After much awaited anticipation, Seedstars World Competition 2020/2021 has finally ended with Malaysian fintech startup Finology taking the throne as this year’s global winner with an additional USD500,000 equity investment.
The private hosting, which was hosted by Seedstars, a Swiss-based private group with a mission to improve people’s lives towards emerging markets, and also The Next Web, one of the most influential media and event creators in the startup world, drew 25,000 viewers to tune in. The Seedstars World Competitions has emerged to be the largest startup competition in emerging markets since 2013, but this year’s competition went online due to the pandemic. The Seedstars team managed to narrow down over 5,000 startup applications and successfully picked the top five finalists in the running for the grand prize of up to USD500,000 in investment after virtually travelling to 94 startups throughout Africa, Latin America, the Middle East, Central Europe, Eastern, and Asia.
The top five finalists were:
- Finology (Malaysia) – Utilizes technology and ready digital distribution platforms to provide seamless access to financial products.
- Fulfillment Bridge (Tunisia) – A cloud-based global e-commerce logistics network that includes warehousing across 4 continents, fulfilment, shipping, and return management, and more.
- Pegasi (Venezuela) – Makes healthcare information in the developing world more accessible, clear, and useful for patients, doctors and service providers.
- IMAN (Uzbekistan) – A marketplace that uses Islamic finance values to put together retailers, shoppers, and investors at the point of sale.
- Ladda (Nigeria) – A startup that democratises investment access for retail investors with the assistance of financial literacy.
Who Is Finology
Founded in 2017, Finology is a Fintech company based in Kuala Lumpur. Its goal is to provide everyone easy access to financial products. Having a financial product in this day and age should be a seamless experience. However, that isn’t the case here. Finology makes it happen for a wide range of products, using
i) Finology’s technology
ii) Finology’s ready market reach
They were the first in Malaysia to offer online motorcycle insurance and road tax renewals in 2019. They soon realize that many B40 riders wanted to know if they could accept cash. They soon took control of this by enabling the renewal of motor insurance and road taxes at 250 cash deposit eKiosks throughout Malaysia. Since 2017, they’ve successfully enabled seamless access on various third-party platforms using their APIs and technology since 2017, including brands involved such as iProperty, Mudah, and MyEG.
Finology’s Journey with Malaysian Teams
Finology’s Seedstars journey took about 10 months, beginning with their submission in August 2020. They then went through preliminary screening before pitching in front of a panel of judges at a national competition against 20 other Malaysian teams. They were sent to the regional competition after winning in Malaysia, they had to repeat their pitch at the Asia semi-final and final rounds with different panels of judges each time.
“We’re all about using technology to provide financial services to people in ways that are more important to their lives,” Finology CEO Jared Lim said of his team’s victory. “We’re excited to expand our product offerings in Emerging Asia, which are focused on providing a smooth delivery experience.”
With winning, comes challenges as there were moments when the live broadcast was cut off due to connection issues during pitching sessions, with poor voice quality and sound, making it hard for the judges to listen. Owing to time changes, both Jared and Robin had to stay up late for pitching sessions because the events were taking place in Switzerland’s time zone. Fortunately, the Finology team is capable of handling day-to-day operations on their own, which enabled them to focus on the competition and soon leading to their victorious achievement.
With this win, they hope that their victory will garner more interest and support from emerging and visionary Malaysian startups like theirs, as well as more foreign direct investments (FDIs) for the nation.