The online pawnshop startup has also won the 2016 Hack Osaka pitch contest in Japan held recently
Philippines-based online lending platform PawnHero has secured an disclosed sum in pre-Series A round of funding from 500 Startups, IMJ Investment Partners and Kaikaku Fund, a SoftBank-affiliated fund.
Several other VCS and angel investors from the Philippines and Silicon Valley also participated in the round, according to a press statement.
The online pawnshop will use the funds for talent acquisition and growth.
PawnHero was the winner of the ‘Most Promising Startup in Asia 2015’ at the Echelon Asia summit held in Singapore last June.
Previously, PawnHero has received funding from Sulficio “Jun” Tagud, CEO of 2GO — the largest premier logistics provider in the Philippines.
“Even more Filipinos will know that they can now pawn online without leaving their homes, at half the interest of what other pawnshops charge,” says David Margendorff, Co-founder and Chairman of PawnHero.
PawnHero provides an easy way of overcoming short-term cash needs by giving customers the best deal in town—high appraisal, low interest rate—with no service charge or penalty costs for late payment or loan renewal. A loan seeker can take a photo and describe the item(s) — jewellery, precious metals, loose stones, luxury eyewear and watches, designer bags and shoes, mobile phones, electronic gadgets, musical instruments, cameras, computers, and equipment — he/she wants to pawn so that PawnHero’s expert team can review the request.
He/she then gets a free estimate in minutes, and he/she needs to accept to schedule a free pick-up. Once the item(s) are received and fully appraised, the firm will instantly deposit the cash to his/her PawnHero Card or chosen payment method. When he repays the loan, the company will ship back the item(s), again fully insured and for free.
“Most startup investors don’t go to pawnshops to get loans. But millions of people in Southeast Asia do every day. PawnHero will literally change their lives, and in the process, the region’s next big startup success story will emerge,” said Khailee Ng, Managing Partner of 500 Startups.
“The online pawnshop is exactly the kind of innovation I believe can help unbanked citizens,” said Yasu Seo, General Manager of IMJ Investment Partners. “And the Philippines is the ideal market to start the service, as pawning is the major financing method instead of banking for its people.”
“Reinventing this traditional industry for an online era, PawnHero offers greater transparency, fairness and convenience, while addressing the borrowing needs of a majority connected yet unbanked or underbanked population,” said Teddy Himler, Vic3e-President of the Kaikaku Fund.
In a separate announcement, PawnHero said that it has won the 2016 Hack Osaka pitch contest in Japan.
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