It’s been a busy week for startup funding in Southeast Asia. Following big deals for Carro and Carousell, financial comparison startup Jirnexu is the latest to announce new capital after it closed an $11 million Series B round.
The new investment comes courtesy of Japan’s SBI Group — a returning investor which led the round having co-led Carro’s $60 million raise — alongside new backer SIG Asia Investments. The deal takes Jirnexu to $17 million from investors to date.
The startup was founded in 2012 and it is based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. It operates financial comparison services in its native Malaysia (‘RinggitPlus‘) and in Indonesia, under the ‘KreditGoGo‘ brand, that aggregate offerings from banks and financial companies that include Citibank, HSBC, Standard Chartered, and UOB. In short, the company acts as a user acquisition channel for financial organizations that want to reach consumers and maintain a dialogue with them.
In recent years, Jirnexu has gone beyond basic banking products to offer insurance and e-policies, while it has introduced chatbots in conjunction with five financial organizations to help ease the process of sign-up and selection for their customers.
“Our core focus is to become the only band of services a consumer needs for their personal finance and money,” Jirnexu CEO Yuen Tuck Siew, who founded the company after returning home from a decade in the UK, told TechCrunch in an interview. “Two years ago, it was all about banking, particularly secure credit, now we’ve announced live quotes for insurance and we’ll be adding more insurance products.”
In particular, the startup is focused on consumer digital identification and eKYC that will help it to tailor suggested packages more accurately for consumers.
Jirnexu has raised new funding in 2016 and 2017, but Siew said this newest round gives significant runway that will allow it to focus on longer-term strategies with more clarity than before.
“We can now plan multiple years ahead which is absolutely essential with what we can do. No matter how longterm you want to think, [when you need to raise money regularly] you’re always looking at KPIs. Now we can plan and invest in projects that can really have a huge impact for customers,” he explained.
Much of the effort right now, he added, is on hiring for senior executive positions and operational roles, including a CTO, to build out the business and push into new financial verticals.
For now, the company isn’t looking to expand to new markets. Siew suggested that new launches would likely come after a Series C round but, per earlier comments, that’s not an event he sees happening in the immediate term.
Likewise, he said there is potential to work more closely with SBI — which operates a range of financial services in Japan — in the future. But initially, the company is just focused on executing on its plans with its investors’ backing.
“They understand the challenges in the market and see the value of us being able to overcome issues like regulatory and long sales cycles,” the Jirnexu CEO said.
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