Venteny, a combined human resources and fintech platform, has raised US$2.3 million in series A funding.
The round was led by SBI Investment, the VC unit of Japanese financial services group SBI. Tokyo VC firm SV-FINTECH and an undisclosed independent firm from Singapore also joined the investment, along with fintech angels Mamoru Taniya and Makoto Takano.
The startup said in a statement that the funding will go towards further development of its platform, expansion into new markets in Southeast Asia, and “strengthening the group structure of Venteny for the foreseeable future.”
Established in April 2015, Venteny is headquartered in Singapore, but runs all operations out of the Philippines. The island nation is the pilot market for its platform, which provides an outsourced employee benefits scheme for local companies. Workers can get exclusive perks through the platform such as discounts at restaurants, gyms, and hotels that Venteny has partnered with.
There are a fair few startups offering similar tech-based perks programs for employers, which otherwise lack the time and resources to develop and run their own schemes. However, Venteny founder and CEO Junichiro Waide believes that it is the other part of his outfit’s offering – an online short-terms lending service targeting employees – that sets it apart from the competition.
Originally from Japan, Waide told Tech in Asia that he formulated the idea for a hybrid perks-lending solution after several years working as a manager in the Philippine IT industry.
“I was truly impressed with [local workers’] skills, with high motivation and flexibility,” he said. “However, I also noticed that despite the rapid growth of the economy in the Philippines, the working environment for employees was very outdated compared to where I worked previously, in the US, Japan, and Singapore. Therefore many companies here had issues with low engagement and high turnover rate of employees, and employees had issues with lack of cash and credit, and there was a big gap between the two of them.”
He explains that many company personnel in Southeast Asia face the same problem. Their weekly or monthly pay packet doesn’t necessarily give them access to immediate funds to cover things like emergency medical care, tuition fees, and general family assistance. Because of these issues, employees have a tendency to change jobs on a regular basis in the search for incrementally higher salaries. Venteny’s two-pronged approach is intended to address this retainment issue by providing loans for employees in conjunction with attractive benefits.
Venteny owns a subsidiary which is a licensed lender in the Philippines. Since it handles the process itself, the startup can assess a loan application and remit the money within a day of receiving the request.
Waide says that around 80,000 workers in the Philippines are currently part of Venteny operated schemes, and its largest client is a major call center operator with 20,000 employees. It also works with employers in banking, insurance, and IT sectors.
Recently, the startup partnered with the Philippine Contact Center Association, which represents businesses employing 800,000 people, as a solutions provider.
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