Singapore-based YouTrip, an online bank focused on making multi-currency transactions cheaper and more efficient, announced today that it has raised a Series A of $ 30 million. Caecilia Chu, founder and CEO of YouTrip, said the round was from well-known family offices in. headed Asia, who would rather remain nameless but return from previous rounds.
Series A brings YouTrip’s total funding to more than $ 60 million. The company says it has now processed over $ 800 million in card spending worldwide, with nearly 20 million transactions and over 1.5 million app downloads.
Chu told TechCrunch that YouTrip decided to raise funds because it had reached a “turning point”.
“With Southeast Asia out of the pandemic and Singapore truly leading the way in vaccination rates, we’ve seen a tremendous amount of catching up to do on the consumer front in terms of travel and also a recovery in consumer confidence,” she said. “We’re definitely seeing more spending on e-commerce, and in terms of travel, we’ve seen the daily transaction volume have increased at least two to three times since the vaccinated itineraries began in Singapore.”
While YouTrip is optimistic about this tailwind, it takes a realistic approach to travel recreation. In the medium term, the company is most excited about consumer spending and its new B2B business, which includes a multi-currency corporate card called YouBiz, according to Chu.
YouTrip also plans to focus on geographic expansion over the next year. Currently operating in Singapore and Thailand, it has partnered with Visa to expand to the Philippines and Malaysia. Chu added that the company is also in late-stage discussions with partners about the rollout in Indonesia and Vietnam.
When TechCrunch last reported on YouTrip in 2019, international travelers were one of its core customer bases. When COVID hit, the company had to adapt very quickly.
New features have been added like YouTrip Perks and partnership teams have been set up to work with merchants like Lazada and Shopee on cashback deals of up to 15%. “During the pandemic, not only were people buying a lot more things online, but they were also more health conscious, so we bought more exercise equipment and supplements,” Chu said. “We have selected the most relevant dealers for our users in order to get these dealer partnerships going.”
The company says its transaction volume has now returned to pre-pandemic levels. As YouTrip expects more traction with increasing consumer spending and increasing travel, YouTrip plans to introduce a brand overhaul for its consumer app in early 2022, along with new payment features.
YouBiz, its corporate card, is also slated to launch in early 2022. Chu says one of the reasons the company got into the B2B space was because more and more SMBs are adopting fintech services.
“We know the importance of being a truly pandemic-resistant company,” she added. “We vowed not to read the news every day to see when the borders will reopen. We would get it working and keep it working regardless of new travel measures. “
The company has also seen a paradigm shift in SMEs.
“They’re really more open to fintech products and new banking products,” said Chu. “More relevant for us, because companies are increasingly spread out thanks to the entire home office and hybrid models. Their payroll, supplier payments, even the way they generate income or bill their consumers are global and their need for foreign exchange is sure to increase so we believe the time is really right into this market to get in. “
Once YouBiz launches, YouTrip will be part of several Southeast Asian VC-backed fintech companies that offer corporate cards or focus on the SMB space, including Aspire, Spenmo and Volopay. But Chu says that the SMB space is not only huge compared to the consumer space, but “there is also a huge opportunity because it is severely underserved”.
In particular, YouTrip plans to focus on companies that have between one and 1,000 employees. This segment was chosen because YouBiz is not intended to be a substitute for traditional bank accounts. Instead, the main benefit is that SMEs can spend less money on foreign exchange transactions. YouTrip also plans to roll out an expense management tool with a view to revitalizing business travel.
“I have a feeling that on the SMB front it won’t be one winner that needs everyone. But back to the competition, we also go into the room with our eyes open, ”said Chu. “We have two key advantages that really stand out. One is that we are the only Neobank that has our entire technology and licensing infrastructure end-to-end. “
YouTrip has invested heavily in its own technology stack because “the margin in consumer payment services is paper thin. including through its product roadmap.
The second benefit of YouTrip is that it already has strong brand awareness. “When we talk to business owners, many are already using YouTrip for their own purchases,” Chu said. This track record is helping YouTrip showcase itself to SMBs, and Chu says the company already has 1,000 signups to launch its B2B service.