Funding Societies, Southeast Asia’s largest Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) digital financing platform, announced Wednesday that it is acquiring regional payments solution CardUp, for an undisclosed amount.

Through the move, the company will acquire CardUp’s payments capabilities such as card payments to non-card accepting recipients (domestic and cross-border), online payments acceptance, invoice automation tools as well as its licenses and integrations with renowned third-party business software, Funding Societies said in a statement.

It said that CardUp’s payment services will complement its lending products, to offer a unified financial experience for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) across the region, enabling SMEs to manage and pay expenses, receive payments, and borrow funds all within one seamless digital platform.

The acquisition comes off the back of Funding Societies’ recent Series C+ raise of $294 million in February 2022, of which $144 million was raised in equity, and its recent investment into Bank Index in Indonesia, launch of business virtual card Elevate in Singapore and entry into Vietnam, strengthening the company’s suite of financial services for SMEs.

Launched in 2016, CardUp is a Singapore-based payments solution that helps individuals and businesses to make payments to suppliers and collect payments from customers digitally.

With presence in Singapore, Malaysia, and Hong Kong, CardUp has served tens of thousands of businesses including micro businesses, SMEs, and corporates across a spectrum of business to business (B2B) and consumer to business (C2B) industries. These businesses use CardUp for payments related to payroll, rent, corporate tax, vendor payments, receivables flows, and cross-border expenses.

CardUp sees huge demand from businesses looking to save time and money through payment digitisation, which is reflected in its rapid growth, increasing 53 percent quarter on quarter.

“Having known Nicki and CardUp since 2018, we find CardUp has a great cultural and strategic fit. Acquiring CardUp enables us to leapfrog and accelerate our market leadership in the regional FinTech space, integrating payments capabilities, enhanced user experience and local licenses to our digital lending experience across key markets. We are excited to work with the CardUp team and are honoured to join forces with them,” said Kelvin Teo, Co-Founder and Group Chief Executive Officer of Funding Societies | Modalku.

The acquisition comes at the right juncture as SMEs are expected to push ASEAN’s digital finance market to $60 billion by 2025, while the region’s business payments sector grows at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 10 percent over the next five years. The transaction supports the current drive of ASEAN SMEs to digitally transform their financial processes, to save time and money, and to better serve their customers via next-generation financial tools and services.

“We have long recognised Funding Societies as the regional leader in SME financing and a complementary counterpart to our expertise in payments. This acquisition reflects strong strategic and cultural synergy with both parties aligned on the mission to help SMEs improve the way they operate their business and manage cash flow. We are confident that CardUp and our employees are in good hands with Kelvin and his team and are excited to work together on this next chapter of growth,” said Nicki Ramsay, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of CardUp.

Once the acquisition is finalised and approved by the regulators, Funding Societies will welcome Nicki Ramsay into its management team to lead its payments business while retaining all CardUp’s employees across Asia.

CardUp will continue to operate its consumer and business services and maintain its long-standing relationships with card networks, issuers, and media partners. Funding Societies and CardUp will tap into strong synergies in the form of complementary talent, technologies, as well as bank and technology partnerships to further empower SMEs in Southeast Asia.

Funding Societies | Modalku is the largest SME digital financing platform in Southeast Asia. It is licensed and registered in Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, and operates in Vietnam. The firm provides business financing to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), annualising $1 billion disbursement in 2021.

The firm is backed by SoftBank Vision Fund 2, SoftBank Ventures Asia, Sequoia Capital India, Alpha JWC Ventures, SMBC Bank, BRI Ventures, VNG Corporation, Rapyd Ventures, Endeavor, EDBI, SGInnovate, Qualgro, and Golden Gate Ventures amongst others.

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