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DealStreetAsia

Former Grab executive raises $2m for fintech startup

Spenmo looks to expand from Singapore into Indonesia before April

Mohandass Kalaichelvan was hit with the idea for Spenmo as an executive at Grab, where he began to learn of problems merchants face in financial accounting and applying for loans.   © Reuters

SINGAPORE -- Fintech platform Spenmo has raised $2 million in seed funding from Y Combinator, Rocket Internet, Iterative Capital and angel investors from XA Network, formerly known as Xoogler Angels.

The Singapore-based company was founded in 2019 by Mohandass Kalaichelvan, a former executive at Grab, who was responsible for the ride hailer's strategies across transport, payments and financial services.

The fresh funds will be used for expansion and to develop Spenmo's product. Spenmo is eyeing an expansion into Indonesia sometime in the fourth quarter of 2020 or first quarter of 2021, depending on the region's pandemic situation.

At Grab, Kalaichelvan learned about problems merchants faced in financial accounting and applying for loans.

"We found that many didn't have the right software to track how much money they were spending," Kalaichelvan said. "This problem becomes more challenging once you go beyond Singapore, where a lot of this spending data is not digitized. ... Conversely, we found that that lack of visibility on data actually prevented them from getting loans that they really needed."

This led Kalaichelvan to start Spenmo as a platform to help businesses manage spending by tracking company cards, automate invoice payments and digital ledgers across transactions. The data collected over time on Spenmo can then be used to inform of a company's creditworthiness, which will help companies get better loan rates.

In the last five months since launch, Spenmo has worked with more than 140 companies and managed over $1 million of company transactions. It also claims to have helped its clients save more than 10,000 hours of finance-processing time and gain access to over $150,000 of loans at 25% below market rates.

Spenmo is already monetizing and aims to draw $3 million in revenue per month by the end of 2020. It also targets bringing its client base to 500 companies in Singapore by then.

Chief Product Officer Andika Prasetya -- who had previously led product for UangTeman, an online microlender that provides instant loans to Indonesians -- will play a key role as Spenmo enters Indonesia. The startup sees itself adding another 10 people across commercial, sales and product positions in Jakarta. It currently has a team of about 15 people in Singapore and Bangalore.

Spenmo will roll out new lending management features in the coming months to help lenders verify clients and applications, and speed up the turnaround for these processes. The company has several strategic partners on its roster, including Stripe and Amazon Web Services.

For the original story from DealStreetAsia, click here.

DealStreetAsia is a financial news site based in Singapore that focuses on private equity, venture capital and corporate investment activity in Asia, especially Southeast Asia, India and Greater China. Nikkei owns a majority stake in the company.

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