Voyager Innovations raises $210 million to expand financial services ecosystem of mobile wallet, digital bank units

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FILIPINO tech firm Voyager Innovations has raised a new capitalization of $210 million, propelling its valuation to unicorn-plus status at nearly $1.4 billion.

Leading the round was SIG Venture Capital, the Asian arm of Susquehanna International Group. Other new investors included Singapore-based EDBI and investment holding company First Pacific Company Ltd. Also participating in the round were Voyager’s existing shareholders PLDT Inc., KKR, Tencent, International Finance Corp., IFC Emerging Asia Fund, and IFC Financial Institutions Growth Fund.

The company will use the fresh investment to launch Maya Bank services, such as savings and credit, which will be integrated and offered seamlessly across PayMaya’s platforms for consumers and businesses, including micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs). It will also continue to expand PayMaya’s offerings with new products like cryptocurrency, micro-investments, insurance and more as the all-in-one money app in the country.

“Our strong record of execution and innovation is a testament to our world-class team’s hard work and talent. 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 CEO and founder Orlando B. Vea said.

The Philippines is the fastest-growing market in Southeast Asia, with digital adoption of services reaching tipping points during the pandemic due to the demands of a young, digital-savvy population. In fact, the 2021 e-Conomy Southeast Asia Report by Google, Temasek, and Bain & Company showed that the country’s internet economy grew 94 percent from 2020 to 2021 and is expected to reach $40 billion by 2025, powered by flourishing e-commerce and strong adoption of e-wallet payments.

Despite this accelerated trajectory, the Philippines remain a vastly underserved market with solid growth opportunities. About 47 percent of Filipino adults do not have savings. One in two of those with savings save via informal means, while one in three have loans, of which only 18 percent are availing from banks.

The huge digital financial services opportunity extends to MSMEs, which account for 99.5 percent of the total establishments and employ 62.8 percent of the whole labor force in the country. Access to credit and financial services remains a problem for them, with only 24 percent availing loans or having lines of credit from formal financial institutions.

PayMaya and Maya Bank seek to address the challenge of accelerating adoption in a country with limited merchant acceptance and banking presence by providing end-to-end services from an integrated ecosystem.

As of the end of March, PayMaya has over 47 million registered users across its consumer platforms—more than two-thirds of the national adult population. It recently introduced cryptocurrency through its e-wallet app. Also, it’s enabling over 630,000 online and face-to-face touchpoints, including 63,000 Smart Padala agents, to accept digital payments from e-wallets and QR to any credit, debit, and prepaid card.

Voyager entered the digital banking space with Maya Bank, which piloted last month. Together with PayMaya, they will help fast-track the country’s goals of transforming 50 percent of the total volume of retail payments to digital and expanding the financially included to 70 percent of Filipino adults by 2023.