By Arjay L. Balinbin, Senior Reporter
VOYAGER Innovations, Inc. said on Tuesday it had raised an additional $210 million in its latest funding round, boosting its valuation to “unicorn plus status” at around $1.4 billion.
PLDT, Inc., the company’s main shareholder, told the stock exchange Voyager would use the fresh funds to launch its Maya Bank services and offer new products such as cryptocurrency, micro-investments and insurance.
Maya Bank’s services, such as savings and credit, would be offered through the PayMaya platform, it added.
The investment round was led by new investor SIG Venture Capital, the Asian arm of Susquehanna International Group, LLP; Hong Kong-based First Pacific Co., Ltd.; and Singapore-based global investor EDBI. PLDT is a unit of First Pacific.
Existing shareholders PLDT, KKR, China’s Tencent, International Finance Corp. (IFC) and two funds managed by the IFC Asset Management Co. also participated in the round.
“With this milestone, we are excited to leap forward and bring the best of PayMaya and Maya Bank to help unlock the digital economy for the underserved and unbanked Filipinos,” Voyager and PayMaya Chief Executive Officer and founder Orlando B. Vea said in a statement.
PayMaya , which recently introduced cryptocurrency through its e-wallet application, had more than 47 million users across its consumer platforms as of end-March.
Voyager secured a digital banking license for Maya Bank in September. Pilot testing started in March.
Shailesh Baidwan, Voyager and PayMaya president, said the company plans to introduce “more game-changing innovations” as it addresses pent-up demand for financial services in the country.
Regina Capital Development Corp. Equity Analyst Anna Corenne M. Agravio said in a phone message the fundraising round means that Voyager’s expansion plans are in “full swing.”
Voyager “will be able to more efficiently tap into the unbanked sector through Maya Bank,” she added.
Voyager directly competes with Globe Fintech Innovations, Inc. (Mynt), operator of mobile wallet company GCash. However, Mynt is not planning on operating a digital bank.
“Both Voyager and Mynt have very aggressive expansion plans; both are looking to tap several aspects of financial markets. Cryptocurrency seems to be the talk of the town nowadays, so Voyager’s planned venture into this scene will likely be beneficial,” Ms. Agravio said.
The critical factor is whether PayMaya “will be able to turn a profit soon, since GCash seems to be ahead of it in that aspect,” she added.
“The more platforms you have, the more you are ahead of the pack,” First Grade Finance, Inc. Managing Director Astro C. del Castillo said in a phone interview.
“As long as you are ahead of the pack, you will eventually generate revenues,” he added.
PLDT shares closed 1.53% lower at P1,800 apiece on Tuesday.
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