08.09.2021 - Fintech, Startups

Jeff raises $1.5M seed extension to support the rapid growth

Jeff App, the Latvian fintech startup providing a data-enabled loan brokerage platform for unbanked and underbanked customers in Asia, has closed a $1.5 million seed extension round led by J12 Ventures, bringing the total amount raised by Jeff App to $2.5M.

Joining the round were iSeed Ventures and Toy Ventures, alongside existing investors EstBAN, Startup Wise Guys and other angels. The extra financing will allow the company to hire more data science resources and sales and marketing staff to package and monetise new products and tools in the B2B market. These include Jeff Conversion Score, Jeff Credit Score, Jeff Data API, and more.

Despite having some of the strongest economies in the ASEAN region, Vietnam, Indonesia and the Philippines are among the top 10 most unbanked countries in the world. About a billion people in Asia have limited or no access to financial services due to the lack of traditional financial data, such as credit scores. To tackle the issue, Jeff consolidates demand and makes use of alternative data integrated from multiple sources, such as behavioural patterns, smartphone metadata, and the customers’ digital footprint – an approach that has already been proven to boost financial inclusion in Vietnam.

“The data shows that our approach is not only helping people in terms of faster and easier financial comparison, but they are also able to achieve more approvals in a smarter way. Both unit economics and growth have seen unexpected dynamics since the beginning of 2021. We have grown over 9 times between the end of January and August. This extra capital injection will help us to reach even more customers and set up for a strong Series A in 2022,” said Jeff App co-founder and CEO Toms Niparts.

The number of products compared via Jeff has more than tripled, passing 4 million in the last 6 months and passing 1 million monthly products for the first time in July 2021.

“A billion people in South East Asia don’t have access to credit because of a lack of a reliable credit scoring system. This is a major contributor to income and opportunity inequality. The team at Jeff is building on all the financial data we generate in our day to day activities to connect borrowers and lenders in a safe and information-rich environment,” said Ramnik Arora, co-founder of Toy Ventures.

Once operations in Indonesia and the Philippines are secured, the startup plans to offer its services in other underbanked countries in the ASEAN region, while not ruling out expansion to other parts of the world in the longer term.

In March, Jeff App closed a $1 million financing round led by the Estonian Business Angels Network (EstBAN) syndicate. Joining the round were Startup Wise Guys, Taavi Tamkivi and a number of Nordic investors, as well as several angels from the Estonian mobility unicorn Bolt.

“Ultimately, we want to develop Jeff into a financial super app offering a range of products besides loans, such as insurance, mass-adopted digital credit score, and even go beyond finance by adding a range of utility functions,” said Niparts.

After achieving 60X growth within the first 12 months, Jeff App will use the raised funds to launch and scale new products that range from a free credit score and insurance offers to digital discount coupons and mobile wallet cashback. It will also help to expand across the region, starting with Indonesia and the Philippines in 2021. The startup also has plans to enter other major economies in South and Southeast Asia.

“One thing we learnt about emerging Asian markets is that there is an incredible opportunity on the B2B side, as the API infrastructure is not as developed as we had anticipated. We are actively developing our lender toolkit, which includes a bank portal and a lender API. The idea is to offer solutions that improve the borrower-lender transaction while also requiring little to no integration effort for banks,” stated Niparts.

Jeff App is a data-enabled loan brokerage platform for the unbanked and underbanked in South and Southeast Asia. Jeff uses alternative data such as smartphone metadata and behavioural patterns, as well as a chatbot to support its mission of promoting financial inclusion. Founded at the end of 2019 in Riga, Latvia, Jeff App started operations in 2020 in its first market of Vietnam, where it has already served more than 300 thousand customers. The startup has raised $3 million to date and is backed by venture capital firms J12 Ventures, iSeed, Toy Ventures, the Estonian Business Angels Network and Startup Wise Guys.

Source: labsoflatvia.com

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