Digital B2B lender INFT bags S$5m funding in DeClout-led round

February 24, 2022
Fiona Lam

FINTECH company IN Financial Technologies has received S$5 million in a round led by DeClout Ventures, the corporate venture capital arm of the DeClout group.

IN Financial's wholly-owned subsidiary Cash-IN-Asia operates a business-to-business (B2B) financing platform for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in the Asia-Pacific.

Such MSMEs usually have little access to business financing, said Cash-IN-Asia in a joint statement with DeClout Ventures on Wednesday.

The platform, powered by artificial intelligence (AI) and data analytics, is fully digital and allows clients to complete the onboarding and application process in three minutes, according to the startup. MSMEs can thus have their business cash line approved within three hours, Cash-IN-Asia added.

Based in Singapore, the startup is working on expanding its operations to Malaysia and the rest of South-east Asia within the next year.

The Business Times reported this month that smaller enterprises with a lack of track record have traditionally been ignored by big banks due to the perceived risk. Alternative lenders are plugging this gap, although the coronavirus pandemic has caused more MSMEs to fall between the cracks and struggle to keep the lights on.

Cash-IN-Asia on Wednesday said it provides small businesses with a standby cash line that can be drawn down at any time. According to the startup, it can also onboard clients with only three months of operating history, and constantly reviews each client's credit profile to build its credit history and records.

Meanwhile, DeClout - which used to be listed on Singapore's Catalist board until it was privatised last April by Tokyo-listed Kyowa Exeo Global - invests in, incubates and scales "next-generation" information and communication technology companies.

DeClout's venture arm focuses on disruptive startups in the digital and data spheres, such as in data analytics, smart logistics, Internet of Things, fintech and cybersecurity.

Eldwin Wong, IN Financial's chief executive officer, said the latest investment is "timely and strategic" as DeClout Ventures has the knowledge and expertise in deep tech as well as the operational inroads and network within South-east Asia. Cash-IN-Asia plans to expand into that region in the months ahead.

The startup said that it is a responsible lender, as it ensures applicants are able to service the loans on a sustainable basis with fair and transparent terms and conditions.

The alternative financing company has also integrated with Singapore's national identity database via MyInfo and CorpPass, as it aims to bring greater data security and convenience to users.

Head of DeClout Ventures, Lim Swee Yong, noted that the strategic investment is "synergistic with our overall fintech strategy to invest in digital lending platforms which aim to accelerate financial inclusion in the region".

Other fintech firms the DeClout group has invested in over the past year include digitised securities platform iSTOX and crowdlending platform Fundtier.