Fintech startup Nium raises equity round; new investors Visa, BRI Ventures

Fintech startup Nium raises equity round; new investors Visa, BRI Ventures

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4 -min read
Listen to this article

FINTECH startup Nium on Wednesday announced that it has raised a new round of equity funding, joined by new investors Visa and BRI Ventures, the corporate venture arm of Bank BRI of Indonesia.

This round saw participation from existing investors Vertex Ventures, Vertex Growth and GSR Ventures.

The startup declined to reveal the amount raised, but said that the additional capital will be used to broaden its reach in new and existing markets through product development, as well as acquisitions that compresses time to market.

 Prajit Nanu, chief executive and co-founder of Nium, said: “We are interested in tech infrastructure players with capabilities in areas such as issuance and local payment rails which complement our own, and which can help us ship faster in markets we are bullish on. We will focus on vertical expertise in markets like Europe, India, UK and the US.”

Nium will also use the funds to further build out its payment infrastructure offering that includes outreach to consumers, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), large enterprises as well as banks and financial institutions, it said.

The startup Nium now operates its Send, Spend and Receive business in over 90 countries, 65 in real-time, in 63 currencies. Mr Nanu told The Business Times that although the company is expecting a softening of its gross merchandise value (GMV) by 15 to 20 per cent over its second quarter this year, he expects transactions to pick up again in the third quarter. 

The startup, which recorded close to US$2 billion in transactions in its first quarter, aims to be profitable in the second half of next year. Nium is also shooting to hit US$100 million in revenue by 2023, which Mr Nanu thinks is a milestone that, when reached, would mark the right time for a public listing. 

Nium’s latest filings from December 2018 (which may not fully reflect its performance now as it does not take into account revenue and margins from Nium's change in focus to the more lucrative enterprise space in 2019) showed that the company booked a S$22.2 million loss. Revenue for its financial year ended Dec 31, 2018 stood at S$3.1 million. 

The startup, formerly known as InstaReM, started out in 2014 as a consumer-focused remittance business based in Singapore. It previously raised a total of US$59.5 million in funding, which includes a US$41 million Series C round in March 2019.

The company’s main business offerings are split into three categories: “Send”, which includes cross-border payments and sending funds to Visa debit cards; “spend”, which includes business-to-business (B2B) payments and issuance of employee expense cards; and “receive”, which includes invoice collection and payment collection via virtual accounts and cards.

The new funding announcement comes on the back of some large partnerships for Nium this year, including working with an Asian Neobank to help it expand overseas by providing international collections; it also includes winning the account of an European marketplace payment provider to process a billion euros annually, and clinching a bid to process crew payments via cards and collections for vessel-management work for a global maritime business.

Nicko Widjaja, chief executive of BRI Ventures said: "We have been working closely with Nium since their InstaReM days, when it was processing consumer remittance, and are excited to witness its growth as it expands their service offerings to include financial institutions and corporates. The potential of financial technology is limitless and we look forward to supporting Nium on its path of growth as it expands its presence into Indonesia and beyond.” 

Chris Clark, regional president for Visa in the Asia-Pacific, said: “Nium and Visa’s collaboration began in early 2019, when Nium joined the Visa Fintech Fast Track programme in the Asia-Pacific. We’ve worked together on new commerce experiences like instant remittances for consumers and businesses in South-east Asia... Working with fintechs like Nium is a key part of Visa’s strategy to enable payments for anyone, anywhere, on any network." 

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