ErudiFi, an Indonesian tech-enabled startup that provides affordable options for education financing in the Southeast Asian region, has just announced that it has raised US$ 5 million through a Series A round of funding led by Monk’s Hill Ventures and Qualgro. The company plans to utilize the fresh capital by investing in its manpower. It also plans to invest in product innovation and expand its operations in its existing markets.

Founded in 2017, ErudiFi has opened offices across Southeast Asia, including Singapore, Indonesia, and the Philippines. The startup is known as Bukas in the Philippines and as Danacita in Indonesia. ErudiFi offers financial services for underserved students to get a quality education. The company has since secured funding for thousands of underserved students who have struggled financially.

“At present, nearly two-thirds of Indonesian and Filipino youths are unable to enrol in higher education due to lack of affordable financing. We are excited to further our goal of expanding access to quality education in the region,” said Naga Tan, Co-Founder and CEO of Erudifi.

Peng T. Ong, Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Monk’s Hill Ventures, expressed his enthusiasm in investing with the startup: “By taking a first-principles approach, Naga and his team have been laser-focused on bringing a tech-enabled and data-driven solution that provides students with access to education. We are excited to partner with Naga and his team and believe they have the conviction and strength to bring access to education to millions of people.”

According to the company, Southeast Asia has an annual dropout rate of 10-15 percent due to financial problems. It addressed this problem by providing its latest service that allows partner schools to track disbursements and real-time analytics for dropped students.

The company has partnered up with over 50 leading universities and vocational schools in its market. This includes President University, UNTAR, IT PLN, Wall Street English, PHINMA Education, Far Eastern University, Adamson University, and Mapua University. Students can avail themselves of subsidized installment plans. Interest rates and repayment terms vary but can be as low as 0 percent, with loans payable in 12 to 24 months.

When asked about how the coronavirus pandemic has affected ErudiFi, Tan said in an interview with e27: “Many of our current school partners have seen a corresponding drop in enrollment rates and an increase in student attrition as a result. This means that our financing solution is even more critical in this environment in providing support to schools and ensuring their continued viability.”

The startup will utilize the fresh capital by making new key hires, specifically for product and engineering, marketing and operations, business development, and data functions, investing in product innovation, and scaling its “study now, pay later” model in the Philippines and Indonesia by establishing closer relationships with partner schools and clients.

Overall, the company aims to, “drive generational transformation and build a better tomorrow for youths” by providing its services. Ong adds, “Access to affordable tertiary education remains a huge pain point in Southeast Asia where the cost is nearly double than the average GDP per capita. ErudiFi is tackling an underserved market that is plagued with high-interest rates by traditional financial institutions and limited reach from peer-to-peer lending companies.”