Singapore-based OOjiBO has secured $3.6 million (S$5 million) in a pre-series A round from private investment company Centurion Private Equity. Post the funding round, Wong Kok Hoe, Director of Centurion, will join the startup’s board of directors.
Currently offering the service only in Myanmar, the startup plans to utilize the funds to get into two more countries in Southeast Asia, Indonesia and Thailand. It will also start cross-border remittance within different nations where it is present.
The fintech startup is focused on developing an end-to-end solution for the unbanked and underbanked population in ASEAN. Its website cites that there is over 50% unbanked population in the entire ASEAN. This amounts to about 400 million people that do not have access to even the basics of financial services.
To address this issue, OOjiBO has built a business model to enable financial inclusion. It is leveraging the high penetration of mobile phones in the region which has allowed it to create a solution based on mobile technology. It offers services including retail payments, e-commerce payments, p2p transfers, interest bearing accounts, cross-border remittance, cash in/cash out service, debit/credit card virtualisation, mobile phone top-ups and utilities payment.
The solution is basically a full stack retail banking system offered on a phone. It can be used on both smartphones and feature phones. Its system switches to an STK (SMS) format automatically wherever there is a fluctuation in data connection or where it is not available.
The offered softwares take a risk-based security approach. The startup has developed a hardware and software security chip that enables encryption and key rotation system. Post which, it usses a physical sim sticker encompassing a security chip and module depending the level of KYC and limit of transaction amount. So, everytime a transaction takes place, the chip and module take care of the encryption.
The startup stands out among the different digital payment firms and e-wallets due to its front-end system. It operates its own fleet of agents, with the agents placed in cities and villages. This is how they make sure there is accessibility to the customers especially those with no access to financial facilities.