FINANCIAL SERVICES | Staff Reporter, Singapore

Fintech startup SingX raises $4.5m in 2nd round funding

SingX is setting its sights overseas as it eyes expansion to Malaysia and Hong Kong.

After making a strong mark with the debut of its Singapore to India cross-border fund transfer services earlier this year, financial technology (FinTech) remittance startup SingX is setting its sights overseas to Malaysia and Hong Kong, powered by $4.5m freshly raised from a second round of funding.

New investors in the second round of funding or pre-series A include senior bankers and high net worth individuals from Singapore and Hong Kong, according to Atul Garg, Principal Founder and CEO of SingX. He reckons the funding momentum will be crucial to the startup’s mission to make finance simpler and cheaper for individuals, and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

“The latest funding from our investors will help us scale up our business faster, expand to new geographies and to develop a number of other products to meet the global cross-border payment needs of Singaporeans and their companies.”

Specifically, the fresh funds will be allocated to scale up customer acquisitions in Singapore, increase the number of payment corridors, build up the online platform, and set up offices in Hong Kong and Australia for market entry. Garg also revealed plans to roll out two-way money transfers in all existing markets, which will eventually pave the way for Singapore’s first Peer-to-Peer foreign exchange platform.

Malaysia and Hong Kong expansion
But for now, Garg says SingX if focusing on the Malaysian expansion because it is a “big market.” He estimates more than 350,000 Malaysians who transfer money back home for paying mortgages, making investments, paying bills, and sending money to families for their various spending needs.

“Many Malaysians presently use a very cumbersome and unsafe process of remitting money from Singapore to Malaysia. They first stand in line at a money changer to convert their Singapore dollars to Malaysian ringgit, and then physically carry this money into Malaysia and queue up a second time at a Malaysian bank to deposit money.”

Meanwhile, he anticipates SingX’s remittance service to Hong Kong will appeal to the many Singapore residents who invest in stocks, property and trade with Hong Kong and China. The platform is also a boon for SMEs with business ties to Hong Kong as it enables faster and cheaper cross-border payments.

SingX’s expansion to new markets follows high demand after the launch of first service to India. Based on its current monthly run rate, after six months of operations, SingX’s online remittance platform has over 4,000 registered customers, with many engaging in repeat transactions, and would have achieved an annualised run rate of $100 million.

Cost and convenience advantages
The promise of cost and convenience advantages has made SingX popular among remitters in Singapore: Individuals and SMEs can save up to 90% in fees and bank charges, and the startup speeds up the processing time by removing the need to fill in forms or wait in queues.

“Our online platform is cheaper, faster and more convenient as it charges consumers a fraction of what they typically pay for overseas money transfers. It does this by cutting out cable charges and bank commissions and offering transparent and live forex exchange rates.”

“It is also more convenient as it eliminates the need to fill out complex forms and for personal visits to a branch. The only fee payable is a small handling fee which is made know to the customer upfront.”

To address growing concerns on online security and data theft, SingX implemented two-factor authentication and secure data transmission methods, even when transferring money on mobile phones. The FinTech firm has also secured a license from the Monetary Authority of Singapore and created a system that keeps customer money in a segregated client account. It further reassures each user through high transaction transparency and .

“Consumers like the transparency of the platform as it enables them to keep track of live FX rates and empowers them to make a transfer when they feel the FX rate is right for them. This demonstrates the power of technology to make financial services both easier and cheaper for people,” says Garg.

Global payments disruption
By catering to the digital preference of increasingly technologically savvy consumers and expanding to key markets, SingX is looking to carve out a piece of the payments pie that incumbent banks have long been feasting on.

“We see enormous potential for FinTech startups to disrupt the trillion-dollar global payment market which has been traditionally dominated by banks,” adds Garg, which along with veteran bankers Kula Kulendaran, Vineet Nagrani and Rajan Raju are SingX shareholders, and former DBS head of enterprise banking, Edwin Khoo, serving as a board advisor.

“Consumers face numerous pain points in their transactions, such as lack of transparency and slow processing time. This has led to the entrance of smaller players in every industry who are disrupting the status quo with innovative solutions to customers’ problems and presenting competition for the incumbents." 

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