Exclusive: PH-based Ayannah’s next funding round upsized to $5m

By: Tomas S. Noda III  // February 20, 2017

Financial technology startup Ayannah is looking forward to secure at least $5 million in its next funding round likely to be completed by April 2017.

“We are in the middle of raising our next round. It was upsized to $5 million because of a surge in investor interest. We aim to close by April 2017,” said Ayannah founder and CEO Mikko Perez, in an exlusive interview with DEALSTREETASIA.

The Philippine-based fintech firm provides digital commerce and payment services to migrants, especially the unbanked.

Perez even expressed confidence to score a major boom in Ayannah’s business performance within the year.

“I do think 2017 is the breakout year for Ayannah,” he said. “We have prepared the foundation over the past three years and we are poised for period of sustained growth.”

Ayannah ended year 2015 raising $1 million in its Series A round led by 500 Startups and Life.SREDA, and other fintech tech investors.

The mature-stage startup in 2016 achieved tie-ups with remittance firms and big retailers and Perez shared there’s a lot more in the pipeline in terms of scaling up Ayannah’s fintech business locally and overseas.

Also during the DSA interaction, Perez talked about the company’s expansion plans, target markets, new partners, latest challenges and current status of the local fintech space. Edited excerpts:

How has it been for Ayannah lately?

Ayannah had a great 2016. Remittance business took off in 2H 2016. Revenue volume grew 202x from July 2014 to December 2016 and we expect growth to continue accelerating over the next few quarters as we add more partners and agents.

It was reported in 2015 that your company thought about listing its main service the Sendah network, can you update us on this?

We aim to be ready for a public listing by late 2018. Realistically, 2019 seems more doable. No definite investment offering. No definite date yet. 

What is your company’s focus right now?

We are focused on growing our remittance business, and launching our microinsurance, and credit scoring business. 

What can you say about the fintech space in the Philippines?

It is really starting to heat up. Lots of payment companies, lots of wallet companies, lots of lending companies. I think the industry has really grown from even just two years ago. Which is a good thing. 

Do you have new partners or planning to build new ones?

In 2016, Tambunting, LBC, RD Group joined the Sendah (Remit and Direct) network. In 2017, we expect several more international and domestic remittance companies to partner with us and join the Sendah network.

Are you looking for any acquisition?

Right now, we are not actively in acquisition mode but if the opportunity presents itself, we may just pull the trigger.

What are your present-day challenges and how do you guys address these challenges?

Our challenge is hiring more developers and channel sales people to ramp up product development and revenues. We are integrating with several partners all at the same time and we need to hire more engineers just to work through the pipeline. We address this HR shortage by continuing to hire smart, motivated people and by partnering with other software houses for burst capacity.

How do you see the status of digital currency in the Philippines? If it is improving or not, what are the reasons? Is it really needed or not?

From what I see in our industry and talking to industry players, digital currency is still not widely used – I believe over 96 per cent of transactions are in cash and over 80 per cent of people remain unbanked, uncarded. So we have a long way to go before we are purely digital, cashless.

However, I do think there are so many advantages of going digital that the industry should work with government to encourage the adoption of digital currencies. I can see that more and more fintech companies are launching digital wallets and using digital currencies. I see this as a good sign and I do hope we become a digital economy sooner than later.

As you know, India took the drastic step of demonetizing large paper bills in an effort to reduce tax evasion, money laundering, etc. The unintended but positive outcome of this is that usage of digital wallets and digital currencies have surged significantly. 

Read more at: https://www.dealstreetasia.com/stories/exclusive-ph-based-ayannahs-next-funding-round-upsized-to-5m-65347/