Has Y Combinator accepted edtech startups

Singapore-based open finance startup Finantier is supported by Y Combinator

“Under-bank” does not mean that someone does not have access to financial services. Instead, it often means they don't have traditional bank accounts or credit cards. In markets like Indonesia, many are still using digital wallets or e-commerce platforms to create alternative sources of user data that they can use to secure working capital and other financial instruments. Finantier, a Singapore-based open finance startup, wants to optimize this data with their consent with a single API that allows financial services to access user data. It also includes machine learning-based analytics to enable credit scores and KYC reviews.

Currently in beta mode with more than 20 customers, Finantier is busy preparing for its official launch. It announced today that it has been included in Y Combinator's Winter 2021 start-up batch. The startup recently raised an undisclosed amount of pre-seed funding, led by East Ventures and involving AC Ventures, Genesia Ventures, Two Culture Capital, and other investors.

Finantier was founded earlier this year by Diego Rojas, Keng Low and Edwin Kusuma, all of whom have experience building products for fintech companies with a mission to enable open finance in emerging markets.

Open Finance grew out of Open Banking, the same framework on which Plaid and Tink are built. To give people more control over their financial information, rather than keeping it secret within banks and other institutions, users can allow apps or websites to securely access information from their online accounts, including bank accounts, credit cards, and digital wallets. Open Banking primarily relates to payment accounts, while Open Finance, Finantier's specialty, covers a wider range of services including business loans, mortgages, and insurance insurance.

While Finantier is initially focused on Singapore and Indonesia, the company plans to expand into other countries and become a global fintech company like Plaid. It already has its sights set on Vietnam and the Philippines.

Before launching Finantier, Rojas worked on products for peer-to-peer lending platforms such as Lending Club and Dianrong and was chief technology officer for several fintech startups in Southeast Asia. He realized that many companies were struggling to integrate with other platforms and get data from banks or buy data from different providers.

“People are discussing open banking, embedded finance, and so on,” Rojas, Finantier's chief executive officer, told TechCrunch. “But these are the building blocks for something bigger, namely Open Finance. In a region like Southeast Asia in particular, where around 60% to 70% of adults have no or no bank account, we want to help consumers and businesses make the most of the data they have on multiple platforms. It definitely doesn't have to be a bank account, it can be a digital wallet, an e-commerce platform, or some other service provider. "

For consumers, this means that someone who does not have a credit card can still determine their creditworthiness: for example, by exchanging data from completed transactions on e-commerce platforms. Gig Economy employees can access more financial services and deals by providing data about their daily trips or other types of work through various apps.

Building the financial infrastructure of Southeast Asia

Other open banking startups with a focus on Southeast Asia are Brankas and Brick. According to Rojas, Finantier differs by specializing in open finance and creating infrastructure for financial institutions to build more services to end users.

The benefit of Open Finance for financial institutions is that they can develop products for more consumers and find more opportunities for revenue-sharing models. In Southeast Asia, it also means reaching more people who are underbanked or otherwise inaccessible to financial services.

While Finantier participates in Y Combinator's accelerator program, it will also participate in the Indonesian Financial Services Authority's regulatory sandbox. Once completed, the program will be able to work with more fintech companies in Indonesia, including larger institutions.

According to Willson Cuaca, co-founder and managing partner of East Ventures, there are 139 million adults in Indonesia who are under- or unbanked.

The Indonesia-focused investment firm conducts an annual survey called the East Ventures Digital Competitiveness Index and found that one of the biggest gaps was when it came to financial exclusion. There are significant gaps between the number of financial services available on densely populated islands like Java, where Jakarta is located, and other islands in the archipelago.

To encourage financial inclusion and mitigate the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the government has set a goal of digitizing 10 million micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) by the end of the year. There are currently around eight million Indonesian MSMEs selling online, which is only 13% of the MSMEs in the country.

"Equal access to financial services will have multiplier effects for the Indonesian economy," Cuaca told TechCrunch about East Ventures' decision to support Finantier. “Hundreds of companies are currently working with their own unique solutions to bring financial services to more people. We believe Finantier will help them bring more products and services to this underserved segment of the population. "