FINANCIAL services platform GoBear on Wednesday said it has raised US$17 million from Dutch venture capital firm Walvis Participaties, as well as Aegon NV, a provider of life insurance, pensions and asset management.
This marks the fintech startup's fifth fundraise to date, bringing the total amount it has raised thus far to US$97 million.
The fresh injection of funds would accelerate the firm's transformation into a "full-fledged financial services platform", the company said.
A significant portion of the firm's business transformation was completed last year and with this funding, GoBear will be able to continue its expansion of the platform across three growth pillars, namely, an online financial supermarket, a digital insurance brokerage, and digital lending, all of which are built on foundations of alternative data, it said.
Adrian Chng, chief executive officer of GoBear, said: "To truly improve financial health in Asia we must address the approximately 300 million people in our markets that remain underserved by existing banking and insurance services. GoBear's transformation is a response to this by tackling important local barriers to financial literacy and inclusion."
According to GoBear, its alternative data gives it insights to assess and price risk, work with partners to identify market gaps, and co-create financial products.
Mr Chng told The Business Times on Wednesday that the firm's alternative data goes beyond traditional datasets and includes sources such as consumer behaviour patterns or search data.
"GoBear operates in markets with consumers who may not have credit cards or access to traditional credit building tools. These customers can't be assessed or price risked for financial products in the same way as someone who has a traditional credit score," Mr Chng said.
"GoBear aggregates and analyses such data to judge lending risk for these consumers. For example, if a loan application is filled out in less than a minute, it is more likely to be fraudulent, and applications made between 8.30pm and midnight are less risky than ones made between 2am to 5am," he added.
The company said its business model has been "resilient" amid the Covid-19 pandemic and that its financial services platform has been gross margin positive since the end of last year, with growth from its insurance and lending businesses.
Over the last three months, GoBear's digital insurance brokerage segment saw a 52 per cent increase in average order value, it said.
Earlier this month, the company also announced that it had acquired Singapore-based digital lender AsiaKredit for an undisclosed sum.
First launched in 2015 as a metasearch engine, GoBear currently operates in seven markets comprising Singapore, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam.