Funding Societies, a Singapore-based small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) digital financing platform, has officially launched in Vietnam on Tuesday, marking its fifth market expansion.

Addressing the SME financing gap in Vietnam, where the SME landscape is growing yet financially underserved, is a natural next step for the FinTech company as it pushes further into Southeast Asia, Funding Societies said in a statement.

As the leading SME digital lender in Southeast Asia, Funding Societies serves as a platform for SME financing with an artificial intelligenc (AI)-led credit model, offering traditional term loans, customisable financing solutions, and a range of trade-based financing options, such as invoice financing.

In its seven years of operation, the company has disbursed over $2 billion in business financing through more than five million loans across the region.

“Since our inception in 2015, our vision is to uplift societies in Southeast Asia. Hence, Vietnam has always been part of our roadmap. This is an opportune time as we ride out of COVID-19, build a solid team with local FinTech veteran Ryan Galloway, and secure investment from tech giant VNG. We believe that Vietnam will be one of our largest markets given its enormous potential,” said Kelvin Teo, Co-Founder and Group Chief Executive Officer of Funding Societies | Modalku.

Earlier this year, Vietnamese tech giant VNG Corporation invested $22.5 million in Funding Societies as part of the FinTech company’s $294 million series C+ fundraise, of which $144 million was raised in equity and $150 million in debt lines.

Funding Societies also received the support of other notable investors in the funding round, including SoftBank Vision Fund 2, Rapyd Ventures, EDBI, Indies Capital, Ascend Vietnam Ventures, and K3 Ventures, among others.

VNG will help Funding Societies to quickly adapt to the local market so it can provide solutions tailored to the unique needs of Vietnamese businesses.

“Vietnam SMEs don’t have the same access to venture and early-stage capital markets as other Southeast Asian markets, but the Vietnam market is equally as competitive, so Vietnamese entrepreneurs are trained to do more with less. We see lots of opportunity in Vietnam and we’re excited to support the country’s burgeoning SME landscape as we continue to serve the needs of millions of SMEs across Southeast Asia,” said Ryan Galloway, Country Director of Funding Societies Vietnam.

“Building on the success Funding Societies has had in other markets, we will improve turnaround time by further automating origination and underwriting to support Vietnamese SMEs more efficiently,” he added.

Operating in Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, and Indonesia (where it is known as Modalku), Funding Societies is the only SME digital financing platform to be licensed and/or registered in four countries throughout Southeast Asia.

In Vietnam, it is serving SMEs in various sectors like education, retail, tech, and fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG), offering products such as trade financing, inventory financing, accounts receivable (AR) and accounts payable (AP) financing in and around Ho Chi Minh and Hanoi.

The company looks to roll out local currency digital financing capabilities nationwide in the second half of the year.

Since its soft launch in Vietnam in December 2021, Funding Societies has already achieved over $20 million in disbursements, and it is looking to increase this to $90 million this year.

To realize this ambition, in Vietnam, the company is looking to work with technology platforms and banking partners to support its mid-to-long term ambitions, consistent with how they partner with banks and recently invested into Bank Index in Indonesia.

Meanwhile, regionally, Funding Societies will continue to deepen its presence in the five countries it operates in, with new financing and neobanking products.

“SMEs play a significant role in economic growth in Southeast Asia. There are significant challenges for them to access funding and capital to drive growth. Our investment in Funding Societies is aligned around creating opportunities for SMEs and to support their growth and development,

“As a homegrown Vietnamese tech company, we are also well placed to support Funding Societies in expanding into the Vietnamese market,” said Kelly Wong, VNG’s Vice President of Game Entertainment and Lead Game Business.

Funding Societies co-invests with Carro in Indonesia’s Bank Index