding rounds of the region.
Today, Vietnam is now home to more than 130 fintech startups covering a broad range of services that include digital payments, alternative finance, wealth management and blockchain. But with the government working on new developments, including a regulatory sandbox, and new regulatory guidelines, notably in the field of P2P lending, among other initiatives, 2020 and the years ahead promise to be exciting for the Vietnamese fintech sector.
In the meantime, to keep up with the rapidly evolving landscape, we look today at four Vietnamese fintech startups that made significant strides in 2019 and which you should be keeping a close eye on this year.
eMonkey is a multi-functional e-wallet developed by Hanoi-based M-Pay that aims to provide users with a smart non-cash payment method that’s easy and safe to use anywhere, anytime on their mobile phone.
Through the eMonkey app, users can check their account balance, transaction history, and can make payments to various services. They can also send money to other eMonkey users free of charge, and can gain discounts when buying digital goods through the platform.
In December 2019, Ant Financial acquired a substantial stake in eMonkey, paving its entry into the Vietnamese fintech market, according to a Reuters report. eMonkey received its license to provide intermediary payments services from the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) in 2016. In November 2019, Lazada Vietnam integrated eMonkey into its platform.
Founded in early 2019, Kilimo Finance is Vietnam’s first agricultural fintech startup. The startup’s mission is to become the preferred global platform to support financial institutions with digital agri-finance solutions for farmers and agribusinesses.
Kilimo Finance has developed a platform that helps farmers gain access to simple and quick bank loans to buy fertilizer and fertilizer. On the business-to-business (B2B) front, Kilimo Finance has developed high potential agri-loan products on a digital platform in combination with the Kilimo App. Kilimo Finance claims that banks that choose to use its agri-finance solutions can enter the agricultural sector with loan products within 3/4 months.
Kilimo was one of the winners of the 2019 Fintech Challenge Vietnam, and was recognized as the best early stage fintech startup. The startup was founded by Arnold Tijdens, a banking and finance veteran.
Interloan is a peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platform for salaried professionals in Vietnam. The platform connects investors and borrowers (salaried professionals) who can avail an unsecured loan of up to VND 70 million (US$3,000) for a 6-month period. All transactions are done through Interloan’s partner bank’s system, and the startup claims that users’ information is verified by a system to reduce risks.
As of December 2019, Interloan had partnered with three commercial banks and 10 businesses.
The startup secured US$500,000 in investment from Phoenix Holdings last year, which it said it would use to improve its technology infrastructure, partner with new banks, and ramp up its business development activities.
Founded in 2018, Utop is a blockchain startup that has developed a decentralized gift exchange platform. Built on FPT Corporation’s enterprise blockchain platform akaChain, Utop allows users to accumulate and redeem loyalty points at retailers part of its network, which include brands and companies such as CGV, Phuc Long, and Gogi House. The platform helps improve discount and reward programs and, at the same time, enhances customer experiences.
In April 2019, Utop secured a US$3 million investment from FPT, a Vietnamese tech firm, and SBI Holdings, a Japanese financial services company.
You can check the Vietnam Fintech Report 2019 here.