Malaysian fintech startup Finology on Thursday emerged as the winner of the Seedstars World Competition 2020/21, earning a USD 500,000 equity investment. The firm competed against 5,000 businesses from various continents and prevailed among the five finalists to become the first Malaysian winner.
Finology, which is based in Kuala Lumpur, aims to improve access to financial products and services like marketplaces and APIs. It was co-founded by Robin Ang and Jared Lim, who have previous experience as entrepreneurs, as well as in banking and computing. For the competition, the company went through a preliminary screening and was first invited to pitch at a national competition against 20 other Malaysian teams before a panel of judges. It later joined the Asian semi-final and final rounds.
“When we first started ten months ago, I never would have imagined that we’d be global champions,” Lim told Vulcan Post. “It was only after we got past the other Asian finalists that we started thinking we had a good shot at winning.” Both Lim and Ang had to stay up during odd hours for classes and pitching sessions since the event took place in Switzerland.
Seedstars is a Swiss-based private group that claims to run the largest startup competition in the world, as well as an accelerator. Participants have access to a panel of mentors with different backgrounds and the chance to score a venture capital investment.
Finology is currently operating two marketplaces: Loanstreet—a direct-to-consumer service selling home and personal loans, as well as motorcycle and car insurance—and Loanplus, a B2B2C service used by property developers and real estate agents for mortgage pre-approvals. The firm also provides credit and insurance APIs for businesses that want to get bank loan pre-approvals for their customers or sell insurance. It has worked with big names such as iProperty, Mudah.my, Tropicana, UEM Sunrise, RHB, Hannover Re, and Zurich.
While Ang handled investor relations, Lim took on the role of representing Finology in the competition. “We’re hoping to raise a new round of funds after this win,” he said. “That will help us introduce more financial products and services to the market that have been designed around a seamless delivery experience.”
The team is now hoping that their victory will attract more attention and support for budding startups like theirs and bring more foreign direct investment to Malaysia.
This article was originally published by Vulcan Post.