ThitsaWorks, a digital solutions provider for microfinance institutions (MFI) in Myanmar, has bagged an undisclosed amount of minority investment from early-stage venture capital firm BOD Tech Ventures.
The new funds will allow the company to further scale their operations as well as working with the country’s financial institutions to provide credit access to farmers who are in need of financing, according to the announcement.
Founded in 2016, the firm is currently supporting 54 microfinance institutions, digitalizing their backend office and helping to collect, manage, and analyze borrower data, according to ThitsaWorks’ CEO Nyi Nyein Aye.
“By using our platform, financial institutions can understand and analyze the history of each borrower,” said Nyi Nyein Aye. They can also check if a borrower has engaged multiple sides.
While the services may not seem especially high-tech, many consumers and small businesses still have difficulties accessing credit in Myanmar, where 8 in 10 citizens are unbanked. Nyi Nyein Aye added that the MFIs are not ready to share the borrower data, as most of the documentation process is paper-based.
Although Myanmar is setting up public credit bureaus since 2018, lack of credit or financial history for borrowers has continued to plague the sector.
Currently, there are approximately 189 MFIs operating in Myanmar, serving more than 5 million people with a total loan portfolio of around USD 500 million, according to government data.
While the microfinance institutions only serve around 5 million people out of Myanmar’s 55 million-strong population, the sector holds great potential to grow and is critical to bring the unbanked to the fold of financial inclusion.
“We will continue to expand our reach,” Nyi Nyein Aye told KrASIA. “Our end goal is to help the consumers to use financial services.”
ThitsaWorks also operates a financial inclusion chatbot, called Pite Pite, that educates the public on digital financial literacy, offers loan repayment schedules, and location of the microfinance lender, according to the company’s website.