Vietnamese financial service app MFast announced Monday it has raised $2.5 million in a funding round led by Ascend Vietnam Ventures with participation from Wavemaker Partners and existing investors Do Ventures & JAFCO Asia.

MFast said in a statement that with the fresh funding, it is actively hiring talent across various areas including technology, marketing, and sales to upgrade its platform, expand its agent network, and deploy new business models.

This new capital will be used to develop technology and data analysis systems that can generate consumer credit ratings, expand MFast’s agent network, and experiment with new business models.

This new technology will increase automation when evaluating, appraising, and approving financial products for consumers. MFast also plans to expand to other Southeast Asian countries.

“To achieve our growth objectives we are actively hiring across technology, sales and marketing, and human resources. Taking long-term personal growth as a key management principle, we invest heavily in technical training and soft skill development programs for our people. Moreover, we always strive to create a ‘home in office’ environment for the team,” said Phan Thanh Vinh, MFast Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer.

“In our young but rapidly growing fintech company, everyone has the opportunity to raise their voice, contribute ideas, and be recognized for their achievements. MFast’s team members work with each other as brothers and sisters. They follow not only their bosses but also their senior team players,

“They work not only with their partners, but also shake hands with like-minded individuals. This spirit explains why more than 50 percent of our employees have stayed with MFast for 3 years and more,” said Phan Thanh Vinh.

MFast was born after its founders, Phan Thanh Long and Phan Thanh Vinh observed a huge problem in Vietnam’s rural areas – nearly 70 percent of the Vietnamese population in rural areas have limited access to banking, insurance, and credit-related services.

Due to the lack of financial literacy and credit history, this population faces numerous challenges accessing financial services and is often the victim of predatory services from the gray and black markets.

In September 2020, MFast was launched to tackle this pain point by connecting reputable financial and insurance institutions to its nationwide agent network. Its agents introduce, educate, and distribute financial products to the end customers in rural areas.

According to the statement, anybody is eligible to become an MFast agent, and based on their ability, they can participate in one or several sales stages, such as customer acquisition; financial product consultation; customer onboarding support; or post-sales services.

“With a nationwide agent network, MFast reaches underserved populations, helping them overcome challenges in accessing financial services and breaking down prejudice towards insurance – a crucial aspect of a developed society. At the same time, we create benefits for our agents and partners,

“MFast provides agents opportunities to earn extra income while helping partners expand the insurance and financial services in the peripheral and rural areas,” said Phan Thanh Long, Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder of MFast.

By using the MFast app, agents are equipped with all the necessary knowledge and tools to do their jobs. MFast also digitizes the entire working process, replacing cumbersome paperwork and procedures associated with banking.

As a result, MFast shortens the approval and disbursement window, bringing the best experience to its end customers and agents.

MFast has partnered with several reputable financial institutions including FE Credit, Home Credit, Mirae Asset, SHB Finance, CIMB, MCredit, EasyCredit, PTF, and VIB. As for the insurance category, MFast established partnerships with BSH, VNI, PTI, PVI, Opes, and VASS.

After just two years, MFast has helped nearly 600,000 people (nearly 80 percent of whom are living in rural areas) access financial and insurance services. It has also increased the income for more than 92,000 agents across 63 provinces in Vietnam.

“Agent banking networks are a long-proven approach to expanding access to financial services to rural and suburban people across the global south. MFast’s proven execution on a tech-first foundation enables scale nationwide – and potentially beyond. We’re looking forward to helping MFast achieve their full vision,” said Thao Nguyen, Senior Investment Manager at Ascend Vietnam Ventures.

Saigon Asset Management invests in Vietnamese FinTech firm Anfin