Former Grab and Tokopedia executives raise $7.4 million for new fintech venture wagely

Former Grab and Tokopedia executives raise $7.4 million for new fintech venture wagely

SINGAPORE (THE BUSINESS TIMES) – Wagely, a fintech start-up that allows workers to access their earned wages in real time, has raised US$5.6 million (S$7.4 million) in funding to expand its reach in Indonesia. The round was led by Integra Partners (formerly known as Dymon Asia Ventures).

Other investors include the venture arm of the Philippines’ Asian Development Bank; Indonesia’s T Triputra Investindo Arya; Global Founders Capital; Trihill Capital; 1982 Ventures; and Willy Suwandi Dharma, the former president director of insurer PT Asuransi Adira Dinamika.

With the new capital, wagely aims to accelerate adoption in Indonesia and is targeting larger corporations. It hopes to bring over 250,000 Indonesians onto its platform by the end of this year.

So far, more than 50 large Indonesian enterprises, state-owned enterprises and multinationals have used wagely’s platform to allow their employees to access earned wages in real time, said the start-up.

These large enterprises include Indonesian tobacco company Bentoel Group (a part of British American Tobacco), supermarket chain Ranch 99 Market, cosmetic company Mustika Ratu, and energy provider Kencana Energy.

Founded in 2019, wagely was started by former Grab executive Tobias Fischer and ex-Tokopedia vice-president of engineering Sasanadi Ruka. The start-up allows employees in the companies it works with to withdraw their wages as they earn them, enabling greater flexibility in the way people are being paid.

Mr Fischer said that over 100 million Indonesian lower- and middle-income workers tend to live from pay cheque to pay cheque, and struggle with unexpected financial expenses between pay days. They are then exposed to the cycle of debt caused by overdraft fees, high-interest credit and payday loans.

“These could in turn impact businesses, leading to higher turnover, lower productivity, and more employee loans,” he said.

“Our workplaces are changing rapidly, especially since Covid-19 struck. Now, the way people are getting paid is changing too – and at scale. wagely provides a financial flexibility that is perfectly suited for today’s agile and progressive workforce.”

Wilson Maknawi, president director at Indonesia’s Kencana Energy, said that wagely offers its employees “financial stability in times of uncertainty”.

“With no changes to our payroll process, wagely’s solution has proven to increase our business savings and helped our employees to avoid predatory loans while providing savings and budgeting tools that increase their financial literacy,” he added.

Another earned wage access start-up targeting the Indonesian market is Gajigesa, which in February announced it raised US$2.5 million in seed funding led by US-based and Singapore-based Quest Ventures.

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