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Skype co-founder's Oriente secures US$20 million in debt funding facility

Skype co-founder's Oriente secures US$20 million in debt funding facility

3 -min read
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3 -min read
Listen to this article

ONLINE lending startup Oriente announced late on Wednesday that it has secured a US$20 million debt funding facility from multi-asset investment firm Silverhorn Group.

The facility, which can increase to US$50 million, will be used to grow and diversify the funding mix of the Hong Kong-based startup’s loan book, the startup said in a press release.

Oriente said the facility will also help extend the reach of its digital-credit and Pay Later solutions to consumers and micro-enterprises in the Philippines through its mobile lending app Cashalo.

The company in November 2018 had raised over US$105 million in equity from its initial funding round, with investments from its founders and a group of family offices including members of the Berjaya Group, JG Summit Holdings and Sinar Mas.

Launched in 2018, Cashalo has been downloaded over 6.5 million times, and has a user base of over 2.5 million consumers. The platform - boasting a 20 per cent month-on-month growth rate - has also helped build financial identities for over 1.5 million previously “credit-invisible” Filipinos, said Oriente.

Monthly interest rate for its "Cashaloans" stand at 7.5 per cent, with a repayment period ranging from 15 days to six months.

To apply for a loan, Cashalo users will need only show that they are above 18 years of age and are either employed or have a steady income.

The startup has another app-based venture in Indonesia, a similar online lending platform Finmas. According to Oriente, smartphone users in both markets can download these apps, apply for a loan, and receive a decision and financing within minutes.

“To date, Oriente is one of the very few non-bank lenders that can leverage on alternative data points and an algorithmic risk engine to underwrite credit to the under-financed populations in the region,” said Mike Imam, managing partner at Hong Kong-based Silverhorn Group.

“This helps originate and provide a portfolio construction building brick which is higher yielding, predictable and uncorrelated to traditional asset classes,” he added.

Geoffrey Prentice, a co-founder of Oriente, said: “We are excited to have won the confidence of Silverhorn Group. As we enter the next stage of growth on our mission to helping ignite economic opportunity for tens of millions of consumers and micro-enterprises, the support we receive from our debt partners is critical.”

Oriente was founded in 2017 by Mr Prentice, a former Skype co-founder and chief strategy officer; former founding chief technology offer and chief operations offer at LU.com, Hubert Tai - who is now chief executive of Oriente; and founder of BlackPine Private Equity, Lawrence Chu.

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