Thailand currency

Southeast Asia’s multi-currency neobank YouTrip raises $ 30 million Series A, to launch corporate card – TechCrunch

Based in singapore YouTrip, an online bank that aims to make multi-currency transactions cheaper and more efficient, today announced that it has raised $ 30 million in Series A.YouTrip Founder and CEO Caecilia Chu said the round was being led by prominent family offices in Asia who prefer to remain anonymous, but return from previous rounds.

Series A brings YouTrip’s total funding to over $ 60 million. The company claims to have now processed more than $ 800 million in card spending globally, with nearly 20 million transactions and over 1.5 million app downloads.

Chu told TechCrunch that YouTrip decided to fundraise because it was reaching an “inflection point.”

“As South East Asia emerges from the pandemic and Singapore really leads the way with the vaccination rate, what we have seen from the consumer side is a huge pent-up demand for travel and also the restoration of confidence. consumers, ”she said. . “We are definitely seeing more spending in e-commerce and in terms of travel, we have seen daily transaction volumes increase at least two to three times since the start of the vaccinated travel lanes in Singapore. “

While YouTrip is optimistic about these headwinds, it takes a realistic approach to resuming travel. In the medium term, Chu said the company is very excited about consumer spending and its new B2B business, which includes a multi-currency business card called YouBiz.

Caecilia Chu, co-founder and CEO, YouTrip

Over the next year, YouTrip also plans to focus on geographic expansion. Currently operational in Singapore and Thailand, it has partnered with Visa to expand into the Philippines and Malaysia. Chu added that the company is also in late stage talks with partners for a launch in Indonesia and Vietnam.

When TechCrunch last covered YouTrip in 2019, one of the main customer bases was international travelers. When COVID hit, the business had to adapt very quickly.

It added new features like YouTrip Perks, setting up partnering teams to work with merchants like Lazada and Shopee on cashback offers of up to 15%. “During the pandemic, people were not only buying a lot more things online, but they were also more health conscious, so we saw more purchases of sports equipment and health supplements,” Chu said. “We have targeted the most relevant merchants for our users, in order to set up these partnerships with these merchants. “

The company says its trading volume has now returned to pre-pandemic levels. As it anticipates more traction as consumer spending and travel increase, 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 explains that one of the reasons the company has entered the B2B space is that more SMEs are adopting fintech services.

“We know how important it is to be a truly pandemic resilient business,” she added. “We promised ourselves that we would no longer read the news every day to see when the borders would reopen. We would make it work and continue to make it work regardless of the new travel metrics. “

The company has also witnessed a paradigm shift among SMEs.

“They are really more open to fintech products, to new banking products,” Chu said. “More relevant to us, due to all of the work from home and hybrid models, businesses are increasingly distributed. Their payroll, supplier payments, even the way they collect income or bill their consumers are global, and their foreign exchange needs are sure to increase, so we think now is a really good time to segment. in this market.

Once YouBiz launches, YouTrip will be one of several VC-backed FinTech companies in Southeast Asia 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 mainstream space, but “there is a huge opportunity because it is very underserved.”

In particular, YouTrip plans to focus on companies with between one and 1,000 employees. He chose this segment because YouBiz is not meant to replace traditional bank accounts. Instead, its main added value is enabling SMEs to spend less on foreign currency transactions. YouTrip also plans to set up an expense management tool, with a view to resuming business travel.

“I have the impression that on the SMB front, it will not be that one winner takes it all. But getting back to competition, we also go to space with our eyes wide open, ”said Chu. “We have two key advantages that really stand out. The first is that we are the only neobank to own all of our end-to-end technology and licensing infrastructure. “

YouTrip has invested heavily in its own technology stack “because the margin is extremely thin in consumer payment services, so in order to deliver the best cost and best value we need to optimize our value chain to a level where we have full control ”including over its product roadmap.

The second advantage of YouTrip is that it already enjoys a strong notoriety. “When we talk to business owners, many are already using YouTrip for their own purchases,” Chu said. This track record helps YouTrip market itself to SMBs, and Chu says the company already has 1,000 registrations for the launch of its B2B service.